SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, AT HIS INAUGURATION AT THE OSOGBO TOWNSHIP STADIUM ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2014.
It is with deep humility and gratitude to the Almighty that I stand before this faithful assembly. Exactly four years ago, we stood before God and before you to take a solemn oath to resume our journey to greatness. We thank God Almighty for taking us through the first phase of the journey and for enabling us to secure your mandate to keep us on that glorious path for another four years.
We are also here to celebrate the goodness of God and the indomitable spirit of the good people of Osun. We are here to affirm the triumph of good over evil. We are here to celebrate democracy as the ultimate instrument of political empowerment ever bequeathed to humanity.
The journey to our inauguration today began on the day of our inauguration, exactly four years ago, when the party we displaced began to unleash a wicked engine of relentless falsehood to destabilise our administration and bring our downfall. They have engaged in every form of shenanigan and put every obstacle imaginable in our way.
They have made strident effort to stir strife and sow the seed of discord. They made the most disingenuous effort to break the chord of communal and religious harmony that had existed for centuries among our people. They made futile bid for office and pursued power for its sake with a demonic frenzy. The climax was the unprecedented effort to manipulate the election and subvert the will of the people on August 9.
Before, during and immediately after the election, there was a siege on the state. Every act of terror imaginable, including the unconstitutional detention of my deputy, was attempted. Security agents of all hues invaded the state, many of them in balaclavas, paraded the streets, shooting in the air with every intention of putting terror in the people.
At the height of this outlawry, more than 700 leaders and members of our party were arrested, mostly in the dead of the night, and an unconscionable and treasonable bid was made to seize the Government House.
But they failed and failed miserably and were routed and given the electoral mauling of their life because God is with us and our people are indefatigable and indomitable.
And so, today we celebrate our people who stood firm for democracy and liberty, who defied every form of provocation and intimidation to make a democratic statement by voting and standing to make their votes count. They have shown that no gun or sabre rattling can stand in the way of a people who are determined to make a stand for liberty and democracy.
As the result indicates, the over 700,000 voters’ turnout, making 54 per cent of the total registered voters was the highest recorded in recent elections in the country. Also, our 394,684 total votes, a whopping 55 per cent of the total valid votes, was the highest for any candidate in any recent governorship election.
We are not boasting; we are simply acknowledging the enormity of the mandate given to us by our people, even in the face of the most formidable terror machine arrayed against them.
In the past four years, we have striven to keep faith with the people on the mandate given to us. We set out to re-enact the Obafemi Awolowo tradition of leadership and good governance; a tradition that set the Western Region apart. The formidable challenges notwithstanding, we have delivered largely on our promises.
We began with ethical reorientation by branding our state ‘Ipinle Omoluabi’. We have been able to reawaken the consciousness of the values of hard work, public spiritedness, maintaining a good name, chivalry and character moulding in our people.
Within 100 days, we provided jobs for 20,000 of our youths and replicated same two years later. We revamped agriculture and made it a profitable venture for farmers. We have positioned our youth for greatness by providing them with quality education. We have redefined the infrastructure of education by building state of the art schools, proving cutting edge technology, free school uniforms, free meals and so on.
We have empowered our people economically through all the ‘O’ projects: O’REAP, O’MEALS, O’BEEF, O’HUB, O’HONEY, O’CLEAN and so on. We have made micro-credit available to our people on a large scale and with direct injection, we have lifted the GDP of the state, making Osun the seventh largest economy in Nigeria.
We have cared for the environment in an unprecedented way. We have banished flooding and cleaned the environment of filth. Our road construction projects, completed and ongoing, are incomparable. There is no local government that did not partake in our local and intercity road projects.
We have embarked on a most ambitious urban renewal programme and we are fast returning our urban centres to beauty and aesthetic splendour. We have cared for the old, weak and infirm while special people have not escaped our touch.
We have delivered on our six integral action programme. Our performance in the first term endeared us to you and convinced you to give us the mandate for another term.
We shall continue on this path and accelerate the speed of development in Osun. Our vision is to deliver 20 years development in the next four years in economic, social and political fields. We shall complete all ongoing projects and start new ones. We shall touch every community in roads, education and infrastructure.
We shall touch every household in wealth creation, security of lives and property, social amenities, political empowerment, political representation and much more. We shall consolidate on the foundation we are building and proceed to the superstructure of prosperity and greatness for our land and people. Though the financial challenges are daunting, we shall do everything within our power and the unbounded resources of our land and people to achieve our goals without faltering.
The mandate you have given us covers all the peoples of Osun in their social, political, religious and ethnic heterogeneity. There shall be no discrimination or disfavour against an individual or group on account of identity or difference. This is our credo of governance and we shall continue on this path.
Our adversaries have taken the road to perdition by seeking to divide our people along religious and ethnic lines. On this path, they will travel alone. Our diversity is our strength; God has bequeathed to us the freedom of choice.
We are at liberty to be Christian, Muslim, traditional religious worshipper, atheist, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw or Efik. What is unnatural and quite strange to Yoruba communal liberalism is to engage in conflict on account such differences. Lest we forget, the religion of PDP is poverty.
Nigeria is saturated with leaders who are ever so quick to parade platitudes of their respective religion – denying its faith, essence and positive values.
However, what we need at this time are God-fearing and incorruptible leaders who will galvanize our people and judiciously husband our resources to overcome our challenges. We must terminate the regime of self-seeking manipulators who currently parade corridors of power, accruing political profit by turning us against each other and further dividing us along ethnic and religious lines.
The result of their politics of division is that Nigerians are poorer in the last 16 years whereas Nigeria as a country has never been richer save for recent months when oil price has declined. This manifests again in their continued lawlessness evidenced in the desecration of the National Assembly and the travesty at Ekiti Assembly.
They have demonstrated without doubt their inability to protect Nigerians and the territorial integrity of our country. We must therefore be determined to vote out the party that has brought us to this sorry pass. We must show them the way out. We must let them know that on their way to hell, they will walk alone.
Our party, the All People Congress (APC) promises prosperity, national unity and integration, security of lives and property, job and wealth creation, rule of law and constitutionalism and deepening of democracy. All these have been showcased in all the states where our party holds sway in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti (until recently), Edo, Imo, Rivers, Kwara, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Borno and Yobe.
This is what we stand for and this is why a greater number of Nigerians continue to accept us and identify with us. Our present travails therefore is temporary. The PDP on the other hand stands for poverty, misery and insecurity. They are prepared to sacrifice the entire country as long as their hold on power is intact.
Come February next year, Nigerians are going to say enough is enough. We are going to beat them because they are beatable. The God that helped us to beat them in Osun will also beat them for us in the national election. Do not be afraid, do not despair. Victory is at hand.
To God almighty, the omnipotent and omniscient, we owe our victory. I will however like to acknowledge and thank everyone that contributed in one way or another to our success. I will begin with our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), all the national leaders of the party down the line but permit me to single out my leader and mentor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for providing the inspiration to aspire, to seek, to find and to triumph.
I will also like to thank my brother governors in APC who have supported me in every way possible in the struggle. My sincere appreciation goes to all the legislators in the National Assembly from Osun, especially the Director General of my campaign, Prof Sola Adeyeye, who demonstrated uncommon doggedness and a youthful heart.
I cannot forget the party in the state, from the ward to the senatorial districts and state officials. The party was in the heat of fire, but they bore it with singular courage and equanimity. I acknowledge the support and the inimitable role of council chiefs and members of the State House of Assembly under the astute leadership of our indomitable Speaker.
I remain grateful to my governance team, the sharp instrument of my administration, for their unflinching support, for staying the course and for achieving much from little. I am particular about my Deputy, the Secretary to the State Government and my Chief of Staff.
My biggest thanks go to the people of Osun for their faithfulness from time past even till the present. These are the women groups, especially traders and market women, the artisans, hunters, butchers, farmers groups, commercial motorcyclists, transporters, drivers, civil servants, teachers, students, youths, organised private sector, entertainers, financial institutions, journalists, God-fearing security agents, artists and artistes, activists, traditional rulers, community based associations, youth based associations, civil society organisations and the coalition of political parties in the state. I thank you all. Your government is here and we will give our all to serve you.
Lastly, my thanks go to my family, especially my darling wife, who has held our home front with exceptional devotion. Her prayers, faith in God and in me plus her sacrificial love are pillars of unfailing support. I will not forget my mother, Iya Olobi, for her doting care, her sacrifice and huge heart.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Osun a dara!