Two years ago, September 5, 2019 to be precise, an NGO, by name Nigeria Africa Development Indicators Monitoring Foundation (NADIM), visited the State to inform Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola that Osun had bagged overall best State in Nigeria in terms of development.
According to NADIM, Osun came first because it scored over 50 percent in 12 out of the 18 Development Performance Indicators used for the assessment.
However, Mr. Governor was sceptical and reluctant over the award; and he did not hide it. Once the team left, ahead of the ceremony the next day, Mr. Governor called me into his office. I was barely a month old in office at the time, and said: “I know we are doing our best. But I am not convinced we deserve the award. Most of the things we intend doing are just coming up.”
Based on our discussion that night, I returned to my office to rejig his speech to convey his true feelings about the award. And in the end, we came up with the following lines: “When I was told our state was due for an award, I was sceptical. How can a government that is less than a year old be adjudged the overall best in the country, beating states like Lagos, Edo, Anambra and even the FCT among others, I asked. What were the indices used? All these were some of the questions that ran through my mind.
“As a government, I know we are doing our best to provide good governance by continuing the transformation of Osun from where the last administration left off. But even at that I felt it was too early to begin to recognise us as the best performing state in the country.”
Once he read the the first six paragraphs, Mr. Governor said: “You have indeed captured my mind. This is exactly the way I felt about the award.”
That night, we left the office late, precisely by 1am. But I left fulfilled, seeing my Principal giving a pass mark.
But that is not the crux of this piece. The point I am making is, we are not award freak. We don’t solicit for them. Are we deserving of the awards we have received in recent times? The answer is yes, especially based on the indices deployed to adjudge us. We took on 332 PHCs at a go, when others do between 20 and 100 at a go. We are not among 10 top states in terms of financial buoyancy, yet we are among the states paying minimum wage today. In spite of the state of the nation’s economy, we have never defaulted in payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities, just as we are equally building new roads and work is ongoing on the ones we inherited. Interestingly, most of the roads we have done and the ones we are doing are those ones that had been touched in the last 30 years.
We run an all inclusive government by ensuring that as a responsible and responsive government, we make people’s demands the basis of our policies and implementation. We are very conscious of our diversification agenda. We believe that in no distant future, the state will begin to reap the gains of our diversification efforts in Agriculture, Culture and Tourism and Mining. If we can do all that we have done in just two years plus, it means there are better days, months, and years ahead for the State of the Virtuous.