By Sunday Oguntuyi Osogbo
The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminent Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has described the achievements in Osun State within its three decades of existence as one that humbles older states.
Abubakar said it was no surprise that in Osun’s 30 years of statehood, it had produced a galaxy of stars in all the sectors and areas of human endeavour, adding that the State is blessed in both human and natural resources.
The Sultan, speaking during the 30th anniversary colloquium of Osun as chairman on Thursday, lauded the government for electing to celebrate its landmark anniversary with a colloquium, adding that the initiative was a significant strategy for linking the past with the present and the future to build a sustainable enterprise.
Abubakar lauded Governor Adegboyega Oyetola who he described as a gentleman governor, man of peace, man of honour, a statesman, a bridge builder, a lover of development and a believer in one, strong and indivisible Nigeria.
“I have followed the programmes of Governor Oyetola closely since his assumption of office. A deep thinker and a silent reformer and performer, he came into government with Development Agenda hinged on adequate, quality and equitable service in all sectors. He has also introduced people-oriented policies based on inclusive governance and sustainable development.
“One other strategy he has employed to further engrain inclusive governance and sustainable development in the polity is organising this Colloquium as part of the programmes for this Anniversary,” Sultan Abubakar said.
Also speaking at the colloquium, the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, paid glowing tributes to the past and present leaders in the State, adding that Osun is now better than how it was at creation.
“Osun is better today than it was when it was created. What we are having here today attests to this fact. The journey of 30 years began with some people’s efforts and we appreciate the founding fathers, past administrators and incumbent governor, for their contributions to the growth and development of Osun.
“Osun is greater than every single individual, and it has become necessary to stress this fact for our people to be careful not to allow politics and other interests to disintegrate us,” Oba Ogunwusi said.
In his Keynote Address, a former governor of the State, Chief Bisi Akande, lauded the founding fathers and past leaders of the State for what he described as achieving an optimum community and laying a foundation for the prosperous future of the State.
In their separate remarks, former administrators in the State, General Leo Ajiborisha (rtd.), Captain Anthony Udofia (rtd.) and Theophilus Bamigboye, felicitated the government and the people of the State on the anniversary, urging all to continue to sacrifice for the growth and development of the State.
In his remarks, the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, congratulated the citizens of the Osun, describing the State as a full-grown entity that had surmounted its challenges with stoic resilience over the years of its existence.
On the imperativeness of the colloquium to the State’s celebration of its 30 years of creation, Oyetola said: “This Colloquium has been designed as the intellectual arm of the 30th Anniversary of our State to interrogate the performances of the State so far, examine possible gaps and project for a sustainable future that we all crave for as a people and desire to bequeathe to our posterity.
“As an Administration, we have instituted this Colloquium to celebrate our shared values and our collective resolve that have delivered the Osun that we desire and to give vent to our dream to prosecute our Development Agenda which is our strategy and road map to put our dear State on the path of sustainable development.
“We are confident that just as the foundation laid by our forefathers 30 years ago has earned us a viable place in the national and international space, our decision to lay bricks of contemporary governance structures will build a prosperous and sustainable future.
“This 30th Anniversary is the end of a phase and the beginning of another: the beginning of sustainable governance and development, the beginning of a new era for a generation of Osun citizens that will ride on the wings of knowledge, technology and entrepreneurship to realise their potential, shut the door against unemployment, create wealth and radically transform the economy of the State.”
The colloquium was moderated by Professor Niyi Akinnaso. Otunba Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, Dr Segun Aina, Professor Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Dr Yemi Farounbi, Dr. Reuben Abati, Ms. Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, Mr. Mahmud Jega, Professor Simon Oyeweso, Mr. Babajide Kolade-Otitoju, Mr. Steve Nwosu, and Zainab Okino, as panellists.
The panellists took turns to laud Osun’s sustainability in terms of infrastructure, health, security and education, in spite of the paucity of funds.
Specifically, the Group Head of Current and Public Affairs of Television Continental Communications, Babajide Kolade-Otitoju, commended the successive administrations since the State’s creation, adding that Osun has witnessed geometric progression.
He noted that there is no State in the country that boasts of as many urban centres as Osun.
“What is required is the need to focus on developing those urban centres. Once this is done, the migration that we see from these centres to cities like Lagos will reduce drastically.
“Population is an ingredient of growth and development. What that implies is that the development of those urban centres will help retain citizens and ensure the return of those who have migrated already. Businesses will grow and Osun will remain on top in Nigeria.
“I must commend the governor for what he has done so far. People have described him as a gentleman governor, but I will describe him as a positively gentle governor because he is gentle in a way that brings growth and development.
“But here is my submission to the governor: Let’s build more inner city roads. I know resources are limited but you have already done the unthinkable with the little resources. Some of us didn’t expect what you have done except we want to lie. We thought it would be more difficult. We know the resources are limited, but let us do our best,” he said.