There is an unassailable consensus that Governor Isiaq Adegboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun is on the way to clinch an encore at the poll next year, courtesy of a mix of yet more unimpeachable factors that include the governor’s mien. Political pundits and social analysts have keenly examined the exploits of the man Oyetola since his advent as governor and as they consider them in the light of his personality, they conclude that achievement can’t be divorced from deportment. But, what comes first? The man’s mien? Or a newfound zeal for work upon coronation? Or both came into play simultaneously when Oyetola was enthroned?
All these constitute an academic exercise as far as the man in the street in Osun is concerned. They believe these arguments, useful for theoretical propositions, are secondary to the weightier considerations of the guiding principles engendered by Oyetola’s personality.
At this juncture before we go on in this essay to mark Oyetola’s birthday, we must remember this sobriquet of his, the gentle giant. The moment we come to terms with the full reality of a great giant who is also gentle, we shall understand my allusion to the governor as a body of still waters that nevertheless run deep.
The proverb is traditionally traced to the Romans of the First Century in Quintus Rufus Curtius’ work, Alexander the Great. He wrote: ‘’Altissma quaeque flumina minimo sono labi.’’ (The deepest rivers flow with the least sound.) This, we may assert, is the biography of Gboyega Oyetola. His placid exterior has not reflected the giant strides he has recorded in office. The seeming quietude attending his performances lauded by all is seen more in the foreground to give a false view of the persona of the man. His gentleness, as it were, swallows his ‘giantness.’
I remember that was the spectacle we beheld some 33 months ago when the All Progressives Congress, APC, presented him to succeed Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
Although Oyetola was Aregbesola’s Chief of Staff, quite a visible and strategic office, many still wondered who he was and why he was esteemed worthy to step into the shoes of the outgoing ebullient governor. You hardly know an incoming leader until he has come into office. You also hardly are familiar with an incoming leader you’ve only met on the periphery of power. So while we all rolled in this ocean of quandary, Oyetola jumped into the storm, poised for what he’s offering the whole world now: a pacific personality, underneath which are mighty currents of exploits: still waters run deep.
The State of Osun is lucky to have him as the chief executive at this point of its history. The state with a progressive narrative along with a resourceful potential and human capital cannot but have such a figure as the helmsman. It’s only the politics of such a statesman which will be capable of turning this state’s rich tapestry into a viable commodity for sale to the people at a point of despondency.
Today, the great waves beneath Oyetola’s still waters have burst to the surface in the form of new modern roads, a reinvented school system, rehabilitated motorways, revitalized health centres, a flyover in the heart of Osogbo the capital, among a thousand and one other tokens of infrastructural feats dotting the whole of the State. He is also moving on with such landmarks as the Dagbolu International Trade Centre, and the dry port and free trade zone his government initiated. This governor with a ceaseless stream of ideas also has to his credit the revival of the Omoluabi Badger Gold Mines at Osu. Long a moribund project, it has received a new life span as a gold refinery centre in the administration of the gentle giant. This man appears to be the Midas of our age. Whatever he touches turns into gold.
He relishes bringing joy to the people. He has bonded with a critical segment of the population by promptly paying the salaries of the civil servants regularly, while not reneging on his promises to develop the hinterland. The governor who so relates with the people has won for himself a place in the hearts of the masses, a political birthright they will not fritter away for ‘a morsel of meat’ during the 2022 governorship poll.
The people of Osun now have a more secure future based on these indices than the physical totems of the regular structures we demand in the form of a well-armed police force. The latter is desirable. But they are a secondary requirement in the long run. Crimes are symptomatic of a society that has failed to offer its citizens the basic needs of life. The lack of these triggers the insecurity that pushes them into taking the law into their hands.
So, as we felicitate with Gboyega Oyetola on his birthday, we must go back to how we started this tribute: still waters run deep. The governor’s still depths have thrown up waves of tumultuous developments pointing the way to a bright future for the people of Osun.
Happy Birthday sir, Governor Gboyega Oyetola!
Kunle Oyatomi Esq is the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in the state of Osun