Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola celebrated his second year in office. His Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, speaks about his achievements and the challenges ahead. TOBA ADEDEJI reports
Under two years of Oyetola’s administration, can you highlight some areas where residents of the state thumb up for him and what are the achievements recorded so far?
Without equivocation, the governor of Osun state, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola has excellently performed to the greatest dismay of the people especially in the face of paucity of fund. He systematically brought massive development to the most important sectors of the state economy through his focused leadership and goodwill. He made efficient and effective management of state resources for better outputs as the driving force of his administration. With this administrative philosophy, he strategically touches lives through a series of projects, programs and policies.
Oyetola has brought changes in the areas of security, health, commerce, education, workers’ welfare and human capital development among others intending to achieve his six integral action plans namely; banishing poverty, hunger and unemployment; restoring healthy living, promoting functional education and enhancing communal peace and progress.
Specifically, several roads linking different local government areas have been constructed in addition to several kilometres of rural roads constructed under the institutional framework of Osun Rural Access and Mobility Projects (ORAMP), health centres across the state have got a face-lift with the full upgrade of 332 Primary Health Centres, some Comprehensive health centres and all General Hospitals in the state. The security system has been improved significantly through many newly developed security architectural frameworks. Most importantly, the state economy keeps getting stimulated and stabilized through Governor Oyetola’s incessant, prompt and full salary payment to the state workforce around which the state economic activities revolve. In addition to this, his concerted efforts in giving the state an economic boost through industrialization and commercialisation have yielded significant results within the two years of his administration by the establishments of both International Trade Centre/Inland Port and Osun Ethanol Bio-Refinery Factory with the capacity of 10,000 employments respectively.
The mining activity in the state is one of the areas of economic boosting efforts of Governor Oyetola with its attendant results.
With the aforesaid, what more could get the thumb up of the masses if not the productive programmes and policies of Oyetola’s dynamic, selfless, prudent and result-oriented leadership in the state which has engendered massive socio-economic growths and development.
What are the citizen-driven policies that Oyetola have implemented since he became the Governor of the state?
Let me first say this. It will interest you to know that every policy circle of Oyetola’s administration has “input mechanism” specifically created for the people to feed the policy formulation process with their yearnings and aspirations to inform the general decision of the government. This then portends that, there is no policy or programme in Oyetola’s administration without the true reflection of peoples’ will.
For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Oyetola has shown a commitment to democratic governance driven by people’s opinions, tenets and needs upon assumptions of office. Therefore, his administration’s policy formulation process has been directed by the demands of the people during his “thank you tour” and as contained in the DFID Citizen-Based Assessment Reports.
By implication, virtually all policies and programmes of Oyetola’s administration are made in tandem with the real feelers of the populace and as such, people-centredness and inclusiveness form the hallmark of his administration. This has even necessitated the establishment of civic engagement office to serve as an interfacing institution between the government and the people.
Oyetola has reviewed education policy of single uniform, a reversal of school names among others. How does the resident of the state receive this policy?
Stating with emphasis, the review was overwhelmingly received by the people with a lot of ecstasy and encomium since it was an offshoot of their demands and aspirations. We made the erstwhile education policy as a government but the people have demanded a review of what we did. That is the beauty of government. We must be responsible and responsive to the people who bring us to power because it is on their mandate we are driving the governance.
Our last administration thought the policy was the best for the people bearing in mind the new progressive developments it was bringing but the people said they were not ready for that radical change in the education system. Oyetola’s administration tilted to the opinion of people and took necessary measures expected of a people-oriented government.
Worthy of the note is the fact that the review was not unilaterally done by the lone conviction of the government but it was a result of the productive deliberations of all critical stakeholders in the state education sector. A high powered panel led by a renowned educationist, Prof. Olu Aina was set up with the mandate to consider the demands and yearnings of the people as well as give adequate recommendations which will inform the corresponding decision of the government.
How well will a policy review was done along the opinions and tenets of the people be received, if not with undiluted pleasure and unreserved acceptability? Osun people have spoken in unison, the government has considered their position and they are delighted about the modifications made in the education policy.
Many people believe that there is a rift between Oyetola and Aregbesola, which is the reason why Oyetola is changing the policies of his predecessor. Is this true and what is the rationale behind reviewing some of these policies?
Setting the fact straight, the review of policy as diligently being executed by Governor Oyetola is not in any way of throwing tantrums or vendettas at the past administration. This is to say, the step should not be seen as a way of maligning or steering down the policies of the former administration. More interestingly, we are part of the last administration that made the policies but no policy is ever rigid. Changes are bound to happen as circumstances revolving around policy system demand, especially the popular demand of the people.
Speaking unequivocally, many policies and programmes of the past administration such as Osun Youths Empowerment Scheme (OYES), some extractions of education policy, road projects among others are being maintained for the benefits of the citizenry. You will want to know that, Oyetola’s administration has revisited the establishment of the first commercial hub which the last administration planned but unable to actualize. The construction of the International Trade Centre has been flagged off by Governor Oyetola after he disbursed compensation fund of 240 million naira to the farmers and landowners in Dagbolu where it is situated. This is another way of sustaining programmes and policies of the past administration put in a shape to conform to the present sociopolitical realities.
Based on the foregoing, the efforts in reviewing some policies of the past administration should be seen against the backdrop of agitations and demands from the people, but not from the narrow prism of politics or unfounded conjectures. The review was more of rational demands on the part of the stakeholders in the state as well as hinged on the realization of the fact that citizens are at liberty to request for a policy review at any given period.
Indeed, policy review is the most essential part of the policy development process of any serious government which must be done on a cyclic basis for it helps to ascertain policy success and where appropriate minor or major revisions could be proposed for the development of the polity.
Have manned the civic engagement office for some times now, what have you been doing to engage the artisan groups and informal sectors in the state?
Civic engagement office is an interfacing institution which bridges the gap between the government and the people. Under civic engagement, we interface with the people across all social strata to get them involved in the governance process, feel their pulse towards government policies and programmes as affecting them; and get the feedbacks which will equally inform the decisions and policy formulations. The projected end-result is to engender people-oriented and inclusive governance in the state.
We have designed many strategic programs meant to engage all forms of social and economic clusters such as artisan groups, trade unions, informal workers, traditional councils, non-indigenous communities, youths and women, among others. Some of the programmes include family meeting with informal workers, market/park rally, palace meeting, meeting with non-indigenous communities, meeting with social groups, etc.
How can you describe the Osun economic development index in the last few years?
Osun has been on its right path of sustainable development over time with the massive investment drives of the successive administrations. The current administration also leaves no stone unturned in developing every sector of the state economy such as infrastructure, health, human capital development, commerce, among others. All these concerted efforts have greatly reflected on the state development indices as reported by relevant statistical authorities.
In a report from the Nigerian Living Standard Survey, Osun state was ranked third among states with lowest poverty rate and inequality index in the country as computed between September 2018 and October 2019 by the National Bureau of Statistics. Osun state now has a poverty index of 8.52 per cent, which is the state’s lowest since the return of democracy. This copiously represents the giant strides recorded in all forms of economic development by the state government. It’s equally the result of a series of empowerment programs such as loans for small and medium enterprises, vocational training and human capacity development which Oyetola’s administration have designed as an economic stimulus package.
Equally, the Osun state was rated the state with the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria by the same National Bureau of Statistics in 2019 as it is leading with 10.1 per cent unemployment rate in the country. The figures also corroborated earlier figures released by the NBS, UNDP Statistics on Miserable Index and Financial Derivatives Company findings, while all were putting Osun on top in financial Sustainability, Investment in its people and Less Poverty Ridden in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
It’s worthy of note that, no less than twenty million naira is injected into the state economy through youths empowerment under Osun Youths Empowerment Scheme (OYES) on monthly basis in addition to series of empowerment programs carried out in collaboration with the federal government such as O’MEAL, YESSO, N-power, Tradermonie, Marketmonie among other social intervention programs (SIP’s). All these, directly have significant impacts on the state economic development indices.
The above revelations show that Oyetola’s administration is resolute on the sustenance of youth employment, women empowerment, massive infrastructural development, human capital development and commercial boost among others.
Is Oyetola considering borrowing for the betterment of citizens’ lifelike his predecessor?
As can be seen, prudence and probity are the hallmarks of this administration. We maximize the little resources we have for more effective deliveries. Despite the paucity of funds, we are constructing roads, upgrading health centres, paying salaries and pensions, providing empowerments, among others for the benefits of our people. This has been achievable through the financial expertise of Governor of Oyetola.
With the kind of financial expert like Oyetola at the helms of affairs, the state economy cannot be overburdened with frivolous borrowings without specific bearing. If the model of capital formation and accumulation is considered as an economic stimulus approach, thereby necessitating borrowing for driving investments, the government will be project-specific. It is the belief that the capital formation circle is an integral part of economic development which encapsulates high capital, high investment, high saving and high investment again. The understanding of the foregoing portends that, borrowing is not necessarily evil to the economy if it judiciously used for investment purposes which will yield turnover.
In a nutshell, we are still maximizing our lean resources for better outputs. If we must borrow, it will be used to overburden the economy or serve as a clog in the wheel of the development for the next generation. It will be done in the best interest of our commonwealth.