The former Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has urged Nigerians not to give up on the country’s nascent democracy irrespective of the challenges facing it.
Aregbesola who contended that the nation is currently going through a lot, held that there would always be a window for good governance to thrive if the people make the right electoral choices.
He stressed that while the freedom of choice of leadership does not guarantee good governance, it is the best model of administration and societal organization.
The former Governor of Osun State spoke at the 2023 Asala Day and Award ceremony of the Osogbo Sons and Daughters Association, held at the Osogbo Grammar School, on Saturday.
Aregbesola said, “We thank God for the privilege of democracy and the opportunity it gave us to come to power in the state and win three elections in a row. When elections are free and fair, the people’s choice prevailed.
“As we have seen in Osun repeatedly, the people have continued to reject monetary inducement and vote for the candidates of their hearts.
“I will urge us to continue to have faith and not faint. The challenges of the present are temporary and should not make us to lose faith in democracy. Democracy as a system of government guarantees choice but not good governance. There will be good governance only when we make the right choice.
“But democracy also enables us the privilege of constantly making choices and learning from our mistakes and correcting them.”
Aregbesola, who bagged the Reformer of Osogboland award also appreciated the people of Osogbo, noting that his administration’s legacy of massive human capital and infrastructural transformation of Osogbo, has been embedded in the hearts and minds of the people in the state.
Represented by his former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Honourable Sikiru Ayedun, the former Minister charged politicians to seek the growth of the people while in office, as such legacies will be embedded forever in their hearts.
He stated that: “We shall continue to thank God for the role he made us to play in the transformation of this city in the eight years we were in power.
“It has been five years that we left and I only come to Osogbo as the situation permits, but I thank God that the legacy we left behind are still intact in the good roads, the bridges, the monumental school buildings, the transformation of the environment and others.
‘But more than the tangible physical structures, we have continued to live in the hearts and minds of the people. These include our human development programmes that millions benefited from, the students who went through our schools and those who directly or indirectly benefitted from any of our programmes.
“This explains why they troop out to welcome us anytime we come to the city and display to us effusive emotions. We are very grateful and have never taken you for granted.”
He dedicated the award to all those who encouraged his emergence as a leader with social conscience and developmental vision.