Akande’s horse and Oyetola’s victory
– Ayodeji Olonode
The strategic engagement tour of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola across the federal constituencies of Osun was laced with eloquent gestures of appreciation of his impact on the people of Osun. On the other hand, the creative declaration of support and symbolic endorsements of Oyetola for a second term in office have also not escaped public notice.
On January 27, former governor of Osun and first interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, gave Oyetola a horse, whilst the tour moved to Ila federal constituency. As he handed the well-adorned white horse to him, he charged Oyetola to ride to power.
Akande’s gesture was an acknowledgement of Oyetola’s sterling qualities that have made him a toast of the good people of Osun in the last three years. It was a testament to Oyetola’s power, tirelessness and stamina, the exact type that is required to engineer the Osun he inherited. It was a symbol of heroism, to celebrate his bravery against the megalomaniac and his goons, in the noble fight to defend the aspirations and collective interest of the people. It was a celebration of Oyetola’s intelligence by which he was able to keep all ducks in a row with Osun’s very lean purse, attending to both emerging and inherited issues (including defrayal of loans he didn’t take) without borrowing a dime.
The other angle to the gesture is the prophetic dimension it exudes, especially with the succinct rider that followed: “…ride to power”. This was more than an endorsement of Oyetola’s candidature, it was a declaration of triumph before the blast of the umpire’s whistle. It was an unveiling of the man who was pressing from victory unto victory. The “social distance” between Oyetola’s score and those of his co-contenders at the recently conducted primary of the All Progressive Congress in the State foreshadows the eventual triumph of the mam destined for the office.
February 8 witnessed another symbolic presentation as the tour hit Ifelodun-Boripe-Odo Otin federal constituency, with the people pulling an interesting stunt, sending out a strong message about what Oyetola represents through the gift of camel.
It is common knowledge that a camel is an epitome of service, relieving others of their burdens and taking them across dry, thirsty lands to the people’s desired destination; just in the exact fashion Oyetola has committed himself to the service of Osun, bearing the burdens of every social category and taking them to their desired destinations one after the other.
Just as the camel doesn’t embark on any journey for itself, the good people of Osun have been at the heart of the programmes and policies of Oyetola’s administration in the last three-plus years. Oyetola is paying full salaries. He implemented the federal government’s approved minimum wage, he is paying pensions and gratuities regularly as well as the inherited arrears. Osun isn’t buoyant but Oyetola believes strongly that burdens must be lifted off people’s shoulders.
To ensure citizens have access to healthcare at the grassroots level, Oyetola embarked on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and revitalisation of 332 PHCs at a go. He enrolled the vulnerable, including the aged and people living with disabilities into the Osun Health Insurance Scheme at free premium to enable them to enjoy quality healthcare. He feeds 30,000 vulnerable persons on a monthly basis through the Osun Food Support Scheme, and on the verge of rolling out other specific support programmes for the elderly and widows. He has provided loans and credit facilities for citizens, including women and youths, empowering over 18,000 Osun youths through various schemes including loan disbursement to enable them to start new businesses and boost existing ones.
The burdens that drilled pockets, damaged people’s health and even resulted in deaths, have been systematically lifted by Oyetola since his emergence.
A camel comes prepared for the journey and helps others make that journey as well. Oyetola isn’t a leader by accident, he was built for a time like this. After many years in the Private Sector, he came into political office with a fervent resolve to apply private sector results-oriented principles to fill the gap in governance so that the people can truly enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Although camels can run (and even race at up to 40 miles per hour), they usually pace themselves, reserving energy and reaching their destinations with the same stamina they started with. Some thought it was “Initial Grah-Grah” when Oyetola began paying full salaries of workers, until he took it some notches higher, lifting embargo on promotion and conversion of workers, implementing CONHESS and CONMESS for medical and healthcare professionals, implementing minimum wage for regular workers, among other welfare revolutions.
Some thought he will soon run out of gas when he approved the reconstruction/rehabilitation of 10 township roads across the state in less than a year in office, until he approved the reconstruction of 52.5km span of roads, mobilized contractors back to site of (inherited) abandoned road projects; constructed an iconic flyover at the heart of Osogbo to address recurring accidents and usual logjam at the intersection; and recently, he is on a 200km road rehabilitation spree.
“Baba jeje” has not run out of gas, he is still firing from all cylinders. He is still surging towards the rubicon with the same level of stamina he started with. Covid-19 induced lockdown didn’t reverse his commitment to paying full salaries, constructing roads and fulfilling his promises to the people.
Osun is on a journey, not a sprint. The man who is qualified to lead Osun is one who has a journey mentality, who is futuristic in his orientation, who will build structures for a rewarding future like the Dagbolu International Trade Centre, who will not plunge the state into further debts… That man, definitely, is Oyetola.