By now, Nigerians must have settled the idea of who actually governs legally in Osun, especially, after the pronouncement of the Supreme Court.
That said, it is also a fact that, come November 27, 2019, Gboyega Oyetola will mark his first anniversary as Governor of the State of Osun. Perhaps, for the sake of argument therefore, let us remind ourselves that the governor has only two years left for real governance. The remaining one year will, as it were, be devoted to ‘upandan’ politics towards determining the next phase in the life of the 28-year-old state.
Well, there are those who would argue that history has within one year left compelling tinctures on Oyetola as a brilliant administrator who could use his vast experience to rehabilitate Osun’s socio-economic pass. However, it must not be lost on Nigerians that, Isiaka Adeleke’s death, his younger brother, Ademola’s certificate scandals, and the inexplicable bungling of crucial judicial process by Justice Peter Obiora, were eloquent testimonies to the inevitability of a destiny fated by the gods. Truly, ‘Ileri Oluwa kii ye!’
Again, although I have no scientific evidence to show, I have a feeling that the opposition, which many people may think is passive, or has gone to sleep, is only working underground, looking for the governor’s failings. That the street gave its verdict on September 22, 2018, when, for the first time in Osun’s rich history, a popular government was almost deposed through the combined efforts of desperate political gladiators and the foot soldiers of negativism is an expression of our predicament as a people. Therefore, let the ruling party know that the honeymoon is just but for a short period of time. In other words, it’s time to walk the needed walk!
Stated in clear terms, the political texture of Osun on Rauf Aregbesola’s assumption of office was quite different from the prejudices which have now become the residual expression of our helplessness. Given our circumstance therefore, that Oyetola’s hands are already full needs no further debating. Yes, his jobs are enormous; as such, require adequate efforts and competent hands. The good news is that Osun is not bereft of competent hands. Nevertheless, what is needed is not just competence but men with vision and character. At this crucial stage, what the governor needs is a team – a Think Tank; not a crowd of ‘come and chop’, smash and grab, draw and drain, more-heat-than-light praise-singers; men of doubtful democratic integrity who possess the dual quality of playing ball with contaminated practicality and rocking the boat with consummate gusto.
Understandably so, democracy finds full expression when every citizen and community is well and responsibly governed. By the way, how many of our people out there are really conscious of what the government is doing; consciousness, as defined by Karl Marx, especially, in this ‘everything-has-a-price’ society? The more reason Oyetola needs to come to terms with the essence of time, divorce himself from himself in order to see himself through himself, and pursue his vision for Osun with the consciousness of the fleeting time and the type of legacy for which he wants to be defined. The cumulative effect of mumbo jumbo approach and attitude to projects implementation will only amount to shooting in the dark and ultimately mess up the people’s mandate.
The matrix of politics demands that Oyetola gauges the barometer of the people’s feelings and political expectations and, thereafter, come up with concrete but specific development plans that would definitely mature by the third year of his tenure. While striving to ensure that his policies have arrowheads for effective coordination, he must also strengthen the people’s perception of his effective leadership qualities and earn their trust and confidence in his requisite ability to deliver the campaign promises. This will boost his political capital, broaden his acceptability and enhance his second term electability profile, What is manifestly clear in every part of the state is that every section of its communities needs government’s physical presence, that is, something that will positively affect its socio-economic and political existence. Equally important are legacies that are central to the state. Let us be clear about this: there is a phenomenal dichotomy between the needs of the state on the one hand, and the peculiar needs of the communities on the other. Government shouldn’t, and must not mix the two! For instance, an indigene of Ijebu-Jesa within Osun must have something to speak to him on the birth of a new political dispensation and the concomitant hope of new development reality and socio-economic possibilities. After all, ‘Oyetola don become governor!’ Even so, the central needs of the state must be seen to be general, not only in words but also in deeds! This is one area where the governor needs competent hands.
Given their potentials and attractions as metaphors for political expression, performance and popularity are like Siamese twins whose friendship Oyetola must court in the remaining years of this tenure. While Muhammadu Buhari learnt his lessons rather too late, I doubt if Bisi Akande will underestimate the dangers inherent in embracing one without securing the consent of the other, were he to be given an opportunity to relive the May 29, 1999 to May 28, 2003 part of his political life.
This leads us to a peculiar issue between Osun and information management. While effective communication is very crucial to development, the strategy has always been that people must buy into development plans for development strategies to work. Without doubt, the information management system of Osun is so crucial that it should not be managed by neophytes or get trapped in the vortex of incompetence. These are issues which Oyetola must avoid! For this not to happen, the governor needs a grassroots revolution that will break old barriers, change the state’s image and positively affect the perception of the voting public. Since constant communication and feedback are essential ingredients of governance, government must devise means of creating an unofficial channel, a parallel information machinery as a way of reaching out and conveying its programmes and policies to the people. Prayers alone will not do it!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun!
Abiodun KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria