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Osun: Oyetola Lost Judicial Battle, But Retains His Integrity By Kola Odepeju




The initial title of this piece was ‘Oyetola lost election, lost judicial battle, but retains his integrity’. But on a second thought, I had to remove the words ‘lost election’ because I don’t really have the conviction that Oyetola actually lost that election. Just that one doesn’t have option than to accept judicial verdict especially coming from the highest judicial authority in the land. For it’s worrisome how victory could be given to a party whose involvement in electoral malfeasance was so glaring such that even its lawyers also agreed to over-voting in some certain polling stations in the state. No wonder the saying; ‘The Law is an arse’. Of course the Law must be an arse because its interpretations sometimes do contradict common sense. Thus the originator of this statement must be in his cerebral best when he made the pronouncement.

For me, both the Appellate and Supreme Courts’ verdicts on Osun gubernatorial election were nothing but *legal mumbo-jumbo*; as it has been rightly described in many reasonable quarters. Legal mumbo-jumbo because the pronouncements of the wise men at those two levels of judicial power typified ‘The Law’, being ‘an arse’ truly. But needless crying over spilt milk here, what’s of great concern to this piece is its title. Oyetola has lost judicial battle though, he hasn’t lost his integrity. He hasn’t lost his integrity because the good name he brought into government remains intact. Morally, he didn’t soil his good name and that of his family and for me, that’s the most important thing because good name, they say, is better than silver and gold.

Administratively Oyetola performed impressively. He brought efficiency to bear in governance and left the civil service far better than he met it. Of course one can come up with a long list of commendable achievements that Oyetola recorded as the governor of Osun which even his detractors cannot fault. Anyone who will not be economical with the truth will agree with this writer here that Oyetola ran a truly progressive government. A progressive government that ensured regular payments of workers’ salaries. Even his implementation of the new minimum wage – which many states of the federation are yet to start paying till date – wouldn’t be used as excuse to ever – for once – delay salary payment; not to talk of owing workers at any level (public servants included).

Two years into his administration Oyetola started the payment of the new minimum wage for workers despite the not-too-palatable financial situation of the state. Same for payment of pensions. Undeniably regular payments of pension was going on – unstopped – under him including payments of pension arrears owed by his predecessor. Unarguably workers’ welfare was of paramount interest to Oyetola. The lifting of embargo placed on promotions and conversions in the service by his predecessor – backing it up with salary increment – and also introduction of incentive policies aimed at enhancing productivity in the service are worth mentioning here. The official gifting of cars and other valuable items to workers who served well on their duty posts provides a good example here appertaining Oyetola’s concern for workers’ welfare and transforming the service. In fact, we can go on and on highlighting the reforms he brought to the service.

What’s more? Despite the aforementioned, infrastructure development didn’t suffer a setback under Oyetola as he embarked on massive roads rehabilitations and constructions across the state. Hospitals were also rehabilitated and well equipped while salaries of staffs were being paid as and when due. Two years into his tenure his government had delivered 332 Public Health Centers (PHCs) and well equipped. It’s worth mentioning at this juncture that Oyetola achieved all these and more without borrowing a dime. This is what actually endeared him to Osun people because he didn’t plunge the state into unnecessary debt. He’s a financially prudent leader. You cannot accuse him of profligacy or corruption. l sincerely believe that Osun people will for many years to come continue to remember him for this.

Whether at individual or political level, one must endeavor always to maintain one’s integrity. For nothing can be compared with character. As a political officer holder the only thing that will remain with you after leaving office is integrity. But if you have soiled your name while in office then you have nothing left but opprobrium and that’s why Oyetola deserves kudos for allowing his integrity to still remain intact. One thing that distinguishes people of integrity from others is that they do what they say they are going to do. They don’t tell lie and they don’t claim easy victory. This is what makes Oyetola thick as a politician. It was that American author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar who once quipped; “Integrity gives you real freedom because you have nothing to fear since you have nothing to hide“. So as Oyetola bows out of office, this writer wish him a greater future ahead. Kudos to a leader of integrity!

Kola Odepeju writes from Lagos via

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