An Essay Submitted by Fowowe Adetomiwa
The State of Osun; geographically located at the heart of the South-Western part of Nigeria and bordered by Oyo State, Ondo State, Ekiti State, Kwara State and Ogun State. The State of Osun is primarily an agrarian State with major crops including yam, cassava (manioc), corn (maize), beans, millet, plantain, cocoa, palm oil and kernels, and fruits.1 Cottage industries also produce brass work, woven cloth, and wood carvings. It also prides itself as an education industry having the presence of so many federal institutions, world research institutes and institutions owned by the state.
The State is also noted for its tourist attractions such as Olumirin waterfalls in Erin Ijesha, sacred Osun grove, the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Opa oranmiyan among others. Amid this, it is also worthy to note that of all the locations in the world, Mother Nature chose Osun State to be one that encompasses mineral resources such as gold, granite, kaolin, feldspar, tin, columbite and laterite. Osun is undoubtedly an embodiment of cultural richness and bountiful natural resources.
It is rather unfortunate that in the midst of all these blessings, the total debt burden of the State of Osun prior to 2019 was
N165.91 billion with a[n] [annual] Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N8.96 billion.2 Rather than an increased Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) monthly, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics which holds records of IGRs at state level with a report date of May, 2020 recorded a total of N37.7 billion for the year 2019.3 Consequentially, N3.14 billion was averagely generated monthly. It then begs the question, ‘With all that Osun State possesses, why do we still owe so much money with so meager an IGR?’
Similarly, there are diverse other critical sectors that are witnessing significant setbacks such as the infrastructure, education and the health sectors. In an overview, it has become obvious that the State of Osun has not reached its full potentials as it should. It is on this premise the purpose of writing this document surfaces. Here in this document are plans carved out for the sustainable development of the State of Osun and to improve the fortune of the state if I am given the mantle of leadership come 2023.
Of all my years of studying each administration and the growth of the state, I have come to the realization that each of the administration of the government of this state has either paid no or minimal cognizance to the urgency of four major sectors; security, agriculture, education and infrastructure. This could be argued to be the four most important sectors every sane government should be focused at, yet, the State of Osun has witnessed struggles in achieving positive changes in these sectors. Hence, it is my desire to make the State of Osun;
- The biggest exporter of food crops in the nation and single producer of food consumed by the state; Agriculture.
- A place where citizens can walk on the streets by 1:00AM without any danger; Security.
- refer public schools to private in terms of standards; Education.
Statistically, the State of Osun covers a total land area of 1, 487, 500 hectares (or 14, 875 km2) [while] the land available for cultivation out of this is 1, 190, 000 hectares (80%). Meanwhile, only 761, 600 hectares (51.2%) is annually put to arable crops cultivation and 178, 500 hectares (or 12.0%) to tree crops production.4 Ordinarily, the land available for cultivation is more than enough to enhance the agricultural prowess of the Osun State, but due to lack of plans, this goal has not been achieved.
In enhancing agriculture in Osun, the plan of my administration would be establishing a project; ‘Plant for Osun’. This project will entail my government allocating a portion of land to youths and other interested farmers for the purpose of planting a designated crop. This, of course, will be accompanied by a reasonable monthly remuneration and all necessary materials needed for planting such as a well-structured irrigation system, farming tools, fertilizers, security by the police force and other materials as requested by the farmers, considered reasonable by a committee set up by my government in overseeing the affairs of this project.
The anticipated success of this project would not only reduce the unemployment rate of the state but increase our economic base as well as ensuring diversification of crops for the purpose of exporting.
Albeit the fact that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of [any] government5; emphasis on ‘security’, the State of Osun has regardless suffered and is suffering from insecurity. The importance of the protection of lives and properties in any state or country cannot be overemphasized as it stands as the pillar in which other sector relies on. With the presence of insecurity, it becomes difficult for the economy of a state to boom, citizens to totally trust the government, investors to put in their resources in the state and so on. In essence, the security of a state is the physical life of such state and as such, it must be guarded the way a mother protects her baby.
It is less argued that the United States of America (USA), one of Nigeria’s allies, is a country with commendable security level. My plan as regards the security of the state, if elected, would be to set up a team to include all heads of security agency in the state and myself to have a trip to one of the states in USA with the aim of discussing how their security measures can be implemented in the State of Osun. A well celebrated Yoruba proverb in this State translated into English says “He who asks cannot miss his way”. It is important that due to our poor security level, we become humbled and learn from those who are already better at it.
Not being subjected to Osun State alone, all over Nigeria and some parts of Africa, it is sad but safe to say that hitherto, the educational system is very poor. The incessant strikes, poor salaries for academic and non academic staffs and poor security are just a few things hindering the progress of a very good education system. It is sad to know that the particular ages of individuals that enjoyed free education during their time are the same ones instituting massive hikes in school fees. This act has been manifested to the extent that it has made it difficult to make education totally free without the state suffering certain losses.
Hence, if elected, my first actions would be to; (1) make public secondary schools totally free, (2) significantly reduce the fees paid in state tertiary institutions, (3) increase the opportunities for state scholarships. That being done, it gives a higher chance of reviewing academic and non academic staffs’ salaries for the greater good.
Education should be the obligation of every state to its citizens; it should not be something to be begged for.
People of the State of Osun, there are so much more that can be achieved if I am elected that has not been penned down in this manifesto. Amid all political propagandas going about, I refuse to be taunted especially regarding my lack of experience in any political office. Little is it known that my lack of experience also means that I am not tainted by the current political system. It also means that my government would not be business as usual, it will be different. So if you are, as I am, tired of how things have been done in this state for so long, and really want to see genuine change and a better future for this state.
My name is Fowowe Adetomiwa. I am running for the office of the Governor of the State of Osun. Together, we can make the State of Osun a true land of virtue.