A little over a year ago, precisely on the November 27, 2018, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola was sworn in as governor of Osun State after being declared the winner of the gubernatorial election held on the September 22 the same year by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the delight of residents of the state who welcomed the governor with high hopes and expectations, especially on the continuation of the stellar performances of his predecessor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola.
Having served as the Chief of Staff to the immediate-past administration, Mr Oyetola was seen as a round peg that fits the round hole in the bid to further take the state to greater heights. He has been an insider. He knew everything concerning the immediate-past government. He was always part of the major decisions taken by that government. He knew what transpired for the eight years and so, it was heartwarming for the people of the state to have someone who worked closely with a government that brought about what is now known as the modern Oṣùn.
The emergence of Mr Oyetola as governor was not an accident. It didn’t happen all of a sudden. He is someone who has learned about governance from the very best. He believed fervently in the Oṣùn project and the need to continue in the process of building the state of the virtue which his predecessor started. So, it was no surprise when he hit the ground running immediately he was sworn in as governor of the state on the November 27, 2018.
It was at the first Iwude-Ijesa celebration in Iléṣà, an occasion which Governor Oyetola attended for the first time as governor after assuming office, that he stated specifically that he would continue to tread the lines of his predecessor in providing good leadership to the people of the state. Here we are today, celebrating one year of excellent service, one year full of numerous achievements. Governor Oyetola has renewed the citizens’ hope for prosperity with his prudent, transparent and accountable style of governance which has continued to endear investors to the administration.
In just over a year, the people of the state are basking in the euphoria of what the present administration under Oyetola has achieved in office. The governor has not only continued in the legacies of the Aregbesola-led administration which is what the All Progressives Congress (APC) is known for, but also gone ahead to unveil new projects in a bid to better the lives of the people of the state.
The governor started by declaring an emergency in the state health sector through the flag-off of the revitilisation programme that took care of the renovation of the 332 Primary Health Centres across the state; one per ward in addition to the renovation of the nine general hospitals in the federal constituencies. He has also seen to the procurement and distribution of basic medical equipment, test kits, essential drugs and other medical consumables to all the Primary Health Care facilities and Secondary Health Care facilities in the state as well as the training and retraining of staff with the employment of technology to further improve health care delivery for optimum results. These has resulted in the completion of 100 primary health care centres which were commissioned and had since been put to use.
Also within the first year of the administration, precisely on the July 18, a sum of N150 million was approved and released to the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) for the smooth take-off of the health insurance scheme, while the governor appealed to residents of the state to take advantage of the scheme to enjoy affordable and quality health care services as he inaugurated the governing board of OHIS, with Honourable Adelakun as the chairman and Dr Adeniyi Oginni as the executive secretary of the agency. This is to ensure proper implementation of the scheme.
On road construction, there has been massive rehabilitation and construction of roads across the nooks and crannies of the state. In the spirit of continuity which is the essence of government, work has already continued on the Ọba Adesoji Aderemi East Bye Pass which was started by the immediate-past administration, contractors are seen working on the road on a daily basis, all in a bid to continue to build on infrastructures and continue to attract investors to the state and grow the economy. The first year of the governor also witnessed the commissioning of about 224 kilometres of rural roads across the state under the Osun RAMP to help farmers have access to their farms and markets in the urban centres.
Governor Oyetola stated it clearly in his manifesto that the safety and security of lives and properties would be given the deserved attention. The governor followed his words up with the building of 11 fire service stations across the nine federal constituencies and equipped them with modern fire fighting vehicles. He went further within his first year in office to procure 20 new armoured personnel carriers in addition to the ones the state already has. He has also procured 20 security vehicles with security gadgets all in a bid to further secure the state and keep the residents of the state safe from external attacks. This and many other efforts of the administration in the area of security has earned the state the support of the highest leadership of the military and the Nigeria Police which has given birth to the joint patrol unit codenamed Amotekun to better secure the people’s lives and properties.
Another giant stride of the Oyetola administration is the renovation of schools across the state, equipped with modern instructional facilities to further provide quality, functional and affordable education for Oṣùn students as a means of achieving the goals of delivering a better life and drive development.
The governor complemented his efforts in the education sector recently with a move to further improve on the Osun School Feeding programme, O’meal, with the recruitment of 2, 210 food vendors who were given free cooking kits and utensils to feed over 250,000 elementary school pupils on every school day with nutritious food; an effort which will naturally improve school enrollment and help the pupils develop a healthy and sound brain for academic activities.
The administration, within the first year, recruited 20,000 cadets into the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) and had their stipends increased from the initial N9,500 to N12,000, while cadets deployed to schools across the state had theirs increased to N15,000. Also, as part of its social intervention efforts, the administration has ensured the continuation of the free train ride during festive periods for residents residing in Lagos who want to come home to celebrate with their loved ones.
In the area of finance, the administration of Mr Oyetola has taken steps to boost the state’s Internally Generated Revenue by strengthening the state’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy through the closure of every other accounts operated outside the TSA in all ministries, departments and agencies, while ensuring the commencement of the usage of the Bank Accounts Monitoring System (BAMS) for the monitoring of day to day transactions of government. All the state’s tertiary institutions have also been fully incorporated into the TSA.
As a result, the governor introduced ICT-Driven Revenue and Taxation Management System with the deployment of an Electronic Banking System of Revenue Cycle Management system (OSSG-EBS-RCM). The state government Electronic Banking System of Revenue Cycle Management (OSSG-EBS-RCM) allows online Direct Bank Lodgment (DBLS) of the revenue collection process.
The system comprises the Communication, Database Software, Accounting and Reconciliation and Monitoring components.
In his unrelenting effort to shore up internally generated revenue (IGR) in the state, Mr. Governor engaged all MDAs and concerned authorities led and anchored by the chairman, Osun Internal Revenue Service (OIRS) for two weeks with the discussion on the automation of revenue collection. The forum was organised to ensure that the MDAs comply with the directive of the governor on automating their payment transactions and to share ideas on how to make them more effective in revenue generation, all these efforts have drastically helped the IGR of the state to a reasonable increment.
Through the transparent and accountable style of the Oyetola administration, the state was able to meet the eligibility criteria of a World Bank programme tagged State Fiscal Transparency And Accountability Program (SFTAS) which has qualified the state for a World Bank grant alongside about 24 other states of the federation. The government has also ensured the prompt payment of full salaries to Osun workers and pensioners since assuming office.
Talking about waste management and sanitation within a year of Oyetola’s administration, the administration has made efforts to ensure a conducive and healthy environment by ensuring that waste disposal trucks are in good and functioning condition for packing of refuse within the state. The state government released funds for the repair of waste disposal trucks for effective and efficient usage.
The government also ensured that the weekly environmental sanitation, which holds every Thursday, is sustained in the last one year. The exercise has enabled citizens and civil servants to keep their respective environment clean so as to be free from illnesses.
The agric sector has also not been left out in the past one year as the governor has taken steps to make the state food sufficient through the support rendered to farmers in the area of provision of modern farming equipment and farm inputs as well as modern seedlings for farmers.
Governor Oyetola has received numerous awards as a result of his impact on the lives of the people of the state, by development of the society and his charismatic leadership style as a technocrat over the years.
- Omoyeni writes from Osogbo, Osun State