As Oyetola mounts the saddle as the new governor of the state, he will unarguably be presiding over a divided state and a divided party in power.
Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
On November 27, Osun State’s governor-elect Gboyega Oyetola will be installed as the fifth democratically elected governor of the state. He will be taking over from Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who was inaugurated on November 27, 2010.
Oyetola’s journey to Osun Governor’s office, Bola Ige White House in Abere, an outskirt of Osogbo, the state capital, began on September 27 when he won the governorship rerun election after the election held on September 22 was declared inconclusive by the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
READ ALSO: INEC declares Oyetola winner of Osun re-run
He ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), defeating his closet rival, Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Adeleke and his party are however not satisfied with the outcome of the poll, claiming that it was a stolen mandate. The party and the candidate have since filed a case at the elections tribunal with a view to reclaiming the mandate.
The tribunal, which begun sitting in Osogbo has however been relocated to Abuja where the case will henceforth be heard.
Regardless, Oyetola’s inauguration will hold as schedule. And it will be the first time in the history of the state that an outgoing governor will be handing over to a successor from the same political party.
As Oyetola mounts the saddle as the new governor of the state, he will unarguably be presiding over a divided state and a divided party in power. But there are also great expectations from the people of the state concerning what he has to offer.
Daily Sun decides to feel the pulse of the people.
Bishop Adeoye wants Oyetola to stop Aregbesola’s anti-people policies A cleric, Bishop Seun Adeoye, who is the General Overseer of Sufficient Grace and Truth Ministry, Rehoboth Arena, Okinni, Osun State and spokesman, World Bishops Council (WBC) Africa, said that APC’s return to governance in the state through Oyetola as governor would be loaded with a lot of responsibilities and challenges.
According to him, the new governor has a lot to do to make a difference that must distinguish him from his predecessor and to prove that APC still has a lot to offer the people of the state.
Adeoye stressed that Oyetola is expected to make a lot of difference capable of showcasing him as a different governor and not a replica of his predecessor, Aregbesola.
According to him, Oyetola must prove that he is different from his predecessor. He should ensure that the anti-people policies put in place by his predecessor are changed. He must reckon with the fact that most Osun people are not in support of the APC because of what happened during the governorship election where people claim that the PDP won it but it was manipulated in favour of the APC.
Oyetola should also ensure that he uses his tenure to change the name of the state from the “State of Osun” to Osun State and discard the one introduced by his predecessor.
“Apart from Osun, there is no other state that bears such a name. There is nothing like the State of Oyo, the State of Lagos, the State of Kaduna etc. ‘The State of Osun’ sounds absurd and does not have any special meaning to justify it.
“Oyetola should also return the school to the 6-3-3-4 system that is practised by other states instead of the elementary, middle and high school that was introduced by Aregbesola. The 6-3-3-4 system is the best and that is the system being practised in other states. Why should Osun State be different?
“The common uniforms being used by all the public schools in the state as introduced by Aregbesola should be changed. People don’t like it. Different schools should have their distinct uniforms that can distinguish them from one another. A school uniform is a glory and identity of every school. Oyetola should authorise the various school managements to adopt the uniforms of their choice. When schools meet at public functions, their distinct uniforms can stand them out and everybody would see the beauty of the schools. The idea of all schools wearing the same uniform doesn’t make sense.
“Also, the new governor should make workers’ welfare a huge priority. He should place premium on regular payment of salaries and pensions. This would go a long way in improving the living conditions of the people and ameliorate poverty. When this is done, there would be money in circulation and improvement of the economy of the state.
“When setting up his cabinet, Oyetola should look inward and appoint people from the state. His cabinet should have local content instead of bringing people from Lagos or other states and impose them on the people. He should also look beyond the urban areas and pick some people from the grassroots and or the rural areas. This can spur even development in the state to prove that he is running a government of equity and justice. On this note, he should not sideline the female folks but pick people from among them to contribute their quota to governance in reflection of gender mainstreaming and equity.
“While giving contracts, Oyetola should also look inward and consider indigenous contractors instead of contractors from Lagos and other states. Contracts awarded people from other states would favour the economy of those places but if given to Osun people, the money would circulate within and boost the economy of the state. Osun State needs a government of their own, not a kangaroo government being run by external forces. Oyetola should not be self opinionated but listen to people that has useful advice for him. He should not take more loans and plunge the state into further debts. He should be prudent and operate within the limits of the incomes of the state.
The new governor should ensure the dignity of religion. He should try as much as possible to put an end to the dichotomy between Christians and other religions created by his predecessor. Aregbesola caused a lot of division between the Christians and Muslims in the state by favouring the latter so much until he later assisted in building the secretariat of the Osun State chapter of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Also very important is that Oyetola should not deviate from the government of continuity that he promised. He should go ahead and continue from where Aregbesola stopped and complete the ongoing projects,” Bishop Adeboye said.
Jayeoba-Alagbada, outgoing Commissioner believes Oyetola’s govt will be pro-poor Commissioner for Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives, Ismaila Jayeoba-Alagbada believes that the administration of the new governor would centre around putting smiles on the faces of the poor masses.
He also believes the incoming governor has the political acumen to govern the state according to the expectations of the people of the state.
“He is a business tycoon, political technocrat, economic guru and administrator par excellence. He is a man that is cut out for the job. He was the engine room of Aregbesola’s administration and performed creditably. I am sure he would combine all these qualities to deliver good governance during his tenure,” he stressed.
On his expectations, he said that Oyetola has a large heart to clear the arrears of salaries and pensions as soon as funds are available.
“I am sure he has huge plans for the artisans, the famers as well as different categories of the poor masses. We all expect him to come up with initiatives that will see the state witnessing industrialisation during his tenure. He could build cottage and agro allied industries through which agric products that abound in the state could be processed into different brands and consumable products.
“As an agrarian state, such innovation could spur agricultural development because farmers would begin to enjoy the fruits of their labour. We also expect that the new governor will give priority to the renovation of the federal roads that link Osun with other states, especially the Osogbo-Iwo road. This will go a long way in opening up the economy of the state because it would become easy for Oyo and Osun to transact business easily through transportation of farm produce and other economic activities.
“I am sure that after the Akoda, Gbongan and Ikirun road projects are completed, the Osogbo-Iwo road should be the next priority. This is however subject to availability of funds. The new governor, I am sure, will also maintain the current tempo of the regular payment of salaries that his predecessor has so far inspired despite the paucity of funds,” the commissioner said.
Kayode, an artisan, wants Oyetola to establish more micro-credit finance banks
An artisan, Oke Kayode, opined that the new governor has a long way to go in providing good governance that would stand him out as a people-oriented governor.
According to him, the government of continuity that he and his party, APC, had promised was not enough. For Kayode, governance is about fulfilling the yearnings of the people, adding that a government of continuity is good but Oyetola should look beyond building on the legacies of his predecessor and come down to the level of the poor masses like artisans, farmers, market women among others by listening to their plight and helping them.
“Oyetola should initiate an empowerment programme through which the poor masses can obtain loans. He can do this by establishing micro-credit finance banks in some local government areas where people can access loans with little interest or no interest at all. With this, they can open shops and sell different goods to earn a living. Those who have shops but are not buoyant enough to equip them adequately would be able to do so and boost their businesses. The existing micro finance bank in Osogbo is not enough. It has even been politicised so much that those who don’t have ‘connection’ cannot get loans from there.
“Oyetola should ensure that the people in charge give a level playing ground to those interested to be able to get loans and do business to be able to help themselves. Oyetola should try to fix the major roads linking Osogbo with other states that are in bad shapes. I am talking about Osogbo-Iwo road, Ilesa road and Ife road. If these roads are fixed, it will help boost the economy of the state because transportation of farm produce would be easy.
“He should also look into neighbourhood roads and streets that are in bad conditions. When it rains the areas get flooded, making movement of people difficult. How many people are using the major roads such as Ona Baba Ona or Ring roads that Aregbesola constructed? They are good but majority of the poor masses who don’t have cars cannot take advantage of the roads. Oyetola should fix neighbourhood roads that can benefit the poor,” Kayode said.
Shitu, rights activist, wants Oyetola to give priority to security
A human rights activist, Amitolu Shitu, is of the opinion that Oyeyola has all it takes to govern Osun State. He premised his optimism on the fact that he puts God first in whatever he does, hence his appellation: “Ileri Oluwa.”
“He uses God as his cornerstone. He believes in the strength of faith in God. On this note, I don’t doubt his ability to deliver. He supported Aregbesola for eight years. He is a technocrat, an economist and administrator. I am sure he will combine and bring to bear all these qualities to deliver good governance to the people of the state.
“In clear terms, we expect him to give priority to the issue of security. Governor Aregbesola has done very well in this area, but Oyetola should still improve on it. He should put apparatuses in place and make Osun State a hell fire for criminals. He should ensure that no criminal in other state penetrate the state and settle down to perpetrate crime.
“Also, he should concentrate his government on people through different welfare packages. Workers constitute only 20 percent of the state’s population. Paying their salaries regularly should not be an excuse not to prioritise the welfare of non-salary earners who also deserve the dividends of democracy. Oyetola should not allow the dark days of non-payment of salary, gratuity and pension to return. If that happens, it will de-popularise his government and people would be disappointed. To avoid such crisis, he should go the whole hog in generating revenue and increase its profile.
“Specifically, he should ensure that tax evasion is strictly avoided. With a buoyant revenue and prudence, it would be easy for him to run the government smoothly.
“Also important is employment generation. While running an all inclusive governance and government of continuity that he promised, he should ensure equity in appointment of people into positions. He should also be innovative with a view to creating jobs through skill acquisition programmes and agric development, using his experience as an economist,” Shitu said
Adegoke, a retiree wants more money in circulation in Osun
As for Adelaja Adegoke, a retiree, if Osun State must bounce back to reckoning in economic advancement and which would in turn enable the people of the state to enjoy economic emancipation, pensions and gratuities of retirees as well as workers’ salaries must be paid as at when due and in full.
Adegoke argued that “without payment of the emoluments, there would not be money in circulation and if there is no money in circulation, the resultant effect is poverty and hardship.”
He added that market women, artisans and farmers depend largely on the earnings of workers and pensioners, saying that if these set of people were not paid their emoluments, they would not be able to patronise the market women, and if there is no patronage, there will be increase in poverty and hardship chain.
“Oyetola should make workers’ salary, pension and gratuity a priority. They worked for it and deserve to be paid. Oyetola should not allow the salary, gratuity and pension crisis to persist if he assumes office and throughout his tenure. Many pensioners have died due to poverty and inability to access a qualitative health care. Even some of those that are still alive are sick and cannot afford medical care due to non payment of their pension on regular basis.
“The poverty ravaging the people is at an alarming rate. Some people are walking corpses on the streets. If you push them, they can just fall down and die due to hunger. Osun is very dry financially and economically. Oyetola should try as much as possible to fulfil his campaign promises. He should have concern for the people. That is the essence of governance.
“His administration must not complain of lack of money as the present administration has been complaining. He must rectify several things that went wrong. To be able to meet up in the face of financial challenges, the huge salaries of people in top positions should be slashed. The returns realised from the exercise can be used in taking care of the salaries of other workers. Also, it would be easy to pay retirees’ pensions and gratuities as at when due.
“It is not only government officials in top positions that have wives and children to cater for. We too have them. We are not saying that we should earn the same pay but privileged people should not be taking the large chunk at the expense of others who would be at the mercy of hunger and starvation.
“Oyetola must look into this and ensure that everybody’s interest is taken care of. That is the only way we can be proud of having a good governor and government,” Adegoke said.