In less than a month, another helmsman to paddle the affairs of the ‘fragile’ State of Osun will emerge. I say ‘fragile’ because this is not a period when the affairs of the state should be allowed to be handled by a novice, amateur or inept leaders. Ever since the state was created in 1991, it has never been given direction as it has now, painstakingly! The state is now charting the course of prestigious and socio-economically developed states of the world with the array of sophisticated infrastructural projects it has witnessed. Osun was adjudged the fastest developing state in 2013. Thanks to the efforts of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola led administration.
If a state can be seen as a living organism, then the years between 2010 and 2018 were Osun’s adolescence, a time when the sleepy capital of the ancient Yoruba Kingdom became a booming metropolis, a place both bubbling and orderly, always raising the bar of achievements, sometimes sparkling and most times peaceful, but always willing to experiment, forging ahead impatiently towards the future. Now the future is here and State of Osun is among the cities in Nigeria to treasure. Osun has proved that with little, a prudent leader can achieve more. In less than eight years, the ‘before and after’ pictures of projects in the state look different and interesting.
The Orita Olaiya Junction in Osogbo is now wearing a new look. Eleven state of the art government high schools, with three in Osogbo as Osogbo, Ataoja and Fakunle-Unity Government High Schools; one in Iwo as Iwo Baptist Government High School; and one in Ila as Ila Government High School. Others are in Ife as Oduduwa Government High School; in Ejigbo as Wole Soyinka Government High School; in Ikire as Ayedade Government High School; in Ede as Adventist Government High School; in Ikirun as Akirun Government High School and in Ilesa as Ilesa Government High School. The elementary and middle schools in the state witnessed the construction of over three hundred buildings.
At the Gbongan junction of Ibadan to Osogbo road, even a blind will feel the ambience of the prestigious Adebisi Akande Trumpet Bridge. This is a bridge that has allayed the fears of motorists to Osogbo from Ibadan and Lagos. It was a death-trap before the assumption of power of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. It is complemented by eight lane dualised roads that will make transport from Gbongan to Osogbo a memorable experience. There is no local government in the state that does not have at least 10 kilometre tarred road with concrete drainage at the two sides. The Orita Olaiya to Erinle, a bother town to Kwara State is also wearing a new look. The projects are unprecedented!
Prior to becoming the governor of the state, Ogbeni Aregbesola had in place a six-points integral action plan, as his master plan, the ‘green book’ – My Pact With The Osun People. He promised to banish hunger, banish poverty, banish unemployment, promote healthy living, promote functional education and promote communal peace and progress. To a large extent, these promises have been partly met. To banish hunger and ensure food security, the administration established Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP). To banish unemployment, the administration engaged 20,000 youths in a classical and innovative method called OYES (Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme) and to promote functional education was the basis for the education reform.
Iconic states all over the world were made by leaders. Leaders who resolved to develop their states at all costs. Washington DC was developed by George Washington who was a trained surveyor; Dubai was developed by the current ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He is also the Vice President and the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirate and attended school in the United Kingdom before he became part of the everyday running of the UAE. The great developments achieved in Lagos State can be traced to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and continuity of his believes. Successive governments which succeeded Tinubu’s administrations are products of his government.
The great achievements in Osun were due to the sacrifice of all, especially the workers in whose name the Orita Olaiya to Isale Osun has been named. For close to eight years now, Osun has recorded monumental achievements that must not be allowed to decay. The progress, over years, should also be sustained. Over fifty-one parties have shown interest and will be fielding candidates for the September 22, 2018, election. But not all are qualified or have the capacity to excel and deliver the dividends of democracy. The minimum qualification to contest in India is Standard IV, but no prime minister in India has less than Master’s degree.
The name of the former Chief of Staff to the Government of the State of Osun is a recurrent decimal. Gboyega Oyetola is the man that was part of the planning and execution team of the State of Osun to its enviable position. Gboyega Oyetola was born in Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area of the State of Osun. He attended Ifeoluwa Grammar School in Osogbo for his secondary school education which he completed in 1972 in flying colours. He proceeded to the prestigious University of Lagos where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Insurance in 1978. Alhaji Oyetola capped his education pursuit with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1990 at the same University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos.
He had his mandatory one year National Youth Service between 1978 and 1979, at Potiskum, in the present day Yobe State, where he lectured at the then Borno State Staff Training Centre, Potiskum. In 1980, he joined Leadway Assurance Company Limited as Area Manager and worked there till 1987. He took another step by taking his expertise to Crusader Insurance Company Limited as Underwriting Manager between 1987 and 1990. He moved again in 1990 to Alliance and General Insurance as Technical Controller and served in that capacity until 1991. However, he took a giant step in 1991 by establishing his own Company, Silvertrust Insurance Brokers Limited. He was the Managing Director since its founding until his appointment as Chief of Staff in 2011.
His other forays in business include Executive Vice-Chairman, Paragon Group of Companies which has interest in Oil and Gas, Mining and Real Estate from 2005 until 2011. He was also Chairman of Ebony Properties Limited. He had been a Director of Pyramid Securities Limited, until 2011, among other business interests, before his appointment as Chief of Staff. Gboyega Oyetoal has vowed and affirmed to use his wealth of experience, both in private and public sector to better the lot of Osun people. His manifesto is an offshoot of the Six-Points Integral Action Plan of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. In his stride to become the next governor of the State of Osun, Alhaji Oyetola has programmes that will position the state as an enviable state.
The former Chief of Staff has vowed to consolidate all the gains of the past governments, especially, his immediate past, make amendments, where necessary and project the state as an economic hub. In his words: “Our vision is premised on continuity and consolidation, we shall build on all the successes of Aregbesola, like we can see, the Osun of today was not the Osun we met in 2010, we have modernized our state, we touched all sectors of our national life, indeed this is the touch and beauty of good governance. Our own job is to give this man our mandate to consolidate the gains of our “heroes past”. The best thing to happen to the state is the continuity of a progressive government.
“We are not where we planned to be but we have move forward from where we used to be. We shall fine tune objectively the six points integral action plan contained in the green book upon which Aregbesola triumphed, we shall make our government work for all irrespective of status; our priorities shall be to ensure we have a well-motivated civil service to ensure maximum productivity to implement all our laudable policies and programmes in education, health, agriculture, housing, sports, environment etc.” These are the assurance of Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola that is worthy of our consideration.
- Olufemi Oyedele, Osogbo, State of Osun.