Thank God the story has changed; the critics of delayed cabinet constitution will for once hold their peace and stop the unnecessary hues and cries about the failure of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola to appoint the commissioners over the various ministries in Osun State. As it is the usual practice, majority of the critics had expected that mistakes of the past would reverberate like the echo of a sound in a deserted chamber. They were disappointed that only thirteen conventional ministries would be manned by commissioners while an additional ministry of inter-regional integration is to be managed by one young brilliant lawyer to meet the yearnings of the generality of Yoruba people who have incessantly been clamouring for a reversal to the old order; whereby all the Yoruba people in the states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and part of Kwara, Kogi and Edo states would begin to see themselves as one and entrench the principle of true federalism that brought unprecedented growth and development to the old western region under the tutelage of the late sage; chief Obafemi Awolowo. They must have been disappointed too that something new that will expose their excesses and ineptitude while they held sway for close to eight years would be exposed.
I was not surprised about what I saw in the conference hall of the local government service commission last week Friday when a team of young individuals were sworn in as commissioners to facilitate rapid turn around of Osun State that has lagged behind for too long due to acute maladministration.
I am sure these people knew what took place in Osun State between 1999 and 2003 when Chief Bisi Akande was the governor. Within a period of four years, Chief Akande put in place what can be described as the best state secretariat in Nigeria today. The man, who is now the National Chairman of the most organised party in Nigeria opened up the conducive for human habitation. Unfortunately, what took four years to build was almost destroyed by those who fraudulently occupied the place for seven and a half years.
What is expected of the new cabinet is to swing into action and key themselves into the vision of the governor so that the state can move out of doldrums. Some of them might not know the process that brought them into the new government, but I think I owe them all the duty to remind them and to let the public know too.
The uncommon ingenuity of Mr Governor was brought to bear when notable academics were contacted in July to come down to Osogbo. One of them that is well known to me is an old school mate to Professor Sola Adeyeye who is now a senator of the federal republic. The impression was that he would be coming to Osogbo to felicitate with him with the advice that he should come with spare dresses because he might have to spend a day or two with him. It was in Osogbo that all the invitees were briefed that they have been invited to screen some nominees for the positions of commissioners and special advisers. They were later told that the reasons for their invitation were kept secrete so that there would no undue influence from any power brokers from the state to tinker with the objectivity of their assignment. If any members of the screening exercise are contacted, I am sure they will tell whoever that those who eventually emerged either as commissioners or special advisers actually distinguished themselves during the screening exercise.
I may not know all the commissioners and special advisers intimately but there are three of them with whom I have had intimate interactions and I am convinced they can prove their mettles any time, any day. What is left is for them is to translate their God-given clout to reality by transforming the state from its present status of a non-performer to the envisaged status of a great achiever within the shortest time possible.
Though relatively young in age, the crop of commissioners that have been recommended for Osun by the distinguished Nigerians in the screening panel are capable of translating dreams to reality, given a very conducive operational environment. There are however challenges that they must first surmount if any impacts are to be made.
First and foremost is the factor of the old political foggies who may not want huge success to come from the functionaries. They have begun to complain already under the pretext that those recently sworn in have little exposure and experience in public life. I confronted one of the internal critics last Sunday; barely two day after swearing in and took time to educate him, that private operators are he drivers of most performing economies around the world today. With the kind of slackness in most government institutions today, any successful private practitioners will do better in public circle if given free hands to operate.
The second reservation expressed is that but for a few of them who are known politicians, most of them lack the political experience to maneuver the political terrain that will be the platform of operation of the commissioners, Whereas, it is over- politicization of government instruments that is militating against effectiveness and the efficiency profile of government machinery. Most of the time we see that mediocrity is preferred over and above proficiency. That is why most public instruments are not producing the desired results because those better materials are out there untapped. They are said not to be well connected. This notion is fast becoming archaic because in Osun State today, we have the best materials in place that are capable of making the best out of affordable opportunities.
We also have the imperviousness and general apathy of the general public. The general public has gotten used to a kind of lackadaisical and lacklustre attitude toward government business and programmes. People around here believe that government is not always serious as they most of the time say one thing and do another thing. Those saddled with the responsibilities of executing government poliscies often work against their success such that any time a policy maker makes a pronouncement, it sounds rhetoric because deep inside them, the policy maker means a direct opposite of what is being said. The new team must ensure that public confidence is restored in government businesses by matching words with actions as the days go by. Being exemplary will not only instill discipline, it will garner people’s support for government policies and programmes.
As young and vibrant individuals, the future lies very much ahead of them. The temptation of grabbling it quick through inordinate ambition of amassing wealth will only bring disrepute that will quickly erode public support needed to have successful policy implementation. A paradigm shift from practices known with the immediate past government in Osun State will speak volumes for the present administration and its achievements when it will be time for stocktaking in a short while.
Three years, three months and a few days may appear very far away; but honestly, it will soon come to an end like the passage of a thunder. Today, we are still celebrating the success of Ogbeni Aregbesola at the court of appeal because it is still fresh in our memory. Rumination will cause the reality to dawn on us that we are already eight months and twenty two days into the regime of Governor Aregbesla. This is to tell us that time and tide wait for no man and the sluggard will soon realize that the days of unnecessary pleasure will soon be ripe to yield nothingness and sorrow to the indolent. The time to rewrite the history of Osun State is now, we cannot afford to fritter away another golden opportunity because sooner than we envisage it, posterity will be there to size us up.