As the Nigerian Guild of Editors convoked in Abuja to discuss the nation’s insecurity challenges at its 17th All Nigerian Editors’ Conference, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has described inclusive governance and collaboration with security partners as models for addressing security issues in the nation.
Oyetola, who spoke at the executive session of the All Nigerian Editors’ Conference, on Friday, described his recommendations as the model Osun has deployed in the last three years of his administration that has accounted for its enviable peace profile as one of the most peaceful states in the country.
He harped on innovative governance style at the federal, state and local levels, saying security is crucial to governance because security makes governance, business, development, trade, commerce, and every ingredient associated with governance possible and predictable.
Oyetola, who was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Prince Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo, bemoaned the issue of insecurity in the nation, saying that it has assumed a dizzying height and justifiably invites the attention of all critical stakeholders.
While highlighting Osun’s multimodal approach to combating insecurity over the last three years, Oyetola said: “Our first approach was to acknowledge and not pretend about the magnitude of the crises at hand. Again, knowing that all security is local, just as all politics is local, we convoked a Security Summit that brought together all the security agencies, traditional rulers, and the various critical stakeholders whose roles directly or indirectly impact on the security situation.
“At this conference, we ensured that all stakeholders expressed their ideas in an open, unpretentious, and non-threatening manner. The ideas harvested from this meeting and, indeed, the emotional buy-in and resolve generated from this meeting, formed the inclusive and integrative approach that has constantly underlined our administration’s security architecture.
“In the same vein, our administration introduced a civic engagement framework focused on bridging the gap between the leadership of the state and our teeming citizens. This framework is essentially a town hall model, where key functionaries of government sit with representatives of the people at strategic locations within the nine federal constituencies of the state to dialogue and receive feedback on the activities of government.
“Let me hasten to add that this model intently follows the already-established inclusive governance framework of our administration. Hinged on the conviction that dialogue and informed policy decisions are crucial for sustainable economic development and security, on my assumption of office, I traversed the length and breadth of the state in a ‘Thank You Tour’, working with our royal fathers to aggregate the needs of our people. This was also followed up with a thorough Needs Assessment exercise supported by the Department for International Development. All these initiatives have guided our service delivery and judicious allocation of resources so far in a way that justice, fairness and equity are served and enthroned.
“As the closest to the people at the grassroots, traditional rulers are critical components of government. They also have the responsibility for ensuring security, governance and economic development in their abodes. Again this is hinged on our belief that all politics and security are local. The criminals come from families, homes, villages and towns. To effectively secure our state, therefore, our government prioritizes engagement with our traditional rulers as critical stakeholders in promoting active communal peace-building, intelligence gathering, good neighbourliness and responsible following.
“I must also mention that one of the critical outcomes of the security summit was the need to put together a Crop Farmers and Herders Committee. The committee works round the clock at ensuring firm surveillance on the activities of herders and ensures that conflicts are swiftly nipped in the bud before they become full-blown crises. Again, it is important to note that Osun is bordered by at least five states and as such is bound to be impacted by the butterfly or boomerang effect of what is happening nationally.
“Although security is on the exclusive list, we have worked and continue to work hard at developing a cordial relationship with the leadership of security agencies. This we have done through constant interface with the leadership of the Police Force, Department of Secret Service, the Military and the Civil Defence. The benefit of this is that we have enjoyed immense understanding, support and buy-in of the leadership of these agencies. This is one partnership we do not take for granted. One way we have appropriated this important partnership is by ensuring constant interface with the leadership of these agencies and providing relevant support to them where necessary. We have equally leveraged on this partnership to constitute a Joint Taskforce that patrols our communities.
“As part of deepening the quest for the security of our people, we have adopted a more integrative and inclusive approach that takes into consideration the structural peculiarities of our communities. In response to this, what we have done as a government is to integrate our local hunters into our security architecture. The clear advantage of this is that we have developed enhanced local capacity for intelligence gathering to support the operations of our formal security agencies. We continue to insist that, rather than compete for relevance with conventional security agencies and other local security outfits, their activities should be complementary.
“With respect to mining activities in our state, when our government assumed office, the various mining sites were in very bad shape and had loose regulation. This was further worsened by the influx of illegal miners from outside our state. Knowing how strategic this is for our diversification agenda, we had to regulate the sector to ensure that due process prevails in the sector. We are mindful of the need to secure the mining assets in order to encourage investors of the safety of their investments. The recent inauguration of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the Amotekun Corps has drastically reduced criminal activities on the mine fields in the State. The peaceful and secured mines field in the State will not only boost investors’ confidence but will also encourage both local and foreign investors to partner with the state government in the development of its mineral assets.
“The effects of insecurity in our states on the Southwest necessitated the need for more improved security of lives and property of our people and rescue the economy of the region from imminent collapse. Governors of the Southwest, therefore, collaborated in establishing a regional security network, popularly known as Amotekun, to supplement the work of state security agencies in policing the region’s forests and roadways. It is the region’s solution to tackling the problems of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and other crimes besetting it. This security arrangement, otherwise known as community policing, has become necessary because our conventional security agencies are overstretched and sorely underfunded.
“Even though our State has the lowest youth unemployment rate in the country at 11.65 percent, we have continued to work at ways of engaging our youths. This is because we understand that unemployment is a major catalyst for insecurity. Our response to this in the codification of our State’s first Youth Policy Document, comprising of themes of engagement across 4Es – Youth Empowerment, Youth Education, Youth Entrepreneurship and Youth Engagement segments. So far, about 18,000 Osun youths have been empowered through various schemes, including loan disbursement to enable them to start new businesses and boost existing ones.
“We are also heavily integrating them in politics and governance as part of efforts to achieve the sustainable development. This has ensured that our youths are adequately carried along in the delivery of our administration’s development agenda.
“Equally inclusive of the broad agenda to combat insecurity is a deliberate effort to support the vulnerable members of our society. With our signature food bank project called Ounje Ileri (IleriOluwa foods), the government reaches out to 30,000 households monthly with at least 5kg of food items. The idea behind this is to ensure that no Osun citizen is left out of the reach of government support.
“Additionally, we continue to invest aggressively in infrastructural development in a manner that supports the prosperity of our people, revitalize the Osun economy and puts it on a firm footing, using agriculture, tourism and mining, in the first instance, as drivers for rapid socio-economic development. One of the notable programmes of our administration is our revitalization programme of the health sector involving the rehabilitation and construction of 332 Primary Healthcare Centres”, Oyetola said.
Also part of the executive session were Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State who was represented by his Special Adviser on Inter-governmental Relations, Hajiya Hannatu Dalhat.