Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Saturday brought to for the closeness of his administration to and the magnitude of his popularity with the people of Osun by stating that he is the only head of government in Africa that has ventured to walk on the streets with the people for as long as 91.5 kilometer stretch in the whole of Africa.
Aregbesola, while speaking on the popular audience feedback programme tagged “Ogbeni till day break” at the WOCDIF centre in Osogbo, said he achieved the feat through the healthy living program tagged Walk-to-Live.
He said the walk with the people has gone a long way in promoting healthy living among the people and as well created a high sense of unity and productivity among the people of Osun.
An analysis of the various editions of the program which cumulated at 91.5kilometres shows that the governor started the program in Osogbo the state capital on18/2/12 walking with a huge crowd through a total of 5.8 km.
Two other editions of Walk-to-Live held in Osogbo with 4.8 km and 5.2 km respectively before the next edition held in Iwo on Saturday 14/4/2012 with the governor walking 5.6km.
The rest of the editions show Ile-Ife (6.8km), Ila-Orangun (6km), Ikire (5.8km), Ilesa (5.2km), Ikirun/Iragbiji (5.8km), Ede (6.2km), Ejigbo (4.8km), Ijebu Jesa (6.2km), Apomu/Ikire (5.4km), (14.), Ilobu/Irep (6km), Ipetumodu (6.8km), Osogbo (5km).
Aregbesola, who stated that the “walk-to-live” programme with the people will be revived soon, explained that the feat has only been beaten by the former Chinese leader, Chairman Mao Tse Tong and the late Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro.
He said the walk with the people of Osun shows that there can be a government that has so much faith in the people, stressing that for a leader or governor in Africa to walk freely with the people in their community goes a long way to show that the people have ample reasons to be connected to such a leader.
“It is amazing to know that I have walked a total number of 95.1 kilometres with the people of this great state right in their corridors and immediate communities for the promotion of physical fitness and healthy living as preparation for high productivity.
“It goes a long way to show that this government is in firm connection with the people of Osun and it also portrays the fact that our people have so much faith and confidence in us.
“We are the first government in Osun to take the health of the people seriously to the extent of having a healthy walk with them.
“It is interesting to know that the feat of walking a total distance of 95.1 kilometres directly and closely with the people has only been beaten by just two leaders in the world.
“The only two individuals that did more than us in history are Chairman Mao and Fidel Castro.
” Chairman Mao of China, who during the coastal revolution, moved with his people across the entire China to mobilise the people for his revolution and the second was Fidel Castro of Cuba that marched from Siamedra in the Eastern part of Cuba to Havana.
“Outside those two individuals, count me as the only head of a government in Africa that had moved with the people to cover as much as 95.1kilometer of roads.
“I own the record and I will still continue.
“It speaks so much about our administration. It means we are in connection with the people. It means they have faith in us. It means they love us and appreciate all our social interventions in the state,”Aregbesola explained.
The governor, who promised that the walk with the people, will be revived again stressed that the aim of the walk is to create a complete man, who is physically fit, healthy and sound mentally so as to increase the production drive of the state.
He reminded the gathering that the 95.1kilometer he did with the people in different towns across the state does not include the three times he walked from Okeijetu/St Charles to Nelson Mandela Park with members of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, OYES.
The Governor explained that he embarked on the walk with the youths so as to build in them the fitness for productivity, noting that it is interesting that the people joined the walk with pump and pageantry because they love their governor.
“Let me also remind you that the 95.1kilometers walk I had with the people in different towns across the state does not include the three times I walked with our OYES cadets from Okeijetu/St Charles to Nelson Mandela Park.
“Yes, I walked three times with the youths along the streets of Osogbo and they loved it and they were excited to see their governor walking with them along their streets.
“You could feel the excitement and joy on their faces. It was so because they are happy with us and we also had the confidence to walk with them on the streets just because we know that we are doing what they elected us to do.