RAUFNOMICS, a somewhat new but disturbing concept which encapsulates the economic philosophies and strides of the current governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is seeking to find room in our political economy. We however must refuse to allow such mediocre concept, lacking of clear outcome objectives, to ever take root in our dear nation. To think that the originator and campaigner in chief of such a wobbled theory is one who has presided over a state for the better part of his administration without a cabinet and is incapable of meeting a basic, yet fundamental obligation as the regular payment of salaries of civil servants who have dutifully fulfilled their own end of the bargain. What then are we supposed to learn from “Raufnomics”? Grandiose plans and white elephant projects? Incoherent macroeconomic policies almost leading to insolvency? Or populists projects that rarely translates to meaningful socio-economic benefits.
When the Osun state government launched the audacious school feeding programme, popularly called “opon imo “ (learning tablet), it sought to increase school enrollment and the quality of education. This project was to cost the state about 3.6 billion naira annually to feed about 300,000 pupils across the state. Yet, the WAEC results of 2016 ranked Osun state 29th among the 36 states of the federation, a shameful outing by any standard. What kind of thinking assumed that a poorly motivated teaching staff owed several months of salaries would give in their best in the class room? That kind of thinking can only be rooted in Raufnomics. To think that Dr. Shehu Adamu, commissioner of Education in Kaduna state, after a review of the state’s school feeding programme noted that primary school pupils had developed the habit of leaving school immediately after being served meals under the disguise of wanting to drink water. In other words, except carefully thought through and strategically implemented, feeding programmes do not improve quality of education, it only improves the popularity of the initiator.
I refuse to be lectured by individuals who have failed to deliver the basic dividend of a democratic society to their people, constituted authorities who only look at the next elections and not the welfare of the people they are mandated to serve. Perhaps, what we need is to develop a governance score card, with clear performance indicators, well thought out objectives relative to genuine and realist expectations of the people, agreeable timelines for deliveries of these expectations, an evaluation or performance measurement tool and benchmarks which reflects global, continental and regional standards. We can no longer afford to go to the ballot box with mere promissory notes or sensational slogans, for governance to work for us all, we must have a sense of what needs to be done first, and we must be willing to pressure the elected to get it done.
Rather than Raufnomics, we the people deserve bold, audacious and visionary economic philosophies, with evidence of impact like africapitalism. Africapitalism is a philosophy developed by Tony Elumelu predicated on the belief that African private sector can and must play leading roles in the continent’s development. It argues that the business of development cannot be left in the hands of government and donor agencies alone. To this effect, an entrepreneurship initiative was set up with a commitment of 100 million dollars over a 10 year period to identify and create 10 thousand entrepreneurs, create a million jobs and add 10 billion dollars in revenue to the African economy. In the last two years, 2000 people have already benefitted from the fund with evidence of progress being made. The Lagos state government have also taken this honourable path by setting up the employment trust fund with about 25 billion naira to create opportunities for thousands of brilliant Lagosians.
What ever might have been the idea behind Raufnomics, one thing is certain, the idea is a complete fiasco.