_From his first edition, *ISAAC OLUSESI* posts eleven landmarks for Osun Governor to continue in office, professing, “the state infrastructures synergized, will sure get Osun economy further, greatly expanded and vibrant_ .”
*OSUN: OYETOLA, DOING MUCH WITH LITTLE (II)*
( *Continues )*
The state has continued, guarding jealously the Osun value integrity, dignity and socio – political discipline, coded ‘Omoluabi Ethos,’ earning Osun ‘the most peaceful state in Nigeria’ in spite of the security challenges in the nation, with flashes in Osun.
To combat security challenges, protect lives and property of the state residents, the government *security infrastructure* , which elemental, the purchase of 20brand new Hilux vehicles and fully equipped with communication gadgets, other requisite logistics, 7fire stations, refurbished and 15fire vehicles, repaired, and the Amotekun Corps, established, complementing extant security operatives in intelligence gathering and surveillance is the government’s overwhelming security support, consistently given to the security agencies in the state, an offshoot of Oyetola’s unmistakable passion for necessary and sufficient security in the state.
Look at it! The hitherto warring communities in Osun have long become the pathfinder of unity, peace and development. And the on-going Judicial Panel of Inquiry in the state, part of the state security infrastructure to give retribution to the victims of police brutality and cause enduring security development in Osun, actionable, the post ENDSARS protest, is Oyetola’s security infrastructure, building continually the vanguard of peace, stability, growth and development in Osun, antecedent in the ruling APC party leadership and membership in the state.
The government’s 4-Es’ Youth Policy – Youth Education, Youth Entrepreneurship, Youth Employment and Youth Engagement are a critical intrinsic of the state *employment infrastructure* in the core areas of the state’s comparative advantage: Agriculture – Tourism – Mining (ATM), maximally aggregating the youth extra intellect, extra competence, extra creativity, extra energy and extra numerical strength for mainstreaming Osun youths into the state’s economic diversification agenda to afford the state their economic productivity and earn the youths integrated life and living for the betterment of the society. The Oyetola inner mind, placing high premium on Osun youths by using the structures and enhancers of employment infrastructure to create wealth for them, rehabilitate them and bail them out of unemployment quagmire.
The employment infrastructure – the ultra modern Aluminum Factory in Ede, International Trade Centre/ Industrial Hub and Inland Port at Dagbolu, and Osun Ethanol and Bio-Refinery Factory, Ayekale, will cause youth education in ICT, youth entrepreneurship in trade and commerce, youth engagement in the economy just as the Ayekale project alone, at completion, will cause youth employment, an estimated 10,000 youths and other people of the state.
The state business concerns at Ede, Dagbolu and Ayekale have got their blueprints entrenched in the state employment infrastructure’s Public-Private-Partnership structure on tax matter, land, and reward system of employment, with business relationships and social responsibility to the business host communities and Osun in general as key areas for focus. With the businesses as part of the economic mainstay of Osun, Oyetola, undaunting, resolute, is out to provide jobs and good life for the citizens of the state.
Meanwhile, the state employment infrastructure in the post-COVID First Wave Recovery Plan is currently empowering not less than 5,000youths with critical skills and needed funding across the state, and another group of 2,000youths including women who had lately received grants to start their own business under the Micro Enterprises Enhancement Scheme (MEES) after having learnt different vocational trainings, supervised by National Directorate of Employment and Osun Ministry of Human Resources and Capacity Building.
Osun government facilitated payment of N5,000,000 to 3,634youths and indigents from the federal government grant to enable them start small businesses and fund existing ones. And the state has continued to sustain the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES), empowering not less than 20,000youths. What of automatic employment for certain Miss Agboola Lateefat Oluwakemi, the College of Education, OSCOED, Ilesa, best graduating student at the college 42nd Foundation & 27th Convocation ceremony (2020). The UNIOSUN inaugurated seed-fund disbursement to its graduate alumni, to ensure the graduates become employers of labour, and each graduate also had #200,000 free as start-up scheme to finance their businesses ideas.
And beyond all that, the state employment Infrastructure’s Youth Export Development Programme (YEXDEP) in the pipeline, will harness the contributions of the state youths to the non-oil export sector of the economy. And to show commitment in the direction, a sum of #1, 487, 110, 159.00 is earmarked for youth related activities in mining, agriculture, skill upgrade and entrepreneurship development programme for youths, supported by MSME/BOI Funds and others.
Not just the state workers that have bountifully benefitted from the government *welfare infrastructure* , the equitable state welfare gestures also get to every stratum of Osun people through government’s immense financial empowerments, with rewarding economic impact on beneficiaries.
Recently, the government issued several bags of CACOVID rice palliative to the critically needy Osun residents, dismissing the impression that such consolations, alleviative were ever hoarded in the state, as arrant nonsense, absolute irritant, out and out wicked, blatantly untrue, notoriously inaccurate, totally erroneous and an opposition mischief, appalling, galling and unmitigated.
And the government released N150m take-off grant to O’HIS and over N477m as equity health premium meant for credible socioeconomic health effects on the critically vulnerable – the old, weak, infirm and poor as well as the entire strata, the total segments of Osun populace, the O’HIS 80,000 enrollees in the state; and government approved the implementations of a fully revised consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and Consolidated Health Worker Salary Structure (CONHESS) for health workers.
The Osun welfare infrastructure, prioritizing the wellbeing of the citizens, these challenging times and tolling public issues is also about government care for the generality of the state public servants including retirees as the government approved for its workers the immediate implementation of national minimum wage, lifted ban, embargo on promotions – annual increments – conversions of all eligible Osun bureaucrats.
Correspondingly, government intermittently, at alacrity, releases billions of naira for the payment of pensions of retired civil servants, payment of retirees under the contribution pensions scheme, part payment of gratuities of retired officers under the old pension scheme, and payment of those who have not had their contributory pensions. And Oyetola avowed that, “We shall not renege on this despite our dire economic conditions. This is my pact with you,” apparently strengthening the state welfare infrastructure. But he dropped a caveat: “All I expect from the labour leaders and entire workforce in the state is increased productivity, team spirit for efficient service delivery to grow the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). The wage bill is huge.’’
The government’s *school infrastructure* is “building on the predecessor’s investments in schools’ development by revitalizing some of the schools,” Oyetola posited, adding that “the infrastructure is also promoting equitable and value-added developmental education, emphasizing functional competence and enviable characters.”
The constructed and renovated well over 100 schools across Osun; sustenance of free education policy covering primary and secondary schools; and the school mid-day feeding scheme, empowering women and farmers as programme beneficiaries, have scaled up the Osun school infrastructure which other fundamentals include the rehabilitation and development of 9Technical Centres across the state, already delivering values for youths and other citizens in capacity building.
Massive investments in learning facilities as well as staff development to enable teachers keep abreast with requisite global standard and boost learning in the sector; the 2021 18per cent budget allocation to education, ultimately translating to meeting the UNESCO 26per cent budget proposal in the sector considered vibrant knowledge economy and central to all other sectors. The Smart Card Technology, under way, for government monitoring and tracking of public school student’s academic performances in internal and external exams as well as their security and social demeanour, behaviour in and out of school, ‘’all at a glance as their data and everything about them can be sourced at the press of a botton.’’
And the government *fiscal infrastructure* , the capital investments on the conglomerate of Osun development infrastructures will surge up revenue for the state to fund its 2021 budget if the ‘infrastructured’ sectors of the state economy would concertedly diversify their resources, investments in a way that make the state fiscal infrastructure self – developing, reproductive or rewarding on fiscal transparency stability. In this way, fiscal infrastructure, known to be helpful ‘’in revenue optimization drive and ease – of – doing business,’’ will continue to reduce the state premium, dependence on the revenue handouts from the federated accounts.
Going by the Osun last 2years’ experience of (i) Oyetola’s transparency of the state fiscal infrastructure, (ii) deployment of investments in the state development infrastructures, (iii) his serious focus on debt sustainability, and (iv) his adherence to the Treasury Single Account policy, blocking leakages, the state infrastructures synergized, will sure get the Osun economy further, greatly expanded and vibrant, the rest Oyetola’s first term and his next 4year- term in office.
Osun Obas, faith leaders, and organised, unorganised private business sector, all say, the totality of the APC government infrastructures in the state is ‘’life sustaining, stemming less city – city migration and ensuring that Osun communities are a better place to live and work, with multiplier impact on our economy,” the result of today’s Oyetola’s diverse infrastructural developments in Osun and the state increased confidence in the inflow of investments, investors to the state and investment community is profoundly encouraging to the APC-Oyetola government.
All of that is judged by the more than quantum of investments already in the Osun economy aided by Oyetola’s promotional infrastructural developments practically available in the state, with peace, stability, security and conflict resolution, opening up the Osun hinterlands; one, for development investments, other business opportunities by his security – road – electricity infrastructure;
Two, for poverty eradication and social survival, with stimulated accessibility to improved quality of life and living by his health – water – welfare infrastructure; three, for economic productivity and prosperity by his agriculture – environmental sanitation – employment infrastructure; and four, for enduring consummate infrastructures, their concerted operations and concerted funding for holistic enhancement of economic development and growth, connecting all sectors of the state economy by his fiscal infrastructure.
The poor, inadequate availability or outright non – availability of infrastructure, with a dose of pessimism or skepticism as it were under the pre-progressive era in the state would have reverted Osun to its bi–polarity that accentuated welfare gap between the rich and the poor.
While adequate, quality, equitable and non – discriminatory infrastructure developments as currently obtainable under the APC-Oyetola government have not only transformed the Osun economy of diversification identity, the ‘infrastructures’ have also monumentally raised the bar of governance and administration in the state, even in the face of depressing resources.
Oyetola is doing so much with so little, to coast home reelection to Osun All Progressives Congress (APC). But he insists, saying, ‘’there is still more work to do.”
( *Concluded* )
*OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research & Strategy, All Progressives Congress (APC), State of Osun*