BY CHARLES ADEYEMI
Before the rinderpest, I came across a well-known fable from Chinese mythology about the virtues of willpower and perseverance as a regular adherent of the Confucian doctrine of social co-existence. Wikipedia would discover that the tale first appeared in Book 5 of the Liezi, a Daoist text of the 4th century BC, and was retold in the Garden of Stories by the Confucian scholar Liu Xiang in the 1st century BC. It was also used by Chairman Mao Tsetung, the first premier of the people’s republic of China in his famous speech of 1945.
The myth concerns an Old Man of 90 years who lived near a pair of mountains in the Yu Province. He was annoyed by the obstruction caused by the mountains and sought to dig through them with hoes and baskets. To move the mountain, he could only make one round trip between the mountain and his home in a year. When questioned as to the seemingly impossible nature of his task, the Old Man replied that while he may not finish this task in his lifetime, through the hard work of himself, his children, and their children, and so on through the many generations, some day the mountains would be removed if he persevered. The gods in Heaven, impressed with his determination, hard work and perseverance, ordered the mountains separated.
Drawing the Nexus, it takes an unusual willpower ganished with brilliance and a total believe in the miracle working God to lead a state like osun in 2018. The last Administration has given their best but majority of Osun people and spectators of Governance of Osun doesn’t see the state rising from the toga of issues it was confronted with prior to the Advent of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
For instance, Osun was a state popular with all sort of complications ranging from reactions to different policies and initiatives of the system, from school merger, to single school uniform policy, to avoidable religious crisis, attempt at building of a cargo airport which many believe was a white elephant adventure. for a protracted period of time, workers were subjected to modulated salary option which was popularly reffered to ‘Afusa’, funny as it was then, the senior staff of government were collecting half salary, the brutal situation is not even the half salary but that all status quo deductions were implemented to the full from the supposed modulated salary. Bank deductions never stopped, gratuity payment for pensioners were also modulated, cooperative deductions were used by the system of that time leaving an average workers with empty pocket.
Of course, the sad effect was conspicuous and felt in the entire state, it made the narrative popular that Osun is a civil service state. By the time the last Administration was winding down, it became obvious that a new approach must be explored, a new agenda must be sought for, yet premised on the continuity mantra. Ogbeni Aregbesola, the former Governor and current minister of interior accented to this when he publicly told osun people to expect a new approach and probably a reversal of some of his policies should they felt it’s necessary, they can tell the party and the party will relate to Ilerioluwa. He admonished them to expect Ilerioluwa to do things differently. A prophecy that would come to pass sooner.
Talking of willpower and determination, the alpha shock started when the current Governor started telling people of Osun that he will pay full salaries as and when due to the workers of osun.
Truth be told, even top members of the party hierarchy both in the state and federal dispell this promise as a mere campaign contents to sway votes, what was clear to all then was that osun has bitten more than she can chew and future generations will continue to pay for it with obvious punishment such as “Afusa” and it’s attendant hardship on the people of Osun. The second category of people that doubt this campaign promise by candidate Oyetola were the workers! Yes they are the worst hit by the ‘Afusa’ tsunami, imagine working for a month and collecting half of your normal salary with full deductible deductions.
Governor Oyetola has not only fulfill his promise of paying full salaries, he has went further to approve minimum wage for all levels of Osun workforce, isn’t this a miracle? An illustration of dry bone rising again, yet infrastructural development hasn’t stop for a single day!
People begin to wonder how the man of the moment is doing it, questions like what’s the secret? the magic and whatever is it should be shared for younger generation to learn. An economic expert, Dr Ogunyemi said it takes a miracle worker to do what Oyetola is doing. Is this hard to know?
I find out it’s about prudence in Public Financial Management (PFM), a process by which money comes into the purse of the government and the process by which goverment expend the money through implementation of project and services.This is the premise on which the financial encyclopedia based his fiscal governance on.
Osun Government under the leadership of Governor Oyetola has been able to develop Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) which has been assisting the state in preparing realistic budget since 2018.
The budget performance of the state government of osun is available on the state website (www.stateofosun.gov.ng). Both national and international partners in the area of public finance has credited osun as one of the states that has developed and signed into law virtually all financial management laws.
Within two years of his Adminstration, the payment system of internally generated revenue has been digitalized, this is in line with blocking all loopholes and thus remitted IGR skyrocketed in an ever increasing scale. To solidify this system, State of Osun Audit law of 2018, which provides the legal backup for the office of the Auditor General for the state and Auditor Generals for the local governments was signed into law and later within the same first two years, Osun Public Financial Management law 2020 was also accented.
The Administration has invested heavily on ICT via State integrated financial management information system (SIFIMIS) which assist the administration in Setting realistic budget. The Gboyega Oyetola Administration has put in place a robust procurement system and auditing institutions has also been repositioned.
In recognition of all this fiscal efforts, SFTAS (State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Project) rated Osun among the top in public financial management in Nigeria. This is a world bank funded project alongside federal government of Nigeria. At the end of their fact finding mission accross the country which includes but not limited to evaluation of Budget Preparation process, budget performance process, public procurement process, financial accounting process, auditing process and even revenue collection process. They declared osun one of the best in the entire country.
Another project that played a key role in osun fiscal governance is SLOGOR (State and Local Governance Reform Project). Under Governor Oyetola leadership, SLOGOR has repositioned the fiscal space in the State of osun and can compete with comity of performing States, it has been adjudged by the World Bank Assisted State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Project as one of the best in Nigeria. The project has open the State Of Osun to budget support from international development community.
Governor Oyetola has repositioned the fiscal governance of osun than before. Within the armbit of international development organizations like WORLD BANK, UNESCO, European Union (EU), United Kingdom Department for International Development ( DFID) and others, they are now seeing osun as a state they can partner with. They are more willing than before to support the government. These are development partners that can’t inject their money into a system that’s not transparent.
All osun audit reports are on the osun website and this has raise the level of confidence of donors and development partners. It can only happened when you have a thourougbred professional and technocrats in power. There’s more to be done and osun people are willing to give a man with Will power, determination, and perseverance in the thoughts that things can be better.
Osun couldn’t have Achieve so much with so little if not for financial mastery and prudence of the Governor. A Bantu proverb situates that “When money realizes that it is in good hands, it wants to stay and multiply in those hands.” this is the testimony of our grass to grace fiscal reality in osun, the reason why we must insist on retaining Governor Gboyega Oyetola to continue this frugal display of financial mastery, discipline and brilliant fiscal governance.
Forward With Governor Gboyega Oyetola forever!
Charles Adeyemi writes from osogbo. firstname.lastname@example.org.