The public holiday last Tuesday was not just a deserved break, it also acknowledged the effort of workers worldwide towards increasing productivity which inevitably through a process leads to widening the revenue streams which eventually results in the elevation of living standards. ‘Workers’ here includes everybody adding value, encompassing farmers, career officers, the informal sector and so forth.
This is the last Workers Day in which the Ogbeni Governor of Osun State will be the serving head of the state government. The conventional wisdom is that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has put in a stellar performance. Within the backdrop of competing interests he has carried out an equitable balancing act.
All of these have been achieved within, as its widely acknowledged, a very difficult fiscal climate of tight revenues from the center in a stunted quasi-federalism. The workers in Osun have not at any time faced the cataclysm of other states where it is routine to owe workers up to eight months salaries and for pensioners to routinely die on the queue. This has been creatively avoided in the state of Osun.
Kudos must be given to Ogbeni, and for a critical reason. In this vein, let us recall the often quoted admonition of India’s founding prime-minister Jawaharlal Pandit Nehru that, “A politician thinks about the next election, a statesman about succeeding generations”. The easy way out for Aregbesola would have been to gain populist induced plaudits by just paying salaries, handing out ‘stomach infrastructure’ with a lavish hand and doing nothing else.
Mercifully for the future of another generation, Aregbesola is taking the road less taking and has made a success of it. By the creative, cost-efficient investments in the social and physical infrastructure, Aregbesola has constructed the foundations for sustainable development. As was said of the great British Architect Christopher Wren who imparted so positively on the development of London, “if you seek to know what he has achieved, look around you.”
Taking a bird’s eye view of the state of Osun reveals giant strides in every area of human endeavour. The trajectory for the sustainability of future generations is assured with the very much desired continuity of the present progressive thrust. The Aregbesola path is also instructive. It is for the labour movement to learn that immediate non-inflation adjusted monetary benefits are an illusion. In the long-time it is the environment created for sustainability which in the end decisively and irreversibly breaks the shackles of poverty.
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, it is therefore not surprising that the Aregbesola example in so many areas is now being adapted and replicated. Kudos again to the workers-friendly Ogbeni governor.