By Ismail Omipidan
On Monday, May 16, my older brother and former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuff was on Frank Talk, a popular Radio Current Affairs Programme, where he spoke about his ambition as the candidate of the Labour Party, LP, in the forthcoming July 16 contest in Osun.
In his opening remarks, he tried to explain the phenomenal growth Osun had witnessed recently. Using the Lameco-Ifon- Ilobu road as a yardstick to measure the busy state of roads in the State, he said he spent close to 40 minutes in traffic on the same road on his way to the studio. According to him, the road was formerly free as it was plied by a few vehicles.
Among other encomiums, he commended my Principal for taking over the rehabilitation of the road that leads to his country home. He spoke for about 45 minutes.
But during the course of the interview, a man who spoke about busy traffic in Osun and his thriving farm in the State in one breath, surprisingly declared that there was no economy in the same State. I find that warped and ridiculous. I had opportunity to call in. I had just 30 seconds. And within that time, I said our eminent older brother had contradicted himself.
In his characteristic manner, when he had an opportunity to respond, he was visibly angered by my harmless and factual comment. And outside the studio, he and his foot soldiers laboured in vain to attack my person and my personality, saying I am an alien in Osun and that I know nothing about Osun politics, bla, bla. Pray, does it take citizenship to understand the economy of a state or country?
Besides, every trained journalist knows something about everything and everything about something. I am a trained journalist. And my works spoke for me, even before Governor Adegboyega Oyetola brought me to serve in Osun Government. I am a proud Ila-Orangun man with verifiable address and parental lineage.
Having reported the National Assembly for several years, including serving as a Consultant to the Senate Committee on Constitution Review and later as a Special Assistant to a former Deputy President of the Senate, I know Hon. Lasun very well. But I won’t attack his person. Attacking people’s personality is not my style. I’m trained to address issues.
However, I am throwing an open challenge to him that I will be willing to debate Osun economy with him publicly.
While I await his response to this open invitation, let’s attempt a simple definition of economy. It is simply defined as “the process or system by which goods and services are produced, sold, and bought in a State, country or region.”
I know of several entrepreneurs who only sprang up between 2019 and now and they are doing very well. His ‘thriving farm’ also counts among the private ventures that are doing well in the State. The Government under Governor Oyetola has also helped in reviving some moribund industries. Drive to Ayegbaju market, you will see a classical example of waste to wealth. Scores of roads our Administration has constructed/rehabilitated since inception are also palpable evidence of improved economy, going by the definition. I can go on and on.
From the definition of the economy above and my little insight, can Hon. Lasun and his foot soldiers still insist on their honour that there is no economy in Osun?
No man can cover obvious economic accomplishments with his hand. Eyes can see!
Osun ti n dara, yio si ma dara si, ni agbara Olorun. Ilerioluwa ni o se losun.
Omipidan is a former Political Editor with The Sun Newspapers.