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Oyetola: Leading Osun With “The Spirit Of Davos”

  When last did you study the world map?  Do you know that it is rewarding to so do? Are you aware that each gaze at the map teaches a new lesson in Geography?  Do you know Davos and the contemporary relevance of that city to our world? Do you know what we call the…”
January 14, 2019 11:23 am


When last did you study the world map?  Do you know that it is rewarding to so do? Are you aware that each gaze at the map teaches a new lesson in Geography?  Do you know Davos and the contemporary relevance of that city to our world? Do you know what we call the ‘spirit of Davos’,   a global model based on interdisciplinary, informal and direct interaction among peers to promote prosperity for all? Do you know that Mr Gboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun is fast creating a ‘Davos Model’ in the socio-economic and political life of our State?  What is this ‘spirit of Davos’?  You care to know?  Come along, please.

Davos is a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the  Alps region of Switzerland. The year was 1971.  Professor Klaus Schwab, a German-born business Professor at the University of Geneva organized a symposium at Davos titled: “European Management Forum”?  This teacher of men observed a flourishing trajectory of American Management Practices as impacting more in positive ways, the levels of efficiency and productivity in American economic institutions.  He decided to clone the practices to Europe through knowledge transfer.

Are you aware that the Forum started as a ‘Symposium’ in the summer of 1971 with 444 business executives from Western European firms.  It was held in the Davos Congress Centre under the patronage of the European Commission and European industrial associations.  Are you aware that it changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987 and sought to broaden its vision to include providing a platform for resolving international conflicts? The lyrics of Bob Rasta Nesta Marley interludes: “One love, One earth,

Let’s get together and Feel alright.”

Do you know that Professor Schwab as a thinking academic, developed the Forum to test-run his new-found “Stakeholders Management Theory”? Are you aware that the theory believes that  corporate success in the world will be better served if managers actively take into account a rainbow of  interests.  The interest in this context include those of all the shareholders, clients, customers, employees and the communities within which the firm is situated, including governments.  Do you know that this theory has been working in all situations in our world? Are you aware that political leaders soon began to use the annual meeting as a neutral platform to resolve most of the intractable problems in the world? Are you aware that this is called the ‘Davos Process’?  You want to know?  Come along, please.

The Davos process was the name given to the process of reconciliation and rapprochement between Greece and Turkey, conducted in 1988 between Andreas Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Özal. Their meeting took place at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The relations between Greece and Turkey  marked by intermittent periods of mutual hostility and reconciliation.  In March 1821, the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire began. The Greeks formally declared their independence in January 1822, and after the Battle of Navarino in 1827, the establishment of a Greek state was recognized in the London Protocol of 1828. Greece won its independence from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in 1832. During the war, Greece lost some territories including Istanbul, the present capital of Turkey. This was tagged ‘a great idea’ that all Greek politicians subscribed to.  This was strongly opposed by the Turkish politicians.  Hence, the strength of arguments left the stage of mere abstraction and resulted into physical military campaigns.

Since then the two countries launched  four major military campaigns against themselves which included the Greco-Turkish War (1897), the First Balkan War of 1912 – 1913, the First World War (1914 to 1918) and finally the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22).  The last war was followed by the Greco-Turkish population exchange and a period of friendly relations in the 1930s and 1940s. The two countries joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)  at the same time in 1952.  The entire world rejoiced at the seeming birth of peace in the region.  Alas! International Relations descended to all time low again in 1955 due to the Cyprus issue, the 1955 Istanbul pogrom and the expulsion of the Istanbul Greeks in the 1960s, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, and subsequent military confrontations over the Aegean dispute. The World Economic Forum in 1988 provided a forum to chart peace between the two warring countries.  The Forum helped them to turn back from the brink of war. This was the true spirit of Davos….the spirit of reconciliation and peaceful engagement.  Do you know that was hardly all?  Come along, please.

The year was 1992.  The occasion was the World Economic Forum.  The apartheid South African President F. W. de Klerk met face to face with Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the Davos Economic Forum  meeting.  The three doyens of struggles at different ends were separate as fingers yet one as a hand as they jointly appeared to address participants with tones of peace, unity and reconciliation.    Do you know that at the 1994 annual meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat reached a draft agreement on Gaza and Jericho? That was seen as a miracle to douse political tension in the Middle East.  Do you know that the cancellation of invitation to North Korea in late  2015 to the 2016 meeting as a result of its 6th January Nuclear Test shaped the new stance of diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula on the import for international dialogue?

Do you know that in 2017, the World Economic Forum in Davos attracted considerable attention when for the first time, a head of state from the People’s Republic of China was present at the resort to prove to us that protectionism could bring isolation and reduce economic opportunity in the world?  Do you know that other issues apart from economy are coming to the table in Davos? Do you know that at the 2018 meeting, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the plenary speech to highlight climate change, terrorism and protectionism as the three major global challenges, and expressed confidence that they could be tackled with collective effort?

Do you know that this year’s World Economic Forum is around the corner and it is coming up in Davos beginning from 21 January, 2019? Do you know that the Forum is to improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industrial agenda?  This is the “Spirit of Davos” – informal and direct interaction among peers.  Do you know that our country and State must imbibe the “Spirit of Davos” in our political and economic lives? Do you say “Why”?  Come along, please.

Do you know that the face of our economy is not looking up? Are you aware that the current strike of some unions and the threat of strikes by some others are compounding the already tensed situation?  Alas! The World Bank in its “2018 Economic Update” announced that Nigeria’s economy in 2019 is bleak.  The World Bank did not leave us to guess.  It has suggested certain key policy reforms that must be implemented to support macro-economic resilience for Nigeria.  The World Bank noted that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth hovered  slightly below two per cent in 2018, largely driven by non-oil industry and services and it does not seem to improve from that in 2019.  It noted that Nigeria, like many other countries, has under-invested in human capital and remains very low compared to others. In its report titled “Investing in Human Capital for Nigeria’s Future”, the report urged stakeholders to join government in addressing the country’s alarming human capital outcomes.  The report resonates:  “As a member of the Human Capital Working Group, the World Bank stands ready to support the Nigerian government in its bold steps to improve the lives of its citizens.”

The report suggested certain key policy reforms to support macro-economic resilience for Nigeria. The report noted that in the second quarter of 2018, the oil sector contracted by 4.0 per cent. The usually resilient agricultural growth slowed significantly to 1.2 per cent, impacted by the security challenges in the northeast and Middle Belt regions. The non-oil industry and services, which constituted over half of Nigeria’s economy, picked up to 3.1 per cent and 2.1 per cent, driven by growth in construction, transport and ICT.  The report noted that the Nigerian economy remained dependent on the small oil sector (under 10 per cent of GDP) for the bulk of its fiscal revenues and foreign exchange earnings.

The report noted that oil revenues increased with recovering oil prices in 2018, but financial receipts distributed to the three tiers of government were negatively skewed and constrained by the petrol subsidy and other prior deductions that enjoyed the pride of first charge.  Equally, political chess-games ahead of next year’s general elections had  negatively affected the full implementation of the over $2.8 billion Eurobond in 2018. It was predicted that Nigeria’s weak economic recovery, with current oil price volatility, fiscal challenges and speculated post-election confusion  could also return the country to another round of growth crises.

Do you know that sixty one out of ninety one registered political parties in Nigeria had rejected the new INEC Guidelines on the 2019 election? Meanwhile, are you aware of the controversy on kinship President Buhari, trailing a female official of INEC?  Do you know that this crisis has a in-built mechanism to rob on the prosperity of our economy and peace?  Can you quickly recall how in 2015, insecurity and politics over-shadowed governance, leading to a reduced capital expenditure provision at below N600 billion?  Are you aware that we slipped into economic recession because we could not implement the budget and run the economy pushed by a combination of issues such as post-election challenges and policy inaction?

Hurray! A new ‘spirit of Davos’ is ashore.  How?  The Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udoma had said that in the ‘spirit of Davos’, President Muhammadu Buhari advised his cabinet to pay particular attention to the economy and not be distracted by politics as it was observed that some key government officials however were already steeped in politics.  Lukman Otunuga, a Cyprus-based FXTM’s Research Analyst has identified the ‘spirit of Davos’ we need as his voice resonates: “What the country needs is real change coming from the leadership and focus on development and the economy. This attention is especially needed because while electioneering goes on, investors would be calculating their risk premiums by the level of pre-election jitters. …Nigeria, like many other emerging markets, would likely experience an acceleration of capital outflows, hence everybody should be at work now. With the economy having faced obstacles for long, and now renewed pressure from oil prices, sliding reserves, geopolitical risk factors and an appreciating dollar, it is better to act wisely and avoid post-election crisis.”

Eze Onyekpere, the Lead Director of Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) catches the current mood better as he says:  “It is obvious that as politics and campaigns take a front seat, governance, especially economic and fiscal governance, will occupy the back row.Budget implementation will be the most hit, as officials who are mandated to implement budgets, exercise oversight and guarantee due process, will be otherwise engaged.For instance, the pulling out of HSBC, one of the largest banking consortiums in the world from Nigeria, and GE’s withdrawal from the railway concession, have been dismissed by government officials, who otherwise should have read the sign that economic policies and governance structures need to be rejigged.When they are now stressed by day to day campaigns, it would be asking for too much to expect them to come up with ideas and strategies for diversification of the economy.”

Jide Ojo, a Development consultant and public affairs analyst, , said: “As usual, the economy has taken a back seat with the Senate’s inability to form a quorum on November 13 2018 and consequent adjournment for a week.As things stand, the presentation of the budget for 2019 has been delayed. The 2018 budget was presented to the National Assembly on November 7, 2017. We are already approaching the end of November, with the 2019–2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper just being sent to the NASS on November 6, 2018.As politicians canvass for votes, there will be more pressure on the Naira and there might be spike in inflation due to the envisaged spending by those seeking to contest in the election.”

While these confusions are on the front burner, the ferocious war in the North East is not abating.  The herdsmen are becoming more audacious with killings of innocent people.  The kidnappers and assassins are having swift businesses. In fact, medical doctors in Ondo State had to stage public processions last week to remind the police to live by its mandate to protect lives and property including lives of medical doctors.  Law enforcement seems to be taking a sudden flight despite Ministry of Defence Budget for 2019 which stands at #158.12 billion.  Do you know that we need the ‘spirit of Davos’ now to adopt the ‘Stakeholders Management Theory’ of Professor Klaus Schwab?  Why?  Do you know that despite the serious security challenges, we budgeted for the Ministry of Defence  for 2019 a sum of #158.12 billion as against #242.45 billion for the 2019 elections? Do you know that Nigeria’s stakeholders must discuss this cost of elections in view of paucity of funds, mass poverty, mass unemployment and rising industrial crises?

And now a quick one on the elections. Do you know that   no fewer than 428,446 permanent voter cards are yet to be collected in the State of Osun as at Sunday 12th January, 2019?  Do you know that Osun has a total number of 1,253,484 PVCs that were distributed out of 1,681,930 voters’ cards leaving 428,446 uncollected permanent voters’ cards?  Do you know that 84, 271,832. million Nigerians registered to vote in the 2019 general elections, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission?  The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahood Yakubu, disclosed the figure at a regular meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja.  According to Yakubu, 14.5 million Nigerians registered between April 27, 2017 when the Continuous Voter Registration began and August 31, 2018 when the exercise ended. He declared that added to the 69,720,350 persons that were registered in 2015, the total number of registered voters as of today stands at 84, 271,832.

The INEC boss, however, said the number of registered voters might drop after the cleaned up of the register aimed at detecting double registration and illegal registrants.He also called on Nigerians to help the commission to weed out illicit registrants. The voice of the INEC Boss interludes: “Although the figure may drop slightly after we run the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System, the current figure represents about 21 per cent increase on the existing register.On this note, let me also appeal to Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the ongoing nationwide display of the particulars of new voters for claims and objections as required by law. By doing so, citizens will be helping the commission to further clean up the register and purge it of all ineligible registrants as required by Section 12 of the Electoral Act.”

Do you know that we are losing much money and time by not imbibing the ‘spirit of Davos’ to adopt the Stakeholders Management Theory for INEC?  Do you know that if there had been inter-agency collaborations among National Population Census Commission, National Identity Card Management, National Road Safety Commission and our Mobile Telephone Services providers, we would have saved huge amount of money each agency are wasting to collect vital statistics including the data we need for elections?  Are there no Professor Schwab here to teach us ‘Stakeholders Management Theory?  Why are we not imbibing the ‘spirit of Davos’? How do we explain the huge expenditure on data capturing and printing of voters’ cards when we can use the same amount to get permanent cards to contain other vital statistics to resolve our knotty national and economic questions? Do you know that we can use only one card as ATM card for banks, national identity card, national health insurance card and voter’s card’, all rolled into one? Do you know that if we can fix this problem using Stakeholders Management Theory, we shall be close to civilization? Do you know that there are more to our failures than meet the eye?  Do you want to know?  Come along, please.

Do you wonder what happens in our National Assembly? Are you not concerned of the ‘Sarakian Power Puzzle Syndrome’ and ‘Melayeic Drama’ telecasting our expensive civil rule to the world as obscene drama ‘worse than public pornography’? Do you know that diagnosis has revealed a besmearing detail?  Alas! The Federal Government has declared that 30 per cent of Nigerians suffer mental illness.  The Federal Ministry of Health through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, said this at the Mental Health Action Committee and Stakeholders’ Workshop in Abuja.  Abdullahi said that with a population of about 200 million, Nigeria had a high rate of mental illness.

This implies that Nigeria has about 60 million persons with mental illnesses.  This is equal to the population of Tanzania (60 million) .  It is equal to the population of Ghana (30 million) , Liberia (5 million),  Senegal  (15 million  and Republic of Benin (10 million) , all put together.  It is just slightly lesser than the population of Britain (66 million).   The voice of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health resonates:  “There are many different mental disorders, with different presentations. They are generally characterised by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Mental disorders include: Depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, intellectual disabilities and developmental disorders including autism. In Nigeria, an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of our populations are believed to suffer from mental disorders. This is a very significant number considering Nigeria has an estimated population of over 200 million. Unfortunately, the attention given to mental health disorders in Nigeria is inadequate. The level of awareness of the Nigerian public on mental health issues is also understandably poor, and with lots of misconceptions.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the Director of Public Health, Dr Evelyn Ngige, said mental illness could destabilise a person more than HIV, heart disease, accidents, and wars combined. She said Nigeria’s mental health statistics was too bad, adding that the high rate of suicide in places like Lagos may just be the tip of the iceberg. In Nigeria, an estimated 20 -30 per cent of our populations are believed to suffer from mental disorders, which is a very significant number. Considering the current economic situation in the country, the above statistics are damning and in the light of the recent suicidal episodes recorded in parts of Lagos (which are obviously a tip of the iceberg), it forces a rethink in our general attitudes to mental health and questions our current maintenance of the status quo.

The director said the committee on mental health had failed to achieve its goal because of lack of funds.”. Yet, we have enough fund, a whopping #242.45 billion for the 2019 elections?  Extrapolating from the statistics of our mental health, therefore, it can be  argued that 30 per cent of the 84.2 million registered voters are having issues with mental health.  Equally, the extrapolation can go unquestionably further that 30 per cent of our elected representatives are having serious challenges of mental health.  Allah Akbar! If not, how do we explain all the ‘Sarakian Power Puzzle Syndrome and  ‘Melayeic  Drama’?  How do we explain the new wave of vote-buying?  How do we explain the high rate of violent crimes?  How do we relate the issue of passing a budget for the people to be turned to political chicanery to boo a sitting President in a joint session of the National Assembly?  Don’t you think that something must have been definitely wrong with us?  Can our economy sustain proposed Life Pension for lawmakers in our National Assembly?

Hurray! Mr Gboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun has imbibed the ‘spirit of Davos’ in all his actions.  He is putting the ‘Stakeholders Management Theory into practice.  Do you want to know more about that?  Come along, please.  Just last week, Mr Gboyega Oyetola embarked on ‘thank-you tours’ of all the constituencies in the State of Osun.  He was accompanied by various party chieftains and admirers.  The Governor was given warm receptions by mammoth crowd in all the places visited, including Ife.  As part of the ‘spirit of Davos’ and in the actualization of the ‘Stakeholders Management Theory’ Governor Gboyega Oyetola paid courtesy calls on all the traditional rulers in all constituencies in the State. The courtesy calls adopted again, the ‘Felt-Need Theory’ by obtaining the detailed needs of the people as contained in the combined speeches presented by the traditional rulers of our various towns and cities with a view to correlate them with the thinking of his administration.  He left no community in doubt of his preferences for good health, food security, gainful employment for the youth, payment of full salary to workers and adequate security of lives and property to all residents of the State.  Do you know that during the visits, some unusual things happened in some places in the State?  Do you know that these unusual things are likely to jump-start political, social, educational and economic development of our State? It was the ‘spirit of Davos’ in display.   Come along, please.

It was the fourth day of the visit.  It was the turn of Ife.  The entire city of Ife was agog, waiting anxiously to catch the glimpse of ‘Ileri-Oluwa’, the Governor of the State, Mr Gboyega Oyetola.  Otunba Iyiola Omisore, the Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party came out with thousands of his cult-like loyalists to welcome the Governor to Ife, the real cradle of our civilization.  Throughout the God-ordained engagement, the spirit of Davos was in total display.  Muslims were seen chanting: “Allah Akbar!” Christians were seen shouting: “Halleluyah!” It was a political galilee  of sort.  A carnival-like film of love displayed by notable Omoluabi in the house of Oduduwa was in motion.   The film was unedited in the palace and the Senatorial candidate of the APC ,Honourable Famurewa was smiling home with victory despite the fact that the election is yet to be conducted.

And yet another drama at Ijebu- Jesa played out.  Otunba Ojo Williams, a lawyer, a former strong PDP Chieftain and now a strong SDP chieftain joined the train of the Governor to pay courtesy call on all the traditional rulers of Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency.  At the reception rally organized by the people for the Governor, Otunba Ojo-Williams held the microphone to declare peace-treaty again, a replica of Imesi Declaration ending the Kiriji War in Yoruba land.  The mammoth crowd was thrown into frenzy.

The moment was sweeter than honey.  Chief Awolowo and Uncle Bola Ige would be full of joy in their graves as the hope for Yoruba unity seems not to be a pyrrhic dream.  With the unification of the political forces of Aregbe/Oyetola with Omisore, our State is on the path of honour and progress.  All of us must key into this ‘spirit of Davos’ and make the new  ‘Stakeholders Management Theory’ of Oyetola work. This initiative is good for Osun.  Can our Governor, in the name of Oduduwa stretch further this hand of accommodation to others in the ‘opposition bracket’ to complete the formula? Kenneth Kaunda in his book, Zambia Shall be Free’ talks of of Harry Nkumbula, an opposition figure thus:  “ I wish history will not judge him too harshly for he was loyal to us in his early days.” This is the spirit of Davos ruling Mr Gboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun. Magnanimity in victory is  a good recipe for Osun.  It is a good delicacy for Nigeria.  May the ‘spirit of Davos’ continues  to endure with us.  Chief Awolowo interjects:“I will, more than ever before, subject myself to severe self-discipline. Only men who are masters of themselves become easily masters of others.  Therefore, my thoughts, my tongue and my actions shall be brought under strict control always.”….promoting the spirit of Davos.

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