OPINION: Adeleke and The Rudderless Opposition in Osun

By James Bamgbose

Osun State has become the centre of attention in the media space of the country of late. Arguably, Osun state has the most popular governor currently in Nigeria, in the person of Senator (Dr) Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, who is widely addressed as IMOLE, which means Nurudeen Islamically.

People who are familiar with the media space will agree with me that Governor Adeleke reflects a typical representation of a happy leader. Only a problematic person will have issues with his personality. Nevertheless, the mood of “Olosun of Osun,” like Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, the Oluwo of Iwo called him, also reflects how happy Osun people are.

The former dancing senator, currently a Performing Dancing Governor Adeleke, has most times trended on good notes for his performance in the state in terms of health sector, infrastructure sector, workers, and pensioners welfare amongst other things.

His laudable achievements have earned him the name “Mr Performer” within his first year in office. Nevertheless, there is a saying everyone can look, but not everyone sees. This popular saying best fits opposition parties in the state.

Despite the significant development in the state since Governor Adeleke took over, the opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC), a party that governed the state for 12 years, has failed to acknowledge any of the laudable transformative results of the current PDP administration in the state. Their remarks are always at variance from the reality of things in the state, which is daily acknowledged by the Osun people.

Perhaps the different experience could be a result of what I call “Blind Development Criticism,” which means shying away from accepting what your opponent does better than you.

In the course of drafting this piece, I spoke to one of the workers who was affected by the half-salary initiative under the APC administration, and she said to me “May we never go back to such woeful experience again in the state”. The opposition party should be reminded of some of their performances while in office for 12 years, like this initiative which was said to be the brainchild of Gboyega Oyetola, who was Chief of Staff to Aregbesola for eight years, and later succeeded him.

When asked about the initiative during the 2018 Gubernatorial election, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola called it “Modulated salary,” disregarding the hardship it brought on the state economy, Osun State has been a civil servant state. There was basically little or nothing to drive the economy in the state as the said infrastructure investment was carried out with the “modulated salary,” and external debts were contracted out to Lagos contractors.

Osun people endured the unbearable hardship that the APC administration wrought on the state during the time it held sway. After the endurance, the 2018 Osun gubernatorial election arose as a great beacon of hope for the people, but it was cut short by an “inconclusive technicality” action. The fate of Osun people was left in the hands of the initiator of “Modulated salary.”

However, as fate also will have its way, things went south between the Predecessor and his successor. Policies made during Aregbesola’s administration became an “anti-people ” policy under Oyetola’s administration. One could have decided to count these abnormalities as normal because of the vindictive pattern of politics that we play in Nigeria but not to the point of disregarding the legacies of the previous administration which you played a very vital role in.

The aftermath of the issue between Ogbeni and Baba Jeje resulted in more politicking and less governance in the state. The people and the state resources suffered significantly during this course. Vindictivity that has never happened before became. One would think the two parties involved were from different parties as virtually all the projects inherited from Aregbesola were abandoned.

The infrastructural investment of billions was depleted in no time as a result vindictive actions of the last administration. One of the most brilliant initiatives of the Aregbesola’s government, the Osun Job Centre, was neglected. This centre, if maintained, could have served hundreds of youths and unemployed graduates in the state.

To further mention the horrible state of things under the APC 12 years, it would be recalled that more financial institutions closed down as a result of insecurity in the state. For instance, in Osun Central, less than 3 local governments out of 10 local governments have banking operations. Also, the TOP members of the APC were attacked in broad daylight. Many abnormalities played out within the 12 years of the APC government. This period can easily be tagged as “12 years of hardship, vindictive governance and zero development in the state.”

To put an end to this unpleasant 12 years of mismanagement and vindictivity in the state, Governor Ademola Adeleke was chosen by the Osun electorate ahead of the then-incumbent governor of the state in a poll that recorded the highest voter turnover in the state’s history.

Restoring sanity into the governance of the state, Adeleke started the move to complete all inherited projects in the state. This simple act of Mr Governor scored him 100% over the last administration. Within the first year of Governor Adeleke, 90km of intercity roads were constructed. This echos a government that understands the plight of its people and uses the state resources to meet them.

In addition to the infrastructural investment already carried out by this administration, other sectors were not left in darkness like they were during the APC administration. Through the Imole Surgical and Medical Outreach, 50,000 people benefited from a health intervention, which included surgery, just as the entire retirees in the state were enrolled in the free health insurance scheme.

Workers and pensioners were equally not left to suffer at the expense of the infrastructural development in the state, as they receive their salary regularly and without delays. In addition, 4 months out of their 30 months arrears have been paid, while billions of naira have been given to the pensioners in terms of pensions and gratitude. This means the current government is doing so much across all sectors of the state.

Another remarkable attribute of the Adeleke-led government is TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY. It took the opposition faction in the APC, The TOP, to expose Oyetola’s administration regarding the infrastructure refund of more than 11 billion naira from the federal government for the federal roads done by the Aregbesola government. If not for their differences, the money would have gone unannounced. Even though it was announced, it remains to be seen how the money was spent because there was nothing to show for it.

But in the case of Governor Adeleke, the story was different. In his commitment to running an inclusive and transparent government, he announced the 7 billion infrastructure refund and further mentioned where the collected funds would be expended.

To also acknowledge his government commitment to transforming the state through good governance, responsive administration and development-driven government, he launched a hundred billion infrastructure plan across the major sectors in the state, weeks before his 1 year in office.

Only little can be mentioned, and more to be seen and felt positively about the current PDP administration in the state until how things were in the last 12 years. The Osun APC should embrace a developmental politicking strategy for the development of the state and to ensure the delivery of a good dividend of democracy to the people. Constructive criticism with better alternatives should also be embraced for the development of the government.

This is part one of this piece, the second part will extensively talk about the happenings of the state and how the opposition party have become a clout chaser of their duties.

James Bamgbose writes from Osogbo, Osun state and can be reached via gmail @ bamgbosejames9@gmail.com

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