Leaders don’t come better than Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, who in just three-and-a-half years of leadership in Osun state proved that impossibility doesn’t exist in public service where the will to serve and love for citizens sit on the portal of the leader’s heart.
It was already a chaotic arrangement succeeding a regime that fell out with almost every stakeholder that matter in the Osun project. From education policies that upset the alumni of schools, to practices that made development partners bow out, to decisions that frustrated active workers and sent retired ones to early graves, Oyetola had an herculean task in his hands. Worse still, many doubted his ability to juggle all the balls dumped on him because of his gentle disposition. But the soft tread of a lion isn’t incompetence or cowardice.
Just as he promised, Oyetola gave life to an ailing civil service, opened up Osun for robust economic development, invested in infrastructures across the state, placed premium on the development of Osun youths, rescued the education sector, significantly improved the health sector, and scored a distinction in social protection. Yet, some ridiculous lot say he is not their ideal politician because he doesn’t dance on a moving convoy or spin on his heels in the middle of a church service. How more mistaken can a people’s knowledge of what good governance entails be?
A recent empirical survey across the 36 states of the federation titled “2022 Nigerian Sub-National Salary Survey” by BudgIT, a civic-tech organisation, reported that “at least 12 states owe their workers at least one month’s salary as of July 28, 2022”. Surprisingly, even states with fairly juicy allocation from the federation account made the class, Osun did not.
The calibre of states and reputation of governors in this position can then begin to provoke admiration in the mind of any reasonable and sincere person for Oyetola’s brilliance as a financial engineer, prudent administrator and purposeful leader who despite the state’s financial quagmire has creatively managed all obligations without anything falling through the cracks.
Despite inheriting an ocean of debt, Oyetola ensured Osun did not go under. Not once did he fail to meet the essential requirements of governance, instead he has tremendously improved the living conditions of Osun people by keeping faith with workers’ welfare and meeting their dependants’ needs through programmes like the Food Support and Health Insurance Schemes. No wonder Osun recorded its lowest ever poverty index of 8.3% under his leadership. These, he has done without borrowing a dime. He is not in the class of leaders who use the future of the people they lead as collateral for immediate gratification.
Those who arrogantly quiz what the big deal is about paying salaries just to score cheap political points found a cure to their delusion by comparing the allocations of other states to what Osun is receiving, yet paying salaries prove challenging for them despite the fact that all the bailout they got bailed out nobody.
Oyetola’s exploits in governance have been severally recognised by local and international organisations who have taken turns to name Oyetola as Nigeria’s best governor and good governance icon. Yet, he continued to push himself hard putting the interest of citizens above the selfish demands of wannabe godfathers (in case you are still wondering what gave birth to the group called ‘TOP’).
Oyetola has done very well. This is not some paid publicity, but a deduction from facts splattered across different volumes of reference materials and different media features that testify to his deliveries.
He has exceeded expectations within a very short time. One would expect an overwhelming vote of confidence in his proven abilities to move Osun on to greater heights in the years ahead, but that logic was punctured by a resounding shout of ‘hosanna’ and ‘crucify him’ from the same mouths.
The man deserving of this treatment is not one who ensured prompt payment of full salaries, pensions and gratuities, despite the meagre resources of the state.
A man deserving of this level of betrayal isn’t one who has processed the Bonds of retired Junior Officers in the public service who have between N 100,000 and N 2,000,000 to collect, and indeed, they have since started receiving their Bond certificates.
A man deserving of this treatment isn’t one who has paid over N 72billion as loan repayment in just about 42 months of administration in Osun. A man deserving of this treatment isn’t one who has avoided suspicious ventures that could plunge the State into further debts, causing the future generation to be visited with the sins of the fathers.
However, the history of Osun will always be kind to Oyetola and just as the Holy Books say that there are sacrifices that are reasonable and those that are abominable, it is left to ask what kind of “thank you” Osun has said and is saying to Oyetola for his selfless service to the State.
Elder Bolomope wrote from Osogbo