According to a publication by the United Nations’ Global Multi Dimensional Poverty Index, the state of Osun, ranks second in the list of states with lowest poverty rate in Nigeria with 10.9%, coming behind Lagos state, which is number one with 8.5%. This report was based on data collected between 2004 and 2014.This ranking by the UN agency is a five-year routine compilation of poverty rates in countries using 10 indicators to measure poverty in three dimensions, namely: Education, Health and living standards. This exercise is also meant to awaken governments’ consciousness, most especially at the state’s levels to their constitutional responsibility of reducing poverty to the barest minimum in Nigeria.
The ranking of the state of Osun with the second-lowest poverty rate out of the 36 states of Nigeria is a testimonial to the giant strides being recorded by the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola to turn around the fortunes of the state of Osun despite its poor financial status as the 34th among the 36 states in terms of federal allocation.
Since the assumption into office of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on 27th of November, 2010 as governor for a first term, he left nobody in doubt about his ability and sincerity to transform the state, and it was his sterling first-term performance, which earned him a second-term ticket at the polls on 9th August, 2014 despite the tsunami of Federal onslaught, which was stoutly resisted by the people.
For a proper understanding of how the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola achieved this feat. An examination of the indices looked into by the agency will suffice. One can emphatically assert that the effect of the Rauf Aregbesola transformation agenda in the educational sector has made education accessible to all and sundry in the state, as can be seen from the verifiable increased school enrollment.
According to available reports, no fewer than 147, 000 children of school age were enrolled in public elementary schools in the 2013/2014 academic session. The increased enrolment has been complemented by educational programmes such as, O-Meals, O-School, O-Uniform and O-Calisthenics, which have all combined to reposition public school education which before now, had been at its lowest ebb prior to the inception of Ogbeni Aregbesola’s administration in 2010.
Before now, the State of Osun was ranked as the second highest number of out of school children in Nigeria, but today stands as the numero uno in elementary school enrollment in the South West part of the country, and it is now a frontrunner with 25% increase in the whole country, (National Bureau of Statistics, 2013).
The transformation of the State of Osun under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has also been felt in the health sector through partnerships with local and international organizations like UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, SFH, etc. for successful implementation of health programmes in the state as well as in the renovation and maintenance of government hospitals and primary health centres across the state. Recruitment and training of health personnel have as well been given prompt and adequate attention by the state government.
With regards to the living standards of the populace, one can say without doubt that the programmes of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration have impacted tremendously on the people and their living conditions through the various O-Programme, such as the Osun State Micro Credit Agency, etc. which apart from alleviating poverty has also contributed in no small measure to enhancing the people’s living standards.
Without mincing words, the position of the state of Osun in the poverty ratio by the UN agency is a reflection of the responsible leadership qualities of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who has remained focused and faithful to his oath of office, by doing justice to the good people of the State of Osun.
As we congratulate the government and people of the State of Osun on this remarkable feat in the alleviation of poverty, which is commendable and worthy of emulation by other states’ government across the federation, we can only wish Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola more power to his elbow and like Oliver Twist, ask for more.