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Oyetola at 68: Making a difference



Kunle Oyatomi

Politics is the doctrine of the possible, the attainable—Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) Prussian Statesman

In Nigeria’s volatile political firmament, there are a thousand and one myths. One of them is that incoming administrations would always exceed the excesses of their predecessors. The basic idea or presupposition is that since we never fail to have bad governments, there is a seeming curse of the recurring cycle of incompetent rulers.

Another myth says elections and their outcome are not determined by the electorate, but by a shadowy clique locked somewhere waiting to impose their figures on the people.

Yet a third: when budgets are proposed by the executive for consideration by the legislators, only a third of the fund (or less), according to most Nigerians, eventually goes into serving the interests of the larger majority.

Now, the fourth: no public officer, elected or selected (appointed), is ever in that position to serve the people, no; they are there for themselves, their families and cronies. That’s how we arrived at cronyism and nepotism.

These are some of the notions, rated as myths, that play upon both leaders and the led in the polity called Nigeria. We experience them all the time, at the centre of governance, in the states and at the local government level.

So as Gboyega Oyetola came in as the ninth governor of the State of Osun in 2018, he instantly suffered the assault of these afflictions by default. It was left for him, by his comportment in public and in private to fight back and prove that a man’s fate lies in his hands, not in the stars or sky, nor in so-termed man-made myths and traditions.

This was put to dramatic effect in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, when Cassius, a Roman nobleman, declared: ‘’The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves, that we are underlings.’’

One of Oyetola’s early feats as the chief executive of Osun was to demystify the notion that governments were uncaring when it was the issue of prompt payment of salaries and pensions. He met a strange system that either gave way for large debts of unpaid wages to the civil servants or salaries not paid in full.

He brought a human face into the structure. Admitting that resources were limited, the governor nevertheless found a way around it to satisfy the workers by stopping halved wages. He also lifted the embargo on promotions in some respects in the Civil Service. He then moved on to address the concerns of the senior citizens. He brought them succor by giving them dues previously denied them.

He has also made a difference in the lives of the wider sector of the citizenry. For instance, the governor has brought the dividends of democracy closer to the people by modernizing and upgrading the health, market, education and road infrastructure in the rural regions of the state. He has also undertaken some legacy projects that will continue to be the talk of the town deep into the years ahead. The Olaiya Flyover is one such, which has changed the skyline of Osogbo, the capital.

These achievements are among feats that have earned this self-effacing politician many accolades including, the Gentle Giant, by which is meant that he is a silent performer. He has made the hitherto sleepy State of Osun to be the cynosure of all eyes as the world observes its strides into one of the most stable states in the federation.

Many have wondered how it all happened or what landed him here into this pleasant present. Now, let’s note this: you can’t divorce Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola from his past. Understanding his history necessarily leads to understanding his today, and where he is headed in the years to come.

Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola, a man of sundry interests, was born on 29, 1954, in Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area of Osun State, to the family of Hammed Oyetola. Part of his early education was at Ifeoluwa Grammar School, Osogbo, graduating in 1972.

He went on to read Insurance at University of Lagos and bagged B.Sc. The patriot that he was, young Oyetola dutifully served his country under the NYSC programme in Potiskum, capital of present-day Yobe. Later he obtained his MBA, also at Unilag.

Oyetola launched into a business career at Leadway Assurance Company Limited as an Area Manager. After moving on to other outfits in senior capacities, he established his own setup, Silvertrust Insurance Brokers Limited in 1991. He was its MD until 2011 when he was appointed Chief of Staff to Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

Oyetola was a member of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, and has been in the party through its metamorphoses to Action Congress, AC, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, to the present All Progressives Congress, APC. He contested for the governorship position on the APC ticket and won in 2018. Oyetola was sworn in  to office on November 27, 2018.

Married to Kafayat Olaitan, Oyetola is a father and grandfather.

He is an Associate Member, Chartered Insurance Institute in London and Nigeria. He is also a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, NIM. Oyetola has also bagged numerous awards, local and international, attesting to his capacity and prowess as a gifted administrator who still has a lot to give his people in the future.

Happy Birthday, Your Excellency!


COP28: Sanwo-Olu seeks partners on implementation of Lagos climate adaptation plan



Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Sunday called for global partnership in implementing the state climate adaptation and resilience plan.

Sanwo-Olu made the appeal while speaking in Dubai at the side event organised by the Lagos Government at the ongoing climate conference known as COP28.

The Lagos governor said the state had a huge potential in three critical areas, which the prospective partners could help to harness for global development.

The areas, the governor said, include waste management and recycling, public transportation and renewable energy.

These sectors, he noted, offer “huge opportunities” for reducing emissions and promoting sustainable practices.

The governor called on climate financiers to move from talk to action, saying it requires concerted efforts to achieve the net-zero emission target.

“We are here as a government to have commitments, there are so many talks and now is the time for action, through partnership and investment,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He, however, expressed the support of the state to the national net zero emission target.

This support, he said, was part of the state’s broader commitment to combating climate change and improving environmental sustainability.

He said Lagos was not just passively supporting the target but is actively working towards it.

According to him, the state is ahead to achieve zero net carbon emissions both in terms of preparedness and strategic actions.

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MI-35P crash: CAS visits crew, tasks personnel on resilience



The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has visited crew members of the Nigerian Air Force MI-35P attack helicopter that crashed on Friday in Port Harcourt.

Abubakar commended the five crew members receiving treatment at the NAF medical centre in Port Harcourt, for the professional manner in which they handled the emergency.

He said that their action was commendable and a decisive factor in mitigating the extent of damage to public property and loss of lives.

The CAS, who visited the injured crew members on Sunday, directed the medical director of the centre to render first class treatment to them.

According to a statement by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the CAS also addressed troops of 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) during the visit.

He encouraged them to see the setback as a step for a more resilient comeback, and channeling efforts towards thwarting the activities of economic saboteurs and oil thieves in their area of operation.

He urged them not to be discouraged, saying that the hope of millions of Nigerians rest on their shoulders.

According to him, the realisation of these aspirations is hinged on their ability to combat all forms of criminality that threaten the peace and stability of the nation.

Abubakar urged all NAF personnel to regard the incident as a challenge to improve safety measures, while remaining undeterred and focused in tackling the myriads of security threats facing the nation.

“Times like these are a sad reminder of the inherent risks in military aviation, especially when flying activities, occasioned by our current security challenges, have tremendously increased.

“As we continue to fly intensively, incidents are bound to occur.

“Nevertheless, we must continue to ensure we minimize the risk factors as reasonably practicable,” he said.

He said that that 115 SOG had been well known for its gallantry and fighting spirit and the presence of the MI-35P helicopters on the battlefield had been a game changer.

According to him, the helicopters have over the years, continued to strike fear deep into the hearts of terrorists and other criminals, and at the same time boosting the morale of surface forces.

The CAS extended President Bola Tinubu’s appreciation to the personnel for their sacrifices, assuring them of improved welfare and logistics to effectively carry out their assigned duties.

He said investigation had commenced to unravel the circumstances behind the crash with a view to prevent future occurrence.

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Impactful development, solution to security challenges – Akume



The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, says impactful development is a major solution to security challenges.

Akume said this while delivering a paper titled, “Leadership, Policy Implementation, and Development in Nigeria”.

The the paper was presented at the 12th Leadership Lecture Series organised by the Centre for Leadership and Complex Military Operations, Nigerian Defence Academy, on Saturday in Abuja.

The SGF was represented by a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, Dr Olusegun Adekunle.

He said that Nigeria, like most other nations, had grappled with security challenges for over a decade, adding that there was a nexus between leadership, policy implementation, development and security.

According to him, when a country experiences significant development in various sectors, such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and economic opportunities, it can lead to improved security conditions.

The SGF said that development initiatives, such as job creation, entrepreneurship programmes, and investments in industries, could help alleviate poverty and reduce inequality.

This, according to him, would minimise social unrest, crime, and extremist ideologies driven by economic desperation.

He added that development projects enhance social cohesion and inclusion, promote dialogue, and address grievances by fostering inclusive societies where citizens have equal access to opportunities and feel represented.

“Development can help build trust, strengthen community bonds, and reduce intergroup tensions that may lead to conflicts.

“Investing in quality education equips individuals with skills, knowledge, and critical thinking abilities because education can promote tolerance, respect for diversity, and awareness of human rights, which are essential for building peaceful societies.

“It can also contribute to countering radicalisation and extremism by providing alternative paths for vulnerable individuals.

“Development initiatives that improve infrastructure, including roads, hospitals, schools, and access to clean water and sanitation, benefit communities in multiple ways.

“Adequate infrastructure enhances citizens’ quality of life, boosts economic activities, and provides essential services that contribute to stability and security.”

Akume added that strengthening governance systems can help prevent corruption, promote the rule of law, ensure equal access to justice, and build strong institutions capable of maintaining security and stability.

“By investing in impactful development strategies, our country Nigeria can address root causes of insecurity and mitigate the risks of conflicts and security challenges thereby create environments conducive to peace and stability,” he said.

Akume said it was important to recognise that development alone might not be sufficient and should be complemented by other measures, such as conflict resolution efforts, peacebuilding initiatives, and effective security institutions.

He said the administration of President Bola Tinubu had brought into governance, experience, energy, capacity and commitment that fits into leadership, policy and development.

According to him, six months on the saddle, the government has taken strategic steps on its eight priority areas around which policies and legislations are being developed for implementation, development and growth.

“As a way of reminder, the priority areas are food security, ending poverty, economic growth and job creation, access to capital and inclusivity,” he added.

The Director, Centre for Leadership and Complex Military Operations, NDA, Dr. Bem Audu., said the lecture series was designed to match the concept in the practice of leadership.

Audu said the series would also give the participants the opportunity to interact and understand government policies and their implemention and how they contribute to national development.

According to him, most times we make criticisms of government without actually understanding the issues involved.

“So this is a platform that we have deliberately designed to ensure that practice meet theory so that people can understand the policies of government and how they are implemented and be better aware and also contribute to development of Nigeria.

“So what we’re doing basically is to see to the extent to which we can generate this knowledge and transfer it to as many as possible, and security is the core of what we do,” he said.

Hajiya Mariam Hamza, Deputy Head of the center, said the lecture series was a platform where theory meet with practice, where ideas of shared issues were being clarified and questions been answered.

Hamza said that identifying solutions to national challenges require all hands to be on deck.

A participant, retired Lt.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, former Chief of Policy and Plans (Army), said that right leadership, and policy implementation were key to achieving development by any nation, adding that there was no one-fit solution to challenges. 

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