It gives me great pleasure to be at the special event organised to commemorate the second anniversary of our second term in office. I must therefore thank the organisers for the kind invitation to be at this programme and for making me the special guest of honour.
I cannot but admit that I am flattered by the topic of this symposium, ‘Raufnomics in the Transformation of Osun’. We have had all kinds of ‘nomics’. There was ‘Reaganomics’, coined after the economic policies introduced by the late American president, Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. There was also something like ‘Blairnomics’ to describe the economic policies of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Closer home, there were ‘Obasanjonomics’ and Jonathanomics that captured the mumbo jumbo, incoherent and sometimes contradictory but unarguably ruinous economic policies of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the recent past, the price of which we are still paying today. There are even whiffs of ‘Obamanomics’, coined to describe the broad sweeping populist economic policies of the outgoing American President, Barack Obama.
For good or bad, we cannot deny that the policies introduced by these individuals into their administration have profound effects on their countries and are indeed epochal.
I guess this must have made the organisers to also coin out ‘Raufnomics’ to reflect how our policies have positively affected Osun in a most fundamental sense.
As I said recently at the 25th anniversary of the creation of our state, I look beyond now. I am projecting into the next 25 years, where we would be, what our people would be and what they would be doing. We are laying the foundation in every area that would put the State of Osun in a steady progressive path such that even after we have completed our term and left, reversing or halting this progress would be difficult, if not impossible.
Before coming to office, we did our homework well. We knew that youth engagement was of immediate necessity. In less than 100 day after our inauguration, we have engaged 20,000 youths in public works through the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES).
The first impact of this programme was that it took a lot of our youths off the streets, gave them focus and belief in themselves. Crime rate in the state dropped significantly afterwards.
The second was that the N200 million monthly allowance we gave them reflated the economy of the state. The money goes directly into buying food, household items, paying rent, transportation and other microeconomic sectors. In less than two years, Osun GDP shot to the seventh largest in Nigeria.
The third was that it prepared the cadets for permanent engagement in vocations and other areas of human endeavour.
Our greatest intervention is in education. The reason is simple. It is through education that you define your today and create the future you want. Humans are the greatest resource and human development primarily through education is the greatest investment that any society can ever make.
We provide free meals for 262,000 pupils every school day. This carries with it empowerment for farmers, cooks and food vendors in a value chain of wealth creation that cascades to at least one million homes in Osun. We provided eLearning tablets to final year grade 12 pupils in the state. This is an innovation that is not available anywhere in the world but here.
We have also made significant investment in agriculture. We realised that food is an integral aspect of national security. No nation is secure that cannot feed its people. Agriculture is also the gateway to industrialisation. The history of industrial revolution and the recent examples of newly industrialised countries confirmed this. It is inexcusable that we spend $20 billion every year to import food. This will include $700 million we spend on fish. Yet, we have good soil, good climate, the Atlantic Ocean, thousands of miles of inland waterways to give us more than enough food we need.
We have consequently empowered our people in various agriculture schemes. We have sent two batches of our youths to Germany for further training in modern agriculture practices.
We have constructed more than 800 kilometres of quality, stone based roads with concrete drainages across the length and breadth of the state. These are not just any roads that catch our fancy. They are roads carefully selected because they impacted the most on the social and economic activities of our people.
We incorporated the weak and vulnerable groups like the specially challenged, destitute, the aged, women and the girl child for special care and attention through special schemes.
Of course, I do not have enough time to talk about all we have done in six years. I can only mention the highlights.
An angry and frustrated commentator in the media rooting for our opponents was wondering why the people keep voting for us even in the midst of the most daunting challenges we face. It is not rocket science. Our administration connects with the people. We listened to them and our programmes impact greatly on them.
Raufnomics, simply is about getting as much from little and using the resources of the state to maximally benefit the people. It is about strategic planning and intervention in society. It is making governance mass based and people-centric. It is guaranteeing the maximum good for the maximum number of people. It is in the words of our avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, “FREEDOM FOR ALL, LIFE MORE ABUNDANT” in the State of Osun; IPINLE OMOLUABI.
The biggest challenge we have had to grapple with is rising expenditure, especially wage bill, within the contrast of falling revenue. When I came in as Governor on November 27, 2010, oil was being sold above $100. It crashed to as low as $22 last year and sells for $48 at present. In contrast, my wage bill rose from N1.4 billion to N3.6 billion. Yet, we must also fulfil our obligation to the people who elected us and gave us the mandate to govern. We have made it a point that no one is left behind by our administration.
We are grappling with the challenge of finance and we are doing all within our power to complete all the projects we started. We are not going to leave any project uncompleted.
Prof Akin Oyebode, a foremost legal scholar, an activist and patriot led discussion on the most relevant topic, ‘Democracy, Good Governance and Sustainable Development: A Value-Added Approach’. We no doubt all drank from his fountain of wisdom.
I will like to thank once again, the organisers for inviting me. I thank also the good people of Osun, women leaders, traders, workers, civil servants, the organised private sector, students, traditional rulers, community leaders, political parties, civil society organisations, our business partners, our supporters and well-wishers, for the understanding, support and sacrifice made on our behalf these past six years and for the great faith they have in us.
I consider it a great privilege to serve and will forever seek the good of our state.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Osun a dara!
SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, AT THE COLLOQUIUM ORGANISED TO MARK THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE SECOND TERM OF HIS ADMINISTRATION, HELD AT WOCDIF EVENTS CENTRE, RING ROAD, OSOGBO, ON NOVEMBER 24, 2016