BROADCAST BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, ON THE SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ADMINISTRATION, ON NOVEMBER 27, 2017
My good people of Osun,
It gives me great joy to address us all on the seventh anniversary of our administration. I congratulate all the functionaries of the administration (past and present), workers in the state that have been the vehicle and cutting edge instrument of governance, leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and all our supporters in the state and beyond, who believe in us and whose encouragement has kept us going at the most trying times.
Our administration was inaugurated on November 27, 2010; the day after God-fearing judges of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan restored our mandate and ordered that we be inaugurated immediately. That was seven years ago.
It was an eventful period, full of triumphs, challenges and interesting times. Looking back, we can say like Julius Caesar in his letter to the Roman Senate around 47 BC: ‘Veni Vidi Vici’, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’.
We were able to come to the government of Osun, in spite of the obstacles the opposition put in our way; we saw the situation of the people and their various needs; and we overcame the challenges of meeting them, as they came our way. It is a great privilege to have served you these past seven years.
Osun is the heartland of Yoruba. Ile Ife, where the Yoruba race began, is close to the capital city in Osogbo. We saw the manifest destiny of Osun as the catalyst and driver of Yoruba renaissance and development. This is why we have taken regional integration to be very important. To be able to play this role, we must ourselves be on the march. Like Aristotle said, he that will move the world must first move himself.
We realised then that the people must be conscious of themselves – their past, present and future. They must rediscover their heritage and strength and use them to engender their own development, in order to take their rightful place in Nigeria and in the black race. This is why we began with rebranding by bringing to our consciousness our heritage as Omoluabi, the quintessential Yoruba persona that is the epitome of virtues in hard work, chivalry, honesty, knowledge, dignity and character.
That investment has paid off. From the elders to school children, Osun people now conduct themselves with the consciousness of Omoluabi, in business transaction, interpersonal relations, warm reception of strangers and even examination conduct in schools.
We know the relevance of education in development. It is established wisdom that the acquired knowledge of today determines the future of the people, just as their knowledge base of yesterday is responsible for the state of things today.
We set to work by holding an education summit of stakeholder. From that summit, we began an education revolution that should impact our state for the next 50 years. Under it, we have constructed brand new state of the art 20 Elementary Schools, 22 Middle Schools and 11 High Schools.
In addition, we rehabilitated existing schools and made them decent environment for leaning. We have consistently for more than five years been feeding 262,000 elementary school pupils nutritious meals every school day. We gave free uniforms to all pupils in public schools. We have also introduced discipline to our schools. We provided the first and only of its kind computer e-learning tablets to final year student of High Schools in Osun.
We reintroduced callisthenics into Nigeria, a sporting activity that has been known to have the substance of unity, harmony, balance and team work which presents one of the best engagements for teaching young pupils the cooperative spirit in a simple, delightful and interesting way. Since 2012, we have trained 28,000 children in this sport and have now extended it to private schools in order to spread the benefits beyond public schools.
With mathematical certainty, our 11 mega high schools, in 50 years to come, would have produced 550,000 world beaters, occupying strategic positions nationally and globally, by the grace of God.
We have engaged more than 40,000 youths in public works through the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES). Most of them eventually got soft-landing in teaching, agriculture, information and communication technology and several others. For this reason, Osun has one of the lowest crime incidents in the country and has been adjudged the second least poor state in Nigeria by credible rating agencies.
We introduced protection and succour for our senior citizens, gave them access to healthcare and put them on monthly allowance.
We took care of the destitute and the mentally challenged. We gave them medical care, rehabilitated them and resettled or reunited them with their family, whichever case is applicable.
We have provided soft and interest free loans to more than 350,000 people, particularly women, to start micro, small and medium enterprises and have disbursed more than N15 billion in the process.
We have also provided security for the state with the purchase of patrol vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and other gadgets for law enforcement agencies. Criminals and bandits now think twice before coming to Osun. You all can now sleep in peace without fear of night marauders.
We have revived farming and made it a profitable vocation, such that young people have now embraced it.
Through the agencies of Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (O’REAP), Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, we have provided assistance to farmers, sent budding farmers on training abroad and laid the foundation for agriculture boom.
Our administration has also invested in road transport infrastructure. We have constructed more than 1,500 kilometre of roads in the nooks and crannies of the state, including 10 kilometres in each local government area in the state. Besides the township roads in Osogbo, Ilesa, Ile-Ife, Ede, Gbongan, Iwo, Ejigbo and other towns and a network of several intercity roads, these four roads: Omoluabi Motorway from Gbongan to Akoda with Abdulkareem Adebisi Akande Trumpet Interchange, Osogbo to Ila-Odo, Gbongan-OrileOwu to Ijebu Igbo and Oba Adesoji Aderemi East Bye Pass, stand out and are iconic road projects that are befitting legacies we are leaving behind by the time we complete our term.
We have come, seen the challenges and conquered poverty, ignorance, disease and fear of the known and unknown these seven years.
However, as we all know, a financial tsunami hit the country from late 2013 occasioned by alleged theft of crude oil. By the middle of 2014, this has been escalated by the global fall in price of crude oil. By then, there has been a substantial reduction in our revenue base, as we stutter to fulfil some of our obligations. We came out of it and have been waxing strong since then.
The lesson we learnt from this debacle was that the era of dependence on free and unearned money from oil is over and we must work for our own money. It is a fundamental principle that the total wealth of a nation is the collective effort at wealth creation by every member of that nation in the production of goods and services. It behoves on all of us therefore to work hard and create our wealth.
Every able-bodied person, above 18 years of age, who is not in school, must work, any kind of legitimate work, even if it is as a human porter in a market or motor park, and must never be dependent on parents and family. There are many opportunities in arts, crafts, creative engagements and all areas of human needs. Given all of the government incentives available, the easiest occupation to be in now is farming.
The government will then be supported from our taxes, rates, levies and fines. Every taxable adult in Osun must view it as a patriotic duty to support the government with tax payment as and when due.
At our level of development, all it takes for our state to be solvent and prosperous is for at least one million, out of the over four million population in Osun, to pay a tax of N250 every day for 20 days in a month. That will bring N5 billion, which is enough to pay salaries of our workers, run the government and develop our state in every area.
In the remaining one year, I will be committed the more to serving you, to accelerate the pace of development and increase our efforts at ushering in prosperity to the government and people.
We will leave a good and enviable legacy in education, physical infrastructure and all aspects of human development. We will also do our best to bequeath a worthy legacy successor that will continue the works we have started in the best tradition of progressive leadership. We will not leave you exposed and helpless before the wolves.
In these past seven years, I have been privileged to work with and be supported by a host of people. The first of which are the wonderful, dutiful and godly workers of the state government. Your sacrifice, understanding and commitment to duty made it possible for our administration to make much impact. I am very grateful.
My appreciation goes to the leadership and members of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun and all over Nigeria, for the vision of people-centred political leadership we are mandated to provide and for which they have backed us up to the hilt.
I have also enjoyed the company and services of the political class and technocrats, past and present, from Osun, Lagos and beyond, that have helped me to crystallise and actualise all our ideas of government. I thank you all.
I acknowledge the rock solid support of my wife and members of my family. The stability they give at home, the peace of mind and comfort I receive from them are invaluable. I thank you all.
I will like to use the opportunity of this address to thank all those who commiserated with us and stood by us in August at the departure of my mother. I appreciate your love and your kind assistance during this period and beyond. I thank you.
I must express my gratitude and appreciation to all the people and residents of all our communities in Osun from the big cities to our villages and farming communities, women, traders, women groups, market women and men, farmers, professional groups, artisans, drivers, transporters, commercial motorcyclists, traditional rulers, community leaders, religious leader, security agencies, students, employers of labour, employees, media practitioners, nongovernmental organisations, political parties and other groups that have been our ardent supporters and admirers.
I thank you all.
Osun a dara!