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Osun, why do we have to eat our tomorrow now, on salary?

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Go to virtually all states in Nigeria, you will discover similar or worse situation. The only difference is that what other states are going through are not being celebrated in the media. – Author

Image: Aregbesola

In those days, parents go at any length to see to the education and future of their children and wards. They go hungry; sell their farm produce, sometimes at ridiculous prices in order to raise funds for these. The whole community will contribute to support a promising child of other parents to see such a child through education home and abroad. 

Such a child or ward comes back home after the long sojourn abroad and becomes a pride, not only of the parents but of the whole community. When he or she is returning home, the whole community goes agog, including the traditional ruler, welcomes him home. The fruits of their endurance are ripe and everyone is happy.

Lesson: such a one is no longer the child of the biological parents alone, but that of the whole community, even including the neighboring communities, far and near. He joins the civil service, which was, and still is, the in-thing noble profession, bringing glory to the community which prides itself as having produced a ‘son, daughter’ working for government. He or she reciprocates the community’s gestures by being a good ambassador. He does not engage in sabotage or corruption that soils the image of the community. 

From his paltry wage which was a big deal in the community in those days, he assists the indigents, lobby for community projects to be cited, and when he or she becomes capable financially or otherwise, builds schools, hospitals, and becomes an iconic star of the community. It becomes a win-win situation for the individual, families and the community.

Sometimes I marvel at the wisdom and futuristic thinking, and forward looking of our forebears, even at their zero level of exposure to westernization and education, when parents go any length to secure the future of their children and community, even at communal level. Yours truly is a product of this. 

The immediate, extended family and the entire community went at any length desirable to make us what we are today. I’m sure I’m not only the pride of my parents but that of my extended family and community who contributed in no small measure financially and morally towards what I am today. And this is where I’m going as far as Aregbesola and Osun civil servants are concerned. 

Our civil servants have been very enduring and it is very commendable. What we are all passing through today is normal as far as true development is concerned. We must be ready to persevere further so that our tomorrow and those of our children and grandchildren become better. We must not allow agents of retrogression to divert us from our predestined greatness.

 Obafemi Awolowo built the Cocoa House, he built the first regional university at Ife, the first television station in Africa and the first stadium-Liberty, the same way Aregbesola is today building mega schools, equipping them, building a cargo airport, not for luxury but for business, building durable linkage roads for easy access, sponsoring the best of our brains to the best schools home and abroad, securing our lives and properties by partnering with Nigeria Police and other security agencies and feeding our children to be able to learn better, even with paucity of funds.  Today, the Awo legacy lives on, and for sure Aregbesola’s legacy will live longer after him.

What our economy and civil service is passing through today is not the fault of our governor, neither is it entirely that of the erstwhile federal government, but a natural phase which a potentially great nation, State, People and individual must pass through. Osun is not alone in this, as many would want to believe. Go to virtually all states in Nigeria, you will discover similar or worse situation. The only difference is that what other states are going through are not being celebrated in the media, the way it is being done here. The oppositions in other states are not as loud as we have here in Osun. 

For example, I have not seen any state, no matter how misruled, where the opposition takes to the streets of Abuja, to cry for their states, rather than being pillars of support. Our governor, Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola must be strong indeed, not to have had problem of the heart in enduring all this. We must support him, fight for him, share in his pains and encourage him to soldier on.

Inasmuch as we see sincerity in him, as testified to by the national organized labour, comparing him better against many other states of the federation, it is our duty to be by his side, even if our salary is no more there. He lives an austere and disciplined life the way Awolowo did. The products of the alleged massive debt are there for everyone to see in our mega schools, good roads, functional education, etc. We must not eat our tomorrow and that of our children and grandchildren today in forced salary. He could have decided to be a ‘salary only’-paying governor, leaving developments undone. But he chose to ride on the unpopular road for the sake of our future.  What we are passing through today will definitely benefit us and our children and grandchildren tomorrow. 

Our doctors should go back to the hospitals and theaters and work in faith to uplift the state.

Ayo Akinola writes from Osogbo, Nigeria

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