The article by Mr Remi Oyeyemi titled ‘Osun State – Time to Rupture the Vultures’ is an award winner in self-denial, semantic arrogance bad ‘belle’. A futile effort to deny the obvious gains of democracy spread across the state, an ego trip in word-play employing so many words and yet saying nothing, an indulgence in over-generalisations, unsupported allegations and the use of uncouth words and logic characteristic of beer parlour debates. The article was apparently written to achieve two objectives, (i) to abuse the person of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and (ii) to denigrate the landmark achievements that have been recorded by the administration. In his attack on the person of Ogbeni, Oyeyemi came across as a petty-minded wailer out to impress his co-travelers with his unabashed use of gutter language, lacking in tact, decorum and respect for the reading public. My purpose here is not to join issues with Mr Oyeyemi for abusing Mr Governor as I am sure Ogbeni’s skin must be by now so thick to absorb anything the likes of Oyeyemi throw at him.
Oyeyemi touched on raw nerves with his brazen effrontery attempting to rubbish the widely acclaimed policies and projects executed by this administration especially in the education sector. Rather than providing evidence to prove his ‘years of locust’ metaphor, Oyeyemi chose to regale us with his mastery of meaningless high-falluting words in a ploy to confound the poor reader. Because he was actually out to lie, he struggled and succeeded only in revealing his abject lack of knowledge of the socio-economic dynamics and developmental needs of Osun. In his odium-laden description of Ogbeni’s administration as the years of locust, he failed to tell us which previous administration was his benchmark years of development. In education which Oyeyemi singled out for derision, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has recorded ground-breaking achievements in all aspects, infrastructure, teachers’ morale, students conduct and performance, enrolment and retention. I challenge Mr Oyeyemi to deny the under-listed achievements in education.
Twenty-three Elementary Schools have been built, each 1000 capacity.Twenty-two Middle Schools have been built, each 1000 capacity.Eleven High Schools are at various stages of completion. Six have been completed commissioned and in use. The High Schools have capacities for 3000 students.All the new schools are state-of-the-art and compare favourably with schools in the western world. Aregbesola believes our students deserve the best.In addition to building new schools, forty dilapidated schools were stripped, refurbished and equipped. The schools are all over the place.The school feeding programme was expanded. 300000 elementary school pupils are fed lunch every school day. Over 210 million dishes have been served since Ogbeni’s arrival. The objective is to increase enrolment and retention. This objective is being achieved.In the 10 years that preceeded Aregbesola, the best WASCE result was 15.7% in 2010. The result for 2017 is 44.6%. A whopping 184% improvement in performance which the likes of Oyeyemi pretend not to see. We are not where we want to be yet, but there is no doubt that the investment in education is beginning to pay off.Decentralisation of education management by the creation of three district offices each headed by a Tutor-General of Permanent Secretary grade. As a means of boosting the morale of teachers, the TGs were appointed from the principals.The establishment of Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency.The establishment of Osun Education Marshal Corps to help eradicate truancy.
These were achievements recorded in the space of seven years which Oyeyemi has so uncharitably labelled as years of locust. It is either Oyeyemi does not reside in Osun or he is in self-denial, playing the proverbial ostrich with his head permanently buried in the sand and so cannot see nor appreciate these achievements which have been unparalled in the annals of Osun.
Oyeyemi made reference to WAEC results league table and the seeming low rank of Osun on it. This is a needless table WAEC compiles every three years despite the fact that the examination conditions and supervisory regime vary considerably across the nation. It is no secret that ‘miracle centres’ are all over the place where the integrity of the examination is known to be seriously compromised. Tolerance to these miracle centres differ from state to state. How can the results be comparable when the examination conditions can not be guaranteed to be uniform. Here in Osun, we do not use WAEC league table for any purpose. If Oyeyemi wants to compare Osun basic education with other states in Nigeria, a more credible league table is the JAMB league of university admissions by state. Osun has always been in the top three of this table for the past six years. This information is publicly available – simply Google Jamb admissions.
Mr Oyeyemi bombarded his readers with vacuous generalisations, alleging this and that without an iota of proof. He initially sounded altruistic and came across as a patriotic defender of the people’s interest. Sadly, he eventually revealed his true self in his concluding paragraphs as nothing but a desperate opposition politician believing that disparaging the incumbent administration using vulgar, abusive and emotional words will get him the throne. Osun people are far wiser than that. He concluded his diatribe by admonishing his cohorts to prepare for a show down should the 2018 elections not be favourable for them. We are waiting.
Dr Isiaka Ayodele Owoade is the Executive Chairman, Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency