"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,"---John Kenedy.
State of Osun has been in the news- first state to engage 20,000 youth for rewarding community development; first state to elevate school feeding to a state of art to an extent that British parliament sought for the unique selling proportion of it; the first state to introduce e-learning via "opon imo" called tablet of knowledge; first financially challenged state to roll out roads in hundreds, and international model schools in tens; ditto for ambulance stations across the state which are saving lives of people in emergency and urban renewal.
However, the critics of the hand behind the feat, Rauf Aregbesola have an axe to grind with all the listed achievement, they want us to see abandoned projects; schools as white elephant project; opon imo" as fraudulent device, and the motive behind the other projects that could not be logically faulted as design to steal from public till.
That brings us to the definition of ideology. From the study of Marxist philosophy, ideology is the narrative sexed up by each class in a struggle for the control of production to justify its position. To the bourgeois, the ideology is that workers get their pay through the dint of hard work, but the proletariat's ideology is that the bourgeois should be wrestled, because they are shortchanging them.
So, the side you belong will determine whether my own perspective would find a room in your heart or not. And I must say that I would not be neutral in this piece, because I would not join the lynching mob organized for Aregbesola by some section of the media, nor would I subscribe to the notion of "rubberstamping" legislature some critics want to push for the state parliament under the leadership of Speaker Najeem Salaam.
Before we dissect what obtains in the State of Osun, it will be just to examine the bigger picture, which is Nigeria herself, because Osun is just a unit among the 36 federating units. But because Nigeria could not be taken for discourse in isolation as a result of global interlink . So, let's jump into the fray.
Of course, the fall of oil price in the world market has dragged countries into a running challenges- I learn that Saudi Arabia, a monarchical country that tops the oil chart sought to borrow ten billion dollars! This country of Islamic state is an example of celestial blessing that has everything in abundance, and is being managed by the royal lineage who rules according to the dictate of Islam and the teaching of Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
Saudi Arabia used to have everything money can buy, and its statue book is Quran, this makes the rich and the poor to have fair share of their country's resources. The government is generous to the citizenry and the denizens are loyal to the government; that has not changed, but the fall in crude oil price has vitiated the inexhaustible purse of the country. Hence, some policies were rolled out to whittle down privileges advanced to the people.
Another classical case of global challenge resulting from oil glut is Venezuela, a South American Country on the Caribbean that got independence from Spain in 1811, was an oil-rich country which its petrol dollar was used to enhance the standard and cost of living of its people, and by the time Nigerian leaders were stealing and stashing government funds abroad, its late leader, Hugo Cheves used the proceeds of oil for the good of his people.
As you are reading this piece, Brazil is going through political turmoil, for the country is going through economic challenge, and the President was accused of deceiving her country with fictitious figures like the one sexed up by the infamous former Minister of Finance in Nigeria, Okonjo Iweala to define the narrative of President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
I chose to briefly reflect on the aforementioned countries above to justify the global effect of crude oil fall in the world market in order to invite you to causes and effects of the great fall in the oil price. Be reminded that in 2012, Nigeria as a country had a large cash cow from oil to the extent that the three tiers of government were sharing between N1.2 and N1.3 trillion every month. So, the government at the centre would keep N750 billion, while the 36 states and 774 local governments would share the rest in 26 and 17 percent formular.
As at that time, no state of the federation takes less than four billion naira a month. Suddenly, the government began to record shortage in cash, claiming that it was due to stealing of 400,000 barrels per day on the high sea through bunkering, and Jonathan government was helpless for two solid years, making Nigeria to lose substantial trillions of dollars to oil theft that could not be justified beyond the narrative of the compromised economic team.
The last time I checked, all tiers of government shared N299 billion, obviously less than what one third of what a buoyant federal government alone could keep, now shared by the federal government, 36 states and 774 known local governments, and here we are in a country whose citizens crave for magic wand from the President and governors. Let it be known that I hold no brief for anyone but to establish that whoever must show up for political office now should realize how tough the job is.
Gone were the days, when people could be manipulated easily, the world today is different because technology has broken barriers of distance and secrecy. Now, let's return to the State of Osun in line with the opening of montage. The governor was accused of embarking on so many white elephant projects, obtaining bank facilities to finance, and was boxed to the corner when there was a great fall in the price of crude; making the state to shark its obligations as witnessed in delayed salaries and slow speed of some projects by anonymous critics.
In the heat of the matter, a High court Judge whose aristocratic job demands to be seen and heard only in her court threw caution to the wind when he petitioned the state parliament, calling for the impeachment of the governor; the opposition went to the gutters with different versions of misinformation, half truth and innuendoes, struggling to justify the emotional epistle of the judge.
Meanwhile, the governor's party men were unhappy about his disposition to work instead of empowering party stalwarts in preparation for another election; some of them felt that their financial status was not better than it was when they were in opposition. And the governor became an orphan at a point.
The kitchen became hotter for the executive, House of Assembly became an arbiter for trade dispute, intergovernmental squabbles and petition colony. Hence, the leadership was demanded to douse tension and restore confidence. Obviously, Speaker Najeem Salaam offered the vista through his methodical handling of the fragile situation by providing leadership without vitiating his loyalty to the governor. That was what some political pundits who could not understand the interplay called "rubber stamp", but which the intelligentsia called DIPLOMATIC LEADERSHIP.
To be continued ...
Butikakuro is an intercontinental journalist.