“If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”_
_- William I. Thomas_
Fellow Nigerians, if the feedback to last week’s intervention in this Column is anything to go by, it means that all is evidently not well with the politics and governance issues in Osun State. So, it’s time men of goodwill rallied to address the issues currently ailing the state, and the earlier this is done; the better for the survival, progress, and destiny of the state.
That said, let me also confess that Nigeria is a wonderful country, full of wonders! The late Dele Giwa was right when he said that _‘Nigerians have been shocked into a state of ‘in-shockability’ and nothing shocks them again.’_ The emergence of diverse groups of politically aggrieved people in the society, whose socio-political worldview is ‘free-loading’, and their psychological disposition towards life and survival is ‘entitlement’, may not be good for the growth and wellbeing of the society. This ‘entitlement’ mentality predisposes these people to a frictionless, rudderless and clueless lifestyle, which becomes handy in politics, especially, during political campaigns, voter mobilization and election monitoring activities, among others. The sad side is that we have these groups aplenty now in Osun; and the way forward is both dicey and unclear. In a country where politics has become a ‘contested concept’ and _“a conquered land of surrender where playing safe”_ is _”the basis for survival”_ , success at containment of an ugly trend such as the one in play is almost uncertain.
By all accounts, politics and political life of Osun is atrophying. Prebendal politics in its crude and unadulterated version is back, aggressively navigating the body polity, ravaging the extant socio-political structures and public institutions with cruising speed! Horrible as it may sound, the structure and the extant socio-political milieu in the state may have allowed for the birth and spread of bad politics. Mass unemployment, waning interest of farmers in Agriculture, round-tripping policies in Commerce, and the muzzling of the life-link of the domestic economy under the guise of revenue generation, all have joined hands to compose the dirges of perpetual economic subservience, aided and sustained by the ambivalence in the socioeconomic cum political structures in the state. Curiously, there is a new dance in town; and the highest bidder takes the floor!
The tempting truth is that Osun is largely an agrarian society, with minimal state meaningful intervention. Lifestyle and social expectations are also still low and simple. However, the pervasive crippling effects of poverty are becoming staggeringly obvious by the day. It’s therefore time this administration injected life and meaning into the street because no government can record any progress without support from the people. It is also time our political gladiators realized that the success of a government comes from a combination of hard work and cooperation. So, let the process of confidence building begin through the greening of the streets, with democratic dividends trickling into the people’s stomachs, because people with empty stomachs are not likely to be favourably disposed to the finesse of the essence or philosophy of long-term development plan. Besides, a system that prides itself in only 4 permanent teachers, 10 _npower_ and 5 _OYES_ corps ministering to the teaching needs of over-450 students in, say, Ijebu-Jesa Grammar School, my alma mater, gives a lot of impression about how we take education. That it has been done before does not mean that it is right!
Let’s also face it: organized labour may soon be at loggerheads with the governor unless the magic that brought forth 26 exotic cars for State Honourabless also activates the payment of the outstanding salary and pension arrears of its workers and retirees who can’t even feed their families. Interestingly, civil servants in the State are grateful for the prompt payment of salary since the inception of this administration. Notwithstanding however, the workers consider prompt payment of salary, a statutory duty of any responsible government. Further still, the only way the ruling party and former Governor Rauf Aregbesola can cover their past in glory and escape unforgettable sanctions in 2022 is for the government to do something about their arrears before it is too late!
We agree Osun is a civil service state, looking for economic and sustainable development breakthroughs in, virtually, all sectors of the domestic economy. But, in a situation where the leadership attributes and available talents in government can, at best, be described as disorganized, the notion of economic revitalization in a non-cohesive, security-challenged, no-swagger-driven mobilisation, and non-development agenda-focussed society, can only be likened to a lie from the pit of hell.
As the cloud thickens and the clock also ticks in favour of 2022, let it be said that good governance is about building a team, not an empire. It is about a brand, not a name. The reason is simple: while the former runs on the anvil of courage of conviction and sense of equality, the latter is woven in competing narratives and conflicting experiences by _‘a o m’erin j’oba’, ‘igi da, eye fo’_ accidental democrats who only politic for self-serving interests. For instance, Nigerians are still wondering how Ademola Adeleke, who, in spite of the scandals allegedly hanging on his neck, was able to give a sitting government, which came into office with enormous goodwill in 2010, a run for its money. Of course, the answer finds succour and intelligibility in the persona and legacy of the late Isiaka Adeleke and where the people held _Serubawon’s_ humanity in their hearts.
Read Also: Osun: The Storm Foreseen (1)
Finally, those who hold the notion that September 22 and 27, 2018 in the life of Osun have signposted what to expect in 2022 might also have forgotten that elections globally are not a tea party. But then, 2022 may not be as difficult as 2018 if we have people who are committed to doing the needful because the ruling party would have done more than half of the job. In other words, the election will be half-won when people see progress; when they can decipher truth and openness in the business of running the government.
_Audentes fortuna iuvat!_ Oyetola is a good-natured man whose government should not be allowed to fail due to no fault of his!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun!
_*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (firstname.lastname@example.org)_
O20, Okenisa Street,
Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.
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