Osun: Breaking New Grounds Amidst Scarce Resources
By Ismail Omipidan
In Osun, we may not have all the billions, but we are surely getting our priorities right. In spite of the paucity of funds, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has so far kept faith with the vision of the founding fathers of the state to sustainably build Ipinle Omoluabi – State of the Virtuous.
Since coming on board about a year ago, the Governor has demonstrated that he not only understands and appreciates the peculiar needs of an average Osun person, but also passionately interested in growing the State from where his predecessor left off.
Rather than reeling out excuses, he has since begun fulfilling some of the promises he made to the citizens of the State during the electioneering, despite the distractive litigation that lasted about eight months.
His creative way of managing resources, priotising salary of workers, pensions and gratuities of retirees, and having control on the State’s expenditures is largely responsible for the administration’s ability to regularly shoulder these obligations and still build roads, schools, hospitals, in addition to interventions in other critical sectors of the economy. And he is doing all these amidst glaring lean resources the State is contending with.
It is on record that his decision to construct, renovate and revitalise 332 Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) at a go, one per ward, is unprecedented in the history of governance in the country. This fact was confirmed by no less a personality than the immediate past Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole. Although this is a project that would have probably taken many leaders at least four years to complete, Governor Oyetola, in just three days, inaugurated 25 PHCs out of the 175 already completed.
Speaking at one of the inauguration ceremonies in Ilesa, the former Minister of Health, who had the previous day said “With what I have read and seen myself, I can say it without equivocation that no governor has done what Osun has done, particularly in the health sector,” further said “I said it yesterday that Osun has become the leading light in the health sector as reflected in the huge commitment that the State has made to repositioning the sector for the optimum use and benefit of the citizenry.
“I am repeating it that no government in Nigeria has embarked on the construction and renovation of 332 PHCs at a time as being done by the present administration in the state.
“This is a rare feat. This is also a welcome development targeted to support the health needs of the people across the nooks and crannies of the state”.
In the last one year, the governor has touched virtually all the sectors, with his imprints everywhere without neglecting any section of the State to the admiration of all, including those who initially were skeptical about his leadership style in the build up to the governorship poll.
For instance, apart from carrying on with all the major road projects it inherited from the previous administration, such as Osogbo-Gbongan, Osogbo-Ikirun, Osogbo- Ilesa road, and Ife-Osogbo road among others, it has constructed 10 new roads. In collaboration with the Federal Government, it has also began work on the Osogbo-Iwo road.
Additionally, only recently, it again commenced massive road construction across the three senatorial districts of the State. The 54.3km road will cost the State the sum of N5,245,729,794.95.
The state will expend N1,569,734,774.00 for the construction and rehabilitation of Ada-Igbajo 13.15km road, while N644,734,203.03 will be expended in fixing the 2.87km Akindeko-Awosuru link road via Adejumo street, with a spur to Oremeji, Akinlade street, Adewale Street. It also has a loop to WAEC road.
Also, a sum of N1,656,963,889.47 will be expended on the rehabilitation/complete overlay of 25.8km Army Barack (Ede) – Ara-Ejigbo township road, just as N835,138,000.54 will be expended on the rehabilitation and complete overlay of 8.10km Moro-Yakoyo-Ipetumodu-Asipa- Ife/Ibadan expressway junction road.
The rehabilitation/complete overlay of 4.38km Ereja Round-About-Ereguru-Isaare-Oke Oye-Sabo (Irojo)-Ilesa/Akure expressway junction will also cost N539,158,927.91. Interestingly, this particular road projects will be funded through a ‘Contractor-Financing Project’ under the Alternative-Project-Funding- Approach (APFA).
Education is on the front burner of Osun’s Development Agenda. It is the administration’s resolve to provide adequate, qualitative, affordable and functional education for all our children.
Immediately the administration assumed office, it commenced infrastructural, academic and capacity interventions in the public schools, including schools with persons living with disabilities, Life Academies for technical and vocational education and tertiary institutions. These interventions involve renovation of buildings, provision of instructional materials and training and re-training of teachers for optimum performance.
In response to the demands of the people, the governor is also reviewing the state’s education policy.
While receiving the report of the Prof. Olu Aina-led review panel on Monday, the governor noted that the need to review the education policy was informed by the people’s demand, saying the government would ensure full implementation of whatever that will improve the lots of the people and protect the future of its children.
Quoting a renowned American author, John C. Maxwell, who has written many books on leadership, Oyetola, further noted that ‘a man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them,’ saying every responsible and responsive government must make people’s demands the basis of its policies and implementation.
“It was our desire to hearken to the yearnings and aspirations of the citizenry that necessitated this review in the first instance.
“As a government, our policies and programmes are driven by citizens’ needs. These needs which were further validated by the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s (DFID)- funded Citizens Needs Assessment exercise in Osun, were harvested during the Thank You Tour/Town Hall Meetings, where the people told us in plain language that they wanted some aspects of our educational policies removed, adjusted or improved upon.
“That was what led to the Policy Review Roundtable Summit, the report of which we are receiving today. We are prepared to do what will improve the lots of our people and protect the future of our children.
“As a leader therefore, I am conscious of the need to be just and fair to all manner of people regardless of their leanings in the discharge of my duties. This I will always uphold.
“Finally, let me once again thank the Chairman and members of the Policy Review Panel for investing their time in the future of our children and those unborn.
“Rest assured that your efforts will not be in vain. We will be swift and proactive in debating it at our level with a view to implementing the recommendations without any further delay”, Oyetola added.
In order to secure the future of the State of Osun, Governor Oyetola is applying wisdom to diversify the Osun economy through investment in Agriculture, ICT, Culture and Tourism and Mining sectors.
The State convened an Economic and Investment Summit in 2019 attended by over 1,000 local and international participants, including investors, business moguls, among others . The Executive Order for the establishment of Osun Investment Promotion Agency was signed at the event.Twenty-two investors and business czars signed Memoranda of Understanding in critical areas with the State at the Summit, especially in agriculture, mining, infrastructure and economy. The objective is to make Osun the commercial hub of the South West. And so far, the State is reaping the benefits of the Summit. For the first time in the history of the State of Osun, it netted in a N100 million, just for signing of an MoU, from a company which showed interest in the mining sector.
The story of the State of Osun in the one year of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola is not only about breaking new grounds, but a clear pointer that tomorrow will be better.