Since Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola became the Executive Governor of Osun State, the state of Omoluabis, has been witnessing one project or the other. It is now a new horizon in Osun State. The new horizon in Osun State started on Saturday, November 27, 2010 when Ogbeni was sworn-in as the governor of the state, before thunderous cheers of people. The developmental programme of Ogbeni Aregbesola did not start on the day he was sworn-in. He began the idea of developing the state in 2005 when he muted the idea of contesting as governor. He developed a strategic plan titled “My Pact with the people of Osun State”.
First in the strategic map is “to banish poverty” and Aregbesola has employed 20,000 youths within his first 100 days in office. Within the same period, Aregbesola gathered experts on education planning and development to discuss issues bothering on qualitative education in Osun State. The education summit was for three days and very successful as it discovered the source of the problems of poor standard of education in the state. It also proffered suggestions for solving the menaces.
The developmental programmes of Osun State has taken into cognizance the background and culture of the state and has been the most effective tool of politicking. “My Pact with the People of Osun State” by Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, is a green book that serves as the pathway and road map of the administration. The government has been dispensing his development projects based on this green book that has been distributed to all senior civil servants in the state.
In his campaign manifesto, Aregbesola pledged to banish poverty, banish hunger, banish unemployment (create work/wealth), restore healthy living, promote functional education and enhance communal peace and progress. This six-point integral action plan has been the strategic plan of accelerated development in Osun State. It is only a ninny hammer that will come into the state and not notice the good works of the government. All the projects towards achieving the objectives of the green book are in tandem.
The World Bank, through its office in Abuja, has shown interest to understudy the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES). The World Bank is interested in partnering with the state, for development and documentation of the programmes as a template for other states and other developing nations. The development programmes of Osun State are sustainable and laudable internationally as the best in the country. After OYES’s success, Ekiti, Imo, Oyo and Ogun States have also promised to employ youths as a way of reducing youths’ unemployment.
Machinery to employ 20,000 youths was put in place on November 27, 2010, with forms being printed and distributed free of charge among the 30 local government council areas and the Area Office in Modakeke. Over 230,000 applicants applied for the 20,000 spaces. The youths are now engaged in the development of the state. The patronage of the applicants is a confirmation of youth employment as the topmost in the list of needs of people in the state. OYES has also positioned the state for industrial development as it has improved the shoppers’ quality.
The residents of the state, especially artisans, tradesmen, landlords and food vendors have started benefitting from the multiplier effect of the projects of the government. The OYES Cadets were allocated to all the local government council areas with 600 cadets in each council area except Osogbo, the capital, with about 2,600 cadets. The register of the cadets will also serve as the database for recruitment of workforce into the state civil service in the nearest future. From the outset, the governor stated that the aim of the scheme is to ensure socio-economic development of the state. There is no doubt that this scheme has lived up to expectation with the opening parade featuring in the “African Today” programme of the Cable Network News.
The Osun Rural Enterprises and Agricultural Programme (OREAP) is a scheme comprising capital financing and entrepreneurial programmes for farmers’ cooperatives and rural entrepreneurs with the aim of developing agricultural products of the state. This is an all-encompassing scheme towards forging a partnership between the producers of agricultural products and the consumers, for better results. The state is not only interested in the development of rural products, especially agricultural, but also in how these products will be distributed for optimum return. The entrepreneurial programme comprises the agricultural products development like cassava, cocoa, palm kernel and yam processing, and market linkage.
The agricultural programme involves Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP) for Farmers Cooperative Groups – an agricultural micro-finance programme, and farm settlements programme. QIIP has served as interventionist programme for accelerated development of agriculture in the state and has disbursed N153.26 million to farmers as loan facilities in cash and kind to 67 farmers’ groups. Unlike the traditional practice, it is after an operation has been satisfactorily completed that the farmers would be able to access the next stage of the loan to carry out the purpose for which it was provided. This is a novel idea to curtail loan diversion by farmers.
Osun QIIP has also added on cooperative fish farmers and vegetable farmers to its stable of support. Ipetu-Ile fish farmers’ cooperative union has been given support under QIIP to develop their farms to a 30 ton/annum capacity. The cooperative society has also been promised essential extension services to boost its production, through allocation of large expanse of land cultivated for sustainable development. The fish farm project also include the establishment of a floating fish feed plant, the first of its kind in the history of Osun State. This project is a pilot project located in Ipetu-Ile. It is a support project that will be replicated in the state after using this pilot project to perfect the process.
Another group in Ode-Omu called Gbodofon (Osogbo) Osun State Cucumber, Watermelon and Salad Farmers’ Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Limited has been given vegetable farming support. The initial support is for a 25-acre additional farmland to the present 8-acre capacity of the group. For several years, the group has been engaged in the cultivation of tomatoes, watermelons, and cucumbers. More support is also being provided for the group in ground-breaking irrigating facilities for 3 acres of the 25 acres additional farm. The objective is to enable these vegetable farmers plant in all seasons. In addition, this other support for the irrigation component will make the farmers to master the irrigation system and later on increase their skills and capacities to irrigate all their farms.
Flood Aversion programme is another intervention programme that has endeared the people-friendly governor to the people of Osun State. The occasion featured sad recollections by grief-stricken victims, of how the former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola failed to show concern for their plight and mocked them to go and lick their wounds
Residents of the state capital, comprising Muslim and Christian faithful, expressed gratitude to Aregbesola, who they described as an emancipator, for taking proactive steps to avert a repeat of the July 7, 2010 unfortunate incident that led to the death of many people and destruction of properties worth millions of naira.
O-CLEAN is another commendable project that is worthy of mentioning. Before the advent of Aregbesola in the state, the Omoluabis did sanitation exercise last in 1993 and this has left the state with accumulated filth in all the nooks and crannies of the state. The governor quickly put in place machineries that will ensure cleanliness in the state. He also declared a 90-day emergency period, in which the state tackled the filthy situation of the state on daily basis. More than 30 refuse-dumps have been earmarked for the collection of wastes. The amount of waste been generated is alarming and unimaginable at over 3,000 tons per day. These are collected free-of-charge by government and is now reducing the blockage of the water-ways.
900 Students New Model Schools is a way of giving qualitative primary education in the state. These schools will be distributed across the nooks and crannies of the state and will ensure that not more than twenty students are in a class. Electricity, dining room, modern toilets and computer education will be provided.
Contract has been signed for the rehabilitation of Ede Water Works to provide water for 19 local governments. Over N400 million will be spent in providing tap-water to the good people of Osun State. Osun State has adequate water source that can be used to realise water adequacy in the state. An experienced water engineer, Mrs. Tawa Williams, has been appointed as Special Adviser and will oversee this laudable project.
O-TOURS (Osun State Tourism Development and Revival Programme) is a tourism development programme in the state with the aim of bringing in foreign income to the state. The government has established a coordinating unit for the enormous tourism potentials of the state. Aregbesola is of the opinion that the state can kick-start robust Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through tourism development in the state. Countries like United States of America, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Cuba which are benefiting immensely from their tourism development started from somewhere. The governor of Osun State also ordered the prompt construction of the road connecting the Osun groove with Oke-Osun Farm Settlement in Osogbo.
The road construction was part of the contribution of the government towards developing Osun-Osogbo into a standard festival and hence, developing Osogbo into an enviable capital. Walkway was also constructed from the shrine using natural materials of stones and saw-dusts according to international requirements. Conspicuous at the entrance to the groove are billboards depicting the activities of the shrine. In future, vacant boards will be sold to corporate organisations for advertising.
The road that was constructed to link the grove will also ease the transportation of farm produce from the Oke-Osun Farm Settlement. The government is aiming to produce not less than 75,000 metric tons of grains for this late planting season and need to construct the road with immediate effect, with a view to assisting farmers to bring out their produce from their farms. This road that was constructed by Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo has suffered neglect from the hands of other past governors.
The latest of the “O-models” is the O-MEAL (Osun State Elementary Schools Feeding and Health Programmes). Caterers and vendors will be employed in large numbers. O-MEAL is a metamorphosed Osun State Home Grown School Feeding Programme (OSHGS). OSHGS is another unfamiliar programme in Nigeria. Osun State is about the only state in Nigeria which has a school feeding programme. The school feeding programme has improved enrolment in the primary schools in Osun State. Hygenic and heavily subsidised foods will be served to the students, to generate happy reading and rapt attention.