The responsibility to build on the foundation of the massive development already put in place by the present administration in Osun lies with every well-meaning citizen of the state. To be a co-builder and a responsible citizen entails a lot, which include but not limited to, prompt and adequate payment of taxes, levies and rates. It includes upholding the tenets of the Omoluabi virtue which this government has been promoting since inception. This virtue includes supporting good efforts of government in any way to achieve its aims and objectives, defending government (not keeping quiet) when destructive elements are at work in the media with aims to incite; protecting vital physical infrastructures like our roads and schools from destructive elements who would want to deface them in order to discredit government. We must also endure the dire economic and financial situation which we all know are not limited to Osun, and which we know are as a result of long years of misrule; we should seek information from appropriate quarters if and when we are at a loss on any issue concerning how we are governed, rather than listening to rumours, especially from unauthorized quarters. Each ministry, department and agency of government, apart from the ministry of Information, has an information unit with mandate and responsibility to give authentic information on demand.
This government will wind down before the end of the year, as dictated by the constitution. At a recent gathering of notable like minds, everyone in attendance seemed emotionally charged by this inevitable change in baton of leadership. The atmosphere was palpable: one for satisfaction, and the other with regrets. Satisfaction, that the governor came seven and a half years ago, saw and conquers. And regrets that, yes, the constitutional mandatory two terms will expire soon, but the governor will surely be missed by the majority. One of the attendees, a very popular retired federal permanent secretary opined that though, no one is indispensable, the Ogbeni has redefined governance in terms of leadership by example, good governance, populist attributes, welfarism, fear of God without being unnecessarily religious, Marxist/ Leninist outlook with grains of rightist bend, all rolled in one. The debate and discussions went on into the night and one thing that was certain, which I took home, was that individuals from diverse backgrounds, cutting across gender and age, are very satisfied from what they got from the tenure of Aregbesola.
An extension of the discussion was on the issue of succession and continuity. One of the female participants in the mind-rubbing gathering, (which yours truly will lead as a voluntary Tink-Tank/ Support Group very soon) said she’s imagining if the next governor will have the capacity to possess some of the sterling attributes of Aregbesola, because, according to her, filling the space totally will surely be an uphill task, if not outrightly impossible. That was what triggered the next round of discussion that made almost everyone at the event to be moody. Succession, they believed, is not a child’s play especially when the incumbent occupant has made his or her indelible mark on the sands of governance as done by Aregbesola. That was when the Lagos experience under the erstwhile governor and leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, came up for mentioning in the discourse. The proponents believed that Osun deserves the Tinubu/Fashola continuity model, if we must move forward to consolidate on the present gains. The model, according to the proponent, was that of a solid foundation for high level development laid by Senator Tinubu which was consolidated (or actualized) by his favoured successor, Mr. Raji Babatunde Fashola.
Former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, popularly called “BRF”, under the guardianship and support of his mentor and majority of well-intentioned Lagosians, took the State’s development to noble heights, that Lagos became a veritable reference point in pragmatic and good governance in the country. Lagos soon looked away from Abuja in revenue expectation. It developed a functional and citizen-friendly tax regime and because the people saw what their tax money was used for, soon supported the government, although not without initial resistance from certain quarters as is being reportedly experienced in Osun presently. Lagos State’s tax revenue consequently doubled, later quadrupled and continued to rise year-in year-out such that the monthly federal allocation became a tiny fraction of its total revenue base.
We had to go this entire hug in our discourse because the Lagos model can never be over-emphasised if states will move away from what many have referred to as “feeding bottle” economy to a self reliant one. The Lagos model has also brought to fore the need for continuity, despite the other side of argument against it; that is, since the incumbent government has laid a solid foundation for future development in the past seven and half years.
All we need now is an Actualizer in the mould of a Raji Fashola. We have no apology in asking our Ogbeni to give us one, so say my other colleagues and I in The Collective For Continuity soon to be unveiled. But if anyone thinks otherwise, he or she should suggest a better alternative. The solid foundation laid by Ogbeni is too strong to be demolished and we cannot risk toying with the future of this state. This house, built with solid foundation in the last seven years, must not be allowed to fall, and the only feasible assurance against this is a continuity government, “anointed”.