By: Winlade Isreal
As I sign out of office on this memorable day as the Governor of this great State who brought governance to the streets and homes of his people, especially in the aspect of giving them quality lives tinged with happiness, I count it an honour to give a report of my stewardship.
I duly recognize the presence of the Chairman of our noble party, Coalition of Likeminds Against Hunger (COLAH), Representative of the National leader, in the person of Asiwaju Ajani Ezeulu and the incoming governor and delegates from across the states. These delegates are our mouth, ears and eyes at the grassroots. It is because of their timely support in terms of mobilization and sharing of democracy dividends in time of the election that we have successfully been able to secure power to lead this state from nothingness to the next level.
I want to congratulate the Incoming Governor for the divine grace showered upon him to take up the mantle of power. Your era shall be a continuation of the good things we have started as God lives. The State unlike what we inherited is much stronger with outstanding docile young minds who have constantly cooperated with the government that is determined to give them an avalanche of happiness.
This new-found zest for life is courtesy of our initiative to address the high rate of suicide due to hopelessness in the governing system of the society. To address this, we appointed Mrs. Orji Nnaji to head the Ministry of Happiness while we allocated about thirty-five per cent of our resources to organizing a monthly party where bigwigs of the country’s music industry entertain them in order to divert their keen attention from the reality of the failed system we inherited.
Today, I am happy to tell you that we have a youth population that is less concerned about what some elements with the aim of disrupting the peace of our government say. Though they might listen to them and validate their opinions, they still have an immovable faith that we are messengers from God to lift their burden of poverty. We have been able to assure them that all will be well. If not today, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then next day. One thing is certain, all will be well one day.
In our own way of keeping our promise, we launched a campaign against hunger by distributing homemade garri and kuli to every family across the state. This cost us over 30 billion naira. Many criticized us for spending such a huge sum of money on food. But they forgot the wisdom of our ancestors: “When hunger is out of poverty, poverty is conquered”. How well can we combat poverty if not by first feeding our people with quality homemade product when we are yet to start manufacturing exotic products like quaker oat, custard and various products of corn and cassava our children like eating?
During our tenure in office, we were able to increase the welfare allocation to each voter. I mean, instead of the N500 and a cup or two cups of rice they received on the eve of elections, we supplied them with four cups of rice, two sachets of packaged 1kg garri ijebu. To save them the stress of spending more money to eat this package to their satisfaction, we decided to add N100 to the usual N500. To secure the loyalty of their traditional rulers, huge cash in dollars was gifted to make them have a taste of how sweet the national cake is in order for us to avoid any likely opposition to the progress of our rescue mission. The result is glaring. We had a massive turnout of voters and that resulted in our victory for the second term in office.
The same welfare package was distributed during the last election and it once again proved to the whole world that the citizens of our state are conscious of their civic duty and also have the required passion to go extra miles to fulfil this duty come rain and sunshine. With well-fed citizens, power is always secured.
Also, we made sure we supported different religious organizations to help our people seek the face of God more than ever. I personally made sure I went to different churches, mosques and even shrines on the day of their worship to prove to them that I belong to every religion and belong to none. In fact, on most occasions, I donated towards the improvement of their standard of worship. In return, I got the support of their leaders and even the people. I even got a vote of confidence from the President of Association of Believers (AoB). He said, ‘‘We shall open the gate of hades over anyone that decides to shut you out of office.’’
All these became our motivation. We continued with the good works on the street. Every street our convoy passed, we moved at slow pace so the people, our people for whom we stay awake discussing on how to spend our resources, which amount to spend and how much to keep for safety in some officials’ account for investment, can wave their hands at us and be consoled with our laughter.
Sometimes, I get down and have a taste of what they eat. I can tell you; we have a great cook on the street. Condiments are just what they do not have. Noticing that I go for checkups after this activity, some people called me a hypocrite. But, how else can I bring my government to the grassroots if not by identifying with the people at the grassroots irrespective of their standard of living? How can I cater for their welfare if not by feeding them better during elections and contribute to the daily income of their children and husband who cultivates their bread on the street by spraying them some fifty naira notes when on parade to their streets?
Your Excellency, the Incoming Governor, I beseech you to keep up with this culture. These people go through a lot and need some care. Visit them often and keep them assured that we are able to manage their resources and get it across to them whenever we visit them. The dividend of democracy must not be concentrated into our hands alone. They also deserve some.
We know that it is impossible for leaves to stay stiff in the stern face of breeze. We encountered some challenges. One of these challenges is the fall in the price of oil in the international market. This fall tempted us to totally remove fuel subsidy. But we resisted that temptation. Rather, we borrowed the pensioners’ fund to maintain the economy and paid our workers half salary until the economy becomes stable. Wisdom, they say, is profitable to direct. We hope the next Administration will not fail in the payment of these outstanding pensions.
Also, we went through a series of defense of the state’s image. I give kudos to the commissioner for information. He made sure to always be on guard to invalidate all the negative comments of the international press on the state of the state. One of the lies he had to debunk was the claim that over twelve million pupils dropped out of school. Mr. Mensonge Ajani had to correct their claim. Of course, we have the highest number of children who are not enrolled in primary school due to the increase in the population of children. But that doesn’t mean they dropped out of school. A spade should be called a spade, after all.
After clarifying that, they went ahead to further release a report of their self-acclaimed research on the living condition of the people in the state. I was shocked when I read their report that Oranmiyan state is leading in poverty and poor standard of education. How come they reported poverty and not the wealth of happiness the people enjoy in their daily living? We had to remind them of the biblical phrase that says godliness with contentment is a great gift. Happiness surpasses any material wealth.
Though it might look like our people are poor, internally, they have peace of mind and find their ways through their daily struggle for existence. This struggle does not in any way mean suffering. They just make sure they give the last drop of their sweat to make ends meet. This is what we encourage, hard work!
On a final note your Excellency, the future is loaded with a lot of lies the opposition would want to sponsor against your regime. Stay on guard and arm yourself with the breastplate of truth and let the good work continue. Your people are your people. When the dividend of democracy comes, remember them.
Long live Oranmiyan state!
Long live the United Nations of Patriots!
Winlade Isreal, a graduate of French as a Foreign Language, is a Nigerian multilingual writer and poet whose works are written in Yoruba, French and English. He graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2019 and currently teaches French in Destiny International College, Oshogbo. His poem; “Before dusk”, which criticizes the killing of farmers by Fulani herdsmen was rated among the top 100 poems submitted for Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2018.