Osun Awards, Enough to go Round


Governor Gboyega Oyetola is a myth, the worldview of promptitude, doing things right off, without delay. His name rings a bell at public events where timeliness or punctuality, urbanity, moderation matters and he’s right and left whenever accessibility, collaboration, responsibility, responsiveness, accountability is the citation. Indeed, there’s no better way to celebrate him, a rare breed politician, extraordinaire, than to convoke swift or prompt appearance at an event or occasion he’s billed to show up.

The appraisal is expediently instructive by the attendance configuration in Osogbo, capital of State of Osun, last Thursday, with the guests’ briskly arrival at an event, and Oyetola, already set down before anyone. He arrived in advance, ahead of dignitaries to warm embrace of Osun people, not a mixed grill, but a definitive statement that the people do appreciate his governance, providing the right value, the bedrock of Osun growth, Osun development with peace, stability and good public image that has continued to disarm the fiercest critic, popularized the Osun governing All Progressives Congress (APC), and prospected healthier democracy for Nigeria.

The event was Osun banquet and awards investiture, the consummation of panoply of activities that hallmarked the 30th anniversary of the creation of the state.

From the onset, the event promised to be great by the vista of the venue, reinforced with praise singers of diverse stocks correspondingly attired dissimilarly as they made ‘triumphant entry’ into the venue in a flurry of drums and intoxicated legworks. The drums symbolically spoke highly of some dignitaries and lowly of others as they pulled up at the venue. The drums, the ensign of better and even louder communication than man but not many people understand.
Curiously, asked the lead drummer who excitedly said, the talking drum sanctioned some big names appropriately and rewarded others accordingly. “Oyetola belongs to the latter,” the drummer declared bravely, without mixing words. Mindless, who the writer was.

I keep to my breast the names so sanctioned by the drummers. These are known individuals in politics whose braggadocio in gargantuan proportions in the open rather builds more Lilliputians, small minds around them. Meaning, the closer one is to them, the little bitty one becomes. Names, please? Don’t ask me again! The award investiture by the drummers came first, and the mood generally was frenzy that cut the picture of a huge carnival, with dignitaries thrilled to blaring chants and raps of talking drums.

And then the state banquet and awards entered, with Oyetola, the chief host behind the microphone on the podium. A barrage of camera flashes from photojournalists exploded, clinking away across award investitures to ensure, not a scene was missed out. Eleven(11) recipients climbed the dais and clinched Lifetime Achievement Award, 10 walked tall with Osun Distinguished Citizen Award, 2 carted home Legacy Award, and 5 persons stepped forward and received Osun Merit Award.

Oyetola’s speech at the ceremony was succinct but fleetingly touched on the collaboration between his APC government and Osun citizens. He enthused: “We must consider it an urgent task to galvanize our diverse strengths, goodwill and resources to chart a pathway that delivers the Osun of our dreams. That’s the least we owe ourselves and the generation coming behind us,” adding that “We cannot afford to fail.”

And as soon as Oyetola, quintessential soft-spoken, with an easy gait, cool mien and unassuming competence, declared “Let us drink and toast to our collective success and the avowed resolve of our administration to build a solid structure in trans-generational development of Osun,” there were human jaws seen ‘interlocking’ gently as everyone present savoured sumptuous meals, other delicacies with palace drinks, well relished, well spread with pleasure, amusement to the delight of all.No one fumed; no one cursed.

More than anything else, the state dinner ran its full course simultaneously with award investitures. The awardees’ good names re-echoed, their achievements read out, and signatures of excellent contributions to the state and to the molding of lives and building of men, women, etched in glowing terms considered as faithful service to humanity.

Commendably, no one’s award investiture approved that was withheld; no one awardee’s smile encouraged that was turned to tears; no one awardee’s heart beat increased that was broken; and no one awardee given a shoulder that was removed. That’s justice, fairness to Oyetola, the custodian of the state awards, also highly respected for his requisite cerebral intelligence and wisdom. His mission statement is clearly that the award is a model for the present generation, generations upcoming and a touch bearer for the Osun image under his watch.

The Osun image is sticking the state financial system to due process in the management of public resources as a pivot for negotiating a zero-debt level, healthy for growth and development of Osun. Oyetola, well equipped with wealth of experience, is an erudite manager of treasury, performing the herculean tasks of providing solutions to the Osun financial challenges. He won’t go to rest until a task is completed.

More than 28 were qualified. Some may have been kindly dropped and others may have asked kindly to be excused, both for reasons of heavy- tight schedules, overseas residence, spirituality, health, and logistics. While the 28, sought, captured and screened met the criteria in the selection process and passed the test of fairness. The 28 distinguished awardees, beaming with smiles and flanked by their spouses, friends and well wishers, merited the investiture.

There was so much colour and funfare added by the crème de la crème of the society, with an headgear, a curtain raiser, bold, beautiful and captivating that makes a lot of creative exuberance, rooted in a specific re- generative motive that exuded inexplicable charms, drawing cheers. The hand fan shaped headgear, a dramatic sight to behold stole the fun amidst a bevy of fashion buffs that exhibited colour, glamour and glitz at the event.

Speaking security, no one displays other options, excessive, to have him pushed away from civility. There was no moment of madness or accident of harassment driven by any disputation. The atmosphere reflected the sobriquet of Osun- most peaceful state of the federation.

Osun has grown from a mustard seed sowed, August 27, 1991 to become an Oak among its peers, with a celebration galore at 30, marked by the Governor- Guest of the Month show on simulcast, Colloquium, State Banquet and Awards, all attracted to Osun tourists and good publicity in the world glare.

One lesson of the award, with caveat is that self-driven hard work, creativity and conscientious contributions to the state development will always be recognized and rewarded.

Osun awards enough to go round? Hear Mr. Governor: ”Knowing how blessed we are with the gift of highly illustrious and accomplished men in all facets of life, we have resolved to CONTINUE (emphasis me) to honour the best of us……”

Implying, the Osun awards are a continuous state gesture.

Enough to go round, with caveat.

OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy, All Progressives Congress (APC) State of Osun