Followers of style and policy drive of the State of Osun’s Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola should by now known that he holds two programmes – Education and Agriculture – tenaciously dear to his heart, out of the six policy thrust of his administration. These are deliberate programmes and schemes that touched directly on the lives of very ordinary people who have bear the brunt of anti-people policy of the previous administrations before his. Little wonder that the people of Osun are elated at every point with the smart and smooth execution of these projects with applause and fanfare.

Interestingly, Aregbesola who has thought true his agenda before assuming office knew the imports of the double-barrelled schemes – education and agriculture – in the life of any economy. Investment in human capacity building, comprehensive education and other enablers like agriculture and job creation are the surest routes to conquering endemic poverty, arresting rural-urban migration, armed robbery and other societal vices that have been  plaguing the country in recent past. This is supported by statistics across the globe which shown that those involved in obscene crimes are majorly school group-outs, jobless folks and idle minds who in turn vent their frustration on the society that made them criminals! It’s truly so. “No one is born a criminal, the society made them”.

It is this same lack of purpose, direction and ineffectual policy, coupled with the ruinous adventure of the military callous looting and politicians’ brazen  corruption that have been responsible for the backward match we are witnessing today. We are worst for it as a nation; graspingly tendentiously with the problem of unemployment, contending  with armed banditry and kidnapping and now, the dreaded unremitting Boko Haram insurgence. Beyond the terror group’s tenacious avowal that the driving principles behind their bloodcurdling onslaught on Nigerian state is inherent in the Islamic belief system to torpedo the country and turn it into an Islamic state. It has since been revealed that the underlining factor is a bottled-up anger against the state that has abandoned the vast majority of the populace, the northern folks in particular, to wallow in abominable poverty due to lack of positive education and orientation.

Ogbeni’s purpose in governance is clear: To use the state’s resource to better the lot of the greatest number for the greatest good of the downtrodden who are not in position to rescue themselves from the throes of excruciating poverty and unemployment. He has practically demystify and divest his administration of such wastefulness that was associated with those before him, a feat now loudly celebrated by those who initially wrote him off as an alien without a base or link to the people at the grassroots. Ogbeni is of the view that without the people, even those in government will fine it difficult to cohabit in peace. This is what most Nigerian politicians have not realised, as it were, that it is in their enlightened self interests to govern for the people and reduce the wanton abdication of responsibility to the electorate. For Ogbeni, freed education, job creation and the like are the irreducible minimum any government worth the name can offer.

The Governor didn’t disappoint his audience and the beneficiaries alike while bidding farewell to the first set of 20 youths out of the 40 sponsored by the state to Germany on a special agricultural training to remain focused while abroad
and ensure that they justify the investment of the state as the trip cost over 64 million Naira. Aregbesola gave the admonition during a send-off ceremony for the 20 youths being sponsored to Germany for advanced training in agriculture and food production technology in State of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. He explained that his administration’s commitment to making agriculture more modern is one of the major reasons for sending them to Germany. This venture, no doubt, will increase food productions for local consumption as well as exportation.

The training is in continuation of Ogbeni government’s drive to revolutionise agriculture in the state under the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (O’REAP). The administration is providing the necessary infrastructure and supports for farmers by supplying them with inputs such as improved seedlings, fertilizers and fumigants among others; giving them hundreds of thousands of hectares of already prepared farmlands.

His government is also liaising with reputable local and international partners–such as the Institute for Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), at Ibadan for assistance in the area of technical knowledge which will boost production and make farming easier, more interesting and more profitable. There is no gainsaying that it is necessary to add value to agricultural practice by applying advanced knowledge in science and technology. Also, the governor has granted another N1 billion loan to 992 co-operative groups for increase production, productivity and wealth creation in order to ease accessibility to food by poor families. Cumulatively, the government has spent N3 billion on agriculture this year alone, having given N2 billion earlier to 2,000 co-operative groups before. On the balance, Aregbesola has a policy designed to allow households have reliable and sustainable access to nutritious and healthy food as well as export to sub-sahara Africa countries.

“We have adopted a multipronged approach to achieving this objective. On one hand, we are providing the necessary infrastructure and supporting our farmers with inputs. “This requires supplying them with inputs such as improved seedlings, fertilizers and fumigants among others; reviving the old farm settlements that were the hub of the agricultural miracles of the Obafemi Awolowo era; opening up our rural areas by an aggressive campaign of road construction and rehabilitation to facilitate easy accessibility and movement of goods from farms to markets; and the linking of farm produce from Osun to the huge market in Lagos via the Lagos-Osun Rail Logistics System,” Aregbesola said.

The governor is committed to having young graduates to learn about agribusiness and build leadership skills. He has provided the opportunities for people to work as food producers, farm and ranch managers, in crops, soils, plant, animal, food and nutritional sciences, horticulture, new product development, strategic planning, marketing, management, and other careers. The youths need to satisfy their preferences in a changing world and be open to new ideas. The governor expects them to have several skills so as so to improve and enhance mechanised farming and food processing business.

In another note, the governor, a few days ago received reports of the famous 98 UNIOSUN Medical Students who were sponsored to V.N Karazin Kharkvin National University in Ukraine to complete their disrupted medical programme in the state owned university before he assumed office as governor. Addressing the Transfer Committee of UNIOSUN, Aregbesola said the decision to send the stranded medical students of the Osun State University to a foreign university to complete their medical studies was borne out of the conviction of his administration’s resolve that no sacrifice would be too much to secure better future for our children if we hope to build a great nation of our founding fathers’ dream.

Chairman of Transfer Committee, Dr. Simeon Afolayan commended the governor for the huge amount spent to keep the hope of the students alive. Afolayan revealed that over 115 students of the UNIOSUN now pursue their academic programme in Ukraine because of the tremendous support of Aregbesola’s administration. He noted that, “Despite the fact that not all the 115 students are of Osun state origin, Aregbesola’s government, in its magnanimity sponsored the students without any string attached. This means that the students did not sign any bond with the government.

The students had had their programme stalled due to non-availability of a Teaching Hospital for the state university at the time. Aregnesola said that his government facilitated the transfer of the students because it believes that a responsible government must fulfill its part of a pact entered into with the people irrespective of which person or party in power signed the agreement in so far that governance is a continuum.

Last year, government spent about N162Million to bail out 87 medical students who now continue their programme in Karachin University. The governor by now would be more than fulfilled that the students, who would have had their dreams aborted, will now realise their ambition of becoming full time medical Doctors. He has kept faith with these children, their parents and Guidance towards realising their life time ambition. In couple of years from now the state and parents alike will be celebrating their graduation as trained Medical Doctors. The governor used the occasion to clarify that of the 98 students made provisions for in the transfer scheme, 87 of them eventually took the offer as parents of the remaining concerned students had made different arrangements for their children.

From the start Aregbesola is conscious of the fact that the only way to escape the wrath of economic collapse in the near future is to reposition the wobbling or/and primitive economy. He admonished that in our quest to enter the club of 20 most economically powerful and viable nations by 2030- the UNESCO sect target – we have to look inward and reduce our dependence on cheap petrodollars which is the reason for the virtue abandonment of agriculture that was the nation’s economic mainstay before and after we gained flag Independent. Even at that, it’s inexplicable and shameful that as a nation we have been unable to feed ourselves sufficiently!

Survey is replete right about now that our oil would no longer be crazily sought after by the US and China, the major exporters of the bulk of the nation crude oil, since they have devised mechanism to strike the depth and core of their own oil reserve, effortlessly. That is if the oil wells didn’t dry up before then. The challenge before us is either we embrace agriculture, wholesale, or we will start drinking our oil in 5 years time.

Written By Erasmus Ikhide

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