While it is the prerogative of any government in power at all levels to formulate policies that are within its purview for the overall development of society, such policies must be based on well considered ideas or plans that are ultimately employed as the basis for making or implementing such policies. Therefore, the Oyetola led administration is acting well within its capacity with the planned review of the educational policy and other extant policies in the State for the wellbeing and benefit of the populace. However, the reasons for such policy change must not be twisted in a calculated manner as to deceive the public or cast aspersions on perceived political enemies.
It is on this note that we wish to react to the fallacy of the projected facts that are being bandied to be the reasons behind the decision of the State Government of Osun to revert the extant education policy introduced in 2011 by Ogbeni Aregbesola led administration in its bid to revamp the quality of education in the State from its hitherto comatose state on assumption of office.
The Aregbesola’s educational reforms was targeted at addressing serious rot and infrastructural deficit. The reforms were introduced by way of; school reclassification, school feeding scheme (O’meal), school infrastructure development programme (O’School), standard uniforms for Osun public schools and introduction of Opon Imo, among others. The policy revived the education sector in the state for functional and qualitative education.
However, the narrative that the State Government has decided to reverse the policy on the grounds that it is one of the policies that made the APC a very unpopular in the last gubernatorial election is rather unfortunate. The naysayers, who obviously are members of the opposition party and also some collaborators that are bent on rubbishing the ground breaking gains recorded by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola must be educated that the policy was introduced in 2011 and all the attendant controversies it threw up were properly addressed. In fact, the O’meal initiative became the basis for the nation-wide school feeding programme by the Buhari administration. If the policy was that unpopular, the ripple effect would have reflected in the 2014 gubernatorial elections and the 2015 general where the APC as a party won convincingly. But rather, Aregbesola won majority of the poll with 394,684 votes against Senator Iyiola Omisore of PDP who polled 292,747 votes; he lost in 8 of the 30-local government.
To show that the policy was indeed accepted and had no effect on the popularity of the APC as a party of choice, APC won the presidential election by a vote of 383,603 to PDP’s 249,929. The party also won the 3 senatorial seats in the State, won 7 of the 9 federal constituencies and 24 of the 26 state constituencies. In fact, the only time APC suffered defeat was in the 2017 Osun West Senatorial bye-election.
The circumstances that trailed the elections, particularly the death of Senator Isiaka Adeleke and the gross anti-party activities demonstrated by apologists of the present government fuelled the attempts to sabotage the 2018 gubernatorial election.
The popular agitation prior to the APC primary was that a candidate from the west should be allowed to fly the party’s ticket. The emergence of the incumbent Governor, and his inability to manage agitations from Osun West created a dilemma for the party. The effect was a wave of decamping by many members and leaders. That we won the elections (255,505 to PDP’s 255,023) is a testimony that APC is truly rooted in the state.
Let’s not deceive ourselves, APC suffered low turnout because of people’s agitation for a candidate from Osun West and not because of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s educational policy. Or how else can we described the party’s subsequent performance in the 2019 elections where the party won the presidential elections in the state, won 2 of the 3 senatorial elections, 6 out of the 9 federal constituencies elections, and 23 of the 26 state assembly election?
In due course, the collaborators that are fanning the embers of disunity within the APC fold in Osun State will be revealed, but before then, we hope that individuals who are the supposed gladiators in the field will see reason and retrace their steps before the APC is totally consumed in a fire that was ignited by crass adventurists within its fold.
May wise counsel prevail.