It was all a beautiful scene when the Governor of The State of Osun, Ogbenin Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, accompanied by His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Executives Governor of Edo State and other dignitaries arrived for a special convocation on 28th July, 2018 at Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa, Edo State. The colourful event was the conferment of an honorary doctorate in Public Administration on Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, who is completing his second term in office in few months.
While addressing the congregation the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Benard Aigbokhan, commended Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his leadership style in the State of Osun. He underscored the excellent performance of the Governor in the area of education, particularly, the unprecedented feeding programme for pupils in schools, the Opon Imo and the ultra-modern school building structure. Professor Aigbokhan, a World Bank consultant accentuates the commendation of the World Bank on the School Feeding Programme. He also eulogized the tenacity of the Governor for the ranking of the state as one of the five states in the lowest unemployment rung, second in human capital development, second in the national assessment on infant and maternal health care delivery and first in Nigeria’s subnational competitiveness index as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics and National Competitiveness Council respectively,
The Board of Trustee chairman, Overseer (Dr) Ebenezer Okebukola, JP and the Pro-Chancellor, Elder (Dr) Bisi Ogunjobi, OON, of the university further praised Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his laudable accomplishments in the area of agriculture, education and infrastructural developments. In the same vein, the Chancellor, Pastor (Dr) Oladele Olutola (Rtd) commended the sterling virtues of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as he conferred on him the honorary doctorate in the name of Senate and Council. The Visitor of the University, Pastor (Dr.) Segun Awojide who graced the occasion also commended the honoree for his religious tolerance and his passion for quality education in the State of Osun. He further commented that the hope of the University is that the honour would spur Ogbeni (Dr.) Rauf Aregbesola to greater performance in his endeavours.
Replete with joy Ogbeni (Dr) Rauf Aregbesola expressed his profound gratitude to the University for the Honor, noting the uniqueness of the institution among others. Joining in the euphoria, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki praised the Samuel Adegboyega University for objectively looking beyond religious difference to honor Ogbeni (Dr) Rauf Aregbesola and advise Nigerians to emulate this virtue.
CITATION FOR THE CONFERMENT OF HONOURARY DEGREE DOCTOR OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF ADESOJI AREGBESOLA
THIS DAY, 28TH JULY, 2018
The Chancellor Sir,
I am faced today with a citation of an enigmatic and undaunted personality, a Nigerian with unquantifiable energy and humongous accomplishments, a seasoned specialist in Mechanical Engineering, a successful Entrepreneur, Democrat, pan-Africanist and protagonist of radical and positive change, an astute orator, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, the Governor of the State of Osun (Ipinle Omoluabi meaning, the State of the Virtuous)
And who am I to make a panegyrics of such a valiant and colossus son of Ijesa land, the land of his ancestry without scratching my machete against the ground. The omo Owa Obokun remi, named the Omoluwabi of Yoruba land by His Royal Majesty, the Great Alaafin of Oyo.
Sixty-one years ago, May 25, the deep blue clouds gather to rain, and suddenly the symbol of God’s covenant with a Patriarch of Faith in its seven colours—Osumare (Rainbow) runs through the sky. Nigeria, already a Federation, gathering more momentum to become Independent…Then the pang, the cry, the shout, the joy of the then young beautiful woman, Saratu married to her admirable husband Aregbesola (both of blessed memory) welcomed the arrival of a bouncing baby boy, unknown to the Ijesa people that a political prince was born.
Having had his primary and secondary school education in Ondo State, the young Rauf Adesoji attended The Polytechnic of Ibadan, Oyo State, where he studied Mechanical Engineering. In addition, were his extensive exposures to various management, and governance practices both home and abroad. Whereas Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola encourages the ideal of western education in the four wall of a classroom, he is an ardent believer of life long education, which begins from the cradle to old age and encapsulates both the formal and informal settings. Not surprisingly, his erudition in history, political science, philosophy, management competes only with the best brains, and also made him a humanist engineer. As a career man, Ogbeni Aregbesola is a fellow of reputable professional bodies including:
Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM);
Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE);
Nigerian Association of Technological Engineers (NATE) and
Certified Marketing Communications Institute of Nigeria (CMCIN).
Rauf Adesoji took an appointment from the Nigeria External Communications and later the Lagos Airport Hotel; where he did not merely earn a living but developed his innate Ijesa entrepreneur spirit and skills to later found his own Engineering firm— Aurora Nigeria LTD, where he serves as the Chairman before full time political appointments come calling.
Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola’s engagement in politics dated back to his involvement in unionism while he was a student in Ibadan Polytechnic. It was a little beginning they say but for the young Rauf, it is a passion to drive a vision to a lifelong mission. He was Speaker of the Students’ Parliament (1977 /78) and the President of the Black Nationalist Movement (1978- 1980). This formative years produced in him a clear visualization of good governance affordable in democratic Nigeria, where fiscal federalism and regional integration as means of attaining sustainable economic development and peaceful coexistence are attainable. Thus, he joined the Social Democratic Party, to contribute his best and end the military rule in Nigeria. In June 1990, he became an elected delegate to the SDP Inaugural Local Government Area Congress. In July of the same year, he was one of the delegates to the first SDP National Convention in Abuja.
The post June-12 crises did not comatosely deterred this young and savvy visionary leader and politician, whose inclination to activism is enshrined in the philosophy of selflessness, leadership, true democracy, which came to light in the dark years of 1992-1998 to see Nigerian return to democracy. Little wonder, he became the enthusiastic and strategic Director of Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organization (BATCO) in 1999 and worked tirelessly, 24/7 to see Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as the Governor of Lagos State. This he repeated in 2003 as a successful Director of BATCO.
Ogbeni, Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola served in the Lagos State led Ahmed Bola Tinubu Government as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructural Development from 1999 to 2007 to recover the lost years of infrastructural decay in the State. Yet in 2007, Ogbeni Aregbesola headed the banging call to return to his home State to exhibit similar works done in Lagos State like the Call to Paul from Macedonia.
Rauf Aregbesola, the Man of the People and the Governorship Candidate of the then Action Congress (AC) apparently won the hard fought election of April 14, 2007; but he was not declared the winner by INEC for three and half years. Following a series of legal strides and patiently following the Rule of Law, Rauf Aregbesola was declared the winner of the 2007 Governorship election of the then Osun State in November 27, 2010 after the favourable judgment of the Appeal Court.
Governor Aregbesola hit the ground running with his vision for the State, captured in his Six Point Integral Action Plan
- Banish poverty; 2. Banish hunger; 3. Banish unemployment; 4. Restore healthy living; 5. Promote functional education; and 6. Enhance communal peace and progress.
His was government “unusual” from assumption of office, bringing unprecedented innovation in governance, economic and human capita development in the State of Osun with his Rauf-conomics that birthed the creation of 20,000 jobs within 100 days; Ogbeni with his Aregbe-gronomics also revived the agriculture sub-sector of the State’s economy. He also worked with the UNICEF Replication Initiative Programme and through the Ministry of Water Resource, Rural and Community Development provided one thousand and thirty rural farmers in sixty-one focal communities with farm inputs.
His re-election in August, 2014 for a second term was not without tougher challenges a he had to survive the heavily militarised election for being in the opposition party then. But like the story of David and Goliath, (we all know the end). In few months, he is completing his second term as the Governor of The State of Osun this year.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola did not only surmount mountainous re-election encounters as a politician but dared all economic odds during the national economic recession through his dexterous Rauf-conomics restructured financing of the State, managed very lean subventions of the State to pay salaries, maintain a sleuth of social protection programmes in home grown school feeding, engagement of 40,000 youths in social work, support for senior citizens, rehabilitation of destitute persons, empowerment of women and so on.
Chancellor Sir, and the distinguished guests, the unparalleled revolution of the education system, which is typical of his name (Adesoji-The revolutionist) as well as other popular socio-economic and people friendly programmes cannot be undermentioned here lest I found myself undermining the exemplarity of Ogbeni’s educational legacy. His surpassing idea of ultra-modern mega school model for the State of Osun keeps detractors’ mouths open ajar! The Steel High Schools are competing now with Universities in terms of facilities and technology. Interestingly, these laudable achievement only followed his O-MEALS—formerly known as Home Grown School Feeding and Health (HGSFP) which afforded free food for two hundred and sixty-two thousand pupils in Elementary 1-4 schools in the State of Osun since 28th April, 2013 and the Opon-Imo initiative (a-hundred and fifty thousand e-learning tablets for Senior Secondary School are unprecedented.
Chairman Sir, remarkable are the aesthetically constructed infrastructure in the State of Osun by this fine personality, a Governor deserving of resounding honours and with sincere humility, who reserves the protocol of ‘His Excellency’ to God Almighty alone. Just to mention some of the road networks, overhead bridges and flyovers: The Adebisi Akande Gbongan Trumpet Inter-Change Bridge, the November 27 Interchange Bridge, Osun East and Osun West Bye Pass and other road networks built by Ogbeni led Administration has not only changed the face of The State of Osun but also modernise the entire State to a status of urban State in developed countries.
Little wonder, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has been variously honoured as:
- Ambassador of Goodwill for the State of Tennessee, USA;
- Nigerian Society of Engineers Merit Award (Contribution to Engineering Discipline),
- The Most Outstanding Chief Executive Award of the West African Culture Development Body for the promotion of culture, ethics and values in Africa
- Award of Leadership Style in Governance by the Lagos State branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)
- Ogbeni Aregbesola also received awards, honours and accolades for his various programmes and infrastructure development at home and abroad. He has been invited by the British Parliament twice to share his experience on the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Programme (O’MEALS, under which his administration has being feeding 262,000 pupils in Elementary 1-4 in public schools.
- Best Governor of Southern Nigeria for year 2018 by the influential Business Day Newspaper, a clear leader in business and administration news reporting.
It will interest this August audience that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola since assumption of duty in 2010 has turned down several honours award of chieftaincy titles and the few he received are not just important but reflect his true philosophy of life and represent his true achievement.
It also worth mentioning that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola is a lover and promoter of peace, his symbolic appearance in white is not unconnected to peace and transparency which he brought to bear in his Administration. His respect and listening ears to concerns of people of faith other than his, is typical of his honorific name, The Omoluwabi of Yoruba land. He is a loving and caring husband of the First Lady, Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola and a good and exemplary father to his children and grandchildren.
Mr. Chancellor Sir, at this juncture let me respectfully, present to you a versatile and indefatigable politician and pan-Africanist, by the authority of Senate and Council of Samuel Adegboyega University to confer on this dynamic professional in Engineering and a business icon, an amiable and excellent administrator, gargantuan phenomenon in Nigerian politics, who has proven and still proofing beyond doubts that commitment, dedication, doggedness, focus, integrity, hard-work, passion, patriotism, sincerity, pay. The Governor “Unusual” of The State of Osun, Nigeria, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola the Degree of Doctor of Public Administration (Honoris Causa) of the Samuel Adegboyega University, of The Apostolic Church LAWNA Territory Ogwa, Edo State.
Written and rendered by:
Samson O. Ijaola PhD (University Orator)