From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
The Osun State Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, recently rolled out the drums and celebrated the second anniversary of his administration with pomp.
In this interview, his Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Honourable Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, speaks on his achievements, his office’s commitment to engineering political consciousness among the people on their rights to good governance as well as the administration’s readiness to run people-oriented governance.
Governor Oyetola’s administration is just two years old. But there appears to be a rising political consciousness and interests among not only the stakeholders but also the opposition and the residents. What do you think is the secret behind this passion?
Political consciousness in recent times has assumed a sophisticated dynamics among the people due to rising political socialization. There is no other secret behind people’s passion other than the creditable performance of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. This manifests through his touch of excellence in an efficient, productive and inclusive system of governance which has brought a turnaround in all the critical sectors of the state’s economy as well as the interests and contributions of many political actors, including the opposition in political activities.
Despite paucity of funds in the state, the achievements of Oyetola in terms of infrastructural development, improved security system, workers’ welfare, empowerment of all kinds among others, have become the “talk of town.” In fact, people’s wellbeing is the heartbeat of Oyetola’s administration
Specifically, in the area of road infrastructure, many road networks have been put in place, whereas others are ongoing. All these have happened within a spate of the Governor’s two years in office.
Just a few days ago, the constructed Ede-Ara_Ejigbo Road was commissioned.
Earlier, the Alekuwodo/Akinlade Road in Osogbo was equally commissioned. Other roads include Kelebe-Iragbiji, Ada-Igbajo, Moro-Akinlalu, Famia (Modakeke township), Ilesha township, Ede township, Ejigbo township and Aagba township. The health sector has also experienced a significant turnaround with the upgrading of 332 Primary Health Centres (PHC’s) across all the wards in the state. This gives people in the communities a proximate advantage to have access to quality health deliveries. Also, general hospitals and some comprehensive health centres in the state have been fully upgraded. About 120 bedded structure and resident doctors quarters have been built at Asubiaro in Osogbo.
The Oyetola-led administration is equally revamping the economy through industrialization and commercialization by the establishment of Osun Ethanol Bio-Refinery factory as well as the International Trade Centre/Industrial Hub and Inland Port, which have been projected to create massive job opportunities to not less than 10,000 people.
Also, the welfare of both active workers and pensioners is being given a maximum priority. The administration of Oyetola has not only committed itself to full payment of workers’ salary and pensions but has also implemented minimum wages for the workers in the state. Other benefits for workers are being effected in full swing.
The foregoing massive achievements recorded within the two years of Governor Oyetola’s administration as well as the statewide engagement meetings of the civic engagement office on whose platform these giant strides of Oyetola’s administration are propagated is enough to resuscitate the awareness of the residents to embrace his dynamic governance and the opposition to take its political role in the fight of interest ahead of another electoral battle.
When he came on board, he promised an all-inclusive (people-oriented) government. In what areas is he fulfilling the promise?
Governor Oyetola has committed his administration to engender inclusiveness and bridging the people-government gap as he makes policies and programmes in alignment with people’s aspirations and demands. Upon assumption of office, he took it as the first point of duty to reach out to the people for getting their needs and desires through a “thank you tour” visit to all the nine federal constituencies in the state. He equally, reviewed the needs of the people as encapsulated in the DFID Citizen-Based Assessment Report.
To further engender inclusiveness in his administration, Governor Oyetola equally established a civic engagement office which I oversee to serve as an interface institution between the government and the people with a view to bridging any gaps between the government and the people. The office is also intended to enlighten people on how to assume their roles as stakeholders in governance by making their aspirations and yearnings known which would inform the policy formulation processes and the general decisions of the government.
One out of the several proofs of Governor Oyetola’s people-driven government is a review of the education policy which was carried out by his administration after agitation and a popular demand by the people.
This has received kudos among the people, with an impression that the Governor is running a people-oriented government that listens to their yearnings.
During the recent special second-anniversary stakeholders programme, the Governor promised to tread the ‘uncharted territories’ in continuation of his infrastructure development agenda. The residents would be curious to know the territories.
In addition to the numerous infrastructural projects which Oyetola’s administration has executed across the nooks and crannies of the state, plans are still underway to do more for the betterment of the state. In a bid to commit his administration to massive infrastructural development for the socioeconomic boost, Governor Oyetola has perfected the plans to embark on the construction and rehabilitation of some strategic roads across the state. The roads include Ejigbo township, Ido-Osun township, Gbongan, Ile-Ife township, Kuta township, GOF-Ori-Oke Pure Water, Osogbo; Halelluyah Estate, Osogbo; Inisha township, Ila Orangun and Ikirun township, among others.
To reduce the hardship and difficulties being experienced by the motorist as a result of traffic jam around Olaiya Junction in the heart of Osogbo, Mr Governor has captured the construction of a flyover bridge in the 2021 budget with a view to significantly eradicating traffic hassles in the area.
Other major towns, too, will soon start enjoying “light Osun up” project which the state government has embarked upon in a bid to secure lives and property from the unrepentant evil perpetrators who hide under darkness to unleash their orchestrated plans.
Recently, the Governor approved minimum wage implementation which received kudos among the civil servants. But there are insinuations in the public domain that the gesture is a deception as it does not translate to the expected take-home figures. How would you orientate the public in the light of the truth concerning the insinuations?
For the avoidance of doubt, the insinuations as you have described it are mere conjectures and the wishful thinking of those who are not happy with the move of Mr Governor. To say the least, it is far from the truth.
It is on record that Governor Oyetola has been considerate in his dealings with the state workforce as he takes their welfare as a priority. Oyetola did not miss the step of putting smiles on the faces of the workers. Immediately he assumed office, he took it as the first point of duty to restore prompt full salary payment as promised during the electioneering. He did not stop at that, as he went ahead to effect all the necessary benefits due to them.
There is no denying the fact that, the state government of Osun under Mr Gboyega Oyetola is among the first five states that have implemented the new minimum wage in the country. With this new arrangement, Osun state minimum wage has increased from 15,000 to 30,000 naira. Equally, there is no level of the workforce that does not have an appreciable percentage increment on their salary despite the state’s lean resources.
For a long time after the Governor resumed office, there was a lull in political participation among the people. But as soon as you got appointed, civic engagement and orientation started making significant differences. One of the evidences is the overwhelming crowd witnessed during the second anniversary special celebration in the state recently. How are you doing the magic which has really endeared you to the Governor and his cabinet?
There is no secret behind my performance than the passion and enthusiasm I have for the work I am doing, coupled with the unflinching support I enjoy from Mr Governor and the party leadership. The truth of the matter is that, having served in both executive and legislative arms of government spanning a decade, I have earned enormous credentials in the area of grassroots mobilisation and interactions with all the strata of communities, both the high and the low. I find pleasure serving, reaching out, nipping crisis at the bud, doing a lot of reflections on government policies and programmes and I look deep to observe gaps and offer pieces of advice that would significantly impact the society. It is these credentials that earned me the appellation of ”Ese Kuku” meaning, ‘grassroots mobilizer.’
The foregoing is attainable as a result my expertise and professional experience in media management and public relations, coupled with the zeal, passion and commitment I have for community- related outreaches which can foster fusion of social interests for productive governance.
In the same vein, I ensure I expend a lot of energy, enthusiasm and innovation into the responsibilities assigned to me while I continue adding values through inter-ministerial synergy or working relationship (teamwork) with the state MDA’s whose supports are unquantifiable, to ensure a unified direction of the government for effective service delivery. Beyond this, I will continue to be steadfast in breeding productive leverage for consolidating democratic principles through a seamless government-people relationship, which will give credence to people’s opinion in the policy formulation process. By implication, this will foster utilitarian system of government where pursuit of happiness by all becomes the hallmark.
The efforts in bridging the gap between the people and the government are in line with the promise of “inclusiveness” made by the Governor to the masses. This shows that our activities under the civic engagement office do not only endear us to the people at the helms of affairs but also the state populace who continue to have a sense of belonging and inclusion in governance process.
You were one of the few public servants that recently won a Productivity Award of Excellence (for commitment and diligence in their respective offices). What do you think counted for you and what would you like to do with the award?
Without unnecessary equivocation, as you have rightly said, what counted for me is commitment and diligence in service to humanity which had precipitated excellence and productivity. These values have remained my watchword and driving force in all my endeavours. I have seen the award, not as end in itself but a means to an end. This will further spur me to do more in ensuring efficient delivery in governance and by extension, adding more values towards the development of our dear state and country at large.
What fresh strategies are you planning to maintain the momentum of the civic engagements and orientation programmes to support the government, especially with a view to ensuring Oyetola’s second coming?
Civic engagement is saddled with the mandate to bridge the gap between the government and the people as a means to engender inclusive and participatory governance. Under the scope of the office, we interface with the people across all social strata with a view to getting them involved in governance process, feel their pulses towards government policies and programmes as affecting them; and get the feedbacks which would equally shape decisions and policy formulations.
Against this backdrop, there are levels of engagement under civic engagement office which include engagement with informal and formal workers, traders union, traditional councils, community leaders, religious bodies, civil societies, youths and women, political institutions, opinion moulders (media, interest groups, etc.
We will continue to engage the necessary stakeholders to further strengthen our feedback mechanisms which will further aid the effective policy formulation processes where the true demands and aspirations of the people will be well recognized. In addition, periodic propagation of the wondrous achievements recorded by Oyetola’s administration so far will be done at the grassroots through the existing engagement frameworks which have been well designed by the civic engagement office.