The security and welfare of the people Shall be the primary purpose of government-Chapter 2 of the Nigeria Constitution (1999)
If the ultimate goal of government is to work round the clock towards ensuring the happiness of its citizens, then to be sure a date with the ballot box to see if this has been achieved is not a bad idea. It is indeed a great and compelling demand of democracy that periodically a government, political party or candidate, must subject himself to the scrutiny of the poll.
And were it not for this limiting imperative, the system would be riddled with so much corruption as to make it lose every sense of civilization and sanity. It was the point Alfred Lord Tennyson made in “The Passing of Arthur” when he penned the famous lines: “The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfills himself in many ways; lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”
What he meant was that no matter how good a system (or person) is, still a time must come that the system or the person must give way to a fresh good one so that “one good custom” should not stunt (corrupt) growth and development.
Now those who mischievously apply Tennyson to politics say elections are meant to vote out a sitting government even if it is good. Not at all! The objective of such recurring exercises is to renew the mandate of a performing government or to annul it if it is not meeting the expectations of the people. It is also to fulfill the constitutional requirement that after a term or two-term tour of a cumulative eight years an incumbent governor leaves the scene for a new hand.
Given this preamble I now allude to the state of Osun where the people will be trooping out on August 9 2014 to have a date with the ballot box over the performance of Governor Rauf Aregbesola on his current four-year term. The question they will be answering with their vote is whether Ogbeni Aregbesola has fulfilled his oath to abide by the constitution which commands that government’s “primary purpose” is the pursuit of “the security and welfare of the people.” The poser before the electorate is two-fold: has Aregbesola offered the people security and welfare? Has he laid the substructures of irreversible development suggesting that the next stage would be the erection of superstructures herding the society into the future?
These questions have already been answered by what we have on the ground. There is no sphere of activity that has not had a touch of positive transformation arising from the policies of Aregbesola. From the human beings straddling the length and breadth of the state, to nature and such inanimate things as roads and school buildings and hospitals there has been a new lease of life imparted to them by the Aregbesola era.
The unprecedented employment of 20,000 youths at a go in the governor’s first 100 days in office shot a lowly state into the record books. A federal agency, National Bureau of Statistics says this stroke of political move rated Osun as the state with the lowest figures in unemployment. The state is also reputed to have the second lowest poverty statistics in the federation. Poverty and unemployment breed insecurity and lack of happiness (welfare) in the society.
The governor is also laying the foundation for the enduring security of the citizen in the future through his polices in education. He is taking the Osun child into the digital age of the distant future, beyond blackman’s manual and analog dispensation. This holistic and futuristic approach has seen him fulfill the dream of the youth, offering them an ICT-driven education system enabling them to have an encounter with opon imo (electronic tablet) at a tender age so that they can compete with their peers in the advanced societies of the West. He is also building their physique with splendid nutritious meals every school day. Is there a greater source of security and welfare?
In addition to this, Aregbesola government has constructed and rebuilt hundreds of kilometers of roads in every corner of the state such that Osun is often described by first-time visitors as a vast construction site. And in agriculture he is setting the sights of the farmer far beyond his local environs, linking him to Lagos for a piece of the multibillion naira market in the old federal capital.
The grand result is that the Ogbeni’s policy has met the constitutional directive: the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government!
It makes us conclude that the citizens are secure in the welfare of the present to enable them have hope in the future. As far as they are concerned, the outcome of the August poll is a settled matter. It is Rauf Aregbesola for four years again!
Kunle Oyatomi is the Director of Publicity, Research & Strategy of All Progressives Congress (APC), State of Osun.