THE COURAGE OF GOVERNANCE IN OSUN
For people of all political persuasions, governance courage as manifested in urban renewal plays an undeniably important role in the history and demographics of cities around the world. Urban renewal is intended to reduce sprawl, improve the global economic competitiveness of a city's centre, improve cultural and social amenity, and improve opportunities for safety and surveillance. Its potential value as a process was noted by those who witnessed the overcrowded conditions of 19th century London, New York, Paris and other major cities of the developed world affected by the industrial revolution.
However, the people in the present day Osun State have not been privileged to enjoy the benefits of governance courage manifested in urban renewal after the great promises the cities in the area had showed in the golden era of Awoism in the old Western region was truncated. No thanks to the dark days of military authoritarianism.
In the dawn of this current democratic dispensation in May 1999, the people of Osun State like the other sister states in the old Western Region certain of their destination rallied support for a progressive party, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to chart a roadmap for their development. Between 1999 and 2003, the political investment of the people was beginning to pay off. But, the progress made was shortened in 2003 by the then Aso Rock garrison commander and his co-travelers on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP deceived electorates in the pretence of being Awoists and in addition manipulated the machinery of Federal Government during the infamous 2003 elections to bungle themselves into the Osun State Government House. As political investors whose preoccupation to make government part of their private estate, the inglorious reign of the PDP between 2003 and 2010 stalled the development strides that had started in the wake
of the Fourth Republic. Expectedly, during the PDP’s reign, as a party noted for its deliberate imperviousness and insensitivity to complaints of the citizens, the state and its people utterly suffered neglected.
In my own part of the world, there is the aphorism that, “the lives and destiny of the deprived people cannot be sacrificed on the altar of personal greed without some redeemers emerging one day”. This aphorism was confirmed again in 2010, when Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola after almost three years of legal fireworks defeated the PDP government. With Aregbesola’s retrieval of the people’s stolen mandate from the impostors and glorified body of PDP rulers, the people’s hope for a reincarnation of the golden era of Awoism was again rekindled.
Since 2010, Aregbesola as the governor of Osun State has redefined the role of government as a promoter and facilitator of interventions and initiatives to raise the standard of living of the average people of the state. The governor has recorded remarkable successes in the construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of moribund infrastructure in all sectors. Also, the Aregbsola administration has taken giant strides toward banishing unemployment, poverty, and hunger with various programmes such as O’ Reap, OYESTECH and Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES). In fact, the youth development programme, OYES, has been adjudged as the most effective by the National Bureau of Statistics. The same Bureau has held that Osun state has the lowest rate of unemployment in the country. In addition, Aregbsola administration has recorded groundbreaking strides in dredging erosion-prone areas in state.
With a view to improved sustained security and peaceful atmosphere in the State of Osun especially at the urban centres, the governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, inaugurated a quick response security apparatus called Swift Action Squad (SAS). Furthermore, the Governor has been committed to upgrading tourist sites such as the Osun Oshogbo Groove to make them conducive for devotees, artistes, well-wishers, dignitaries and other visitors.
At a glance, the giant strides in all sectors throughout all the 30 Local Government Areas in the state speak volumes of the Aregbsola administration’s untainted commitment to fast-tracking the development of the state. Indeed, courtesy Governor Aregbsola, the hitherto quiet, lowly and subordinate rustic ancient cities in Osun state are rapidly and steadily being transformed into modern metropolitan grandeurs.
The PDP, as a party deeply entrenched and rooted in the pockets of some individuals, rather than applaud the uncommon transformation of the Aregbsola administration is nakedly bent at assisting to extinguish the light in the political tunnel. The stone-age PDP has cried wolf over the expansive governance style of the Aregbsola administration. Just recently the members of Osun PDP resisted attempt by the state government to demolish their state secretariats for urban renewal purpose. They vowed to make the state ungovernable if the demolition took place. Quite expectedly and certainly disturbed with its waning popularity and relevance as the 2014 governorship election fast approaches, the members of the PDP brandishing assorted weapons and chanting anti-government songs interpreted the planned demolition in bad taste. Reportedly, a member of the PDP who pleaded anonymity declared; “when they saw our weapons and our battle readiness to combat them, all their policemen and OYES cadets ran away”. Also, another member of the PDP in the state reportedly said “we are not ready to allow them demolish our secretariat. The ACN is afraid of our popularity and location of our secretariat. We will defend our secretariat with our blood”.
But, these paranoid and perhaps myopic PDP thugs little realized that Aregbsola administration had sacrificed large part of the governor’s campaign secretariat situated along the Gbongan-Osogbo road quite little distance from the PDP secretariat for the purpose of the ongoing urban renewal.
Notably, urban renewal has been seen by proponents as an economic engine and a reform mechanism, while critics perceive as a mechanism for control. Also, it has been assessed by politicians, urban planners, civic leaders, and residents as pivotal to economic growth and development. Elsewhere in particularly in other ACN-controlled states like Lagos and Edo where urban renewal is ongoing, the phenomenon has been acknowledged as expansive style of governance, which involves the relocation of businesses, the demolition of structures, the relocation of people, and the use of eminent (government purchase of property for public purpose) as a legal instrument to take private property for city-initiated development projects. In particular, the great Oba of Benin in appreciation of the ongoing urban renewal in Benin City, the Edo State capital, reportedly indicated readiness to sacrifice any part of his palace that may constitute encumbrance to the expansion of Airport road in the city centre
Let there be no mistake here, the good people from every corner of Osun state except for the PDP thugs overwhelmingly keyed into the ongoing urban renewal in the state by doing everything to maintain peace, shunning provocation of the enemies of peace and giving them no chance to disturb the prevailing tranquility in the state.
Curiously, why is the PDP thugs political grandstanding and constituting themselves as enemies of peace and progress by insisting on plunging the state into anarchy, when from every corner of the state the other people have demonstrated their goodwill, faith, support and cooperation for the ongoing urban renewal? Clearly, the evil plans of the PDP thugs to spill blood in order to frustrate and stall the forward march in the resumed forward march of building Osun into a land of hope and plenty is a testimony to the party’s naked vanity and consuming ambition borne out of anger to reclaim the state and continue to rip off the people’s common patrimony
This kind of animosity, anachronistic revolt and atavistic overtone of the PDP thugs is clearly a character of a pool of imbeciles whose platform is waning in popularity and seeking relevance at all cost. Thank God that unlike during the 2003 general election, the people can never again allowed themselves to be politically deceived by these enemies of development, peace and progress. Now, the people more than ever have become increasingly aware of the danger of hobnobbing and pitching tent with these scallywag and retrogressive elements.
Yes, the people from the nooks and crannies of Osun State today who are celebrating the victory of the forces of light over the forces of darkness have more than ever strongly resolved to stay with the forces of light as symbolized by the Aregbesola led Action Congress of Nigeria (ANC) government. The people are thirsty and hungry for development, and are also strongly concerned with their future and that of their children. They are strongly not willing to allow any obstacle, human or otherwise, to stand in their progressive ride to true greatness championed by Aregbsolsa administration. Only the PDP thugs should be allowed to wallow in their evil plans. Enough is indeed enough!
Written BY ALABA OSUMAH