“It is when good men refuse to take up political leadership that idiots find their way to power. Such good men shall not only suffer under the misrule of idiots but shall lose their rights of complaints” – Edmund Burke.
If there is one major challenge that has faced Osun since its inception 27 years ago, it is incompetent, clueless and corrupt leadership. The leadership deficit that assails us is so legendary that from all indications, Osun has continued to lag behind in an emerging world order that emphasizes clear-headed and able leadership. Osun has been struck by a string of visionless leaders that have run it aground before the advent of the corrective regime of Rauf Aregbesola while less endowed states that were created at the same time with her have continued to make progress.
To most analysts, Osun’s problem had never been paucity of funds and resources, but lack of political will to do the right thing. This they said, explains why the state has stagnated in almost all facets, as it takes commitment and focus on the part of a leader to deliver good governance. According to the analysts, a critical look at societies that have made progress showed that they enjoyed visionary leadership at different points in their history. In the case of Osun nay Nigeria, they put the blame on the process of emergence of its leaders. Putting it succinctly, the blame for our states and country’s retrogressive growth should be heaped squarely at the door step of poor leadership. In other words, we are where we are not because of God’s design, given our human and natural resources, but because of bad leadership that could not put our resources to good use. Those that are better than us today are better because they are committed, focused and understood what it takes to develop.
The giant strides of the Aregbesola administration in the last seven years, despite paucity of funds unlike the era of the PDP administration when there is enough money to share from the federation account (The three tiers of government also share from Excess crude account in addition to monthly statutory allocation) attested to the above stated proven facts. It is on record that the PDP’s twin legacies in Osun are profligacy and ineptitude.
A Yoruba adage goes thus: “Yini yini ki eni lesemi”, that is, praising someone doing good will serve as an impetus for him to do more and encourage aspiring future leaders to see him as a role model worthy of emulation. Arguably, the paucity of qualitative political leadership in our clime is attributable to our inability to celebrate quality leadership. Democracy as a system of government emphasises the pre-eminence of the people. Significantly, Aregbesola represents a bold statement in democratic governance. His government has been largely participatory. It is one that has ministered to the basic needs of the people and made human capital development the centre-piece of his economic policy. Indeed, testimonies that have followed Aregbesola’s performance as Osun governor in the last 2,619 days interested those of us who are keen on the emergence of a new and progressive Nigeria. He has a record of sterling achievements and performance behind him. He is an embodiment of all the critical ingredients the Nigerian nation needs in a brand new president of this great nation.
A highly detribalised Nigerian, Aregbesola governs Osun with exemplary commitment and uncanny humility that evidently borders on deep-rooted fear of Allah. Of all the accolades that have been poured on him, the most central have been an acknowledgement of his quiet dignity even when faced with the kind of challenges that would normally set off less accomplished men, and the second is the affirmation of the consistent principle he brought to bear on public service. What has often not been noted in his political odyssey is that Aregbesola was of that generation of men inspired by the politics and philosophy of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who taught us that in our quest to make a great society and liberate our people from the clutches of poverty and ignorance, we must show ourselves as the first and perfect examples.
Those who wish to lead must be willing to serve, giving that leadership is a sacred trust, a call to dispense of all other interests that negate the higher interest of the people. True leaders are the servants of their people. They are not the masters of their people. True leadership requires mental and spiritual preparations: those who wish to lead must explore the vast fields of human knowledge, and just like Awo, Aregbesola prepared himself intellectually. I make bold to say that the reason why the people have not totally lost faith in our current democratic experience is the colourful leadership credentials of the likes of Aregbesola, a visionary leader that represents the generation of our time. He has risen to a National political phenomenon. He is one of the new national leaders that the Yoruba nation will follow without looking back. There is no gainsaying that the outgoing governor of Osun, is undergoing turbulent times, due to no fault of his, but that of most of his predecessors who came to power, ill-prepared for the job and consequently turned the serious business of governance to a huge jamboree. Rather than service, it became evident that primitive accumulation was the PDP’s major motivation for seeking power. There were so many things left undone and the result is that a lot of burden is placed on the head of the incumbent governor, Aregbesola.
In most states today, what the governors are doing is to build on what is on ground. They are extending the frontiers of what they inherited as assets. But in Osun, Aregbesola started laying solid foundation for the irreversible prosperity of the state barely 7 years ago. It is now that nation-building is taking place in Osun. The state is completely being built afresh. Since the advent of democratic politics in 1999, we have not had the political stability and economic development that we have had in the last 7 years. The best form of propaganda is performance.
As St. Christopher once remarked, “If you doubt my ability, behold my works”. Aregbesola’s landmark achievements in all sectors and in every nook and crannies of Osun are re-assuring testimony of his greatness. As we ponder over the imminent change of baton in few months time when the tenure of the incumbent governor comes to an end, the question agitating the minds of all lovers of good governance and stake-holders in Osun projects is: “How do we ensure our state never go to the wrong hands again? The only way we the electorate can reward Aregbesola and ensures his legacies endure is to gives our votes to the best governorship material that will continue with his good works and even surpass him, irrespective of the zone the person comes from. My major reason for opposing zoning is not far to seek: A state that has been inflicted with bad leadership in the past before the present interregnum (Aregbesola era) should not encourage an unconstitutional arrangement that further limit our choices.
It bears repeating that we should not allow ourselves to be fooled by a party, PDP that bungled all the opportunities it had to make a difference in the lives of our people but laid the foundation for our present socio-political and economic woes. For instance, the problem of half salary wouldn’t have arisen if the PDP led governments at the centre and Osun state have done what they were elected to do – service to the people rather than primitive accumulation.
Our consolation lies in the fact that the next governor of Osun who must have a progressive credentials like Aregbesola will not be overburden like Aregbesola (as he (Aregbesola have taken much of the burden off him) which consequently frees more money to be spent on workers welfare and the generality of the people of the state. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.