By Omo Akin
In those days, and even now, parents go to any length to see to the education and future of their children and wards. They go hungry; sell farm produce, and sometimes at ridiculous prices to raise funds for these. In most cases, the whole community will contribute to support a promising child of other parents to see such a child through higher education home and abroad. Such a child or ward comes back home after the long sojourn abroad and becomes a pride, not only of the parents but of the whole community. When he or she is returning home, the whole community goes agog, including the traditional ruler, welcomes him back home. The fruits of their endurance are ripe and everyone is happy.
Lesson: Such a child is no longer the child of the biological parents alone, but that of the whole community, even including the neighboring communities. He joins the civil service, which was, and still is, the in-thing noble profession, bringing glory to the community which prides itself as having produced a ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ working for government. He or she reciprocates the community’s gestures by being a good ambassador. He or she does not engage in sabotage or corruption that soils the image of the community. From his paltry wage which was a big deal in the community in those days, he assists the indigents, lobby for community projects to be cited, and when he or she becomes capable financially or otherwise, builds schools, hospitals, and becomes an iconic star of the community. It becomes a win-win situation for the individual, families and the community.
Sometimes one marvels at the ingenuity, wisdom and futuristic thinking of our forebears, even at their zero level of exposure to westernization and education, when parents go any length to secure the future of their wards, even at communal level. Many of us are products of this. The immediate, extended family and the entire community struggled to make us what we are today. For sure, we are not only the pride of our individual parents but of our extended family and community which contributed in no small measure financially and morally towards what we are today. And this is where the present government in Osun is wearing its thinking cap.
Our civil servants have been very enduring and it is very commendable. What we are all passing through today is normal as far as true development is concerned. We must be ready to persevere further so that our tomorrow and those of our children and grand children become better. We must not allow agents of retrogression to divert us from our predestined greatness.
Obafemi Awolowo, one-time Premier of the old Western Region of Nigeria, built the Cocoa House, he built the first regional university at Ife, the first television station in Africa and the first stadium-Liberty, the same way Governor Rauf Aregbesola is today building mega schools, equipping them, building a cargo airport, not for luxury but for business, building durable linkage roads for easy access, sponsoring the best of our brains to the best schools home and abroad, securing our lives and properties by partnering with security agencies and feeding our children to be able to learn better, even with paucity of funds…very lean purse indeed! Today, the Awo legacy lives on, and for sure Aregbesola’s legacy will live longer after him.
What our economy and civil service are passing through today is not the fault of our governor, neither is it entirely that of the former federal government under President Goodluck Jonathan, but a natural phase which a potentially great nation, State, People and individual must pass through. Osun is not alone in this, as many would want to believe. Take a simple trip to all states in Nigeria, and go to Abuja… you will discover similar or worse situation. The only difference is that what other states are going through are not being celebrated in the media, the way it is being done here in Osun. The oppositions in other states are not as loud as we have here.
Rauf must be strong indeed, not to have had problem of the heart in enduring all this. We must support him, fight for him, share in his pains and encourage him to soldier on.
Inasmuch as we see sincerity in him, as testified to by the national organized labour, comparing him better against many other states of the federation, it is our duty to be by his side always. He lives an austere and disciplined life the way Awolowo did. In a recent interactive session with the citizen dubbed Ogbeni Till Daybreak, Governor Rauf Aregbesola stated clearly, before local, national and international audience, albeit unbelievable, that he does not have an account either in Nigeria or anywhere globally and neither does he receive paycheck. This is an open challenge to the opposition to, at least for once, do some simple research, aided by the internet and all information technology, to unravel the truth in this statement. They ought to be honest enough to make public their findings, either way. But will they?
Using today’s wealth to create a far better tomorrow:
As painful as it may seem, the products of the alleged massive debts are there for everyone to see in our mega schools, good roads, interchanges, functional education, etc. We must not eat our tomorrow and that of our children and grand children today in forced salary and wage bills. Ogbeni could have decided to be a ‘salary only’-paying governor, leaving developments undone. But he chose to ride on the unpopular road for the sake of our future. What we are passing through today will definitely benefit us and our children and grand children tomorrow.