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Hon. Kayode Oduoye

Osun State is one of the South West states in Nigeria; recently the state marked her 25th anniversary. The Editor in Chief of Pleasures Magazine, Moses Owopade was at the state during the celebration and he caught up with one of the sons of the Founding Fathers of the state Hon. Kayode Oduoye. The close chat with the visionary man took about two hours, enjoy the conversation.
PM: Hello Bar. Oduoye, good to see you,
Oduoye: My brother the pleasure is mine, how are you doing?
You are the son of one of the Founding Fathers of Osun state, now the state is 25, what can you say about Osun State that your father was one of those who fought for her creation?
Oduoye: Once again thank you, Yes, Osun state was created in 1991 by the administration of former Military Head of State Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and the vision for the creation was very clear, the intention was to extend development to all parts of the country, you know our state (I know you are also one of us here in Osun state, Laughs), was with Oyo state, and at that period, no one could see the full potential of Osun, we were a bit far to the administration seat of the state. When the State was created, Osun indigenes in the civil service then were somehow the best in the old Oyo state, so with the knowledge of our people in the service, Osun started on a very good note and we were blessed with quality civil service administrators, Directors, Permanent Secretaries and so on, so it was a good start for the state.
Would you say we have achieved or achieving the purpose of the creation?
Oduoye: When you look at the economic reason, yes we have achieved the purpose of creation but when we talk about development, youth empowerment, quality leadership I will humbly say we are yet to get there, especially what we are going through now. It is far from what we bargained for. I want say it very loud that the first Civilian Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke did what he could do, he was unable to really express his full idea before the military took over, then it was the turn of Chief Bisi Akande, he was the most achieving Governors in the state so far because he gave us the beautiful edifice we have now as Secretariat. He was a leader with focus but his ability to blend administration with governance cost him a lot and he lost the 2003 election to PDP candidate, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. His tenure was cool and free of trouble, but when we were sent a Lagos based man by the leadership of the then AC, that was when we started having challenges. You will recall that his coming led to killing of so many people, so many crises were recorded before and after the election. Eventually, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola became the Governor. The first we heard was he was coming with unusual governance and truly in the last six years we have had unusual government in the state.Unusual Government?
Oduoye: Yes, as we speak now, the name of the state was re-named to state of Osun and obvious the state of Osun at the present is terribly bad, we only see so many window dressing activities. We see so many Os, O yes, O clean and so on without any impact in the society, some of the appointment were given to non-Osun indigenes and what we see is capital flight, most of our local food vendors are closing down for lack of patronage because Lagos is the home base of at least 85% of the people in government. You need to be here on weekends, the state will be so dry. At present we see schools being merged without considering the sex of the students, how can a male students be merged to Girl school, when the child leaves school he will be carrying Girl High School certificate, this is really unusual. Our roads are becoming fish pounds and wells and we are not doing anything about it, the most annoying thing now is that civil servants are not paid; they only receive half of their salary for more than a year now. We are indeed in the hand of unusual leader.
How about leaders at Local government, are they also Lagos based?
Oduoye: Did I hear you say Local Government? (Smile) what we have in Osun state now is Civilian sole administrator, go to our Local Governments secretariats, we don’t have Chairmen, the Governor is the administrator of all the Local Government Councils in the state. I said we are already in what we say here in Nigeria “One chance” (Laughter). My brother it’s what we should cry about.
How are we reaching to the grassroot then?
Oduoye: Please I will appreciate if you can get this question across to our unusual Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Maybe he will give you the appropriate answer but for me I have no Idea.
Or are the Royal fathers in charge of the grassroot people?
Oduoye: As earlier mentioned, he (The Governor) will be in the better position to answer that. You can as well get in touch with some Royal fathers to hear from them but for me I have no idea at all.
How about Commissioners?
Oduoye: Commissioners in Osun state? I don’t know any commissioner because what we have here are consultants no commissioners anymore. Have you forgotten this is an Unusual Government? Osun state has no commissioners at the moment.
What role are the past civilian Governors in the state playing in addressing the challenge?
Oduoye: Good enough, they are all in the same Party, Alhaji Adeleke and Prince Oyinlola defected from PDP to APC prior to last election and I think they see what is happening, except they are happy with the issue. They should be the one again to tell us the role they are playing or the one they want to play.
Considering the present situation do we still look for any old one in 2018?
Oduoye: When you say old ones I want a clarification.
I mean from the former Governors, because people told me in town they are tired of old hands, what is your take?
Oduoye: My take cannot be different from what the people want. If they say they want young and energetic Governor come 2018, I have no objection, because I am entitled to one vote, they formed the majority and in every election, the majority decision counts. But I want to also say that we have had experiences of the elders, we will always need them for direction and guidance because we will all grow. At this time it will be suicidal to commit the state in the hand of an old person who is supposed to be resting.
Is Bar. Kayode Oduoye interested?
Oduoye: First it is not about my interest now, the first focus is to rescue the state, when you talk about interest, I guess we all have qualification to aspire to be anything in our state, as I earlier mentioned, I have followed your activities in the state for some time, yes you are a journalist but you have the passion for the state, you can also be our next Governor, just that the arrangement at the moment does not favour your Zone, you are from East and the focus now is West or central. My major concern now is how to assist the people as an individual, I want to put smiles on the faces of few people I can touch, I want to resuscitate hope for the youth who are presently living for today, we need to give them a better hope.kayode-oduoye-2 How do you intend to achieve this?
Oduoye: Oh! Very soon I will invite you to be part of what I planned to do for now I want to keep it to myself, but you will surely be invited and involved.
If you were given opportunity as Governor what will you change in Osun state?
Oduoye: I will not want to even mention the word change, because this is what we are experiencing now, I will look for another word, but seriously, let us wait if the people will say they want me, for now no commitment. I want to assist people as an individual that is the most paramount to me at the moment.
Have you heard about a group seeking what they tagged “A Better Osun Agenda?
Oduoye: There you go, I know the people and I am sure you (Moses) you are championing it so, I am in support, that is the focus now honestly, A Better Osun Agenda, its good thinking in the right direction. I will support such initiative and I want you to see me as one of you even if I am not available physically. I have also read some of the comments by the members of the group, I commend them all.
Thanks for your time and any message to Osun Indigenes outside the country?
Oduoye; I want to tell all of them to come back and assist in one way or the other, I want to tell them we all have to rescue our state, I want to ask them to remember they need to contribute to making life more meaningful for our people as the Lord blesses them. I want to tell them that Osun belong to them, we are based here, we know the problem of the people, we should reject ant imposition of foreign citizens who will only come and divert our resources in developing other places.
Thanks
Oduoye: Thanks for having me.