‘Why Awo’s legacies remain unmatched’

CHIEF Obafemi Awolowo’s legacies and leadership style remain unmatched because they were grounded on true concern for the welfare of the people and focused on all-round development of all sectors of the economy.

Chief of Staff to Oyo State governor, Dr Gbade Ojo, made these remarks while delivering a lecture organised by a social group, ‘Wheel of Oasis Organisation’, on the topic: “Awolowo’s welfarist ideas and its benefit on national development.”

Lauding the legacies of Awolowo as so profound, which he said remained unmatched by the present crop of politicians, Ojo further extolled Awolowo’s visionary leadership style, transversing the education, health and agriculture sectors.

Noting that Nigerians yearned for a more inward-looking government at all levels, he enjoined today’s leaders to mimic Awolowo’s style in practice, not just in words.

“He left behind large shoes that are too difficult for his successors to fill. His legacy was not restricted to education and health alone, he equally devoted his attention to agriculture. Cocoa was the mainstay of the region’s economy then, being an agrarian society.

“What Awo did was to strengthen the production of Cocoa. With an efficient marketing board, Cocoa production output improved. The cocoa building in Dugbe, Ibadan, is a living testimony. Today, where is Nigeria in terms of agricultural revolution?”

Speaking on the current state of affairs in the country, Ojo urged the Federal Government to, in its battle against corruption, also advance robust policies that would better the lot of Nigerians.

Acccording to Ojo, also an associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Ilorin, Nigerians eagerly awaited the promised change of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government, which he said was not really felt by many Nigerians.

“It is important to note that the major thing the Federal Government is doing is war against corruption, but a meaningful war against corruption must be total, rather than mere recovery of loot that is ongoing,

“As it is, contemporary public office holders should not be mere managers of the system, but should rather come up with robust public policies that could enhance the welfare of Nigerians.”

He observed that the lecture would enable students of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions to appreciate the life and times of Chief Awolowo, especially at a time when history was being relegated to the background.

“Public perception of History as a subject and discipline is indeed warped. This may not be unconnected with the ongoing economic downturn which has even rendered core professionals to either be unemployed or under-employed,” he stated.

A close associate of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Aare Oyebola, said the sage evolved a template and benchmark for good governance in the country, which for several decades after his death, remained very relevant.

Oyebola stressed the need for public office holders to do whatever was necessary to better the lives of their people, as exemplified by the leadership style of Awolowo, rather than embarking on projects that might not necessarily be beneficial to the masses.

He described Awolowo as a progressive leader, whose free education policy and other programmes remained a reference point for the nation.

Also speaking at the event, the Aare Alaasa of Ibadanland, Chief Lekan Alabi, advised government at all levels, to adopt the ideals of free education, true federalism and good governance of the former Premier of the defunct Western region.