The Enormous Task Before Gov. Elect Ademola Adeleke
“The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place. Once you actually begin work on a valuable task, you seem to be naturally motivated to continue.” Brian Tracy
On the 17th July 2022, the People’s Democratic Party’s Candidate, Sen. Ademola Adeleke, was declared winner having polled 403, 371 votes.
Indeed, true to his slogan “Imole”, Ademola Adeleke who hails from the Osun West Senatorial District, precisely Ede, emerged as the governor-elect of the state after decades of marginalisation – the baton of governorship has often been exchanged between two main senatorial districts; Osun Central and Osun East. His victory was widely celebrated across the state; it is a people-driven mandate, freely given in an unprecedented electoral manner.
Dear Governor-Elect Ademola, campaigns are now over. The time to govern and bring the dividends of democracy to the people, as promised, has come. While you may still be basking in the euphoria of victory and celebration, it is much more important to remind you of the enormous task ahead of you. While this is not intended to stain your celebratory mood, it is to further charge you as to the expectations of the people who have freely given you this golden mandate to lead them.
Undoubtedly, Osun State has suffered from poor leadership, misrule, lack of good governance, human deprivation, etc. The demands of the people have always been clear. The immediate task, therefore, is how to consciously design a template that will revitalize the hope of the people, and set the State on a trajectory that will aid human capital development and address the yearnings of the people.
Sen. Ademola Adeleke is practically a technocrat in politics. This is quite evidenced in the successes and positions of authority he has held in the private sector. Adeleke’s understanding of business and administration is top-notch, having served as an Executive Director at Guinness Nigeria, Group Executive Director at Pacific Holdings Limited, Service Contractor at Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Vice President at Origin International LLC, Atlanta, and many more. It is important I cite his professional background as a reference to the type of Leadership the people of Osun expect. At the polls, the people hoped that this vast wealth of expertise will be brought to bear in ameliorating the living contusions of the people.
At a time like this, history presents you with a golden opportunity to give the good people of Osun what they ask for; reward them with what they hope for; even surprise them with what they have not asked for, but considered expedient. Realistically, there is an urgent need to deploy economic redirection and increase the tempo of development the Oyetola-led administration has brought to an all-time low.
In May this year, Ronke Aderibigbe, the Coordinator of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Women’s Wing in Osun, bemoaned Governor Oyetola for not paying pension arrears – “We are facing a lot of problems with our pensions in Osun…, For instance, some pensioners who retired in 2008/09 are yet to be remunerated. Gratuity is not forthcoming, 33 per cent is not forthcoming, and so are half salary, half pension or quarter pension. The onus of responsibility now rest on Sen. Ademola Adeleke to make sure he prioritizes the welfare of pensioners and timely and full payment of workers. A worker deserves his wage, Ademola must make true those words.
Within three years, the unemployment rate in the state has increased by 96.47%. This clearly is a failure of leadership. There is a need to redirect the energies of this demography to good use. Sports and entrepreneurship skill acquisition is one of the key areas the Governor-Elect must look into. He should invest more in Sports, and create skills acquisition centres in all the LGAs. While these efforts will get people more engaged and useful, it will further create jobs and reduce crime. Having said this, an enabling environment must be created for sports and entrepreneurial activities strive in Osun State.
According to Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), in their widely published most recent subnational data on the ease of doing business ranked Osun state
15th out of the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The state scored 5.57 out of a total index score of 10. As a successful business tycoon, Sen. Ademola must be much more intentional about creating and pushing policies that enable the business environment. This will be of great value in attracting both local and international businesses to the state which in turn will drive the national register state’s economic growth. According to the National Bureau of Statistics data released in the first half of 2021, the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Osun state stood at N13.67 billion. Curiously, data from the same National Bureau of Statistics show that the state still relies heavily on statutory allocations from the federal government to meet its expenditure obligation. This is bad economics. The Governor-elect must not toe this dangerous path. He must look for more creative means of increasing the IGR of the State.
Education is the bedrock for any community or people to progress or develop.
According to data from NBS, there are 165,114 out-of-school Children in Osun state; 68.52% are males, and 31.48% are females. The Governor-elect must shun, completely, the politics the Aregbesola/Oyetola administration played with education. As someone that places value on Education, this must reflect in the drive to reduce that number, and ensure people have access to free and quality education. More so, the Governor-elect must place a premium on creating a conducive learning environment, and teachers’ welfare/motivation, and criminalize child labour during school hours or at any point in time for that matter. The Governor-elect should place credence on Academic excellence and initiate scholarship schemes for exceptional students, among many others.
Methinks, Sen. Ademola Adeleke’s vast wealth of expertise in business, professional life, and politics should be brought to bear on tackling these challenges. He has no excuse. The people are counting on him, just as history beckons on him to lay indelible marks on the sands of time. Get to work now, your Excellency!
This opinion article was written by Adeniyi Adediran, a writer and Social commentator.