By Sarafa Ibrahim
On Monday, Governor Ademola Adeleke would mark a year that he took the oath of office. And like every administration, there will certainly be an opportunity to look back and compare what things were like when he assumed office to be able to measure the scorecard of Governor Adeleke in 365 days
In one year, Governor Adeleke has demonstrated a true sense of service in many aspects of governance, despite the difficult situation he inherited. When Adeleke took office a year ago, there were a lot of things considered impossible, but are now possible, largely due to the firm commitment to good governance. One year ago, heavy debt burden, reckless looting of public assets, and distressed public infrastructure had drained hopes of meaningful governance.
A Canadian-born American economist and public servant, John Kenneth Galbraith provided some clarity to the question of the essence of leadership when he opined that “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their times. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” And looking at Osun in one year and the incredible turnaround that Governor Adeleke has been able to achieve in almost all sectors, you will not agree less with the conclusion of Galbraith.
Governor Adeleke understands that being a Governor means pursuing the general good rather than the self-interest that defined the past. This explains why many policies, activities, and interventions of the Governor in one year focus on helping the people overcome the horrible experience of the past for something relishing and promising about the future.
The strides of Governor Adeleke in one year in office can not only be felt but visible for all to see. And impressively, the touch of Governor Adeleke’s impactful governance cuts across the state and sector, departing from the concentration of government presence in one place that defined the past.
Out of sheer and deliberate mischief, some people deride it, saying nothing has been achieved so far. This is in spite of the fact that many of their failures while at the helm of affairs are being undone for a better experience for the people. Well, when you have become accustomed to failures, it would be hard to appreciate serious efforts to touch lives positively.
The Osun APC is so engrossed in its maladministration that it will not be able to see the impressive turnaround of the state from the hopelessness it inspired to one that is promising. Take, for instance, that for 48 months that Gboyega Oyetola was the Governor of Osun State, he did not attempt to defray the 30 months half salary owed workers and pensioners despite being a part of the government that incurred it.
In one year, however, Governor Adeleke has paid 3 months from the owed wages, and will most likely be making the fourth payment before this year runs out. This is aside from the implementation of the financial implication of promotion given to workers in the state since 2019. Just like the half-salary debacle, former Governor Oyetola approved a promotion for civil servants in 2019 but refused to implement its financial implication. In essence, the promotion was merely a paper award, or as some would call it, ‘audio promotion’ until April of this year when Governor Adeleke implemented the payment of the money earned through the promotion to civil servants.
Between November 27 and now, Governor Adeleke has expended over N17 billion in pensions and gratuities payment out of the humongous over N76 billion liability inherited from the previous government. On November 8, 2023, Governor Adeleke did something unprecedented, not just in Osun but the whole of Nigeria, as he enrolled the entire retirees in the state on healthcare coverage. The intervention, which will benefit at least 23,000 pensioners in Osun state, will take up the burden of managing the health challenges that confront the senior citizens, which usually come at a huge cost to them, and are difficult to handle, causing untimely deaths.
And so far, the Adeleke administration has constructed and delivered over 50 kilometers of roads across the state while about 50 kilometers of roads are at different stages of completion. Broken culverts were restored for public use while channelization of waterways was undertaken by the Adeleke administration to prevent homes from being washed away by flood.
To cap it, Governor Adeleke few weeks ago unveiled an ambitious infrastructure plan, underscoring his firm desire to address the infrastructure deficit and open up the state for industrialization to drive meaningful progress and prosperity for the people. In the infrastructure plan, at least five overhead bridges will be constructed in the state, with two of such to be situated in Osogbo, while the remaining will go to the two other senatorial districts. And to note that the infrastructure plan will be funded without any loan from financial institutions, to the extent of burdening the future, makes it even more superb.
And not just overhead bridges, but the dualization of identified roads in Ede, Osogbo, and Ilesa in a bid to ease traffic jams and reduce accidents. In addition to this, Governor Adeleke will be undertaking the construction of a total of 45 kilometers of roads across the state, with each local government having at least 1.5 kilometers to improve connectivity and enhance the local economy.
Some weeks ago, the Vice Chancellor of the state-owned university, Professor Clement Odunayo, relayed the remarkable transformation that the institution has seen under Governor Adeleke, detailing the unusual intervention of the Governor that revived a 52-office complex that was abandoned by the previous administrations. It is worth noting that the access road to the teaching hospital of the institution being built by its Chancellor, Folorunso Alakija, is undergoing construction after prompting by the Vice Chancellor.
That is awesome, right? But that was not all. Public school buildings across Osun state are getting a major facelift to give students and teachers the right environment to advance qualitative learning. In the first phase, a total of 31 public schools across the state received total overhauling and unlike the experience in the past, students will now learn in well-structured classrooms with the right facilities, while teachers will no longer need for tree shades to hold meetings or conduct their official businesses due to dilapidated offices. The second phase is already in the go, and just like the first phase, public schools in the state will not just be conducive for learning, but also fitting for young people who trust it for their learning.
Talk of healthcare, Governor Adeleke has done exceedingly well in just a little time. Through the Imole Surgical and Medical Outreach, no fewer than 50,000 people have benefited from free healthcare services that range from surgeries for cataracts, pterygium, hernia, and some swelling on the body. Some other beneficiaries received treatments for eye problems and even got free glasses while basic ailments like malaria also got treatments. In a matter of days, the third edition of the Imole Surgical and Medical Outreach will take off, and many more Osun residents will benefit from the intervention.
This health intervention was only a short-term fix as the administration is working assiduously in rehabilitating about 346 healthcare centres across the state to ensure better access to healthcare anywhere in the state. The rehabilitated healthcare centres will also be powered through solar to enable a 24-hours power supply. To achieve the desired objective of better healthcare, the Adeleke administration involved the people at the various local governments. Under this arrangement, the representative commitment which is drawn from religious bodies and artisan groups would monitor the rehabilitation of the healthcare centres to ensure that they are delivered to specifications.
In Osun state today, there is hardly a ward out of the 332 wards that are without a motorized borehole to serve the water needs of residents. The second phase of the installation of 332 motorized boreholes will commence shortly to deepen access to clean and drinkable water for the people of Osun state in the short term. Already, the Adeleke administration is embarking on a major repair of water workstations across Osun state to make sure that homes can enjoy portable and clean water in the long run.
This is in addition to the ambitious climate agenda of the administration in protecting the environment from the catastrophic impact of climate change. And the gains of the Adeleke administration are already bearing fruits as the National Council on Climate Change selected Osun state as a pilot site for the carbon investment project. What this means is that the Ago Owu Forest in Ayedade Local Government of the state will participate in a project aimed at supporting the implementation of the Climate Change Action Plan and the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.
All of these and more are what Governor Adeleke has been able to achieve in 12 months. Let’s assume that the Osun APC feels awkward and distraught because the progress that this administration has recorded in a short time thumped its uneventful years in the administration of the state, it should show remorse for the woes it brought to the state.
Yes, willfully blind people won’t see all these, talkless of acknowledging them. But the things about the achievements of Governor Adeleke in one year in office is that they are visible, and no matter how hard those in denial try, they cannot change the fact about their existence. They use the roads; they can see the boreholes installed in their respective councils; they can see and hear testimonies of civil servants and pensioners on Governor Adeleke clearing the mess of the past administration; they can see cables installed in their vicinity; they can see, and even know the many beneficiaries of the Imole Surgical and Medical Outreach.
In short, they can see the many impacts of Governor Adeleke in one year, although, they may find it hard to say it because doing so will expose their lies over time. But what is comforting is that the Osun people, who are the true interest of Governor Adeleke can see and feel the effect of his monumental achievements in just one year, and cherish them so much. And you know what, that is actually what matters, not the wailing of chronic failures.
• Sarafa Ibrahim is a Special Assistant to the Osun State Governor and writes from Osogbo. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org through email or @SarafaNgr on Twitter