Governor Gboyega Oyetola is right in recognising most Osun people do not want the hopelessness of the past to continue. But it is deceitful, to say the least, that the accidental Governor Oyetola, wants to present himself as the remedy to the ugly past.
That the troubled Chief Executive is part of that ugly past that Osun people so much resent is not a secret. He actively participated in the many decisions that are responsible for the troubling situation that Osun has found itself. Records even showed he was the architect of some of the worst inhuman policies of that administration. Although, he has taken to all sorts of tricks to make the people think differently.
Just recently, Oyetola announced a change in policy for the welfare of workers in the state. On the surface, this change is a good one, but a closer look appears to show a clever scheme to manipulate thoughts into believing that, unlike Rauf Aregbesola, he is companionate and considerate.
But falling for this will be playing right into the antic of Governor in his attempt to secure a fresh term in office. This is not to say that Oyetola was wrong to ensure that workers get their due benefits, but the motive behind it all matters. He originated and defended the evil policy of half salary, diversion of pension fund and all sorts of graduated schemes as a Chief of Staff. He must first apologise for inflicting such untold hardship and he must be punished for again politicising half hearted attempt to clear the mess he created.
There are actually two reasons to interrogate the motivation. First is that he waited until election draws closer before he could do something about the unjustified maltreatment of workers he originated under his predecessor. The simple message that the whole scenario appeared to pass is that someone is pretending to be different to draw votes.
The second reason for a second look at Oyetola’s newfound niceties is the striking resemblance to Aregbesola’s posture during his first term in office. For the most part of Aregbesola’s four years as governor, he presented himself as a friend of the masses, especially workers, by introducing a 13th-month salary for them. Governor Oyetola as Chief of Staff clearly tutored his boss on how to deceitfully govern and seek votes.
A wicked Governor in early part of his term will make a full blown evil if re-elected. If for three years, the governor made no move to address workers’ neglect he was thoroughly aware of, any action taken afterward is clearly a bait to curry public favour. This is exactly why it is profitable, not only for workers but the entirety of Osun people to watch it clearly and not repeat the same mistake of the past that hurt them so badly.
The impression and idea that Oyetola is different from Aregbesola, especially in terms of welfare, is all a sham, and of course, the reason for this is quite obvious. If Oyetola wants us to believe he is different from Aregbesola, he should first explain his role in a lot of the things that went wrong in that government.
A governor who suggested that transparency and openness will be the order of the day under his watch has maintained and deepened practices that make accountability impossible. Up till this moment, Osun people are still in the dark on the financial health of the state, as debts incurred by past administrations and new ones he took have been shrouded in secrecy.
This is the same unpalatable experience at the grassroots, where Oyetola, using a questionable model, has rendered local governments almost useless. Available data showed that LGs in Osun have received nothing less than N100 billion in allocations over the past three years. Yet, the condition of those LGs is disturbing as there is nothing to show for the huge receipts.
Still, Oyetola wants us to see him differently and believes he can solve the problem of Osun state with the same idea that started it all. To be sincere, that is promising the impossible, and Oyetola knows this quite well, but the desperation to win re-election is why he must be trying so hard to convince people that he is different.
Most Osun people are horrified by the misgovernance of the past twelve years. They are tired of the deceits that not only failed today’s expectations but put the prospect of the future in uncertainty with an unexplained debt binge. And Oyetola was a prominent feature in this unpleasant reality.
A clean break with this past that has plunged the state into fiscal trap is the best response to the current deceitful show of affection for workers. Ademola Adeleke has workers’ welfare as the first item on his agenda followed by boosting state economy through patronage of local procurement system, introduction of labour intensive and direct labour infrastructure policy, accessible social policy in education, health and youth matters as well as an agro-industrialisation. Open governance and financial transparency are critical principles of the PDP candidate.
Osun people must be careful not to fall for his antics. July 16 should mark the end of a rudderless party that has inflicted our people with unimaginable pains and anguish.
● Sarafa Ibrahim writes from Iwo, Osun state, and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org