During the week, a popular television station based in Lagos aired its community-oriented programme. The focus was on Osun. The anchor-woman had visited a rural settlement in one of the local governments located in the West Senatorial district of the state. In the about thirty-minute programme, one of the most prominent features was an ongoing road project which by estimation could be well over twenty kilometers.
A middle-aged woman with a baby firmly strapped to her back in the traditional way, came in front of the camera shouting, in Yoruba language, and waving her two hands with four fingers separated in the manner of the now common symbol of the Buhari/Osinbajo re-election four-plus four. Vibrating in manner of a die-hard, said “thank God for this continuity government of Oyetola oo. If it was the other side that came to power, they would have abandoned the project without doing anything meaningful until their four years expires. That was their way when they were in power. Oyetola O ku ise o, (welldone, Oyetola)”
Another resident of the community who identified himself as Chief Olu Gbadamosi was calmer in his demeanor. He told the reporter that when the Rauf Aregbesola’s government was coming to an end, the community was not very pleased because the political atmosphere then gave them a lot of concerns but they are happy that God has now provided another good replacement, Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his Deputy, Gboyega Alabi to continue the good work.
Nigeria, being a major oil producing nation, had hitherto depended on oil for a large chunk of its foreign exchange, thereby neglecting the agric sector for many years. During those years of neglect, a lot of rural roads that led to farmlands which were supposed to be the major source of income for the country, were neglected, thereby leaving them in a state of disrepair, making a lot of the rural areas where we have large farmlands inaccessible.
It has become obvious that the only way out of the current economic quagmire in the country is for all and sundry to go back and embrace farming on a massive scale. For a nation or state to promote agriculture, rural farmers need to be encouraged in a lot of ways and one of such ways is by making their roads good and accessible, so that they can go to their farms and transport their produce to the various markets around them.
Osun former governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, and the Osun Rural Access and Mobility Project (Osun RAMP) did a lot to get the state out of the current economic downturn through construction and rehabilitation of rural roads. This has had a huge impact on the lives of the people. It is heartwarming that his successor, His Excellency Mr. Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola has continued with vigour from where he stopped. This commitment has been demonstrated through appointing a special supervisor on works and infrastructure, apart from other critical areas. Right from Day One of taking the baton, Governor Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola has continued to demonstrate competence and knowledge of governance of the state through various quiet initiatives to ensure that Aregbesola’s legacy of hard work and sincerity of purpose does not die.
When continuity is mentioned, many do not appreciate the inherent advantages, even with the stellar performance of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola as Lagos governor. Office of the Chief of Staff is usually the engine room of government and therefore not a surprise that it offers the occupier good knowledge in governance. It is therefore a plus someone who has occupied that seat for eight consecutive years after successful private sector stint as does Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
The State of Osun, being an agraian, is made up of many rural areas with vast farmlands which need good access roads to allow the farming communities to transport their farm produce to nearby markets for sale.
The Aregbesola administration met a lot of the rural roads in a state of disrepair, but the story has changed significantly today as a lot of the roads are now wearing new look as farmers and traders alike are now experiencing boom in their activities as they now find it much easier to get to their farms. With the continuity government being headed by His Excellency Isiaka Oyetola, with his vast knowledge of workings of government as former Chief of State in the State, one is not surprised at the spate of development not only in road infrastructure but in all other critical areas of benefit of the majority of the people.
Commercial activities in many of the said communities have now doubled because their markets are now flooded with varieties of farm produce on every market day. A lot of communities which had formerly been cut off by rivers from major markets now have access to the markets because Osun RAMP I also constructed bridges that can stand the test of time.
Some traders spoken to on some rural market days across the state testified to the fact that they now make good business as a result of the roads, that are now in good condition, adding that they now get a lot of patronage from people living in urban centres.
Food and beverage vendors in the communities now make more money as more people visit the rural areas as a result of good roads; urban dwellers are now able to frequent the rural communities without the fear of bad roads damaging their vehicles.
Lumbering in most of the rural communities has also increased tremendously because trucks no longer get stuck in the mud during rainy season.
New private schools as well as filling stations are now springing up in many of the rural communities. This is because the roads are now motorable. There are now more cars plying the roads. The volume of cars plying the roads is now more than it used to be. Good roads, as they say, truly aid the rapid development of an area.
Just last week, wife of the Governor, Her Excellency Mrs Kafayat Oyetola, initiator of the the Ilerioluwa Development Initiative (IDC) hosted an empowerment scheme for rural women. No fewer than 1,000 women farmers drawn from the 30 local government areas benefitted from a revolving loan initiated by her.
Mrs. Oyetola launched the process in Osogbo in conjunction with Access Bank; at a ceremony presided over by the Governor himself.
Mrs. Oyetola said the focus of the initiative was to ensure that women in the state are fully engaged in vegetable plantation to support local consumption
She said the vegetable scheme had been designed in three modules which include training module, the distribution of improved seeds that are expected to give good yields within a very short period to the women as well as the giving out of loans to the women to kick start the vegetable plantations.
It is therefore the observation and verdict of Ayekooto that nothing should stand in the way of a Continuity government, if and only if the outgoing governor has performed creditably well as did the Emeritus Governor Rauf Aregbesola and adjudged by loal and international bodies.