With less than a week to Osun state governorship election, the question of who takes over from the incumbent has permeated the political space. According to INEC, 48 different political parties are fielding candidates for the September 22 contest. The ‘why’ of having that high number of candidates, the first of its kind may not be far-fetched; they all want to “redeem the state”. Osun has been terribly managed in this past eight years that one cannot but wonder what sin the people of the state must have committed that made them deserve this lackluster government?. The incumbent APC government in the state is currently facing unnerving challenges from various contentious issues principal of which is loss of trust by majority of the citizens due to what is generally perceived as unaccounted accumulation of loans in billions of dollars; non-payment of salaries and pensions, harsh government policies, capital flight among others.
Infrastructure across the state are in terrible shape; workers at all levels are owed months of salary arrears. As I write these, workers in the state have for the umpteenth time down tools. This time they are spitting total shutdown. According to a statement signed by the state’s labour leaders last week, they are asking that the government pay their 34 months’ salary arrears. Pitiable sight of aged pensioners daily staging protest across the state cannot be easily shrug off even if you lack a tiny piece of empathy. Health practitioners are permanently on strike and tertiary institutions are consistently shut down. Results from examination bodies like WAEC and NECO are a reflection of the shambles the state educational sector is in.
Report from WAEC result released this past week placed Osun on the 29th position. Since the onset of this outgoing government in 2010, Osun has ranked worst among its peers in the South West. Over N15bn has been spent on the Airport project in Ido-Osun after two concessionaires have been engaged. The financial recklessness in the state’s management is unprecedented. It is worse because there is almost nothing to show for this prodigality. Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, NEITI, Debt Management Office and the Accountant General of the Federation said the state may be the first in total debt profiles of states government in Nigeria. Generations yet unborn will surely suffer this. Findings from researches commissioned on the status of the state by the Social Democratic Party are indeed depressing. The state is said to owe over N400bn as loans and advances from a very wide array of lenders. Osun is now synonymous with capital flight to Lagos. The local government system in the state has been bastardised.
Moved by the gloomy picture painted above and perhaps buoyed by that popular wisecrack by Frantz Fanon that every Onlooker is either a traitor or a coward, Omisore has decided to come to offer himself for service. From all the aspirants that have shown intent to govern the state, he has shown clear cut readiness. Nothing beats experience and the state clearly does not need an experimental leader. It had endured that for eight years. Senator Iyiola Omisore’s antecedent speaks volume of his preparedness to restore the state and that is why he has aptly titled his campaign-Restoration 2018.
The state is blessed with men of intellect, experience and sagacity. Men that have proven over the years that their love for the state is unquantifiable even at their inconvenience. Men with the belief that this dear state can be better managed and made livable for all and sundry. Men who believe capital flight is a terrible disservice to the people of the state and that the state clearly deserve better. This is where Senator Iyiola Omisore clearly comes in. The lack of competent and ineptitude observed that made him contest in 2014 does not just persist, like a cancerous tumour, it has grown from bad to worst.
Omisore possessed the needed cognate experience to attract federal presence to the state. His connections are far-reaching. The state is abound with projects he was able to attract when he was in the Upper chamber of the National Assembly. He ensured that federal investments assured the provision of safe potable water to the people of Osun state. He brought to the fore his experience as an astute engineer when he linked water supplies with the generation of hydro-electric power, estimated to be in excess of N50billion. Investments in water were also linked to agriculture and food security. In this regard, he expertly linked this very critical investment to ensuring that his people are able to produce food.
He is known to breathing life to the dead. It is no more news that he was begged to step down for Chief Bisi Akande in 1999 but when it appeared as if his political image was becoming frightened, a plot was hatched to decimate an innocent politician. An enigmatic politician that he was never despaired but became much more resolute to the cause that will benefit his people. Realising that humanity could be helped no matter what platform; he moved his political structure to the PDP considered a pariah party then. What was seen as a political and electoral impossibility became surprisingly possible. He became the first Nigerian to win an electoral victory from the prison yard. He has resurrected SDP again, making the party the new destination for all progressives.
Since his last stint as the Appropriations Chair of the Senate, apart from siting on various boards of government agencies and private organisations while oiling his political machinery waiting for the perfect time to actualise his ambition of restoring the lost values of the state; he has also built intellectual capacity. He has in his kitty a Ph.D. from a reputable institution in France with his dissertation focused on Infrastructure/ Engineering Finance, Corporate governance and Public Private Partnership which his very relevant to Nigeria’s policy now. This has already made him a most sought after expert around the globe. He has been delivering lectures in and beyond the shores of Nigeria preaching PPP model. His manifesto-the only candidate to publicly present one to the public is a clear-cut programme of when, how and what he will do when elected later this month. By choosing a 36-year old as his deputy, he has demonstrated that youths are going to form an integral part of his administration.
Omisore is a member of several respected institutions. He is a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Fellow Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, Fellow Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Fellow Association of Cost Engineers, Fellow Institution of Electrical Engineers, England and Wales, Fellow Institution of Mechanical Engineers, England and Wales. He is a registered Engineer with the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria, COREN; and Chartered Engineer of Engineering Council and Chairman Board of Fellows, Institute of Public Administration in Nigeria.These are not ‘honourary’ titles but experiences garnered over the years in the private sector. These are what will equip him to deal with the debilitating fiscal climate in the state.
The state does not need another Lagos imposition, selected under a godfather’s hegemony; a proxy governor. Osun people will not allow this plundering and squandering to continue. Osun state is also not a dynasty. We must move beyond our context of prebendalism and narrow-minded parochialism exhibited by an ignorable few. We should not promote failure in the name of Zoning. Before they muddled up the water, Osun electorates are ready to show that the state deserves better than a dancing jelly bob.
Jide Fakorede is a member of the Iyiola Omisore Campaign Organisation Media CommitteeRead Full Story