One of the assumed attributes of people in government – elected leaders – is that they are holders of the people’s trust; and the only way to verify the assumption is to look at what the ‘trust-holders’ are doing with that trust, so willingly surrendered by the people. Due to the fact that these elected ‘trust-holders’ have access to a plethora of opinions and ideas, including the truth about specific subjects, they are presumed to be more knowledgeable than the ordinary man on the street. The thinking is that the resources of state are at their disposal, giving them access to, and control of, intelligence reports, informed data collection and analysis by experts; even, trending social media rumours in the society, which the pedestrian people may not be so privileged to have access to.
That said, the truth about Public Administration is that it is not a Facebook or Twitter affair. To put things in proper perspective, governance is more than social media affairs. Policy initiatives and their implementations don’t just happen perfunctorily! Rigorous processes of robust policy content investigation, debates, analyses and inputs from experts are preparatory to, thus, serve as precursors of diverse state policies. So, more often than not, government strives to ensure that policies are products of informed and elevated decisions.
Sententiam suam quisque ipsius disciplinae! Only recently, a social media contributor wrote that the State of Osun faces a bleak future as a result of “a staggering N169.8 billion loan” burden, allegedly inherited from previous administrations by Governor Gboyega Oyetola. According to the internet worrywart, Osun “is trapped” as a result of the borrowings and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) “can only sink the state deeper.”
First and foremost, from the tone of his write-up, one could easily infer that our social media enthusiast is a mere political ‘runs-man’ who is bereft of ideas on how Public Administration is run globally. He lacks both the pedigree and requisite nuances to indulge in such baseless innuendos about something above his pay grade. Moreover, it is a new low in the opposition vuvuzelas’ romance with the trumpet of untruths! It is nothing but the height of political rascality.
It is no secret that borrowing is legal. Once all parties to a loan agree with the stipulated conditions, it becomes legitimate. There is no country in the world that doesn’t borrow. The crucial issues lie in examining what the loan is used for, whether the loan is serviceable, and if it is being duly serviced. Impliedly, if you lack the ability to manage finance, meeting, promptly, the monthly financial obligations of the state, building schools, even fixing potholes or partnering with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), through the release of counterpart funds, will become problematic.
On the debt profile of Osun, which is the cumulative summary of the loans obtained by previous administrations, the good news is that the state has not defaulted in the repayment schedule of the loans; and, Oyetola, the incumbent governor, has not borrowed a penny to add to the burden of the loan repayment. Yet, his administration continues to meet its essential financial obligations monthly; and, as and when due; which is a confirmation of financial prudence and good governance.
From time immemorial, political struggle, ideally, must have well-defined principles, long-term goals, and a well-grounded ideological leaning. Otherwise, the whole idea will sooner than later fizzle out. Remember projects like Oba Adesoji Aderemi Way (East Bypass), the Mega Schools; Adebisi Akande Trumpet Bridge, and other notable strides in infrastructure development, to which the loans were tied. Without being economical with the truth, these, and lots of others, have triggered a chain of events. Now, investors find Osun a new haven for their investments. These, in turn, have triggered employment opportunities and an increase in the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Not only that, Osun’s reputation as a civil servant state is slowly changing.
In Osun, it is gratifying to note that Governor Oyetola is a good listener. Workers’ salaries are paid regularly, thereby bringing to an end the era of incessant strikes and protests. He responded aptly and objectively to previous criticisms of government policies, fine-tuned them, and made them speak to the yearnings of the people. With his achievements so far, there’s been a deluge of commendations and awards from far and near. It is therefore no longer news that the opposition has been scampering for relevance, simply because the governor has raised the bar. Is it any surprise that Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president, recently described the governor as “a complete gentleman, a good manager of human and capital resources and an Omoluabi to the core”? The fact that this shrewd administrator has put Osun on the right path of recovery, progress, and development is unassailable. So, the man who said that the ruling party has borrowed away the state’s future is certainly not well-informed.
As at the time of writing this piece, Oyetola as a candidate in next year’s election is coming unopposed. Why did I say so? The ‘Governor of the Year 2020’ award winner and other representatives of the party are no doubt doing well at their duty posts. Of course, this becomes obvious when one considers the milestones the governor has achieved in virtually all the sectors of the domestic economy. Go to Education; you will find him! In the Health sector, Oyetola has never rested on his oars! With the governor in the saddle, Water Resources sector offers a glimpse into a brighter future! And, in Rural Electrification, the Midas touch is legendary! Mention roads like Osogbo – Kelebe – Iragbiji; Osogbo – Ejigbo; Osogbo – Iwo; and Osogbo – Ode Omu – Ikire – Ibadan, which were once almost practically impassable, and, on which hopes had previously been lost. Mention projects like Oke Gada –Akoda Road and Moro – Yakoyo – Ipetumodu – Asipa – Ife/Akure Expressway! For God’s sake, who’d have thought a governor would one day consider their being fixed? Now, Governor Oyetola has risen to the occasion and the people are happy! In particular, the opening up of Osogbo with the construction of new roads and tarring of roads hitherto obscure is having a multiplier effect on the economy of its residents. God willing, by next year, there will be greater achievements; even, skeptics will have neither excuse nor hiding place than to support this silent achiever. And, at the end of Oyetola’s tenure, this ‘Land of Virtue’ would have acquired a new name as “investors’ destination of choice.”
Talking about the structure of APC in Osun, it is common knowledge that it remains the party to beat. The ease with which progressive ideals-compliant Nigerians of different backgrounds are currently joining the party is noteworthy. The peaceful and cohesive structure of the party, especially, in the state, is also highly commendable. Besides, unlike the other party, there’s no nAPC; and nobody is fighting over party candidature.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, make Gboyega Oyetola’s Administration the best in the history of the State of Osun!
By Abiodun KOMOLAFE