Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola's New Year Speech
HOMERUN WITH HONOUR AND DIGNITY
My good people of Osun,
I am most pleased and grateful to God for the New Year. Irrespective of our condition at this moment, given our endowments and God’s natural blessings around us, we have the hope that a happy and fulfilling year is ahead of us. For when we have life, we have hope.
The last year was challenging but we can say that it was better than the two years before it, just as we believe that this New Year will be better than the old one. In that last year, 2017, the IITA agriculture training and research centre was launched in Ago Owu, in a major push for farming and food security in our state. We also commissioned three of our state-of-the-art schools. These are Saint Augustine Elementary School, Ipetumodu, CAC Middle School, Araromi, Osogbo and Ilesa Government High School, Ilesa.
In the past year, we celebrated the graduation and return to the country of the medical students of Uniosun, who went to study in Ukraine.
We also established and commissioned Justice Research Centre at the Osogbo High Court. This will aid legal research and promote the cause of justice.
In 2017, our state was spared the scourge of monkey pox and Lassa fever, even as it ravaged many states, including some of our neighbours. We thank God for His protection over us and especially our dutiful and hard working public health and medical workers and officials of the Ministry of Health that acted proactively and with dispatch at the appropriate time.
Also in the out-gone year, work resumed on the Moshood Abiola International Airport. This airport, when completed, would serve as cargo airport, maintenance hub and a major boost to tourism in the state, among others.
Also, in the same year, we successfully held callisthenics competition among secondary school pupils in Osun. This is another innovation from our state that helps children to develop physical and mental coordination, team spirit and character building.
In 2017, we signed a memorandum of understanding with investors on the establishment of N216 billion industrial park in Osun. This is a landmark economic development event that will give Osun an industrial breakthrough, when it takes off.
We also, within the same year, lunched a micro, small and medium enterprises empowerment scheme that will benefit 50,000 people in the state.
Before the year ran out, we broke a three decade plus jinx by turning the sod on the 60 million litre daily water supply scheme to Ilesa. We were able to secure N48.7 billion facility from Islamic Development Bank for this landmark project.
It was also a year of harvest of deaths as my mother, step mother, close friends and political associates like Lateef Raji, Prof Abdulrauf Mustapha, Senator Isiaka Adeleke and Moses Hustode all went to the great beyond. Death came calling and snatched my Egbon and confidant, Sir Olu Abiola, Mrs Omowumi Akande, who was the wife of our leader in Osun, Chief Bisi Akande, Olori Bola Akinyemi and regrettably Mrs Oluwakemi Kolawole, who was Permanent Secretary, Bureau of General Services, Office of the Governor. Death took also Sheikh Salaudeen Olayiwola, the chairman Osun Muslims Community. May God grant them all comfort in their new station.
For the past seven years, we have laboured to bring people centred progressive governance to Osun. This has been visible in youth, vulnerable senior citizens and women empowerment, agriculture development, industrialisation, infrastructure development, education, job creation, human development, water resources development, urban renewal and so on.
All these have transformed Osun and projected it positively beyond what we met. Osun has now become the reference point in prudent management of resources and responsible governance.
On Thursday last week, I presented to the State House of Assembly the budget for the administration of this state for next year. That budget is the culmination of all our effort and will represent the crowning glory of our achievements. I fully intend to implement it to the last kobo.
For it to work however, there must be a clear departure from the past of dependency on allocation from the federation account. It is imperative that we generate our own revenue. This requires that we all work hard. The collective wealth of the state is the aggregate of what everyone contributes and we can only be economically and financially safe when everyone produces more than he or she consumes.
All of us should pay our taxes, rates, levies, fees, fines and other financial obligations to the state. From our population, if one million of us productively engaged can contribute N250 for 20 days in a month, we will be able to raise N5 billion. This will enable us comfortably pay our workers and pensioners full salaries, run the government, provide infrastructure and carry out social protection services for all the people.
All the things we desire like good roads, functional education, recreational facilities, security of life and property and a conducive environment for the pursuit of happiness and so on can best be provided by the government. No individual or private organisation can provide them to the satisfaction of all the people.
This is why we all need to support the government by fulfilling our financial obligations to it in order for it to be able to carry out all its projects satisfactorily too.
Yes, there could be irresponsible government who would rather serve themselves than serve the people but we must still support the state as the symbol of our collective aspiration. To prevent irresponsible administration, we need productivity, vigilance and patriotism.
What we are going through now is the consequence of the bad choices we made in the past and except we change course by doing the right thing, by being productive and financially support the government, vigilantly monitor its activities, there is no magic wand anywhere and the situation might get worse.
We therefore count on you to get the maximum support from you till the very end, for us to be able to give you our maximum best.
Indeed, we have served maximally and given our best because you have supported us. Please keep supporting us.
In the New Year, political desperado hell bent on precipitating crisis and mayhem will want to egg some misguided individuals into conducting themselves unseemly and disturb the peace and serenity of the state. We support the democratic expression of grievances through peaceful protests and other legitimate means. Nevertheless, all form of social agitation, be it economic, political or social, must not be done to the detriment of others. We have the mandate and strong intention to protect the right of others to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and go about their lawful duties without molestation, let or hindrance.
This is the last New Year message our administration will pass to you as our tenure will end on November 26. Therefore, I will like to say from the bottom of my heart that it has been a great privilege to serve the good people of Osun. I cherish your love, fierce patriotism, courage and forthrightness. You are a great people.
This is an election year in which our tenure will end and a successor must emerge. It is my solemn promise that we will not leave in a vacuum. In consultation with our leaders and the member of our great party, we will careful select and present to you a successor that belongs to our political tradition of progressive people oriented leadership, a person of integrity, who shares our aspirations and will take governance to the next level from where we stopped. I want you therefore to conduct yourselves with the same dignity and courage of Omoluabi – a people whose conscience and soul cannot be bought, that cannot be intimidated with guns and dogs and who stand firm behind the progressive rock of political leadership.
I must commend and thank you all most sincerely from my heart for your kind support, for the sacrifice, understanding and the willingness to do and support what is right, and not what is convenient, in the past seven years.
I must in particular thank all the workers in the state who have laboured with us for the successful implementation of our programmes and are therefore part and parcel of our success story, especially those who have had to endure 75 per cent and 50 per cent salary regime since July 2015.
I thank most immensely the women and their groups, market women and men, traders, artisans, workers, retirees, students, transporters, commercial motorcyclists, employers of labour, organised private sector, the business community, financial institutions, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, youth organisations, security agencies, the media, political parties, opposition members, traditional rulers, community leaders and religious organisations and their leaders.
It is my earnest prayer that the New Year will be peaceful, successful and usher in fresh opportunities, goodness, prosperity and abundance to all and sundry.
I wish you a happy and blessed new year, 2018
Osun a dara!