By Kunle Oyatomi
The declaration in the quote aptly applies to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun without equivocation. Said to have been brought into power as an outsider and presumably with little chance to make a difference and enter the record books as an achiever, Oyetola has turned the joke on those who manufactured it. He is laughing last on account of his indelible strides in office so far.
Well, cynics and naysayers may dismiss my remarks as premature, that we should wait for some so-called distant history to give its verdict. Of course, history will do so. But we must remember that whatever the future says about today is the creation of the present. Its take isn’t founded on fiction. Listen to this saying by Abraham Lincoln: ‘’The best way to predict the future is to create it.’’ This great Civil War era US president simply meant that the future is not a fixed formation falling from the gods. Man moulds it through what he does at any given time of his existence.
Oyetola has created his own future over the past three years he’s been in office as the governor. And as Albert Camus has put it, each hurdle he has scaled has challenged him to go for victory over more hurdles. One success inexorably sends him looking for more territories to conquer. That is the philosophy of administration that has guided Gboyega, the son of Oyetola.
What is striking is that these aren’t personal achievements; they represent the gains of Osun under him. Whatever commendable deed is ascribed to a society at any point in its history, is an indisputable reflection of the performance of those at the helm. The two are inseparable.
Now, those examining the books of the three years of Oyetola are concluding that there have not only been palpable changes for good, but also there has been a solid foundation upon which the present can confidently step into the tomorrow.
For instance, let’s consider the present administration’s idea of making Osun the investors’ preferred destination. Aware that local and international high-profile loathe bureaucracy that endlessly ties down their funds, Oyetola inaugurated what he calls, One-Stop-Shop, to fine-tune ease of doing business in Osun. He says the initiative is ‘’ part of the cardinal objectives of the Administration to ensure a friendly environment for commerce, business, investment, and to promote economic growth, prosperity, and impactful development within the state.’
Overflowing from this, investors are being positioned to enjoy efficient service delivery within the shortest possible time without being bogged down into the mud of red tape traps. Certainly, this is radically transforming the economy of Osun and crystallizing development.
How about the government’s intervention in infrastructure? In three years, this administration has been engaged in about 100 road construction efforts across all the local councils. One of them, the 8.1km Moro-Yakoyo-Ipetumodu-Asipa road, had been abandoned by successive governments for 45 years.
Iconic structures have also been sighted in the state, notably the Flyover at Olaiya in Osogbo, the capital. Apart from its aesthetic value, the edifice will banish the notorious traffic bottlenecks associated with this ever-busy area of the city.
The government of Gboyega Oyetola has also touched the lives of the citizens. He has put behind them the era of long delays in the payment of salaries. Similarly, salaries are now paid in full, no longer rationed as it was in the past. The embargo on promotions and wages review has also been lifted during the three years of this government.
The welfare policy of the administration has extended to its consideration of the people’s health. Health centres all over the state are being rehabilitated and kitted with up-to-date facilities in tandem with the needs of the citizens. Sequel to this, Oyetola has introduced a health insurance policy from which both civil servants and informal sector workers can benefit.
Being so worker-friendly has earned him encomiums from the labour bodies, such that they are openly asking him to seek a second term in office next year. It is rare for labour to be on the same page with the government. They are usually antagonists unless the government pursues pro-people policies, including a revolutionary agricultural drive putting farmers in visible roles in government.
In the political sphere over the period under review, Oyetola’s dynamism in politics and governance has drawn thousands of members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, into the fold of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC. As the 2022 gubernatorial poll approaches, they have seen the handwriting on the wall forecasting doom for the PDP, and they don’t want to be part of a sinking boat.
But it’s not only the citizens of Osun who are noticing the achievements of Oyetola. The federal authorities are also in the league of those honouring him. In June they selected Osun as the destination for the celebration of the 2021 World Environment Day on the basis of the ‘’state’s performance in ecosystem restoration drive.’’ It was the first time the event was held outside Abuja, and in collaboration with a state government.
It has been a hectic 36-month period for the Oyetola administration that has forged on nevertheless in the midst of an economic downturn, insecurity, Covid-19 challenges and the onslaught of deadly EndSARS protests. But, as Albert Camus says, gaining mastery over each obstacle has challenged Oyetola to achieve more. It is that spirit that will still clinch him more laurels in the years ahead.
Kunle Oyatomi Esq is the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in the state of Osun