By Abiodun Komolafe
Today, September 29, 2021, the Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, clocks 67 years on Planet Earth. It is therefore fitting to congratulate him on this significant milestone.
As we have seen over the years, one defining attribute of Governor Oyetola is that he is quiet. Of course, this rare-but-much-coveted attribute of leadership, which has become somehow emblematic of his persona, has gone a long way in affecting public administration in Osun. The shrewd administrator is also patient, attentive and meticulous. Beyond the shadow of about, his penchant for details makes holistic planning feasible for him. He is a compassionate leader with an acute sense of history. In the face of the formidable discouragement and impossible challenges that often affront pathfinders, the governor reaches forth unto himself, draws strength and presses onward to actualise his goals. It is not for him to be easily distracted. This explains in part, perhaps, his measured and calculated responses to indiscernible rants of disgruntled naysayers.
Oyetola is a wonderful listener. He doesn’t rush to speak and he is not given to frivolity. In fact, his comportment and mien are signs that the technocrat-turned-politician has already come up as a leader to be reckoned with in the affairs of the country. What’s more? ‘Ileri Oluwa’, as he is fondly called, is a family head who is in firm control of his family; and his children are doing very well in their chosen vocation.
Our governor has come of age! Of course, when we look at the relevance of age and the deployment of wisdom, we are most likely to find out that old age may not correlate with the quantum and quality of wisdom a man possesses. However, by reason of usage, possession of experiential knowledge makes it easier for wisdom to be deployed more appropriately as one advance in age. For instance, the deployment of wisdom by a man of 25 years will be markedly different from that of a man of 65 years. Thankfully, Oyetola has this character trait. Interestingly, he has been in the serious business of administering human beings, right from his youth.
In a society struggling to define and defend the flavour of its moral values, Oyetola comes as a man who understands Nigeria well enough to navigate the clamour and crowds of her socio-cultural-cum-political firmament and engage, fruitfully, the social dynamics. Unlike some ‘accidental democrats’ and “opportunists whose dangerous personal ambitions becloud judgement” elsewhere, the governor thinks deeply before volunteering a pronouncement. So, Oyetola should be taken seriously whenever he chooses to make a pronouncement on Nigeria’s socio-political issues, more so as he is one gifted leader who will not fold his arms and wait, helplessly, until things ‘just happen.’
I have argued elsewhere that infrastructure development is a wonderful phenomenon. It will add beauty. It will bring urban renewal. It will also facilitate other fanciful things. But then, it is only when the people are healthy that they can drive on tarred roads and facilitate economic activities in the state. If you call for labour, but labour is hungry, nobody will do the job. The teachers who are going to teach in our classrooms must be well-fed. If the students are distracted in the face of hunger – which of course, is not impossible – it is like sending a welcome note to truancy!
Agreed! It is testy times in Nigeria. Even, the air that we breathe is about to attract an amount certain in price. At first, an erroneous impression was created that the Nigerian youths were lazy. However, the overwhelming reality is that there are no jobs for them to do and eke a living. Therefore, to those who think that full and prompt payment of minimum wage of salaries and allowances to civil servants, in addition to the clearance of huge backlogs of pensioners’ gratuities, both for the Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the state, are not achievements, the question they need to answer is: wouldn’t things have gone haywire, was the past to be in the present? Well, some people might think it’s easy; but until they try it, they won’t know that ‘khaki no be leather!’
In times of crises, Oyetola settles them with the proficiency of a conflict manager, yet, without attracting attention to himself. To put it succinctly, the governor possesses the capacity to deescalate an already-escalated situation without having to access the moon to blow a trumpet. A case in hand was during last year’s #EndSARS protests in Osun when some hoodlums attacked him and lodged an axe in his car in broad daylight. Were Oyetola to belong to a tribe of governors elsewhere, he would have brought hell to bear, not only on the rampaging touts but also on the community of innocent souls; and he would have been right to do so! But the way he managed it clearly showed him as a man full of wit and exuberant vitality.
Whereas indigenes and residents of Ilesa and its environs have suffered from lack of potable water for a long time, it is on record that the people are about to put that ugly past behind them, courtesy of Oyetola’s intervention in that sector. For several years, residents of Alekunwodo in the state capital never thought it was possible for them to have asphalt-laden internal roads within the community. Now, the governor has shamed cynics; the roads are there for all to see! But for those internal links, the construction of the Flyover Bridge at Olaiya Junction would most probably have not become a reality. The naysayers had thought that it would not even be possible, but now, the Flyover Bridge is almost completed.
The essence of that Flyover Bridge is not just to beautify the place but also to ensure that the state capital is gradually-but-steadily reflecting its social and legal status: the State Capital. And, as a commentator once said: “for the 1st time in two decades, our mineral resources are bringing in money.” The huge leap in the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state is also worthy of mention. So, the governor must be commended for not allowing the sour broth of negative criticisms to drown his voice of reason and love for his people.
Now that Oyetola has turned 67, one can only wish him many more years of service to humanity. It may sound strange, but here’s a word of advice for the governor: as the July 16, 2022 governorship election draws nearer, he should strive to stay his course, without wavering. Between now and the commencement of electioneering activities in the state, it will do Governor Oyetola’s 2nd Term aspiration a great favour if he can reach out personally to the electorate, not just rely on the cup of ‘feedbacks’ from the representatives and constituencies. Since he is a man with a listening ear, let him meet with the people and … compare notes. Yes, reports from the representatives and constituencies are good, but let him confirm these reports before the election so that nothing important is assumed or glossed over.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, make Adegboyega Oyetola’s tenure the best ever in the history of Osun State!
- Komolafe wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State (firstname.lastname@example.org)