By abiodun KOMOLAFE
All in the name of playing politics, people churn out information that is not only bogus and vague but also injurious to the body politic because they lack credibility.
On the pages of newspapers and broadcast media, opinions of Nigerians have swayed to and fro, back and forth, concerning the political economy of the State of Osun.
While some say that the state is in huge and crippling debt, others have argued that, despite the financial challenges of the ‘State of the Virtuous’, the prudence and zero waste tolerance approach of the current managers of its economy will see Osun out of the woods.
That said, what’s important is that Nigerians learn from advanced democracies where, irrespective of political lineage or ideological bent, truth is always accorded its pride of place.
Without a doubt, one of the things that led to Donald Trump’s fall in America was his penchant for spreading falsehood. At the initial stage, Trump thought he was on top of his game; but, by the time the election was around the corner, it was too late for the former president to beat a retreat. And the harbinger of MAGA became a lesson in season – a sobering one at that – for state actors.
Yes, the moribund financial situation at the Federal level explains the paucity of funds in the F states. Osun is no exception! Even at that, that Governor Gboyega Oyetola has not borrowed a penny since the inception of this administration is no longer news. If anybody has any revelations to the contrary, such revealing facts should be put in the public domain.
Notwithstanding, however, the state remains one of the few in the country that has migrated to the new minimum wage of N30,000.00 for civil servants; and salaries are paid promptly. Apart from the activation of regular promotion of civil servants, workers, who have previously been promoted without cash-backing, now have cause to smile because the needful has been done.
Let’s now do a brief-but-bird’s-eye exposé of the present administration’s silent achievements, even as all the unassailable facts are out there for the “eyes to see and ears to hear.”
To begin with, Oyetola’s silent revolution has changed the story of medicare in Osun. The revitalization of 332 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in the state; the completion of a world-class, well-equipped Intensive Care Unit (ICU); the employment of 275 ad hoc staff to boost O’AMBULANCE services; and the reinstatement to their former levels of over-250 members of staff, who once had their employment status downgraded at the-then LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, in 2016, are all worthy of mention.
Now, drugs are more readily available and our healthcare workers, including doctors, are not complaining. Even in the villages, old people are no longer dying needlessly!
In April 2020, the state government launched the distribution of 6,020 bags of rice as palliatives to vulnerable residents as part of efforts to cushion the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic in the state. About 4,000 pensioners benefitted from the government’s large-heartedness.
In March, this year, the Osun Food Support Scheme, targeted at 30,000 vulnerable residents of the state monthly, was launched. This scheme has not only demonstrated the consciousness of this government to the glaring deficit in the stomach infrastructure profile of many Nigerians, by the time the governor completes his First Term in the office next year but the scheme is also expected to have fed at least 570,000 Nigerians.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the State of Osun Universal Basic Education Board(SUBEB) has, within the last six months, awarded 169 contracts across the three Senatorial Districts for construction, renovation, sanitation, provision of instructional equipment and furniture.
Some have been completed and already in use while others are at various stages of completion. Likewise, 188 redeployed teachers in the state’s civil service got their salaries regularized in accordance with their qualifications. The Oyetola-led government also paid the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) fees for indigent students across the state.
In partnership with the Federal Government, 2,500 artisans were trained and empowered through the Ministry of Human Resources and Capacity Building while 15,562 vulnerable people in the state are currently benefiting under the state’s Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.
Under the Post-COVID-19 Survival Fund, this administration also facilitated the payment of ₦30,000.00 each to about 3,000 beneficiaries. Besides, Osun enrolled 30,000 people for the Special Public Works (SPW) jobs, an initiative designed by the Federal Government for 774,000 artisans in Nigeria to do public works for 3 months, on a monthly stipend of ₦20,000.00 per participant.
Remember the Flyover Bridge at the popular Olaiya Junction in the state capital. Now under construction, when completed, it is expected to lessen the congestion of traffic as well as help in holding the heaviest as well as the tallest vehicles.
Other benefits abound! By the way, residents of Alekunwodo and its environs in Osogbo, and OkeGada – Akoda Junction in Ede will never forget Oyetola for the magic of fixing their once impassable roads.
The state government employed 2,196 food vendors for its School Feeding Scheme; and feeds at least 98,690 school pupils and students daily, without the assistance of the Federal Government. Under the scheme, pupils are fed with nutrients-rich balanced diets.
Apart from free cocoa seedlings given to farmers in the state, many other programmes are also in the pipeline towards reviving the fortunes of Agriculture in Osun. Ditto for Water Resources and Energy sector! Well, yours sincerely hopes to return to those two important sectors in subsequent interventions.
Under the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES), not only did this administration add 3,082 ad hoc cadets to its previous strength, it has also increased the cadets’ stipends from ₦10,000.00 to ₦12,500.00 and ₦15,000.00 for its sanitation and teachers’ corps respectively.
In sports, Osun’s brilliant performance was displayed in the just concluded National Sports Festival with impressive medals won by the state. Through the Ministry of Youths and Sports, the government facilitated loans of N500,000.00 each to 2000 beneficiaries.
Through the same Ministry, ₦2.5 billion was also disbursed as loans, ranging from ₦250,000.00 to ₦2.5m each to artisans in the state. As we speak, Osun is processing free business registration at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for at least 3,000 youths.
Generally, certain numbers of officers in the core civil service were either promoted or had their conversion done for them. Of course, the converted civil servants are the suitably qualified ones.
Lest we forget, the recent appointment of Oludiran Fashesin and Taiwo Agunlejika as Permanent Secretaries in the state’s civil service was a gesture that has again put the symbolism of the humanitarian intervention of this brilliant, performing governor in bold relief. With him on the saddle, workers in Osun now have a sense of self-worth.
In the particular, it is important to note that Governor Oyetola has not been making noise. Yet, the impact and the reach of his government are simply unstoppable. To the opposition, therefore, the figures are here; and they don’t lie! They have indeed spoken to the eloquence of his achievements in office.
Therefore, if the opposition has any facts to the contrary, it should speak up now! From the language of the figure, Oyetola remains the candidate to beat, come 2022. After all, it is unwise to change a winning horse; or stand in front of a moving train.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, make Gboyega Oyetola’s Administration the best in the history of the State of Osun!
*KOMOLAFE is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Oyetola on Media