The contemporaries of Jesus Christ thought nothing good could come from the small community called Nazareth where the Lord was brought up. Even as He performed mighty works of healing, deliverance and raising of the dead among other great miracles, His own people still contemned Him and declared He was merely the son of the local carpenter. At a point the citizens of Nazareth plotted to kill Him.
Finally one man who later became one of His disciples posed the ultimate question: Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? He ate his words when confronted with the reality of the Saviour who had emerged from little Nazareth!
In our day, some citizens of Oyo State are also wont to ask if the people can expect anything good from the government of Senator Abiola Ajimobi on account of the barren governance of the past. Is there any difference between Ajimobi and his predecessor Adebayo Alao-Akala? If there is any difference isn’t it going to be the difference between six and half a dozen, or between a dozen and twelve? Are we not going to be witnessing at the end of four years, a rehash of poor governance characterized by utter official disdain for the welfare of the people which the past offered?
The point is that the people have been pushed into a state of helplessness, despair and pessimism by philistines who branded themselves as rulers and democrats. So when the authentic rulers and democrats arrived on the scene, the tendency, after such prolonged and serial disappoints and treachery by vandals in government, is to pooh-pooh the genuine ones. The tendency is to ask: Can there any good thing come from Abiola Ajimobi, the successor of Alao Akala?
I’m happy to report now that in Oyo State when out of frustration following the battering we have received in the past at the hands of our rulers, we pose such questions, we are immediately confronted with the answer that surely we can behold something new in the Ajimobi administration.
While there may be several new things that have come our way since the advent of Ajimobi, I can readily point at one good thing that has just come from the governor of Oyo State. This: his massive intervention in education!
It has materialized in the shape of the budgetary allocation to education. The sector is going to enjoy an unprecedented 30 percent vote in the 2014 fiscal profile of N188.9 billion. Not since the glorious era of the illustrious Obafemi Awolowo, the first premier of the sprawling Western Nigeria has education ever been poised to stage a renaissance and position Oyo State as a pacesetter indeed!
The 30 percent allocation exceeds the 26 percent advised by the United Nations. In doing so, Ajimobi has asserted the supremacy of education in human capacity building and in developing society. According to the Governor, “education is what drives the world; it is what makes the difference from one generation to the other”.
How true! If those who preceded Ajimobi in the past decade or so had had this forward-looking mentality on education Oyo State would have laid a solid foundation to return us to the unforgettable Awo era and beyond. For, the great visionary never envisaged that his successors would simply stay or be stagnant where he led them. What he did was to offer a template with a substructure and adumbration of a superstructure to follow in the generations to come.
It was a compass for growing the society along paths that shot man into space and guaranteed rapid development in industry, agriculture, the arts and culture, science and technology and in a word, a full-orbed transformation of the people. But the military rulers and their civilian conspirators who got in the saddle later broke the pact instituted for the building of society through education. A quirky education policy such as we have been having that relegates the sector is a sentence of death. It ruins the present and prevents the formation of the future. In other words, it chains the future to stunthood . (You won’t find this word in the dictionary; but it’s a coinage for the condition of atrophy engendered when you neglect heavy funding for education).
The way you treat education and its primary stakeholders- teachers, students, and parents – is a reliable index of how serious you are about good governance and about your readiness to leave a sound legacy for the future. Put otherwise, if you get it right in education, you are bound to get it right in all other spheres of administration of society. It’s not the mere possession of raw resources such as money, buildings, property, human beings, oil and solid minerals that guarantees prosperity. It is the degree of knowledge and understanding you garner from education that creates wealth which in turn brings in prosperity.
Nigeria is poor in spite of its enormous resources because the resources are not managed by those groomed in education. On the other hand, if education moulds you, and you are resource-challenged, you would sooner create the resources for development than the one who banks on his resources to the neglect of the education of the masses.
We should begin to watch out for a vibrant and resurgent economy as well as the making of the Total Citizen in Oyo State following this new deal in the education sector under Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Oluwasegun is a media analyst in Saki, Oyo State.