By Jibola Oyekunle
With due diligence and rare candour, the State of Osun is carrying out a sentry go on its people and their treasures, both personal and collective. And suddenly, every citizen is getting conscious of the need to be proud of where they hail from.
A typical citizen of America would tell the world, jauntily, that he comes from the “God’s owned country”. I don’t know about the past, but now, Osun indigenes can proudly tell whoever cares to listen that here is where God lives! Welcome to Osun, the land of the virtuous.
The peace, the tranquility, hospitality, the rich cultural heritage, attractive centers for tourism, rich land for agriculture, the quantum mineral resources, among others, are the tell-tale signs of the abundance of God’s blessings and his presence in the lives of the good people of the State.
Keen watchers of events as they unfold in recent times would quite agree that Osun has now turned to a safe haven where foreign nationals and indigenes of other states, mostly northerners, are desperately seeking a greener pasture. Their points of attraction are the mining sites.
Recent news of 27 illegal miners, including 17 Chinese nationals, intercepted by the State’s newly inaugurated Joint Task Force after a sting operation carried out around Ilesa and Ife axis of the State, is a pointer to the growing desperation by the outsiders to pilfer the State’s common patrimony.
Some days after the arrest of these 27, another 13 illegal miners were intercepted in Akure, Ondo State, trying to sneak into Osun amid Covid-19 pandemic fear. The culprits, according to reports, were northerners who had earlier been deported from the State of Osun. All these came after the government in Osun raised the alarm over the influx of northern indigenes into the State, and announced readiness to stop further infiltration in the land.
Findings, as far back as 1940, have revealed that the State of Osun is sitting on several varieties of Precambian rocks, which possess appreciable degrees of economic mineralization. Of the mineral resources discovered, gold, granite, feldspar, kaolin and clay, among others, are said to be of great economic quantity, with alluvial gold particularly tipped to stand a great potential of being second to the largest and richest deposit in the world.
Understandably, the constitutional constraint which places the right to explore these mineral resources in the exclusive list may have hindered necessary actions by successive governments in the State. But the current administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, in its determination to leverage the State’s enormous natural endowment for rapid economic development, human emancipation and wealth creation, had, from inception, decided to brave the odds.
Blessed with a rich mind of his own, Oyetola, on assumption of office, immediately set out to work. Not even the protracted legal battle to retain his mandate freely given to him by the good people of Osun and the acerbity of some members of the opposition anticipating his ouster would distract him.
Taking advantage of the good relationship he enjoyed with the Federal Government, he engaged the appropriate ministry with a view to facilitating immediate necessary action on exploration in the State. The government also opened discussions with well-meaning development partners to boost economic development.
He would also not close his eyes against the threats of insecurity and environmental degradation posed by the activities of marauders and illegal miners respectively.
The administration held a security sensitization meeting with stakeholders in Ife/Ijesa zone on May 21, 2019. The meeting, meant to rouse the communities from slumber to vigilance, was a follow-up to the state-wide parley held earlier on April 18 in Osogbo, the state capital.
Apart from sensitising the people on the rising crime rate in the mining communities and to check criminals operating under the cloak of miners, the meeting also afforded traditional rulers, community leaders and others the opportunity to sit together to share experiences and make suggestions on the way forward.
The administration also made a proactive move of positioning the State for immediate financial gains from the mining sector by streamlining the activities of artisanal miners for the benefit of the people, the environment, the communities and the government, in a win-win situation.
To prevent criminals from infiltrating the state, inward-bound miners were immediately mandated to register and their biometrics captured by agents of the government of the State. The administration’s talks with the development partners are also yielding fruit with the good news that a Canadian mining company had already paid a sign-on fee of well over 100 million naira.
These are just a tip of the iceberg in the laudable efforts of the current administration in protecting the people and their treasure and create wealth for the benefit of all. No doubt, the current government of the State is working and the positive impacts of its efforts are already being felt by the people in so many ways.
Therefore, beyond the gold and other natural endowments, what glitters in the State of Osun is good leadership, good governance being provided by the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. His is a sincere government that is awake to its responsibilities on the people. They feel it and savour it, hoping and praying that this be sustained, so other good things could fall into place.
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