Who else saw how Adegboyega Oyetola’s was welcomed with a serenade into Osogbo on January 2nd? This was a man whose name and reputation the ruling party and its golden boy spent their first month in office attacking on all fronts. But Osun people, who are more discerning now than ever, welcomed Oyetola with an astonishing ecstacy and premium honour in defiance of the expensive lies of his successor.
Oyetola, a man known for his rugged faith in God, had visited the state capital to attend the inter-religious prayers of the Osun chapter of the All Progressives Congress. While in government, it was Oyetola’s practice to start off the year, notably on the first workday of the year, with prayers for the state, its citizens and the workers. It was also an opportunity to stir civil servants towards greater productivity in the year. 2022 remains unforgettable in the history of this tradition, being the year Oyetola gave car gifts to outstanding workers as incentive for good performance and also flagged off the construction phase of mass housing project for civil servants. Sadly, we are witnessing a new Osun today where prayers have no place whatsoever.
The palpable nostalgia that defined the people’s chants during Oyetola’s walk through the throng and press that very Monday speaks to a longing for glories of the not-so-distant past; the glories of exciting times when, for instance, 30,000 vulnerable persons were sure to receive food supplies from the government every month since 1st April, 2021. What started as a compassionate response especially to the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic endured till November 2022, impacting more than 570,000 vulnerable people across the state.
Available post-Covid-19 statistics showed that several jobs were lost and many sources of livelihood significantly threatened due to the outbreak of the pandemic. So, with Goal 2 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in mind (zero hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture), Oyetola reaffirmed the depth of his concerns for the welfare and wellbeing of Osun citizens through the Osun Food Support Scheme
Aside impacting thousands of the state’s residents, the scheme, which was calibrated in line with the administration’s policy of promoting small micro and medium businesses, tremendously boosted local food production and local economy, with Oyetola’s government ensuring that all food components were sourced locally to further encourage local farmers and businesses, thus expanding the pool of blossoming Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs). It also opened up new possibilities in agriculture, as Osun government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, cleared about 10,000 acres of land, providing opportunities for those genuinely interested in farming, and engaged them effectively and productively.
The glories of free train service provided by the Osun Government to convey holidaymakers and citizens who reside outside Osun back to the state especially during festivities is greatly being desired again. For the first time since year 2011, free train service sponsored by the state government for people coming to Osun was not provided, thanks to Governor Adeleke’s acclaimed “teething problems”.
For the records, this is an initiative that had contributed significantly to the resuscitation and sustainability of rail transport system in the country. This was an initiative that even the Federal Government adopted in 2021, attesting to the fact that Osun, under Oyetola’s leadership, was the pacesetter of good governance and pro-masses policies implementation.
The yuletide in Osun was especially noted for its brightness and colours, creating an atmosphere of celebration and glimmer of hope for the year ahead. But with the new leadership, what is left for the state to express its grief is for flags to be flown at half mast.
There are reasons to be worried: the false start, the media spins, attack on institutions and traditions. All that and more have left concerned people of Osun wondering if they are on the right ship.
Is there hope of a re-entrenchment of good governance and calculated policy directions that once-upon–a-time greatly impacted Osun residents and citizens? Time will tell, the people of Osun will decide and posterity will have its say.