Speech by Osun Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, at the swearing in of newly appointed commissioners at the Local Government Service Commission Multi Purpose Hall, Osogbo on August 12, 2011.
You must set forth at dawn.
I am exceedingly glad to be present at today’s ceremony. It is the culmination of the glorious process that began on November 26, 2010 when the courageous and God-fearing judges of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan restored our mandate and our administration was put in place the following day.
Of course, it was our intention to hit the ground running but the adversarial opposition we met on ground was an impediment. True to prediction, some PDP leaders in Osun State, working in cahoots with national PDP leaders, including Senator David Mark, plotted to destabilise Osun State by using PDP legislators to stage my impeachment. This was a week after my installation. The background to this was that the leadership of the State House of Assembly was largely reported to have forsworn himself, while we were still fighting for our mandate, that over his dead body would I mount the saddle in the state. But in demonstration of his sovereignty and supremacy over man, my mandate was restored and I mounted the saddle. He was fortunate, and should be thankful, that the almighty did not take him literally at his words.
However, the good people of Osun State stood by us and demonstrated their unflinching loyalty to our party by voting for us overwhelmingly in the April General Elections. It is the same love they have for us when they voted for us in 2007 and went through the wilderness with us, suffering all forms of persecution and indignities on our behalf. We thank you for your support and patience. We also thank the almighty today, that the fruit of your patience has ripened and your government has fully arrived and is going to serve you wholeheartedly.
In all our actions, one cardinal principle that has guided us is the role of the government in the lives of the people. The government should be a blessing and not a burden on the people. The origin of government is a social contract in which individuals submit their right to self government in exchange for the promotion of their welfare by the government. It has always been, therefore, the failure on the part of the government to fulfil its part of the contract that breeds rebellion. More than ever before, the world is in turmoil and we see rebellion on the part of a largely dissatisfied people in Africa, Europe, Americas and Asia, violently expressing their anger or seeking the removal of their leaders.
On our part, we are guided by history. That is why we have patterned our administration on the most progressive administration in the annals of the country – the Obafemi Awolowo administration that came into being on February 6, 1952 and lasted for only seven years. According to Awolowo, “The aim of a leader should be the welfare of the people whom he leads. I have used ‘welfare’ to denote the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the people”, he stated in his address to Western Leaders of Thought in 1967.
It was not surprising that his administration excelled beyond any and has been the benchmark for governance since then.
To the distinguished appointees, you were chosen principally for two reasons. The first is your demonstrable capability and track record. The second is your ideological and political provenance. You all drank from the same ideological fountain of Obafemi Awolowo. For this reasons, I am supremely confident that we are going to match, if not surpass, the Awolowo benchmark. Indeed, he argued that part of his success was attributable to his team; he stated “My team of ministers was unequalled. It was a team of which any head of government in the world will be proud. It was a well knit, highly disciplined and fanatically loyal team. Each of them knew his subject well”.
Our detractors knew you too well and are hoping that you will fail. I want you to shame them by posting a resounding success. They have been frustrated and disappointed in the past nine months by our achievements in office. They were left with mouth agape when we created 20,000 jobs in less than 100 days in office. They were shocked when we changed the orientation in the state with our rebranding programme that has now respectfully positioned Osun State as ‘Ipinle Omoluabi’. They buried their heads in shame as we launched a very comprehensive agriculture development programme compared to their wasteful and ineffectual attempt in almost eight years. Of course, our other programmes like urban renewal, environmental sanitation, flood control and tourism promotion have thrown them into a fit. These are programmes that resonate with the aspirations and yearnings of the people and are therefore well received.
But we are just warming up. We are going to make a definitive statement on responsive and responsible governance as we transform Osun State positively in all ramifications. This is because we are aware of the enormous challenges in education, healthcare delivery, job creation, infrastructure development, transportation, roads, sports, security, efficient administration of justice and other critical areas of governance.
Ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate you and wish you resounding success in the task ahead. Your jobs, no doubt, are cut for you and they are enormous. Therefore, to borrow from our Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, you must set forth at dawn.
I thank you for your attention.