Transformation Leadership: The Osun Example
There is no denying the fact that Osun State, also known as the ‘Land of Virtue,’ is wearing a new and confident look under the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. In fact, one can safely describe the entire state as a huge construction site. Definitely, the people are yet to come to terms with their good fortune.
When Governor Aregbesola came into office in November 2010, he revealed his vision to rebuild the state. He organised a summit headed by Professor Wole Soyinka, to seek panacea to the ailing education sector. In the end, the government decided to rebuild public schools at the cost of N30 billion. But that was not going to be at the expense of other infrastructure like roads, markets, industries and agriculture.
Heading towards Ikire, one cannot but notice the beautification drive that has culminated in the landscaping of the highway median at the boundary between it and Oyo State. At Ikire, one notices that the major road into the town has been tarred. According to government officials, the plan is to tar at least 10 kilometres of road in each of the 30 local government areas. One thing that stands the roads out is the quality, they compares with any in the world. As at last count, the state has constructed a total of 280 kilometre roads and still revving to go.
While on recent media tour, one notices striking model schools being constructed on a massive scale in all towns and cities around the state. At Sango Ikire, the NUD Middle School that was once a dilapidated structure before the advent of the administration is now a sight to behold. In fact, the structures are not only modern, the ambience has been consciously designed to make academic learning conducive. The same could be said of Salvation Army School, Osogbo. At Wasimi, the government has constructed vast experimental ‘Green Houses’ for agriculture. These Green Houses are a replica of those found in the Negev Desert of Israel. In addition, it has established a ‘Youth Academy’ for the training of future farmers. At Gbongan, the Adebisi Akande Trumpet Interchange, a massive flyover that will link many areas of the state is a sight to behold. The project will reduce the road accidents always experienced along the federal highway passing through the town.
Nearby is the imposing Hassan Olajoku Recreation Park that was commissioned by Governor Aregbesola on May 15, 2013. According to the Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Ajibola Basiru, the park was so named after the party activist, who died fighting for restoration of the governor’s stolen mandate.
On industrial initiatives, the Osun government has established the Omoluabi Garment Factory at Osogbo, a collaboration between it and Sun and Sara Company Limited, Lagos. Showing journalists round the edifice, the Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budget, Wale Bolorunduro revealed that it employs more than two thousand workers working in shifts. As was revealed, the factory is responsible for the sewing of uniforms for pupils and students in all primary and secondary schools in the state. According to Bolorunduro, the garment institute now sews uniforms for institutions in the adjoining states of Oyo and Ekiti. In the area of sports, Osun State is not found wanting, as it is presently constructing a giant stadium in Osogbo.
The ongoing Oba Aderemi Bye- Pass, a massive infrastructural undertaking, will on completion divert vehicular traffic from Osogbo and thus save the capital the perennial traffic gridlocks witnessed in other cities. Tucked away in Ilesa town is the magnificient Adulawo Technology Institute, set up in collaboration with a Ghanaian company for the manufacture of mobile phones and technology transfer.
As part of efforts to equip the citizens with relevant skills, Osun has established a ‘Life Academy’ in collaboration with the Federal Industrial Centre, Osogbo, which Commissioner Ajibola Basiru, explained will empower people to become self reliant and employers of labour. Inside the cavernous workshops are industrial machines, a testimonial of the government’s determination to make Osun an industrial giant. Within this sprawling complex, is a new shoe factory being set up with help from an Italian company, Global Impianti.
In the area of commerce, Osun is building the ultra modern Ayegbaju International Market at Osogbo. Conducting journalists round the complex, the consultant, Engineer Olufemi Oshonyi said on completion, the market which also has a four star hotel, will have ample spaces for vehicles and a filling station.
Briefing journalists later, Wale Boluwaduro said the state’s monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), which was a paltry N300million in 2010 now stands at N1.6 billion. Today, the state is the seventh largest economy in the country with a GDP of $9 billion. This is no doubting the confirmation of developments on ground.