The responsibility to build on the foundation of the massive development already put in place by the Rauf Aregbesola’s administration lies on every well-meaning citizen of Osun. To be a co-builder and a responsible citizen entails a lot, which include but not limited to, prompt and adequate payment of taxes, levies and rates. It includes upholding the tenets of the Omoluabi virtue which Osun government has been promoting since inception in 2010. This virtue entails supporting efforts of government in any way to achieve its aims and objectives, defending government (not keeping quiet) when deEEstructive elements are at work with aims to incite; protecting vital physical infrastructures like our roads and schools from destructive people who would want to deface them in order to discredit government.
We should also endure the dire economic and financial situation which we all know is not limited to Osun, and which we also know is as a result of long years of misrule; we should seek for information from appropriate quarters if and when we are at a loss on any issue concerning how we are governed, rather than listening to rumours, especially from unauthorized quarters. Each ministry, department and agency of government, apart from the ministry of Information, has an information unit with mandate and responsibility to give authentic information on demand. Castigating the outgoing government to score cheap political goals is not in the best interest of anyone.
The Aregbesola’s government in Osun will wind down before the end of the year, as dictated by constitutional requirements. At a recent gathering of some eggheads in one of our tertiary institutions in the state, everyone in attendance seemed emotionally charged by this inevitable change in baton of leadership. The atmosphere was palpable: one for satisfaction, and the other with regrets. Satisfaction, that the well-liked governor has achieved a lot despite dire financial and other challenges enough to halt the wheel of governance in other states. And regrets that, yes, the constitutional mandatory two terms will expire soon, but the governor will surely be missed by the majority. One of the attendees of the collective, a very popular retired federal permanent secretary, an indigene of the state, opined that though no one is indispensable, the Ogbeni has redefined governance in terms of leadership by example, good governance, populist attributes, welfarism, fear of God without being unnecessarily religious, Marxist/ Leninist outlook with grains of rightist bend, all rolled in one. The debate and discussions went on into the night and one thing that was certain, which I took home, was that the individuals from diverse backgrounds, cutting across gender and age, were very satisfied with what they got from the tenure of Aregbesola.
An extension of the discussion was on the issue of succession and continuity – which many deem necessary. One of the female participants in the mind-rubbing gathering, said she’s concerned if the next governor will have the capacity to possess some of the sterling attributes of Aregbesola because, according to her, filling the space totally will surely be an uphill task, if not outrightly impossible. That was what triggered the next round of discussion that made almost everyone at the event to be moody. Succession, according to another discussant, is not a child’s play especially when the incumbent occupant has made his or her indelible mark on the sands of governance as does Aregbesola.
At this stage, the Lagos experience under the erstwhile governor and leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, came under scrutiny in the discourse. The proponents believed that Osun deserves the Tinubu/Fashola continuity model, if we must move forward to consolidate on the present gains. The model, according to the proponent, was that of a solid foundation for high level development laid by Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu which was consolidated (or actualized) by his favoured successor, Mr. Raji Babatunde Fashola.
Former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, popularly called “BRF”, under the guardianship and support of his mentor and majority of well-intentioned Lagosians, took the State’s development to noble heights, that Lagos became a veritable reference point in pragmatic and good governance in the country. Lagos soon looked away from Abuja in revenue expectation. It developed a functional and citizen-friendly tax/fiscal regime and because the people saw what their tax money was used for, soon supported the government. Lagos State’s tax revenue consequently doubled, later quadrupled and continued to rise year-in year-out such that the monthly federal allocation became a tiny fraction of its total revenue base.
We had to go this entire hug in our discourse because the Lagos model can never be over-emphasised if states will move away from what many have referred to as “feeding bottle” economy to a self-reliant one. The Lagos model has also brought to fore the need for continuity, despite the other side of argument against it. That is, if the incumbent government has laid a solid foundation for future development the way Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has done in the past seven and half years. Former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola was able to perform this feat because, as Chief of Staff to then Governor Bola Tinubu, he was at the centre of administration, knowing government in and out.
In Osun, the time has come to seek an actualizer like Fashola to succeed Ogbeni. If a model is found to have worked, there’s no crime repeating it several times and even in other places. A seasoned administrator, Alhaji Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola, fits perfectly into this mould. He, like BRF, has many years of experience in the private sector, before becoming the Chief of Staff in the present government. He has served meritoriously as the silent brain behind the current government. He is level-headed and has what it takes to take us to the next level in Osun. But if anyone thinks otherwise, he or she should suggest a better alternative.
As an indigene of the senatorial zone, Osun West, clamouring for “It’s Our Turn”, I weep for my people because we should have been politically savvy beyond this primordial sentiment as a zone known to support good governance irrespective of wherefrom. The solid foundation laid by Ogbeni, (an Ijeshaman, from the Osun East, who got nearly hundred per cent of Osun West votes in all elections he contested) is too strong to be demolished on the altar of zoning which is undemocratic, unknown to the constitution of Nigeria or that of the ruling APC. I dare say that we benefitted immensely under him than when our “son” was in the inner circle of the previous disreputed dispensation under which he served. Osun APC should not risk toying with the future of this state by choosing an untested aspirant because of this strange and retrogressive zoning arrangement. This house, built with solid foundation in the last eight years must not be allowed to fall, and the only feasible assurance against this is a continuity government led by a tested technocrat, Adegboyega Oyetola, the present Chief of Staff as we had in Fashola’s Lagos.
Mohammed writes from Osun State University, Ikire Campus, Osun State