THE environmental ambience of Osun State is an endowment given by Nature. The fact that the state’s totem once prided it as the State of the Living Spring proves this fact beyond reasonable doubts. With an impressive number of rivers, springs and streams, the massive arable land that the state has remains adequately cultivable and tillable, being sufficiently watered all the year round. In addition, the state witnesses an abundant annual rainfall, which, apart form making it well-drained, also lends credence to its amiable and congenial climatic and weather conditions. The annual rainy seasons, spanning up to eight (8) months are a great relief from the harshness of sunlight currently experienced in many parts of the country and the world at large.
Other climatic conditions, which are adjudged hostile and unpredictable in almost all parts of the country today, are very kind to “the State of the Living Spring”. With sunlight well regulated, the vegetation conditions of the state are suggestive of the Rain Forest Belt. What this translates to is the fact that there is good, fertile land of various kinds and texture. The soil types consist of loam, silt, sand and clay; which subsist in many parts of the state in favourable admixtures.
Thus favourably endowed, Osun State enjoys the rare grace of great agricultural potentialities. This factor, traditionally, had a compelling preponderance on the people, who in their large numbers, engaged in agriculture. Even today, a sizeable number of the populace engages in agriculture, through which they produce sufficient food and cash crops for domestic consumption, for inputs for agro-allied industries; and, even for export. Apart from the fact that agriculture, an enterprise that is given impetus by the favourable climate and environmental conditions, engages a reasonably large percentage of the populace as occupation, great portion of others who are engaged as traders, artisans, civil public servants or in other career callings in the white-collar or blue-collar categories, are farming practitioners of either subsistence or commercial scale.
The foregoing is intended to illustrate the benign, hospitable ambience that the State of the Virtuous radiates. This is to the effect of shedding light on how kindly and benevolently the natural, physical environment could deal with man in his sojourn and exertions on earth! While dwellers in many other parts of Nigeria, and the world at large, are crying foul over the extremities of the invisible, insurmountable hands of Nature, Osun State has all the components and elements of environment and climate smiling radiantly at it.
Carved out of the Old Oyo State on August 27, 1991, the present-day Osun State, located in the South-Western part of Nigeria, covers a land area of approximately 14,875 square kilometres. In terms of location, Osun State lies between longitude 04 00’E and 05 05’ and latitude 05 558″ and 08 07″. The state is bounded in the south by Ogun State; in the North by Kwara State; in the West by Oyo State; and in the East by Ondo and Ekiti States. This diversity in its boundary delimitations has much positive benefits to exert on its environmental proximity. The advantages are prolific.
In similar situations, contemporary events have proven that rather than flexing muscles, dissipating energy, time and enormous resources on boundary disputes, states that share physical land boundaries could cooperate to develop their territories to a cosmopolitan status. The present-day Lagos and Ogun States, at most of their bordering points, appear to be inseparable. Judging by the amenities on ground, the two states have an impressive share of industries, good road networks and other social infrastructure which are fruits from interactive and peer-control contribution. Even today, when the two states are under the governance of separate political parties, these political differences are inconsequential to the efforts by their governments and people to put in place an enduring, time-tested fast-tracked development.
At creation in 1976, Ogun State was worse than a civil service state. Granted that the state took the first position in the production of technocrats in all fields of human endeavour in Nigeria, as far as Western education is concerned, this fact alone is not sufficient to get a state developed. Today, the state is reaping a prolific harvest of its proximity with neighbouring Lagos State, with an impressive number of industries taking solace and recourse to that Gateway State. The environmental conditions of Ogun State as a gateway to Nigeria from many West African countries, coupled with its vast land, other climatic conditions which are friendly to investors gave fillip to this monumental achievement. More than these, the successive governments in the state view development as desirable and worthwhile. Thus, they pursued it with all priority. In terms of climatic conditions, vast land area and other natural endowments, Osun State is as blessed as, if not more than, its counterpart, Ogun. Why then the retarded progress in face of these multiple blessings?
To all the South-Western states in Nigeria, agriculture is a legacy that is God-given. Today, Oyo State is in the front position in the nation-wide supply of food items, especially fruits. You know this easily if you observe how many lorry loads of fruits are carted out of the state in due seasons. Ondo and Ekiti States still keep the legacies of their illustrious ancestors by providing a good supply of cash crops, consisting of cocoa, kolanuts, palm produce and timber, to mention just a few. This is not to mention aquatic, livestock and agro-processing products, especially, the local gin, which is used mainly by industries based in Lagos. Ogun State, in spite of its earlier-traced industrial focus in recent times, has not forsaken its agricultural antecedents. Even Kwara State, a savannah state that has become an enclave of the aristocratic and feudalist class, is fast improving its agricultural base. Where exactly has the Oyinlola years of sloth and waste led Osun State to among its neigbouring states? The ousted administration, upon all its boastings and ranting had a vast expanse of undeveloped land area overgrown with forests to show.
Another benefit that should have accrued to Osun State in those years of lethargy by virtue of its boundary proximity to five states is enhancement in commercial activities and facilitation in exchange of goods and services. These were not to be, as various problems encumbered full exploitation of these benefits, hinged majorly on bad leadership by the PDP-led administration.
Even though a sizeable number of unemployed youths migrated to the neighbouring states for a “greener pasture”, they did so out of frustration the inter-state roads remained bad. The good ones that are in good order were constructed under the latter military regimes in the state and the. Alliance for Democracy (AD) controlled administration of Chief Bisi Akande. The derelict state of things inherited from the misadventure of 2003 to 2010 is unfortunate.
Lastly on this note, Osun State’s vantage position, in terms of its conspicuous location and its proximity to five different states, was abused and underutilized under the wasted years of last administration. Many roads which would have facilitated the maximization of the state’s accelerated progress from its ample location remained abandoned; while many of them were claimed to have been constructed/rehabilitated in yearly budgetary allocations. This conspiracy throve under the vicious grip of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The background traced above is for the purpose of reminding readers of the depth of devastation which the state and its people suffered under Oyinlola’s pernicious ‘regime’. In other words, what we had in the area of flood management, erosion control, sanitation and environmental protection could not be surprising, since that administration obviously lorded itself over us to plunder us and destroy our land and its people. In this segment of this report, OSUN DEFENDER Magazine shall shift focus to specific misdemeanour of the ousted administration. These collated facts are products of reflections and observations of experts, consisting of civil engineers, architects, sanitation experts and environmentalists.
To be continued