By Prince Kassim Afegbua

It is very obvious that the APC candidate in the Osun state election for Saturday is already decided for victory on account of his silent achievements and breakthrough in the state of Osun. Oyetola, by his nature prefers to be unsung, allowing his achievements to speak on his behalf, each time Osun political economy comes to the fore.

By his character and content, he has been able to stabilise the high voltage political temperature in Osun state. Oyetola, has silently impacted on the economic wellbeing of the state without making noise about it.

While his opponents are busy debating their own agenda of what they intend to do, Oyetola’s achievements already place him far ahead in the coming elections. From Senator Adeleke to the Insurance magnate Ogunbiyi, Osun state is gearing up to queue up to vote on Saturday, in what promises to be a clean sweep for the incumbent Governor.

Adeleke of the PDP would have been able to put up a strong show, but the present crisis in the PDP has demobilised all efforts to gain ascendancy. The national office of the PDP is presently enmeshed in identity crisis, hence it has been herculean for it to get a National campaign Council in place to add pep to its candidate. 

Oyetola has visible achievements on ground in the area of healthcare, education, new industries, setting up micro credit agency, agriculture, mineral resources, workers welfare, social services, pension payment and the general economic outlook of a state that was once notorious for endless months of unpaid salaries. The usual bubbles and noisy political atmosphere have gradually simmered through Oyetola’s politics of no bitterness, or a doctrine of live and let’s live.

A visit to Osun state tells a different story of political tranquility and stable political atmosphere through deliberate effort of the Governor to rein in all the factors at play, to prosper the state and move it to the next level. The Governor has revitalised the educational sector in different areas; upgraded Ilesha College of Education to a full-fledged University, recruited over a thousand teachers to retool the teaching component, upgraded many community schools, introduced the Smart School Initiative, closed down many mushroom private community schools at the primary level, and also reactivated the state’s partnership with UNICEF to promote the Early Childhood Care Development Education. 

The establishment of the Segilola Gold Project, Nigeria’s large-scale commercial gold mine was facilitated by the state Governor. That project alone, has helped to boost employment of youths to improve on the poverty index of the state.

This was one of the benefits of the ease of doing business council inaugurated by the Governor, which has also taken the state to rank 15th amongst states in Nigeria with respect to ease of doing business initiatives. The Governor’s sense of diligence, financial accountability and fiscal discipline underscores his ability to implement his budget on a 90 percent mark, a thing that is unprecedented in most states of Nigeria. As at today, Osun has become one of the states in the Country with lowest poverty index at 8.2%. In order to expose the state to would-be investors, the Governor established Osun Investment Promotion Agency, whilst also organising economic summit to expose the hidden potentials of a state with so much mineral resources. New industries have taken off while agriculture is given primacy to stimulate productivity and agro-allied products. He has at various times empowered poultry farmers in the state through his initiative of Osun Broilers Outgrowers Production Scheme, trained over 1000 youths to look into the direction of poultry farming to boost the economy of the state.

Rice production in the state has also received a boost through deliberate government intervention which has led to an increased rice production from 1.5m metric tonnes to 5m metric tonnes. The state has reportedly registered over 60,000 farmers, and trained about 11,000 farmers whose farmlands are captured for Agricultural support, while loans are also given out to farmers to help them expand their production.  

If Governor Oyetola has not done anything, the mere fact that he is able to offset the litany of owed salaries of his predecessor and restored confidence back to public service in the state is cheering news. Over a thousand workers who were guilty of administrative infractions were pardoned by the Governor while also integrating everyone to benefit from the minimum wage implementation. He took a further step to boost the morale of the workers. He lifted the ban on annual salary increase and the hitherto embargo placed on promotions and conversions since 2012.

Today, workers in Osun state enjoy full salary payment unlike in the past when certain percentage was worked out as salary for workers. The state has spent close to N48 billion to defray its pension commitments and arrears. He has also granted full implementation of the Consolidated Polytechnic and Colleges of Education salary structure, and also domesticated the 65 years retirement age or 40 years of service as the case may be. It is not in doubt that Governor Oyetola has done well, the fact that he doesn’t sing his praises, is symptomatic of his calm disposition and content of character. He’s loved by the people of the state, admired by the elderly for his ability to stabilise the politics of the state and reduce the tensions that were palpable in the past.

The tranquility that pervades the ancient City of Osogbo and its environs speaks to Oyetola’s sense of constructive engagement and collective bargaining in carrying everyone along before fundamental decisions are taken.  

The Osun election on Saturday, 16th July will be a contest of Oyetola’s achievements and non- starters, and between performance and promise. It will be a contest of a man who has been able to carve a niche for himself without ruffling feathers, and others who are brandishing manifestos that have not been tested. Oyetola may not be your ideal noisemaker or propagandist, but his achievements thus far, has brought back Osun state from the brink of political rascality to one that has earned its respect among states in Nigeria.

The Independent National Electoral Commission is gradually instilling a sense of confidence into our electoral engagements and the credibility of elections, hence, the Osun election will be a contest of ideas and achievements of a performing Governor against those who want to unseat him. But the beauty of governance by an incumbent Governor that has performed is that he has easy footnotes to reflect on, compared to those who are brandishing agenda that are neither here nor there. The Electoral Body must make sure that incidences of vote buying are minimised to further restore confidence in our elections and their outcomes. Proper monitoring and vigilance is required.

Security is also very key in ensuring that those who come out to vote, do so without molestation, harassment and hindrance. The electorate must be encouraged to recognise that their votes would count and the beauty of the BVAS guarantees solution to ballot-box snatching which dominated election conduct in the not too distant past. INEC must be commended also for staying true to its pledge of ensuring that the votes actually count.

The recently conducted Ekiti election is a march in the right direction. An improvement on that will go a long way to entrench a culture of.proper Electoral conduct, where outcomes are easily accepted by all those who participated in the exercise. It is not just about outcomes, but the processes leading to the outcome. In a matter of days, we will put the Osun election behind us, while we prepare towards the next General elections in February, 2023. My best wishes to Governor Oyetola for a fruitful outcome after Saturday election. The people of Osun will speak for you with their votes.

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