Many hands were recruited to complement teaching profession and foster all round quality education in the state, just as the present administration engaged thousands of grown adults as food vendors to complement its school feeding initiative popularly called ‘O’MEAL’.
By Waheed Adekunle
The great American Civil Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther-King Junior once said ‘unless people in the society learn to live together as brothers and sisters, otherwise, they will perish together as bunch of fools’.
This is the best aphorism to describe the ardent determination attached to good governance by the present administration in the State of Osun under the leadership of Governor Rauf Aregbesola who at the point of seeking for people’s supports to govern the state left no one in doubt to making a great impact in the lives of the entire citizenry if being elected.
He (Aregbesola) has shown clearly to the world that unless the society climbs over the recriminations of the past and build new bridges of understanding in all strata of life, the society and its people will remain stagnant as the claims reflected on how he softly handled things particularly his predecessor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola when he assumed office in 2010.
The emergence of Governor Rauf Aregbesola after a protracted legal litigation that took him for almost a political dispensation of good four years remains a sine qua non for the achievement of sustainable cum significant magnitude of development in the political annals of Osun as the state prior to Aregbesola’s administration had never witnessed such massive developments.
Since the inception of the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola as the Governor of the state, he has left no one in doubt on the exigency to turn around the fortune of the state for the betterment of all even in the face of intimidation orchestrated by the economic recession, the state remains unwavering in its socioeconomic re-enginering policies and programmes.
Today, the results of determination and passion for good governance can be seen in the far-reaching impact of government activities and investment in key sectors of the economy in fulfillment of Aregbesola’s promises to the people of the state.
Aregbesola came to Osun in 2005 to vie for the governorship position in the state and his ambition to rule the state propelled him to compile his visions and missions into what he called Green Book, titled ‘My Pact for the People of Osun’.
The Green Book which comprised the already envisioned and planned programmes, policies and actions of the then Lagos Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, clearly stipulated the Six-Point Integral Action Plan: Banish Hunger, Banish Poverty, Banish Unemployment, Promote Healthy Living, Promote Functional Education and Promote Communal Peace and Progress
While reflecting and pursuing his painstakingly designed commitment to uplift Osun and ensure the general well being of the citizens, the Governor took the bull by the horn and put the first three objectives of banishing poverty, banishing hunger and banishing unemployment into right perspective.
This was put into action three months after his inauguration as he organized a youth-motivating programme tagged ‘Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES)’ where 20,000 youths were initially engaged for social and public services.
Though first of its kind in the political history of Nigeria because no government had ever attempted or engaged 20,000 unemployed youths at a time. This impact having set the standard for good governance in the state also helped Aregbesola’s administration to stimulate the state’s economy as the absorbed youths who were placed on the monthly stipend of N10,000 each added value to the commercial and economic activities of the state.
The stipends received by the OYES beneficiaries however revolved around the state as N200million is being injected directly into the state’s economy.
The OYES Scheme which was recommended by the World Bank as a model to the Federal Government and other federating states, is today a cynosure of all eyes in the political circle in country.
Still on youth empowerment initiative, the present administration in spite its commitment to socio-infrastructural development and implementation of capital intensive projects, however employed thousands of fresh brains into the state civil service to fill the space created by the mass retirement in 2012.
Being a revolutionary leader, Aregbesola did not relent at that as efforts were tailored towards the promotion of healthy living of the citizenry across the nooks and crannies of the state with the order of weekly and monthly sanitation exercises.
The state also took a preventive measure to control the flood disaster that ravaged many states in 2013 as all the waterways including rivers and streams across the length and breadth of the state were dredged and channeled for smooth flowing of water while concrete drainages were constructed where necessary.
The initiative did not only salvaged the state from perpetual flooding disaster but also saved Osun from being tormented from the torrential rainfalls that damaged many lives properties to floods.
It wasn’t end at that as the state had taken a proactive measure towards the revitalization of the state\’s hospitals particularly on its worthwhile attention given to primary healthcare service delivery across the state.
Still on health sector, the Aregbesola led administration has written his name in gold through his unprecedented efforts that gave birth to 24/7 ambulance services in the state as the scheme had since introduction saved thousands of lives from road mishaps.
The procurement of the reasonable number of ambulances stationed strategically across the state had made Osun to be one of the safest states in Nigeria in respect to road accident as being claimed and enunciated by the officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).
The state also procured refuse vans and trucks to ease refuse collection, raise the bar of sanitary and well encourage the spirit of hygiene between and among the citizens. This led to the institutionalization of O’CLEAN, an initiative that monitors and supervises the sanitation exercise in the state.
While not relenting on his effort to build a virile future for the state, the Aregbesola’s administration had built the confidence in the people of the state that education remains the only tool for socioeconomic, political and democratic emancipation.
It is on record that Aregbesola’s government has succeeded to some greater extent on his highly-designed initiative and painstakingly-planned policies and programmes to revamp education system in the state.
The state did not only prioritized education, but concentrated her larger chunks of resources to make education the bed of development as being reflected in the construction of multi-billion schools across the length and breadth of the state.
The ultra-modern schools constructing across the state are designed to reflect the basic global standard for modern schools with all the necessary state-of-the-art facilities that enhance smooth teaching and learning in a conducive and academic friendly environment.
However, many of the planned 100 elementary schools, 50 middle schools and 20 high schools have been built and commissioned across the state while the efforts was also complemented with the provision of free meals to pupils ine every school day.
The School Feeding Programme, which is known as Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O’MEAL) takes care of feeding of over 300,000 pupils and as well providing job opportunity for over 3000 women who were recruited by the state as caterers.
The state had also provided tablet of knowledge popularly called ‘Opon Imo’ which covers 17 subjects with different extra curricula subjects, over 60 textbooks, as well as questions and answers of West African Examination Council, National Examination Council and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The tablets were designed to aid preparation for school leaving examinations both internal and external and as well support the quest for the acquisition of Information and Communication Technology skills by the students.
The state government had also done so on security with the procurement of over 150 patrol vehicles to security agencies as part of effort to build a free crime state, thus making Osun one of the safest sates in Nigeria.
However, the present government in the state had raised the bar of governance through its intervention on infrastructure, the initiative that has been described as one of the best in the world.
Osun has never witnessed the myriads of development being brought on board by the Aregbesola’s administration, since its creation as over 1000 kilometers of roads had been constructed with concrete drainages and stone-based layout.