Kola Odepeju assesses the quite determination of Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola in his first year in office.
HOW time flies! It’s just like
yesterday that Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola mounted the throne of leadership of the state of Osun having served for eight years as Chief of Staff to his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola who himself broke record of two terms in office as the governor of the state since its creation in 1991.
After almost a year of legal tussle – eight months precisely – Governor Oyetola is able to sit firmly on the throne having had his administration conferred with legitimacy by the Supreme Court of the land that affirmed his election in July this year. But in spite of that long period of time before being given judicial stamp as the duly elected governor of the state, the ever hardworking, focused and result-oriented Oyetola wouldn’t allow that initial litigation to disturb him from hitting the ground running as soon as he was sworn in as the governor last year November. Within a year he has recorded remarkable achievements that have earned his administration applauses from the electorate who gave him their mandate.
As characteristic of him, Oyetola within this one year has demonstrated to a large extent that he’s a man of his words by keeping to his electioneering campaign promises. So far, his has been “promises made, promises fulfilled”. The Governor who promised continuity of good governance as obtained during the era of his predecessor, has not reneged in any of his promises. For instance it would be recalled that Oyetola promised during the campaign to prioritise people’s welfare and in fulfilment of this, payment of workers’ salaries – as promised – has been going on – as and when due – since he mounted the leadership horse. So also is payment of pensioners’ arrears.
But it’s also equally important to mention it that Governor Oyetola’s adherence to his promise in respect to the needs of the two aforementioned class of people has not debarred him from making positive impact in other critical areas of the state’s economy; even in spite of the serious monetary challenge the state has been faced with. No sector has suffered neglect so far under his leadership. Talk of health, education, security, infrastructure, the economy – to mention a few – are all receiving attention. For instance, in the health sector work had since commenced on revitalisation of *nine General Hospitals* and *332 Primary Health Centres* (one per Ward across the state). Out of these PHCs, one hundred have been completed as at the last count. Related to this as it concerns safety is the reconstruction and equipping of eleven Fire Service Stations with provision of 14 fire fighting vehicles.
Also, the educational sector has been on the priority list of Mr. Governor. Being a great beneficiary of education himself and as a leader who knows that education is the bedrock of societal development, he has introduced quite a number of innovations that will boost educational development in the state. For instance apart from regular payment of teachers’ salaries, the O’ MEAL programme has been revitalised and repackaged. Also, new school buildings were recently commissioned in Telemu, Iwo and Ife-South. Coupled with this is the unveiling penultimate Monday of Integrity Building between teachers and government. The purpose of this is to build confidence and restore dignity into teaching profession. The Governor also recently paid over N400m to LAUTECH for settlement of staff salary arrears.
What’s more? Infrastructural development continues to receive a boost even in view of the lean purse of the government. Massive rehabilitation of roads has been going on across the state since Oyetola assumed office. A visit to many towns in the state would testify to this as many roads have worn new and admirable looks. Currently Osogbo-Iwo road is undergoing reconstruction and it will soon be completed. Further, contractors handling Gbongan/Ila-Odoroad and the West bypass road in the state capital who were forced to stop work during Ogbeni Aregbesola’s administration due to paucity of funds, have been mobilised back to sites.
For a state that’s faced with financial challenge, all these are no mean achievements within just a year of being at the helms of affairs. Like the Yorubas would say *”only a person who intends to belittle the elephant would say she’s not big enough”*. But this commendable feat within 365 days of Oyetola’s administration cannot surprise those who are familiar with his antecedents. The governor is only proving his mettle as a financial guru who understands the nitty-gritty of public financing. Thus as an accomplished technocrat using little resources to achieve a lot is to him not a big deal. Wise husbandry of resources is something very key to his plannings. Before becoming a public servant, Oyetola had carved a niche for himself in the private sector as an Insurance practitioner; earning for himself series of awards in recognition of his contribution to the development of Insurance industry in the country. No wonder the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu once described him as “encyclopedia of finance”.
As the Chief of Staff to his predecessor, Oyetola brought his financial expertise and managerial acumen to bear which aided the success of the last administration; so much so that his boss, OgbeniAregbesola had cause to describe him as “the pillar behind my administration”. But governor Oyetola is the type that will never allow all these glowing descriptions of his personage and his achievements so far to get to his head. He is ever humble, cool-headed, unassuming and of pacific inclination. Taciturn in nature but highly cerebral. He is also a humanist who has that blood of kindness flowing in his vein. His father Alhaji Ahmed Oyetola said of him to be an infant prodigy during his infanthood. According to the dad, “Isiaka has been demonstrating leadership qualities right from his childhood days”. His wife, Alhaja Kafayat Oyetola described him as an epitome of a good and responsible husband.
This write-up will not complete without mentioning Oyetola’sefforts at ensuring that the state becomes economically viable. The present parlous state of Osun economy is of serious concern to the Governor and he’s daily making frantic efforts to lift Osun out of its present state to the one that will be swimming in economic prosperity. The just concluded Osun Economic and Investment Summit and also his recent appearance at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) where he showcased Osun’s investment potentials to the world are commendable steps towards getting the state out of its present economic doldrums. The idea behind this two giant steps is to encourage investors and partners in economic development to come and invest in Osun; a state that has all it takes to accommodate investors viz; security, stable electricity, tourist attractions, peaceful, accommodating and highly resourceful people amongst others as enumerated by Mr. Governor at the Summit.
Governor Oyetola was born in Iragbiji town to the Oyetola family. He is of noble birth and of responsible upbringing. He’s a graduate of the prestigious University of Lagos where he bagged Bachelor of Science in Insurance. He also holds Masters in Business Administration plus other academic and professional qualifications. As this amiable, hardworking, dynamic, visionary, unassuming leader soldiers on in steering the ship of the state, this writer wishes him success in his determination to take Osun to greater heights. The challenges ahead are enormous though, given his steady, strategic and managerial approaches to governance, the challenges are not insurmountable. The years ahead surely promise greater accomplishments for this suave democrat and astute business man.