This was the summary of the governor’s New Year broadcast to the people of the state, as they ushered in year 2017 on Sunday.
In the broadcast, the Governor reeled out the achievements of his administration in the year 2016, ranging from accomplishments in education, infrastructure, social protection services, urban renewal, provision of massive supports for business initiatives and several others.
Great Hope And faith
“This year, 2017, is going to be our year of consolidation. We are going to consolidate on all our programmes, especially in education, agriculture and road infrastructure. We are not going to abandon any of our projects. It is going to be our busiest year so far.
“We have great hope and faith that 2017 will be the best year for us and all the people of Osun,” he said.
Governor Aregbesola admitted that the year 2016 was one with huge trials, travails and tests, but however rejoiced that “it was also a year of great victory and accomplishments”.
The governor expressed satisfaction that his government recorded landmark achievements in the commissioning of many schools, a philosophical disposition towards just and equitable sales of consumer goods with the launch of Osunwon Omoluabi (Omoluabi Scales and Measures) and others.
He said: “In the field of education, we commissioned to the glory of God, Anthony Udofia Elementary School, Osogbo, St Michael Elementary School, Ibokun, St Thomas Elementary and Middle School, Iwoye Ijesa, Osogbo Government High School, Osogbo, Adventist Government High School, Ede and AUD Government Elementary School, Sabo, Osogbo.
“The commissioning of Osogbo Government High School coincided with the 25th anniversary of the creation of our state which was celebrated with pomp, pageantry and funfair, including breath-taking calisthenics display by 4,000 pupils from Osun’s public schools. We also successfully hosted President Muhammadu Buhari, who commissioned Osogbo Government High School”.
Harping on the performance of his government on education, Governor Aregbesola said the statistics had confirmed a marked improvements in the performance of students in external examinations as a result of strategic interventions.
“Osun was the cynosure of all eyes as our state provided the template for the national take-off of school feeding programme. This programme was launched by our administration in 2012. Under it, we provide nutritious and healthy meals to Elementary 1-4 pupils in all public schools on every school day. This programme is integrated into our agriculture and poverty eradication programmes and is now a roaring success.
“Still under education, we established Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency to address the twin problems of indiscipline and falling standards in education.
“The year was also a good one for us in education. Our pupils had 46.3 per cent pass in the last West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), a giant leap of 137 per cent increase over the previous year’s paltry 19.5 per cent pass. Though this is far from satisfactory to us, nevertheless, it is an affirmation of our efforts and investment in education. It has put ashes in the mouths of those who have made a career of running down our efforts in education development,” he said.
In the area of security, Aregbesola said his government’s investment in security paid off in many areas citing instance when its capacity was tested by some criminals in Ikirun bank robbery but were neutralised.
The governor, however, lamented that the year did not go down without its own pains listing the transition of a member of the House of Assembly representing Ife Central State Constituency, Oladejo Samson Makinde.
He also regretted the deaths of Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, a prominent Yoruba leader, Mr Deji Sasegbon and the legendary Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.
Identifying hard work as a panacea to solving many of the societal complications, Governor Aregbesola said it was now clear that there was no free money again.
He said: “No one should be under any illusion about this. Oil price doesn’t look like it will spike up very soon, as we have had in the past. Even if it will, we should never find ourselves in a position of dependency again. If oil windfall should come, it should go into special projects and savings for the future.
“The way to go therefore is that we should work hard and earn our own money. We should develop the capacity to create wealth from which we provide jobs and generate revenue to the government”.