In Nigeria, the politician is known to make a lot of sweet promises to garner votes from the electorate on ballot day. Some promises are based on the pedigree of the campaigner. Others are based on the manifesto of the contestant’s party.
They refer the people to what they would call the ‘lofty’ programmes of their party to crave for support, even as they promise heaven and earth if they are voted into power. Others might lean on sheer constitutional right, without a proven past of achievement, to issue assurances that they would perform well in office and on the strength of that, ask for votes.
Now, where does Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun belong in the classes of politicians identified in the foregoing? We need a truthful and straightforward answer as the state’s gubernatorial poll of July draws near. We require an answer based on empirical evidence. That is what will guide a credible narrative and influence the people to make the correct choice or decision at the poll.
Aware of the centrality of fulfilled promises in politics, Oyetola has been oiling his pact with the people through a body, Ileri Oluwa. An uncompromising believer in God and in His unbending promises to bless and provide for those who trust in Him, Oyetola’s All Progressives Congress, APC, administration has also repeatedly conducted a style of governance with a human face, one that believes in promising and being bound by his word, by giving succour to the people you swear to serve. . The governor has thus found himself in the rare league of those who honour their word.
The evidence is everywhere: in the urban and suburban areas, in the villages, in schools, in offices and generally in the lives of the ordinary citizens.
Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the Food Support Scheme the Oyetola government put in place to cushion the effects of the national economic on vulnerable citizens of Osun. So far since its advent 10 months ago, according to official statistics, 300,000 deprived households have enjoyed directly from the facility while many have benefited from it indirectly. The scheme entails championing the welfare and general well-being of the people, notably underprivileged segment of the populace.
When he addressed journalists at the State Government Secretariat, Osogbo, the capital, at a ceremony to mark the 10th edition of the Food Support Scheme, the governor, represented by the Secretary to the government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, said the feedback from the beneficiaries indicated mass acceptance. He said these responses ‘’justified the noble intent of the authorities to run participatory and an all-inclusive governance where democratic dividends would be seen and equally felt by the citizens.
He dismissed the pessimism of naysayers who sought to trash the will of the government to push through with its pledge. Oyetola said:’’I can assure our people that this promise will continue as long as we are in governments. This is not done because we are in election year, we have been doing this in the last ten months…It is a promise fulfilled …We have proved our capacity and capability to ensure the sustenance of this scheme contrary to what some people were saying that we won’t be able to sustain it, but today we have proved them wrong.’’
There is a spiral effect to this critical objective of meeting the food needs of hundreds of thousands of the citizens. Local production of food is reengineered to trigger a value chain that boosts the state economy through job creation and increased internally generated revenue. Needless to say, the government is empowered with more funds for infrastructural projects and payment of its workers. How about the market that follow the huge demand under the Food Support Scheme? It opens up the tax net of the government. Naturally again, government receipts increase for brighter prospects to have enough to cater for its short- and long-term expenditures.
So, from one single initiative based on a governor’s promise and its implementation, we can see transformation coming upon a people and its environment.
All such an administration needs when called upon to account for its stewardship in an election season is to point at the harvest of the execution of its promises. Governor Oyetola is going to do exactly that: he will dwell on what I call ‘merit votes’ to defeat his rivals, first in February at the primary and then in July for reelection. His achievements will sway the people to ask him to stay for four more years so they can continue to enjoy more of his benevolence.
Oyatomi Esq, is the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in the State of Osun
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