An Open letter to the people of Oyo State

by Adewale T. Akande

Health is wealth. The government should embark on project to have standard public health centres in all the cities in the State. The government should fund all the thirty-three local governments in the state to operate and manage mini public health centres within its authority compound or jurisdiction area. These centres staffed with trained and qualified medical personnel will be providing general health education, preventive services, family planning education and contraceptive, specific occupational health promotion services, screening for illness (such as taking blood pressure) and treatment for minor illness and injuries. This will make medical facility get nearer to the people. Medical care should be provided in all accredited and organized care services and vigorous efforts should make to induce physicians and other health workers to practice in rural areas. The Ministry of health should take measures in prohibition of smoking in public places such as hospitals, schools, government offices, theatres, movie houses.

Under section 14,sub-section 2 (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states the “ the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” It is very evident that security of lives and properties of the people are not guaranteed in the State. Everybody lives in fear anytime they go out. Our burglary proofs are now taller and thicker than what we have in prisons. Who are now the true prisoners? Everybody cannot afford to pay for private security. The armed robbers that have taken control by breaking into banks, houses and companies at will with their sophisticated weapons. The recent wave of kidnappings, hired-assassins, thuggery, plain-clothes police exorting ( or robbery) near all banks, advanced fee 419 fraud cronies and bus stops and motor-parks touts and pickpockets are increasing everyday. Section 4 of the Police Act, explains police duties by law as “prevention of crime, detection of crime, apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order, protection of life and property”. The government should operate an Anti-Robbery Squad as done by other States to patrol around the cities and towns. The Police needs sophisticated ammunitions to match with armed robbers weapons, more electronic equipped police vehicles and motorcycles for patrols most especially when the next general election is just a matter of months.. Oyo State can break the record of policing in the country by institute more Police patrol vehicles and intriduce special motorcycles with walkie-talkie for information dissemination and responding to crimes in progress.

Information, Culture and Tourism; In a democratic society, all citicens have a right to access and use of information. Information serves as a vehicle for bringing government policies and programmes to the citizenry, thereby making it a bridge that hold the government and governed together. Also, I see no reason why a pace-setter of all the thirty-six states in Nigeria cannot boast of its own newspaper. What does it take the government to resuscitate The Sketch Publishing newspaper with effective management board to create an avenue through which the activities and programmes of the state are made known to the public. The newspaper will provide a feedback mechanism through which the state government can judge the reaction of the masses towards its policies and programmes. That is what is called democracy-“government of the people by the people and for the people”. There will never be “disaffection among the masses” if there is transparency and accountability in governance. This publishing company will generate employment opportunities in the State to most qualified graduates roaming on the streets. The most widely read newspapers in Spain ( Metro), United Kingdom (Metro and Evening Standard) and South Africa are free newspapers running with only adverts proceeds. Culture and tourism are another are in which the government can make huge revenue.Culture is a shared system of symbols,attitudes, values,beliefs,expectations and norms of behaviour. The state is blessed with many idle tourist centres such as Bower Tower, Agodi Botanical Garden, Iyamopo and Agbele Hill in Igbeti .A lot of revenue can be made from this sector but you cannot have tourism without a reliable security. The laudable idea of the Computer for All Nigeria Initiatives (CANi) can be effective and serve its posses when launching and installation is done in all government ministries including the thirty-three local governments in the state. All public and private nursery/primary and secondary schools must have to be provided with computers and make the students have a deep understanding of the technology, the historical impact on society, and the roles of individuals and democratic institutios in shaping and maintaining responsible use of technology. Democracy also depends on informal, subjective qualities of social trust, consensus and cohesion-including social and cultural attitudes that facilitate informal accommodation and solution of conflicts. Government should promote, sponsor and participate in all notable cultural activities of all the majority and minority ethnic groups in the state.

Youth, Sports and Social Development; As we all know that sport is a unifying factor, hence it has to be developed from the grass-root level. The government should promote and monitor well-formulated and educative youth development programmes. All the thirty-three local governments should have a separate Youth Development Centres to provide information, counselling, employment, entertainment and educative activities among the youth in its jurisdiction. Our children should be encourage to join social club activities like Boys Scout, Boys Brigade. Girls Guide, Red Cross, Readers Club, Old School-mate Association, Professional Youth Club, Writers” Club, Culture,Sports and Theatre Clubs etc. Socialisation according to Eric L.Bey is the “process through which individuals acquire knowledge, habits and value orientations that will be useful in the future”. The government should mandate all thirty-three local governments in the state to build Mini Sports Complex in their locality. This will develope sporting competitions among the youths and eventually promote the state recognition in sporting activities nationally and internationally. The state ministry of youth and sports should resuscitate “Olubadan Cup” soccer competition among all nursery/primary schools, promote “Principal Cup” soccer competition among all secondary schools in the state and “Governor’s Games” competitions to feature all sporting activities involving all the 33 local governments in the state in collaboration with Oyo State Sports Council, notable companies, corporate bodies and individuals in the state. Liberty, Adamasingba and Ogbomoso Township stadiums can be used respectively. This yearly competition will serve as an avenue to discover new talents and develop old talents that will represent the State in the next National Local Government Games and win more laurels in international sporting events.The increasing waves of cultism, advance fee 419 fraud, internet scam and other vices will be reduced drastically when kids are engaged positively making then responsible and good citizens to the society. The idea of sharing and selling of all state lands meant for social development should be discouraged. This selfish habit exhibited by the politicians does not leave any space for our children to play and enjoy recreation activities. The government should create Citizens Advice Bureau in all the cities.

The issue of environment protection. The government should make necessary collaboration in environmental and occupational health research among public health, administrative, industrial and educational institutions to find lasting solutions to our environmental problems. There should be mass participati

on in pollution control by increase the consciousness of vast numbers of people in the cities. The waste management board can place plastic bins or drums in strategic places for people to drop their refuse and this will be emptied every-midnight by the refuse collecting lorries. The bins can be separated (paper, iron or metal and rest of the waste) in different colours for re-cycling. The cleaning of streets and roads should be extended to other cities of the state. The cleaners should be in complete reflective uniform for their traffic safety .

The second important pressing issue why I decided to write this letter, is the problem relating to picking of eligible candidates to contest for State elections by the political parties during their primary elections. This normally generate tension, despair, grievances, hatred and disunity among political elites turning the State politics to a vicious and selfish power play. Every parts of the State has equitable access to present candidate for any post available, even most especially in Gubernatorial race. There is no problem if a Gubernatorial candidate or Commissioner comes from any of these following places ; Igbeti, Saki, Kishi, Sepeteri, Okeho, Ilora, Awe, Ilero, Oyo, Iseyin, Eruwa, Lanlate, Igboho, Igboora, Ogbomoso or Ibadan. We are all from the same extended families and forefathers. The State cannot be developed or achieve good governance if we continue to monopolise sensitive appointments solely on rotational criteria and not supporting the right mix of candidates or people with skills and abilities to develop well their political parties agenda and its plans for the people. The most important thing is the capability, integrity, and intellectual ability of a particular candidate and support given by his party members and the entire people. The State is blessed with the best brains you can ever think of in recent years. Some of them remain silent because of the way our elders are turning politics into “do or die” affairs, making the entire citizenry to suffer when other citizens from other State are happy by the collective visions of their enterprising elders. We will all suffer for it if we neglect the optimal utilisation of our collective talents in the service of our common interests. Let our new leaders engage in live television / radio interviews and debates broadcast before elections to tell us themselves,their achievements, ideas and plans to rewrite our history as Pace-Setter. The era of dirty money politics and political godfather in hand-picking of candidates is gone forever. We should not prefer mediocrity to meritocracy in our selections, appointments and elections. Political agenda, best policies and set objectives need achievers, who are men and women of great discipline. Good governance requires us to select freely, nominate diligently, vote peacefully and defend our votes.

Finally, let us hold the optimistic ideals and pessimism will be driven out. Let us imbibe the spirit of love and unity. “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” so says the Holy Bible. And the Holy Quran 3:200 says;”…vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and pious, tha you may prosper”. We must all unite and work to raise hope, sustain hope and keep hope alive of all the people of Oyo State. Let our elders bear their minds on a round table discussion with courtesy and friendliness. Working together, we can do more. They should forget festering grievances or imbalances in the past, admit those mistakes of the past, and move on healing old wounds which is essential for future success. The earmark of a great mind is its ability to forgive and forget. Our elites and leaders trust, integrity and credibility determine the will to serve the State better and make their mark in sands of time. They must leave something for posterity as done by our founding fathers. The war of words and frayed nerves must now be firmly put behind and make the next general election to be peaceful, free and fair. Our elites cannot be enemies forever as we do not want them pass this to their sons. It is better to make the way for coming generation as one. Our politicians should remember the wise counsel of the great American President Abraham Lincoln at Illinois,on October 16,1854; “…stand with anybody that stands right; stand with him while he is right and pact with him when he goes wrong”. Leadership is not for glamour, pleasure, fun, privilege or opportunity to construct estates and buy mansions here and abroad while your subjects are dying of hunger and squalor. Leadership is not opportunity to loot the state treasury and keep the money in foreign accounts while your people cannot afford three-squares meals a day. Leadership is not stealing the government money and donate it to churches or mosques. Leadership is sacrifice. Leadership is service. Leaders are servants of the people and the people are their pay-masters. You do not need to contest for an election if you do not want to be people’s servant. Leadership is to bless the life of others. Leadership are men of virtue and example of modest. Leaders with enough intellectual capacity to run the affairs of this State can make good things happen. Let pray for leaders that will strive and work hard to lead our State to climb greater heights of excellence and progress. It is our collective effort and responsibility to make the best of the State. Where are those stinkingly rich men praised by our musicians of yesteryears? “Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity” as Solomon calls this illusion of life. Only people with good names will be remembered for ever. Even you can see the traces and symptoms of poverty among some of the so called rich men. Lack of love, discipline, wisdom, initiative, integrity and morality are manifested on them. Happiness according to Frankin D.Roosevelt; ”…is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievements, and in the thrill of creative efforts”. Happiness can never be bought, it has to be experienced. Happiness is neither the wealth nor comfort, instead, it is all about the state of mind. Wealth, comfort and love can all be the means toward happiness, but they are definitely not happiness in themselves. The origin of this State had a very beautiful history and we shall create another in the nearest future. “It is time to move past yesterday, because today is upon us and tomorrow is only a breath away” as Sunday Dare once wrote. Let us all come out en masse and vote for “a statesman that thinks of the next generation and not politician that thinks of the next election”. Failure is not the will of God. If we fail to vote for the best candidate, we will all responsible for our failure. As Yoruba adage says “The king whose reign is characterised by peace, history will record it. Also the king whose tenure is fraught with chaos (poverty), history will not fail to record it”. I will end this piece with this dictum; Do all the good you can, by all means you can, in all the ways you can, at all the time you can, to all the people you can and as long as you can. When you are good to others, you are best to yourself. God bless the good people of Oyo State. God bless Nigeria.

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