Looking back, Year 2020 has been very challenging, yet, eventful globally. Here in Nigeria, the year was so overwhelmed by plagues, social turbulence and pestilence that more than half of it was wasted, ultimately. No thanks to COVID-19, violent protests, misguided bullets and mob-induced social chaos.

Also in this class of trials and tribulations were internal wrangling and needless socio-political permutations by busy-body critics, restive activists, ‘notorious town-criers’ and naysayers who will never wish to relent in their compulsive vocation of putting forth false red flags and copious insinuation-signage.

As we know, natural disasters, unexpected tragedies and allied stuffs represent testy times; and that’s when attributes of leadership become manifest. Amidst all these _“troublesome thorns and thistles”,_ we may look with hindsight and say to the world that Gboyega Oyetola’s administration in the State of Osun has not fared badly. Without doubt, the finesse that Oyetola brought into governance is worthy of mention because what he did can only happen in civilised climes. Let’s get it right: a governor is not just there to show everybody that he is the governor, wielding power; a governor should hold power responsibly. On his part, Oyetola has shown how to lead by responding to issues promptly, even as he has never lost his central balance while managing crises. He has also demonstrated that the burden of providing robust security for the lives and property of the people of Osun rests squarely on his shoulders.

In a clime where leaders mislead and still expect the people to say ‘thank you’, Oyetola offered to serve humanity selflessly and with defined, stately purpose. So far, so impressive: this man of captivating candour has been demonstrating a clear, concise, consistent, compassionate and unparalleled zeal for good leadership. Now, farmers are happy because they can now move their farm produce to markets in the urban areas with ease. Commercial drivers are smiling because they no longer needlessly spend money on vehicle repairs more often than necessary. Entrepreneurs are delighted because economic activities are picking up. Patients are now being promptly attended to in good and decent healthcare facilities. These qualities are rare, and could only be aspired to in many Nigerian societies.

Honestly, Oyetola deserves our dispassionate commendation.
Indisputably, COVID-19 pandemic is beyond politics. For example, coronavirus neither has respect for lives, nor discriminate against the political leanings, ethnic differences, gender dichotomy or religious affiliations of its victims! It is also a statement of fact that no government is interested in locking down the society for no just cause. It is at a huge economic and social cost even to the government, when states or societies are locked down. But then, since the variant of the coronavirus currently ravaging our world is too virulent to toy with, one can only appeal to the good people of Osun to acquiesce a little and be more accommodating, because the COVID-19 restriction protocol is meant to secure the health-safety profile of every individual in the state. What the State government is demanding from the people, therefore, is their cooperation to help get rid of the virus.

In the particular, large gatherings and rowdy population in a location without respect for social distancing protocol must be avoided at all cost. This means that the people will have to reconsider the designed modalities for the celebration of towns’ days and other crowd-pulling socio-cultural festivals within the State. For now, such celebrations can still hold, albeit, through virtual interactions; and be socially productive and entertaining! That, say, Saheed Osupa’s entertainment of guests may be missing in virtual meetings does not stop the real issue, which is development, from being there. In other words, each town can still review and implement its development plans without violating COVID-19 safety protocols. By God’s grace, coronavirus will not be there forever. So, pending when it is finally shown the way out, we will have to move on with our lives and develop.

With the governor just signing the 2021 Appropriation Bill into law; and, against the backdrop of a high budget performance of last year, which stood at 95 percent, we are hoping that this year’s budget implementation would be smoother and achieve the desired targets, to the benefit of the people of Osun and the advancement of our beloved State. Indeed, for Osun to develop, those seeking power in the State must bear this in mind, not just the mercantilist party-politics of the Philistines.

Primarily, we must thank the good Lord for granting our governor the power to have achieved so much within so short a period of time, despite daunting challenges. From _Osun Economic and Investment Summit_ and the positive investment and economic prospects, to a significant improvement in the road infrastructure situation of the State, to social infrastructure development and other laudable feats, it is fitting to celebrate and thank God for little mercies! Against this background, yours sincerely joins other well-meaning Nigerians to cheer and urge Osun government towards attaining huge achievements within its first tenure.

While we are thanking God Almighty for 2020, we must also appreciate Him for the New Year 2021 and commit the journey of the State into His hands, asking for His mercy, help, direction, safety, divine provisions and the wherewithal needed to navigate the whole year; and make our goals and objectives to come to fruition. So, Gracious God, we pray: touch the hearts of kings and their subjects in Osun so that everybody can come together, irrespective of party affiliations, to ensure that our beloved State move forward. Rid our State of polluted doctrines and touch the hearts of those who claim to hate corruption, yet, wouldn’t want it eliminated.

_El Olam,_ it is worthy of mention that Osun workers and pensioners are currently having the best of a bad situation. Yes, Oyetola’s government inherited a financial web of crisis, which, no doubt, predated Rauf Aregbesola’s era. That’s the truth! In compliance with his campaign promises, Oyetola has continued to pay full salaries and pensions to the State’s workers and retirees, despite the State being at the bottom three in the Federation Allocation Table. It is also to the governor’s credit that his administration has not taken a dime as loan since assumption of office, even as it has not for once defaulted in the repayment of the loans he met on the ground. Since the inception of this Administration, huge sums of money have been released for the payment of the State’s senior citizens’ entitlements. How could these have been possible? Well, only You, _Jehovah Jireh,_ who once fed the multitude with five fishes and two loaves as an epochal demonstration of Your promise, could have done it. May it therefore please You to continue to provide for the spiritual and physical needs of the good people of the State of Osun. In the New Year, let _“our threshing floors”_ be _“full of wheat, and the vats overflow with new wine and oil.”_

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, make Gboyega Oyetola’s Administration the best ever in the history of the State of Osun!

Abiodun KOMOLAFE is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Oyetola on Media

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