What a difference a few months of real proper governance makes. Today
in Osun state, the nightmarish ‘government’ of Olagunsoye Oyinlola is
fast receding from the memory. Nevertheless, the contrast between
sensible government and maladministration is stark. Even a moron will
shine compared to the bogus maladministration of Olagunsoye Oyinlola
and his band of indolent co-operators. That is the easy part. The hard
part is to set a benchmark of measurement that is of higher value than
the asinine mendacity of the PDP.
Aregbesola’s benchmark is clearly the path-breaking government headed
in the 1950s by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. That government produced a
world class performance. It was in every way a transformative effort.
Although the word ‘transformation’ has been bastardised by the
know-nothing PDP, transformation is the real word to use for Chief
Awolowo’s government. Today, led by the Ogbeni governor, the Action
Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has been following the same course.
We must add a caveat though – Chief Obafemi Awolowo operated under a
real federalist basis. Aregbesola has to perform in a semi-democracy
operated in quasi-federal mode. Indeed calling our present set-up a
quasi-federalist one is being overly generous. The real feature as
somebody like Asiwaju will testify is more like a unitary state.
However, this debilitation hasn’t stopped Aregbesola from meeting the
benchmark. It has been a period of meticulous planning facilitated
with meticulous implementation. There have of course been obstacles
along the way. For instance there is a vengeful PDP still bitter about
losing what for them are the booties to be gained from state treasury.
Then the unitary nature of the Republic imposed a minimum wage
irrespective of the ability of state governments to pay. This
particular debilitation Awo would have faced. A federal system is
based on the utilization of resources so that you can operate within
your means. No federal state imposes a national minimum wage
irrespective of differing ability to pay and levels of income.
In spite of this Aregbesola has performed. He has valiantly created
20,000 new jobs despite the infrastructure deficit. These are real
sustainable jobs. This initiative is a very sensible way of arresting
the demographic time bomb. And there is a demographic time bomb. With
thousands of youths coming out of schools at all levels and straight
into the labour market that was a sensible thing to do. And it has
worked. Today we have hope renewed. In other areas there is a
determined, imaginative and invigorating effort to tackle
environmental degradation and it is working.
In the long-term, Osun will be clean and green. Its agriculture will
have been modernised and its internally generated revenue will have
grown to such an extent that it will counter-balance the subvention
from the centre. This is in marked contrast to the indolent mentality
of the PDP ‘mainstreamers’ whose only expectation from government is
to feed fat on the uncertain subvention from the centre. It has been
an exciting, invigorating, pro-people time in Osun state.
When we look at what Awo did, it is of course superlative. However the
Ogbeni Gomina operating in a stifling anti-federalist environment has
used great gusto, imagination and verve in order to be up to the task.
With a cabinet in place he will certainly achieve more. The key issue
here is that when it all comes to fruition more will be done. With
increased IGR, the social sectors (health, education, welfare) will be
better taken care of. Concomitantly the cost of the machinery of
government will come down and the machinery of government will be put
to better, more effective and creative use.
This of course will be music to Awo’s eras. The avatar was very proud
to have kept the cost of machinery of government down to 27% of the
budget. In the long-term with all the debilitations which Awo never
had to face, it is our belief that Aregbesola is heading in the same
What is most important about the present effort in Osun state is that
it is operating within the benchmark set by Awo. It is meeting those
benchmarks within and in spite of the roadblocks we have already
mentioned. In the long-term those benchmark will be surpassed. And for
a reason – the Osun state helmsman is focused, he is extremely well
prepared and he has the administrative savvy and experience. Morning
harbingers the day. Aregbesola has started on a good note, he will
surely make us all feel very proud to be Yorubas.