WHEN Engineer Abdul Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola stormed Osun State to contest for the most exalted political position at the state level- governorship- most skeptics saw him as a jester.
But within a short period of time, the Ibadan Polytechnic-trained Engineer through his political group- “Oranmiyan”- unleashed on the state the greatest political machinery which held the PDP controlled government by the jugular until it wrestled power from it.
During his vociferous electioneering campaign, the Oranmiyan himself did not mince words on his desire to rescue the hapless citizens of Osun state from the firm grip of the then PDP led government’s misrule.
The election which was keenly contested was not without malpractices orchestrated by the incumbent government but Aregbesola being a firm believer in the rule of law and the supremacy of the judiciary to be fair and just headed to the court with a view to getting his mandate.
After several months of legal fireworks, the Court of Appeal, finally declared Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as the duly elected Governor having scored the highest number of lawful votes in the election.
Moments after his historic swearing in ceremony, the Governor soon settled down to a rigorous work and like a man with the Midas touch, all the hitherto moribund sectors in the State started experiencing positive turnarounds.
It would be placed on record that for the first time in the history of educational development in Nigeria, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola started the distribution of school uniforms and sandals to students.
As if this is not enough, he also commenced the ‘O’ meal’ scheme in which free nutritional food were distributed to the pupils and students across the length and breadth of the state. And having seen the resultant effect of this laudable programme on the education development in Osun state, the federal government of Nigeria has now embraced and adopted it and it was dubbed the “Homegrown School Feeding” programme.
With this giant stride achievement, people were of the view that Ogbeni Aregbesola has reached his zenith but to Ijesa born governor, the only reward for success is continuous hard work.
It is against this background that the Osun State government under Ogbeni leadership came out with another master stroke and consequently launched the “Opon Imo” educational scheme where in the students were provided with computer tablet with all subjects there in.
Thus, the traditional scenes in which the students move about with lorry loads of text books has become a thing of the past and the wear and tear resultant effect associated with such practices have been completely eliminated.
With ‘Opon imo’ at the students’ possession, all what the students need to do is to click on any subjects he or she desires to read, and pronto, they are there in front of him.
As a good manager of resources who is in tune with the challenges associated with the use of electronic gadget in a country that is bedeviled with epileptic power supply like Nigeria, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola ensured that the revolutionary ‘Opon Imo’ tablet is solar powered with a view to ensuring that the students in the state make use of it optimally.
Thus when the initiative was finally launched in Iloko-Ijesha, it wasn’t without the usual pomp and pageantry which made eminent Nigerians from all walks of life and prominent political functionaries including the then Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, now Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, APC leader, Chief Bisi Akande, APC National Leader, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja who was represented by Chief Segun Oyewole among other dignitaries to identify with such a groundbreaking achievement.
The neglect which the public education experienced under the previous governments in the state which has culminated into the dilapidated structures unfit for animals not to talk of humans and couple with the non-incentives for the teachers resulting into low productive output has led to a drastic reduction of pupil’s enrollment into the state’s public schools.
But in spite of the poor finances currently facing all tiers of governments in Nigeria, Ogbeni Aregbesola, the people’s man refused to be undaunted, instead, he resulted into self sacrifice cutting off the usual office paraphernalia just to ensure that dividends of democracy are delivered to his people.
This executive paraphernalia denial by Ogbeni as his fondly called by his teeming supporters was stemmed from his belief that “education is the best legacy, it kills the blight of illiteracy and ignorance”.
Contrary to the sordid and sorry state of education which Aregbesola met when he was sworn in as the state governor, he has, however, turned the ‘hands of clock around’ by providing a conducive learning environment for pupils in the state of Osun through the erection of ultramodern structures stuffed with up-to-date instructional materials likened to the ones used in the advance countries of the world.
The new school which is three-in-one is comprised of;
1. The Elementary schools: It ccommodating Primary 1-4 pupils with a student population of 900.
2. The Middle Schools: It houses Primary 5, 6-Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1-3 pupils with 1,500 students capacity.
3. The High School: It is meant for Senior Secondary School (SSS) 1-3 with students population of 3,000. The High Schools, sharing a modern hall of 1,000 sitting capacity for examinations, and other purposes, as well as sports facilities and well equipped laboratories.
Mega Icon Magazine further checks revealed that Governor Aregbesola has built over sixty (60) new schools and renovated forty (40) which are spread and visible across the state.
At this juncture, it is obvious that the Aregbesola led-administration has fulfilled its promise made when its convened an education summit for the state chaired by an icon of literature knowledge in Africa, Professor Wole Soyinka who incidentally is the first black Africa’s first Literature Nobel Laureate.
The summit had four elements for the transformation of the state’s public schools, they include: feeding and health programme, reclassification of the schools into elementary, middle and high schools, infrastructural development, the provision of digital technology to drive education which the state dubbed “Opon-Imo”, which literarily means ‘the tablet of knowledge’ for all students.
State of Osun is now a tourist centre that has continued to attract tourists and “doubting Thomas” due to the world class school facilities provided by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Presently, his administration has intensified efforts towards increasing capacity building through training and retraining of teachers and exposure to digital teaching techniques.