In Osun State, the last 8 years of civil administration had been an epic. Osun has been able to live up to Excellent leadership as the next administration will continue to build on the foundation laid by the enigmatic pathfinder, Rauf Aregbesola.
With the state with the lowest allocation from the Federation Account and poor IGR, Aregbesola was quick to realize the need to depend less on federal allocation by shoring up the revenue base of the state.
This feat was achieved through a systematic re-engineering of the internally generated revenue regimes by plugging loopholes and leakages, keeping within existing financial guidelines in a way that does not impose additional burden on the people.
Aregbesola initiated far-reaching policies in all sectors of the socio-economic spectrum such as Ede cocoa processing plant. Transportation, Education, Judiciary, Health, Environment, Commerce and Industry as symbolized by the sukuk fund and other initiatives. His reforms in the judicial sector were quite legendary as they are now templates for other states.
To ensure that these policies endure beyond the lifetime of his administration, he created institutions that will not only sustain the initial gains but to ensure that the policies and programs continue to evolve to meet up with the dynamics of time.
The Osun of the 21st Century will require a higher level of Aregbesola’s leadership than any other era in human history. Rauf.Aregbesola and Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola have contributed a great deal to the development of such leadership to drive Osun desired infrastructure development to improve the economy of the state, eliminate the dearth of infrastructure.
Aregbesola’s best gift of leadership to Osun is to give leadership with its end in mind. Aregbesola wants a compelling vision for Osun beyond his leadership tenure, a solid financial foundation, growth plans for the future, and strong leaders in place who are well prepared to lead. He does not want the hard work he is putting in now to fall apart and Osun to struggle after he leaves.
In any successful relay race, “passing the baton” can be nearly as important as the race that has been run. I’ve seen relays lost because of a poor or fumbled baton transfer. ADEGBOYEGA OYETOLA is a graduate of University of Lagos with a B.Sc (Hons) INSURANCE, 1978 and MBA FINANCE, 1990. He is also an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute, London and Nigeria and a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management. Oyetola has promised to improve on workers welfare, leverage on the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme ( O-YES), and then move forward to employ more and provide a more conducive environment for the private sector to engage a large number of our youths in the critical sectors, including Agriculture, Mining, Tourism, Education and Social Services.
Daniel Deck provided the seed thoughts in his sermon “Generation to Generation” he said, “When the younger full of strength and energy joins forces with the elder full of experience and wisdom the results can be powerful and long-term.” No generation stands independent of its predecessors or those that follow. Generations overlap. Each generation is equipped with men and women created for that generation. Every generation stands on the shoulders of those that went on before.
We build, not destroy, the foundation that is laid for us. The state’s success is determined by its ability to survive and excel from generation to generation.
In a relay race, there is an “incoming” and an “outgoing” runner. At
different times, and in different races, runners must play either part. So it is in leadership transitions. At various times in a typical ministry career, any given leader will either be handing off the baton or receiving the baton. State leadership requires competency in both roles.
The reality is that Osun success stories are the exception and not the rule. They are more as a result of Aregbesola’s perseverance, talent, ambition, and determination than anything else in the face of financial crisis in Nigeria. Many people like Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola have been able to gain entrance into the leadership and the path to success is now open.
Breaking through glass ceilings is important, and Osun’s leadership matters. The full contribution of Aregbesola to Osun economies and societies make the state to realize its full potential.
Aregbesola has removed many glass ceilings in leadership positions in Osun. The glass ceilings have be tackled head on – and there are many proven ways of breaking through them from crucial political, social and economic processes.
Aregbesola has embarked on global initiative which aims to support capacity building in Osun and the rest of Nigeria to advance future leadership focusing on sustainable global development by investing in human capital. As a symbol of national development, Aregbesola introduced sukuk Islamic bonds issuance programme to help fund big infrastructure needs in Africa’s biggest economy, aiming to tie the transaction to one of several projects,Aregbesola has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese firm, Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited, to establish a N216 billion industrial park in Osun state.
Osun State under Governor Aregbesola was the first state in Nigeria to key into the German contribution to the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN), which provides loans to small and medium entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector. Osun State under Governor Aregbesola was the first in Nigeria to key into the establishment of an “Innovation Centre for the Agriculture and Food Sector” financed by the German Government in order to improve sustainable production and processing of food as well as entrepreneurial and vocational skills in agriculture and food processing.
Osun State under Governor Aregbesola is the first state in Nigeria to key into Germany-Nigeria agricultural cooperation in the establishment of a “Green Credit Line”, which shall improve the access of small and medium enterprises to funds in order to enable them to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, Aregbesola has encouraged the issuance of sukuk in Nigeria because we need to diversify the instrument in the bond market.
Aregbesola worked hard to introduce sukuk in Nigeria. Osun took the initiative and helped in introducing it in Nigeria. So, Osun is one of the best states in public debt management. The greatest lesson is that when Governor Aregbesola adopted Sukuk, an Islamic bond to help the state execute educational projects, his critics were calling for his head. Many said it was part of his ploy to islamize Osun.
Osun State has set a standard for both 36 states and Federal Government of Nigeria to follow. Federal Government of Nigeria is building on progress made by Governor Aregbesola on Osun School Feeding Programme. The Governor has transformed Osun schools from obscurity to limelight. Osun has built standard schools and produced good food for school pupils. The Osun government’s effort in the education sector has removed the dilapidated, neglected school buildings and inconducive learning environment.
Governor Aregbesola has brought innovation and localized the processing of cocoa products in the 14 cocoa producing states in Nigeria. With over twenty million cocoa farmers in Nigeria, Osun-China’s cooperation over Ede cocoa processing plant has given lifeline to Nigerian cocoa farmers who could not export their products before now. The partnership with one of China’s Most popular politicians and business leaders Qizan Zhao; Deputy Leader of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China and one of the leading businessmen in China is producing a N10bn investment in Osun and over 1000 jobs for local people in the next two years in the state especially Youths and this will help to support the industrialization efforts of Governor Aregbesola
The governor’s achievements are visible in the nooks and crannies of the state. They are felt from the boundary towns to the capital. Under his transformational leadership, cosmopolitan Osun State, which has the largest number of towns in Nigeria, has become a huge construction site.
The Gbogan Junction Bridge is a sight that fills commuters with awe. There is no local government where a road project is not on-going. It is a clear departure from the past. In fact, the event was revealing. More towns and villages asked for more roads, which the resources of the state cannot accommodate.
In the history of Osun, the quality of roads constructed has never been seen or done by any government. Also, no administration has constructed the number of bridges constructed by his government in the last 8 years. By 12 midnight on November 27, 2018, a Tuesday, Aregbesola will leave office and the baton of leadership will be passed to Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola.
With Oyetola poised to take over from the incumbent, Aregbesola, as the state governor, Osun would, indeed, be the better for it. The direction of things to come in the next few years became clearer recently when Aregbesola publicly presented the Osun State Development Plan. The import of this is that Oyetola, when he eventually takes over from Aregbesola, already has a master plan to work it.
The lesson here is that continuity in governance, especially from one visionary leadership to another, is quite critical, for the social, economic and political stability of the polity. This is where Osun differs. This is why Osun continues to excel.
Inwalomhe Donald writes from Benin City [email protected]