By Abiodun Komolafe
As a young boy growing up, back then in the village, under the tutelage of his paternal grandmother, yours sincerely was treated to the fact that ‘promises are sacred obligations, which must be fulfilled.’ Grandma taught me that ‘failure to make good one’s promises always end up impugning the character profile of the defaulter’; and that ‘promises made good confer on the promisor the Omoluabi integrity.’ After all,‘a ri se la ri ka; a ri ka baba iregun’ (what you do today could be the ‘game changer’ in the nearest future). Much later in life, especially, with my appointment as the pioneer Administrative Secretary of one of Nigeria’s foremost sociocultural organisations, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), my eyes opened to the fact that ‘iyan ogun odun a maa jo ni lowo’ (what goes around comes around).
Well, while my little contributions to Nigeria’s sociocultural emancipation are already being documented for future use, the general belief is that people can do something and get away with it. But it is not so with the society! Why? There is a way the society chronicles events; then tells those that follow. And the cycle continues!
A promise fulfilled is a psychological attribute and it is inborn. It is a habit, not something you do fortuitously. Most importantly, it is a standard measure of the quality of character. While the reliability or otherwise of a promise is testable, based on antecedents, the psychology of the followership is also something that builds trust through precedents and antecedents of events and social happenings. The other loud truth is that the people reckon with the ‘now’ more than what has happened. Yes, it doesn’t have to be in the management of a government’s affairs because a man like Gboyega Oyetola, the incumbent governor and the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the July 16, 2022 Osun governorship poll, already has an edge in that area. For the records, the Obafemi Awolowos of this world also started that way! But then, this is a disadvantage to the opposition. For instance, though the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has a dearth of good things that could be established, what has added to its despair is that the now-drained and docile opposition has no sellable products with which to woo the electorate again, having been out of power for 12 years.
Beyond the pall of politics, the last four years as Osun governor has shown Oyetola as a leader who understands the complexity of the issues at stake and how to confront all the stubborn situations that have hitherto resisted remedy. On assumption of office, one of his first tasks was the review of the education policy which, as we all know, affects not only the present but also the future of the State. It is about the children! Prior to his inauguration, parents were unhappy about certain policies enacted by the immediate past administration; as such, were groaning. But the governor courageously spoke to those things which, from all indications, had the propensity to become a monumental embarrassment to the elite.
Never a frivolous manager of men and materials, Oyetola initiated a move that recognised the backlog of the pending welfare packages for the State workers and took care of them. Now, a situation whereby civil servants got promoted without cash-backing, thereby leaving them on the same salary scales for years, has become a thing of the past. Good to learn that he has also keyed into the melodious tune of the minimum wage payment. Quite interestingly, not every state is paying it, even as we speak! Still, the governor is paying full salaries! Unarguably, things would have been terrible, had workers’ monthly salaries not been paid, or paid in half. Of course, that Oyetola has succeeded in building integrity profile is a political capital! That the workers believe in the governor as a promise fulfiller is a testament to dream! That he has been able to weather the storm of paucity of funds to provide basic amenities for the people, even employed more hands into the State’s civil service attests to the character of this indefatigable administrator. That is why the civil servants, for example, will remain with him. Despite all efforts by some people to pull them away, they have refused.
Typical of him, Oyetola has in the last four years stayed focused, taking his time to proffer solutions to problems as they come. Instead of running upandan, banking on the ravenous culture of uncertainty, or embracing the theatrics of a disappointing search for disinterested international investors, this sure and better candidate opted to stay back at home, defining concrete objectives, raising the vision, and showing to the world that a sustainable pathway to development is possible. During the period under review, more than 2000 kilometres of roads have either been constructed or reconstructed; with a promise to do more, if re-elected. For most of these roads like the 13.15km Ada-Igbajo and the 20km Ejigbo–Ara-Oje-Ede, even the 16.55km Osogbo-Kelebe-Iragbiji, it has been a case of ‘governments come, governments go, but these roads remained unattended to’; until he came in and got them fixed! Impliedly, those who are yet to get their share of the goodies are sure candidates for ‘awa lo kan’ slogan.
Oyetola’s passion for the Health sector is such that, at the rural areas, residents should have the best of medical services. Equally, his approach to the Ilesa water project is like bringing water out of the rock for which the ancient town and its environs will never remain the same. Added to these is his promise to improve on the security situation of the State which, in any case, is not doing badly, presently. The rise in the number, and monthly stipends of OYES cadets are also worthy of mention, because it takes money to take care of all that. With the zeal which the governor is approaching the needs of the Agriculture sector, what stops ‘Cocoa House’ from being erected in Osun before the expiration of his second term in office? Is it any wonder Oyetola is the man to beat, any day?
The hallmark of a good leader is his ability to realize that change begins with selflessness and sacrifice; that discipline is very germane to effective leadership; and that political process gets corrupted when unfettered pursuit of money becomes a way of life. Had the Oyetola-led Administration left the Flyover Bridge at Olaiya in Osogbo undone, another government would, someday, have done it, by which time the cost and allied implications will have increased. It will also affect its quality. In other words, that the governor has done one within his first tenure means he is able to do another.
Osun governorship election is just days away! Won’t reelecting Gboyega Oyetola to pilot the affairs of Osun for the next four years be the best thing to happen to the State? Or, will cutting the nose to spite the face as a way of resolving political differences be found to work wonders? From all indications, hasn’t Osun State gone too far to look back?
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun State!
*KOMOLAFE wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State (firstname.lastname@example.org)