How Osun’s anniversary event put a lie to ‘frosty relationship’ between Oyetola, Aregbesola
One of the ‘fake news’ in circulation before his appointment was that Oyetola had ditched him to pitch tent with the national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, who was believed to have been responsible for the incumbent’s emergence as governor in spite of the minister, who ordinarily had another person in mind apart from his former Chief of Staff as successor.
It was also rumoured that immediately Oyetola emerged after the controversial rerun of September 27, 2018, gubernatorial election, he allegedly started to dismantle the political structure of his predecessor on the order of the national leader, just as he also distanced himself from Aregbesola anytime he traveled to see Tinubu in Lagos.
In fact, some mischief-makers claimed that it was on the instruction of Tinubu, and not Aregbesola, that Oyetola ignored the commissioning of some projects in Lagos by President Buhari on April 24, 2019, in the last days of former Governor Akinwumni Ambode. However, Oyetola was in Abuja attending a court proceeding over his mandate, which was challenged by the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke.
However, unfolding events that culminated in the appointment of Aregbesola as minister all put a lie to the fake propaganda of opposition forces. To cap it all, the 28 years’ anniversary of Osun State, which was marked on August 27 changed the negative narrative when the incumbent demonstrated that he could be trusted by the people at home and in the diaspora, as he has begun fulfilling the promises made to the people, despite the initial litigation distraction that lasted for about eight months.
Until recently in the entire Southwest, only Lagos State has been lucky to have had persons from the same political family govern the state consecutively and consistently since 1999. This perhaps may have been responsible for the steady socio-economic and political growth and development of the state. But in November 2018, Aregbesola also made history in the Southwest as the third political leader after the Premier of Old Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Tinubu, to hand over to a successor from the same party and political family after two terms in office. He replicated what Tinubu did in Lagos in 2007 when the national leader handed over power to Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who was also Tinubu’s former Chief of Staff.
In a message to mark the state’s 28th anniversary, the governor said, “We promised to pay full salary to all our workers; we have not defaulted. We promised to pay for our pensioners; we have also not defaulted. We promised to rebuild, remodel and, in some cases, carry out total rehabilitation of existing school buildings in series 4 classrooms, 5 classrooms, 6 classrooms, 8 classrooms, 10, 15 and 20 classrooms at a maximum of 50 pupils/students per class, to cater for communities at 200, 250, 300, 400, 500, 750 pupils per school; we have commissioned completed projects in that regard in Telemu and Morinu, in Olaoluwa and Iwo Local Government Areas respectively. Our work as a government so far points to one fact: better days ahead.
“We have also reconstructed and equipped 11 fire service stations, with 14 fire fighting vehicles to give confidence to the firefighters in the discharge of their life and property-saving duties. We are doing all these because security is meaningless without safety.”
He also said that work has reached advanced stages on the revitalisation of hospital facilities in Ejigbo and Ifetedo in Osun West and Osun East Senatorial Districts respectively, adding that the administration had on assumption of office commenced work on the revitalisation of nine general hospitals and 332 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) – one per ward – across the state. At the last count, he noted, about 100 PHCs have been completed. Already, plans have been concluded to begin the inauguration of the completed 100P HCs.
At a recent banquet held in honour of the governor and Aregbesola, Oyetola reiterated the administration’s commitment to stimulating the economy of the state and bringing about development. According to the immediate past Commissioner of Finance and chairman of Planning Committee, Bola Oyebamiji, the occasion was to celebrate Oyetola’s triumph at the Supreme Court and to celebrate the appointment of Aregbesola by President Buhari as the Minister of Interior.
While speaking on the occasion, the governor said the government was resolute to sustaining the continuity of good governance, the foundation of which the progressives had laid in the state through the implementation of people-oriented policies and programmes that would make life abundant, worthwhile and meaningful for the citizenry.
He added that the resources of the state would also be channeled to things that would impact positively on the lives of all residents, and as well help to set the state on the path of socio-economic, infrastructure and political growth and development.
While eulogising the former governor for leaving behind good legacies that can never be faulted anywhere in the world, the governor said he was happy to have succeeded Aregbesola. Oyetola, who reflected on the circumstances, hurdles and challenges that confronted him before ascending the office, described his emergence at the poll and victory at the court as divine. He expressed gratitude to the people of the state for their continuing support, love, and enthusiasm for the government, and for being supportive of his cause, especially during the trying periods.
“I’m extremely elated to be honoured today alongside my predecessor who is now the Minister of Interior, Aregbesola. This is another great thing in the history of our state. My emergence at the poll and our subsequent victory at the court was a clear manifestation that truly God’s will always come to fruition. It is God that sent us to govern the state and I thank God that we have been following the path He laid for us as reflected in the wonderful things that He has allowed us to do and to be doing in the last nine months of our administration.
“I’m happy that I was part of the last administration and I’m equally happy to have worked with my immediate predecessor, Aregbesola who God used to create modern Osun. Our focus is to continue to do things that will make the confidence that our people have in us permanent and which will help to retain progressives in government because we believe strongly that one way to ensure the masses are on one’s side is to continue to prioritise their welfare.
“This is what we have been doing since we came on board and we will remain focused and determined to replicate the legacy of continuity being experienced in Lagos, such that opposition will find it difficult to contest future elections against us in Osun.”
Aregbesola commended President Buhari for the courage in appointing him in spite of the opposition to his candidature from some quarters. He described the celebratory banquet reception as “motivating and encouraging,” saying it is also a challenge for him and the governor to do more. I just want to thank God for all He has been doing in our lives. I was here July 6, the day after the Supreme Court’s victory of my successor where I said I would be glad if God can allow us to have a state-wide celebration for his victory, not knowing that I will become a minister and it will be a double celebration for us.
“Though it was difficult for us to return to government, as the road to where we are today was rough and thorny, we thank God that in spite of all the challenges, we came out victorious.”
The minister expressed gratitude to God that in the entire Southwest, after the late Awolowo and his mentor, Tinubu, “I am the next that God favoured having been able to successfully hand over power to a successor from the same party. This is a rare feat.”
Chairman of Osun State chapter of APC, Prince Gboyega Famodun, described Aregbesola and Oyetola as blessings to the state and her people. In a similar vein, traditional rulers like Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran and Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun lauded the governor for building and sustaining the good legacies of Aregbesola. The duo expressed satisfaction on the level of development that the state has witnessed in the few months of Oyetola’s administration.
Oba Aromolaran described as “worthwhile” the consolidation approach of the present administration, which, according to him, had ensured the continuity of good governance and meaningful development.
Olanipekun lauded the achievements of the progressive government in the last eight and a half years in the state for aggressively developing the state capital. He said the people of Osogbo would continue to appreciate the good works done to turn around the socio-economic fortunes of the town.
Similarly, the leader of Afenifere socio-political group, Senator Ayorinde Fasanmi, acknowledged the leadership trait exhibited by the governor in administering the affairs of the state. Senator Fasanmi, who described Oyetola as a transformer, hailed the governor for being passionate and aggressive towards advancing the economy of the state.
The veteran politician, who advised the governor not to lose track but remain focused on his commitment to turn the socio-economic fortunes of the state around, told the governor to be magnanimous since the will of God has manifested in his life. The Yoruba socio-political leader hailed the state government for making the welfare and security of the people as its priorities.