RAUF AREGBESOLA’S ADMINISTRATION IN THE STATE OF OSUN: Thirty Months In The Saddle (V)
Since the publication of the last in the series of this lengthy edition, events bordering on the roll-out of series of programmes and projects that are intended to better the lots of the citizenry have continued to overtake the smooth flow of the series. Notable in the series of such events, we have from the rear, the Opon Imo launch, the annual Cuba trip, the 2013 O’odua World Children’s Day and the 56th birthday anniversary of the helmsman and monumental achiever, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. With this conclusive phase of OSUN DEFENDER Magazine, NIYI OLASINDE adumbrates all the rest aspects of strides recorded in the Government Unusual agenda within the space of thirty months.
Continued from Tuesday, May 21, 2013.
THE last edition closed at the point at which we did justice to the Environment and Sanitation Sub-Sector of the State of Osun. Due to passage of time, OSUN DEFENDER Magazine deems it necessary and convenient to commence this particular edition with a recap of events, activities, programmes, developments and giant strides in the sub-sector. Thus, the said edition closed with the following remarks:
IN like to the foregoing are the efforts so far made by the administration of the day in the area of Environment and Sanitation now beg for our attention and searchlight. There is no time that OSUN DEFENDER Magazine would write about this sub-sector that the pains and agony of the past years of the massive flooding terrains and their attendant enormous loss of lives and property will not reverberate in our memory. As the years of Oyinlola in office wore on, the dastardly and horrendous effects of environmental degradation, environmental pollution, water pollution and contamination, indiscriminate waste disposal, water erosion and flooding became more and more devastating. This became worse and worse to the extent that –practically all places within the state capital – drains and gutters, street/road divides, major streets and junctions; not to talk of banks and beds of rivers, streams and springs became refuse dumping sites in those dark years.
As the years rolled by, the people of the entire state were reeling and languishing under the full negative effects of unkempt environment improper waste disposal and lack of drainage channelization. Of all towns, cities and settlements in the state, Osogbo, the state capital was the worst-0hit by the menace of degradation and flooding and the leftovers of their attendant after-effects. In those days, OSUN DEFENDER Magazine never relented in drawing attention to many untoward situations which portended threats of grave epidemics and other health hazards for citizens. We used to draw prompt attention to incidences of pollution emanating from hospital mortuary morgues which were inadvertently kept; decomposing animal carcasses and human corpses on our roads; refuse heaps which constituted eyesore and offensive stenches at vantage places even within the state capital; and the devastation effects of water erosion and flooding on our communities. These did not exclude the devastating effects of wind erosion and rainstorms which annually removed roofs and rafters of residential houses and structures of institutions in the state. In some cases, what we had was a complete pull-down of structures that had been weakened cumulatively due to poor maintenance culture.
The Graphical Sketch of the Proposed Gbongan-Akoda Dual-carriageway
Enough talks had been held; while vibrant debates had also been made in the past concerning what horrible fates befell the huge provisions coming from the Federation Accounts to our state in form of Ecological Funds during the Oyimlola years of fiery siege. These enormous sums of funds, cumulatively summing up to several tens of billions of naira were released to states and local government councils as second and third tiers of government respectively to prevent, mitigate and remedy the devastating effects of natural disasters within their territories of governance. Unfortunately all the monies went elsewhere, suspiciously, into the private coffers of some mighty men in power in those days; and got committed to causes for which they were least intended by the releasing authorities at the federal level of governance.
As clearly demonstrated earlier, the ugly effects of environmental degradation, pollution, indiscriminate waste disposal, water contamination and water erosion/flooding became more pronounced as the Oyinlola administration progressed in office. In year 2009, the state and its people reeled helplessly under the destructive yoke of erosion and flooding. The flooding incident of July 10, 2010 was the climax for the state in entirety and for Osogbo in particular. It also sang the Nunc Dimittis for the Oyinlola administration and that of the local administration in the town. The Ataoja of Osogbo of the tome, Oba Iyiola Oyewale Matanmi II joined his ancestors barely a month after that flood wreckage; precisely on August 5, 2010; while an end came to the seemingly-endless Oyinlola siege barely five months later, precisely on November 27, 2010. Honestly, had an end not come to that administration in our state; what remained of it as at 2010 would have been completely washed away by the rains of 2011 and the supposed Gubernatorial Elections of that same year! By the time of turning around of captivity in November 2010, both threats had their mouths agape; with their venomous fangs outstretched; ready to devour the state and its people; thus bringing the corporate existence of the state into total annihilation and extinction. But God had not designed the state and its people for the gastronomical intents of these devouring spirits. That is why our salvation came in the fullness of time! Thank God for His saving grace!
One of the very first areas of priority attention of the Aregbesola administration upon its coming on board the saddle of governance in the State of Osun was the Environment and Sanitation Sub-Sector of ou economy. Since that very first effort made by the administration in that direction; it has so far not relented; neither has its strength and means abated. Governor Aregbesola has clearly demonstrated his avowed determination to rid the State of Osun of dirt and filth. Not only that, he has shown that he has all it takes in terms of knowledge and wherewithal to convert our weaknesses into strengths; and convert our threats into opportunities by making the state prosperous – even by turning waste into wealth. This last feat has been record3ed recently by the administration through the launch of the O’Clean Plus.
The earlier intervention efforts in the direction of purging the state of dirt, filth and horrible sites kick-started when Governor Aregbesola in February 2011, barely three months into his career in the governance of the state, declared a 90-day emergency in the Environment and Sanitation Sub-Sector. Alongside this, the State of Osun Environmental Sanitation Scheme, nicknamed O’Clean was rolled out. Much earlier, as early as the first week of December 2010, call had been made to young, vibrant, unemployed, yet interested residents of the state who were either university graduates or polytechnic Higher National Diploma holders to apply free online for employment into the Osun Youth Employment Scheme, known for short as OYES. The response was impressive, and the strides made so far in that sub-sector is reserved fie another segment of this report. All that needs be said in passing here concerning the OYES programme is that the first major area of its impact; apart from youth empowerment and employment generation has been the area of Environmental Sanit5ation, beautification, crowd and traffic control, ambulance and rescue operations as well as paramedics. Thus the OYES programme of the Aregbesola administration has impacted well on the health and sanitation needs of residents of the State of Osun; so much that the OYES and the O’Clean intervention efforts have become the envy of other states in the federation, as well as the Federal Government and other interest groups like the international communities such as the United Nations and its World Bank.
The first 90-day of emergency in the Environment and Sanitation Sub-Sector of the State of Osun having been completed, the sanitation efforts were not given up; neither were they relaxed. Up till the time of filing this report, a mandatory bi-monthly environmental sanitation exercise is being observed throughout the length and breadth of the state; and this has so positively impacted the sanitation and health needs of the state that Osun gas become the land of healthy citizens where all threats of deadly epidemics have been made not only to lose their grip but also to disappear for good and all!
Apart from the regular general mandatory bi-monthly environmental sanitation exercise being observed throughout the State of Osun, there are other types of similar exercises earmarked for other categories of people on weekly basis. For instance, the civil servants and offices have theirs on Wednesdays; the traders, artisans and ship-owners have theirs on Thursdays, while commercial motorists and motor parks hold theirs on Fridays – all between the hours of 7.00 a.m. and 10.00 a.m. Also, that of bi-monthly general sanitation also holds on second and fourth (last) Saturdays of every month, between the hours of 7.00 a.m. and 10.00 a.m.
Since the rolling out of the sanitation exercises in the State of Osun; the efforts and the O’Clean outfit have so far impacted so positively that asserting that the people have internalized the virtue of cleanliness is stating the obvious. The Government Unusual in its own part has been doing things that are unusual in the usual way! Vehicles, equipment and waste disposal vans were procured to facilitate the work, while townspeople across the state are made to embrace the practice of dropping their refuse at accredited points and centres in order to make their lifting much easier. Also, Central dumping sites have been so located at town and city outskirts that they could not constitute any threat of pollution to residents
Also upon the recent launch of O’Clean Plus, an obvious downward extension of the initially-launched broad O’Clean intervention; it is clear that not all the waste materials that are combustible shall be set on fire, as some of them shall be used to generate some alternative sources of energy for household use. This, as said earlier on, is a source of wealth to the State of Osun.
Thus was the edition concluded. It is highly imperative to point out that the achievements of the incumbent administration in the state in this area have been highly illustrious and impressive. Up till date, the impact of the administration is being felt to the extent that the State of Osun has risen to become the envy of other states in the federation. Any part of the state being visited speaks of changed value system from the ugly horrible sights of the past to a new, well-rebranded land of beauty and high aesthetic value. This measure is well taken as a means of backward integration; so that through our collective carefulness and vigilance, we can take our destinies into our own hands and forestall the occurrence of avoidable diseases. This trend has been achieved. We shall at this juncture do justice to a careful analysis of the achievements of the Government Unusual of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola in other remaining sectors and sub-sectors of the life of the state. It is the consummate attainment of this that OSUN DEFENDER Magazine is now committed.
IN the area of Women and Children Affairs cum Social Development, the Government Unusual has done so well that we can boldly assert that the best so far has begun to be witnessed in the sub-sector. We place it in record that in recognition of the vital role played in the development and future greatness of our society that Ogbeni Aregbesola in the presentation of the Appropriation Bill Estimate for the current year 2013 before the honourable members of the State of Osun House of Assembly, announced the creation of a new ministry with the branding and nomenclature of Ministry of Children and Women Affairs. The inclusion of children in particular indicates that new imprints are about to be left in the sands of time and governance of the state. This trend has begun to be set, not only in name but also in action and programmes. We shall make this crystal clear in due course of time.
The role of and commitment of the incumbent administration in and to the issue of women development have been prominently visible since its coming on board the parlances of governance in the state. Various programmes and supportive schemes have been put in place to organize women into groups with a view to training them and empower them so as to enhance their liberation by reducing their overdependence on then male gender. This feat was recorded through a collaborative, coordinated effort between the two tiers of government visibly on ground within the confines of the state, i.e. the State Government and the grassroots administration called the local government.
Various efforts subsist through which the administration of the day has empowered women, housewives in particular. We place on record various training programmes for widows, puddahs and other groups. Also, professional groups like market women have not been ignored in terms of their needs and requirements that could boost their activities, welfare and prosperity.
Also in this regard, we place on record how the administration of Ogbeni Aregbesola has organized and held for the very first time ever, the O’odua World Children’s Day; which was an attempt at the unification of all the Yoruba race scattered all over the place – within Nigeria and yonder, that is, in West Africa, the rest of Africa, Asia, West Indies (the Caribbean), the United States of America, South America and all the rest. At the programme, we had in attendance contingents from nine good states of the federation, which included the following Yoruba-speaking states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Edo and Delta. Added to these is the tenth, which is the host state, the State of Osun.
Going by the information provided above, the programme was a huge success, as it turned out to be not only a convergence for the children and youth but for adults of all classes, cadres, classes and caste. The greatest achievement of all in the intrinsic quality of that programme is the forum it provided for two frontline traditional rulers in Yorubaland, regarded to be at swords drawn since time immemorial, to sit together and relate as offspring of the same forebears and leaders of the single largest ethnic group among the black race. The Aregbesola administration shall eternally win medals for this feat of acting as a unifying force for the Yoruba race. It has this to its eternal credit.
We shall now dwell briefly on the aspect touching on Social Development, Youths and Sports sub-sector of the whole heading under consideration; particularly, in the sphere of social welfare. Much has been achieved by the administration of Ogbeni since its inception over thirty months ago. In April 2011, the Government of the State of Osun under the dynamic leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola spearheaded the eviction of the state indigenes that were stacked in the war-ravaged Cote d’Ivoire. The cocoa-rich West African country had been war-ravaged for sometime over the sit-tight syndrome exercised by its past leader, Laurent Gbagbo and his blatant, brazen refusal to honour the collective voice and wish of the citizens who overwhelmingly voted for his opponent, Alhassan Quattara in a free, fair and credible general election.
The evicted indigenes, comprising mainly indigenes of Iwo and Ejigbo local government councils of the state were not just evicted but well settled home with donations of money, food items and other materials by the Government of the State. In addition to these good gestures; the respective local government councils complemented by giving their own support too. These gestures were clear demonstration that the people had a government of their own, which had the disposition to guarantee and protect their welfare, well-being and prosperity.
Similar to this was the rescue mission embarked upon by the Government of the State to Bauchi State following the post-Presidential Elections violence which erupted there also in April 2011. The mission of the rescue team was to search for, find and evict the state’s indigenes from the state that had suddenly become heated up with violence and pandemonium, following the announcements of the results of the Presidential Elections held nationwide that April 2011. The mission was successful as the state’s indigenes, consisting mainly of residents who took sojourn there and youth corps members on national assignment were evicted home in droves. Regrettably, the State of Osun had its own share of loss of lives which came attendant to the crisis. Two of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who were killed in the mayhem hailed from the State of Osun. As luck would have it, the duo even hailed from the same town of Gbongan in Ayedaade Local Government Council Area of the state. The way the Government of the State of Osun intervened and identified with the bereaved families, communities and entire people by according the two fallen youths befitting burials and giving support and succor to the families showed a government which places premium on the life, well-being and welfare of its citizens. OSUN DEFENDER Magazine is of the opinion that the blown on the state would have been deadlier, heavier and more fatal if government intervention had not been forthcoming at all; more so, if it had not been timely enough.
In early October 2011, the State of Osun School of Special Needs, located at Powerline Area of Osogbo, the state capital, received a philanthropist gesture from the government of the state when Pharmacist Israel Oyagbile, representing the State Governor delivered consumables and gift items to the students of the school. The items such donated included bags of rice, clothing materials and jerry cans of vegetable oil. The gesture, it was further revealed, was part of the demonstration of the determination of the Government of the State to distribute dividends of democracy evenly throughout the state; class, caste, and state in life notwithstanding.
In a similar vein, local government councils in the state have been in the business of taking turns to cater to the social need of the people in their domains. Our terrain is replete with examples of these gestures. In a nutshell, our thirty local government council areas and the Ife East Area Office have always complemented the efforts of the incumbent administration by taking up the bull by the horns in arresting the challenges of taking care of the elderly in the council areas’ domains.
OSUN DEFENDER Magazine tarries here to document the effort of the administration in putting smiles on the faces of the old and elderly. This initiative in particular is commendable. The care of the elderly in the society is vital; as most of those who constitute the class of elderly must have one time or the other, taken active participation in the building of the society. Giving back to this class of senior citizens in their declining years cannot constitute giving too much. Today, a great number of old and elderly citizens in the state; the poor and indigent in particular is receiving monthly stipends from the government of the day. This care of the old and elderly includes the health and medical care, and it goes a long way to reduce unceremonious deaths, dependency and senility of the old.