Editorials and news analysis are meant to promote critical thinking, drive consciousness, influence public opinion and sometimes compel people to take action. It is generally an expression of a well thought-out position of news publications on pertinent issues of public good.Over the years, editorials have informed and shaped public policies in a manner that has greatly influenced the course human history. With published editorials, reputations have been earned and lost. The currency, depth and content of such publications had conferred authority on a sizable number of media organizations across the world, with Nigeria certainly being no exception.
It has however since become a powerful tool that cannot be left in the hands of the non-retrospective person that will lend himself readily for hatchet jobs.
However, like all news reportage and analysis, it is basic that all sides to an issue and shades of opinions are accommodated before any position is rolled out in print. And indeed a lot more is required for the editorial as it is the voice of the media institution.
It is against this background that one finds it difficult to understand the motivations behind the recurring reports and media commentaries that have been making mountains out of molehills in an attempt to reduce the entirety of Osun State and the outstanding accomplishments of the incumbent governor, Rauf Aregbesola to a singular event in one corner of the state.
In a recent pronouncement, an Osun State High Court precluded the state from hindering public school students from expressing their religious preferences as indicted the use of hijab in a school in Iwo, one of the many towns in the state. The sensational treatment given to the reactions to this verdict suggest that some sections of the media readily lent themselves as a tool in the hands of those seeking political capital from the issue. According to some of them, this untoward development has now become the legacy of Aregbesola in Osun State.
It is rather unfortunate that institutions that have a responsibility to drive development will relegate apparent positive index to the background and play up the opposite. This only amounts to taking the easy route to drawing conclusions despite the men and facilities at their disposal to do a more thorough job.
Two things are however pertinent here. The first is to put the events surrounding the controversy in proper perspectives, and the other is to highlight the accomplishments of Aregbesola that earned him a second term in a hotly contested election and has continued to endear him to the people of the state despite the harsh economic conditions confronting most states across the federation.
In his irrepressible manner, Aregbesola does not hide the fact that he is a Muslim. He has however conducted his public and private lives in a way that openly embraces people of all faiths that even the long-sidelined traditional worshipers are accorded official recognition only in Osun State.
That the governor has made the future of the state the main focus of his administration by investing massively in education and infrastructural development does not deserve any notice or commendation. It will not serve their narrow, selfish agenda.
To provide conducive learning environment for students in public primary and secondary schools, the governor has at today delivered 170 modern schools across the state in a work in progress mode aimed at touching every school in all nooks and crannies of the state.
He has also elevated the quality of learning by providing students with digital text books known commonly as Opon Imo. The device, a tablet contains the entire Senior Secondary School Ssyllabus, including Yoruba traditions, past questions of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and Joint Administration and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for 10 years.
Today, in Osun, school children are being provided free school uniforms to promote unity and uniformity in the state. No fewer than 3,000 tailors and craftsmen are engagedlocally for the sewing of new school uniforms and the batik imprint.
In the same vein, the state is also the unique reference for the school children feeding programme that has just been adopted for nationwide implementation by the Federal Government. The Oâ€™MEAL initiative, aside from providing much needed nutrition for children, inputs are generated locally boosting the economy and indigenous people are provided gainful employment as caterers.
The 20, 000 young school leavers which included university graduates engaged through the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OÃES) as an intervention to mitigate the high unemployment in the state will forever appreciate the ingenuity. Same applies to students in all the five state-owned tertiary institutions in Osun State whose tuition fees were slashed by 50 per cent so that the children of the poor will not be left behind.
With a befitting facelift, Osogbo today appropriately wears the look of a state capital with Aregbesola as the first in the history of the 25-year old state to construct and reconstruct 28 roads in the metropolis within a period four years. It is also remarkable that no part of the state is excluded from the massive infrastructural renewal.
With 61 township roads covering over 128km and inter-city roads and about 294km that have been completely rehabilitated in the ancient cities of Ilesa, Ile-Ife, Modakeke, Moro, Ashipa, Ipetumodu, Osogbo, Ikirun etc, produce from remote farm locations can now access commercial centres in good time providing fresh food in the cities and yielding timely good returns for farmers.
The Omoluabi Garment Factory (OGF) attracted to the state by the administration has significantly helped to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and contributed significantly to the reduction of unemployment.
The remodelled Ede waterworks has been rehabilitated to double existing production capacity and increase the supply of potable water to the city of Ede and adjourning communities.
The Osun State that Aregbesola inherited was just putting up with the bare tools available to the Nigeria Police Force, but today, police commands in Osun are better equipped withfleet of patrol vehicles, kitsÂ and other gadgets complemented for the first time in the history of the state, by 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC),a helicopter for security surveillance, rapid responseand aerialÂ cover for crime fighting in the state.
In the healthcare sector, 74 new primary healthcare centres built by Aregbesola are also out there providing services most especially women and children in the various communities in the largely rural Osun State and he has ensured no critical sector is left behind in delivering services to the people.
Driving through Ilesa earlier this week, one cannot but marvel at the quantum of ongoing works on the extensive Ita-Balogun-Wesley-Hospital-
I make bold to assert that under Aregbesola, Osun State has never had it so good. This is a verifiable claim that any newsman desirous of raising the stakes and other interested parties can unravel by undertaking an independent tour of the State of the Living Spring.
- Adeyemo writes from Alimosho, Lagos.
- THE NATION