Dr. Kunle Oyeyemi is a social critic based in Osun. In this Interview with Correspondent, Gbenga Faturoti, Oyeyemi spoke on the on-going reform in the education sector in Osun State; its benefits to the pupils and residents at large. He also talked on the proposed creation of additional 27 local government council areas, the second term bid of Governor Rauf Aregbesola and other issues. Excerpts:
As a teacher, the on-going educational reforms in Osun State has continued to attract criticisms from some sections of the public, particularly the opposition. What is your take on the school re-classification and what are its benefits to the state?
To me, it is fantastic. It is long overdue and perhaps, a revolutionary which is in line with international movement. Over the years, America has been running such system of education strategy, the same thing in United Kingdom. There are too many advantages in the re-classification policy: one, separation of the schools into elementary, middle and high schools is laudable in that selection of pupils with the same age range and mentality is a check on undue influence of some of the pupils while this would similarly minimize the menace of cultism in the schools. Secondly, it gives room for development as the schools are now being taken proper care of as the government has been able to streamline the schools needs and respond to them according to the needs of the pupils.
It appeared the opposition is using the little hitches in the schools merger, especially regarding the students’ protest as a weapon to condemn the reform and threaten to chase out Governor Aregbesola from office come 2014. What is your own submission to that?
I laugh at those calling Aregbesola a fraudster, particularly the PDP because with his frantic efforts aimed at transforming the state, anyone who says he couldn’t see him working is not okay. Even the blind can feel his impact, and his creative ways of funding the infrastructural and developmental projects is not only wonderful but also show his dedication to revitalize the state. More so, their insinuation is ironical. Let them come out to show the people of the state what they did during their regime. They left the state indebted, borrowed huge amount of money to build stadium in Okuku where nobody watches football and above all, they should bury their face in shame instead of making attempt to score cheap political point. The people of Osun are not fools. So, no threat by any political party will destabilize the moral virtuosity of the people of the state.
So, what is your political assessment of Osun State now?
I came back to Nigeria six years ago and I participated fully during the last election in the state. I was determined, prepared and tirelessly involved from the beginning to the end. This is because I particularly happened to be the strongest for the opposition at the time and I was determined to exterminate them from my area. It was my resolution that the parasite must be removed from my neighborhood. And by the grace of God we have neutralized the political landscape of the state. So, I submit that Osun is now a people oriented state because when you look down memory lane, no single governor has governed the state this better. We are very lucky to have Mr. Rauf Aregbesola as the state governor; he is a man of vision and determined to upgrade the state.
What is your take on the level of infrastructural development in the state?
Without mincing words, I would say the infrastructural development in the state is unprecedented. When we look at the development achieved so far, we will see that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is such a wonderful leader because without him, we wouldn’t have discovered Aregbesola who is doing amazingly well in developing the state. I am particularly angry with those criticizing Tinubu because if not for his bold steps, the story of the country, particularly the South West would remain the same as Olusegun Obosanjo’s plan for the region was nothing to write home about. Look and behold, Aregbesola is a God given man. He came at the right time otherwise; Oyinlola would have ruined the state. He made computer available to all and sundry in the state just as he did developed many roads across the state.
Do you share the view that Governor Rauf Aregbesola needs a second term in office?
Of course, he deserves another term so as for him to complete his numerous projects across the state. We want him to finish his giant strides and this I think is the only way the people of Osun can appreciate him. Otherwise, how are we sure that any other person will not disappoint us? In lieu of this, I believe in his dreams and I will work for him very hard.
What is your advice to Aregbesola on his proposed creation of local government?
Well, I have suggested to him that all the local government administrators be subjected to rigorous training. They may be good party statesmen but that does not make them people oriented leaders. The local government should be doing their own and in doing this, the state government should gather and educate them because a majority of local government officials lacks ideology, vision and plans. I am not saying they don’t have the ability to do it but training them is very crucial to the development of this state. This is not only to increase their competency but also to let them understand what the vision of the government is and widen their knowledge as the local government administrators must understand the people of their domain before they are able to aggregate their interests. Some people don’t directly benefit from the central government and this is why the government at the grassroots must be well oriented and reformed so that they can progressively cater for the needs of the people at their level.
But a group within the ruling party in the state called Osun Redemption Movement has advocated for the scrapping of the post of Executive Secretaries in all the 30 local government councils of the state, do you subscribe to this?
First of all, I will not subscribe to the thinking of an entity that I don’t know. I don’t know them, I don’t know their motive, and I don’t know the purpose of their existence. So, maybe if I have better understanding of their mission, I would be in a better position to evaluate their mission. What did they say is wrong, is it because they are not performing that or why exactly did they wanted them scrapped? If their demands are on the basis of change, then, it has to been examined critically. Those people may have a different intention, I am not sure of what their intention is but they can be indirectly calling for election. They maybe intending to contest for election and think because the secretaries are there, they are been blocked from clinching the power. I think their argument should be evaluation of right person for the position because ordinarily, the same set of people may emerge if the local government election is eventually conducted. When you appoint the right person for assignment, he will deliver. For example, when Aregbesola was an unelected government official in Lagos State, he delivered. And now that he is in elected position, he is doing the same. So, what is paramount at this juncture is who can do it best.Of course I want the local government election conducted. Besides, what is the State House of Assembly doing to ensure that things are done duly? So the governor cannot be blamed for everything because the legislators too have decision to make in that regard. More so, if enabling laws are not implemented, election cannot be conducted because election can’t precede the enabling laws.