By Abiodun Komolafe
The beauty of democracy is that choices are offered to the citizens to make. Nonetheless, when an opportunity to take decisions that impact the lives of citizens comes, it shouldn’t be taken as a jamboree or allowed to be influenced by ‘bandwagon effects’ usually associated with politics in this part of the world. Since choice – premised on freedom – is a unique offer in democracy, it behoves individuals saddled with the responsibility of choice-making to be accountable, so that when governance eventually takes effect, albeit, with the accompaniment of its unintended consequences, the choice-makers will not be landlords to regrets.
Notwithstanding, however, a choice in itself may not be an easy thing to come by, because there are intervening variables, which every choice-maker will have to contend with. Sometimes, the reality scenario is like between the devil and the deep blue sea; between the good and the bad; and between the ancient and the modern, out of which a choice must be made. For instance, while a hungry man may not make a rational choice, an illiterate may barely make a correct, calculative choice either. In the past, ethnicity, religion, and allied stuffs were also known to have played significant roles in Nigeria’s electioneering processes.
This is 2021! It is a time to assess prospective candidates, preparatory to next year’s gubernatorial election in Osun. Well, there are times when seemingly good candidates may not necessarily be politically viable. Such candidates may be good at managing domestic affairs, but, when it comes to the demands of public administration, they are clearly inadequate. The pertinent question, therefore, is: how do we identify the right candidate in a democracy?
Principally, the political acumen of a candidate is key. Not lily-livered, such a person must be capable of taking some hard-yet-yet-rational decisions, if, when and where such is required. A governorship candidate’s health profile also matters. Putting in office a man whose health status is suspect is a disservice to the society.
Character matters! So also is the pedigree of the candidate. A very poor, low-life should not be saddled with the responsibility of running the office of the governor of a state, because, if such a character is exposed to its resources, he is most likely to make a mess of it. Politics aside, giving N20,000.00 to a man who has not efficiently managed N1,000.00 in the past is tantamount to courting trouble, deliberately. Asking a man who has not controlled 100 people to manage the affairs of over-four million people is akin to misconstruing failure for an essential part of success. A man without the requisite exposure and comportment, if asked to handle the rigours of an office that is as demanding as the governor in a state like Osun, is like forcing a round peg into a square hole. It is like preparing the society for ruination, for such a soul will always be wedded into the intrigues of lofty ideas that are so sweet on paper but so hard to feel by the people.
If we allow armed robbers and men of plural mischief in the midst of plural opportunities to have a field day, good people will abandon the way of righteousness, because, even hitherto decent men will have to look in the direction of armed robbery for manna. There and then, all the industries around armed robbery, being an accessory to it, will become legitimate; and that will ruin the society. Of course, it is like driving drunk: ‘if you don’t kill yourself, you may kill somebody else.’
What we are saying is that, as Osun governorship election draws nearer, the people must consider, carefully, options available to them. Their primary focus must be the growth and development of the state.
For me, July 16, 2022 provides for Osunians the opportunity to choose between a path that offers clear, concise leadership and another which tends towards the love of rule of the tongue. It should be a viable opportunity between the one whose motivation is the enhancement of the capacity of his people and flippant opportunists who, like Judas Iscariot, would always steer up comments and agitations to fool a supposed gullible people. If the people will objectively consider available options, and make the right choice, then, the pathway to sustainable economic development and political stability is unlocked for the state.
In the light of all possible opportunities for choice, therefore, I present one; and, that’s Adegboyega Oyetola, the incumbent governor!
By all known standards, Oyetola qualifies as an ‘Omoluabi.’ His track record shows that, at school, he was a diligent student, which remains with him till date. Going into the business world, this boardroom guru chose insurance as his career path. Thankfully, he got to the acme of his carrier. Today, nobody talks about insurance and allied matters in Nigeria without a mention of Oyetola in superlative terms.
In politics, Oyetola lent the ropes as an interested individual; and has remained an important personality on Nigeria’s path to her present pass. Mention ‘June 12’ and its concomitant variables and you’ll find Oyetola’s marks of excellence.
Lives and times of the Israelites have shown that leadership evolves through only one authentic way and that God, usually, or, in most cases, must have scrutinized the candidate before appointing or anointing him. For the eight years that Oyetola was Chief of Staff to former Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the shrewd administrator was diligently and faithfully committed. That he was eventually elected as governor of Osun did not come as a surprise.
Without being immodest, Nigerians see Oyetola as one leader who has risen above the factions and the frictions of salacious slants and sententious assertions to give governance a new meaning. Immediately he assumed office, he vowed that the days of ‘half salary’ were gone forever in Osun. So far, he has not disappointed! The governor does not owe workers and has not even taken a dime as loan since assumption of office. Indeed, the civil servants that the former administration owed half of their monthly salaries for a certain period of time are still praying and hoping Oyetola would consider paying the remuneration due to their sweat.
It is also interesting to note that, even with the faithful implementation of the ‘full salary’ regime, development has not taken the backseat in all the socioeconomic-cum-political spheres of the domestic economy of Osun. Roads are being constructed. The flyover bridge at Olaiya in Osogbo is gradually nearing completion stage. Water resources and energy are being sustained; and agriculture is taking a new shape. Teachers’ recruitment exercise into the state’s primary and secondary schools is almost completed. A state that is once a pathetic paradox of ‘afusa’ is about to get thousands of our graduates gainfully employed.
With these, and many others to come, won’t it be in the best interest of the voting public to have credible basis for comparison and see that Gboyega Oyetola deserves another term at Bola Ige House, come July 16, 2022?
Komolafe is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Oyetola on Media.