Ademola Adeleke :Beyond populism  

Will Governor Ademola Adeleke’s populist programmes and pronouncements stand the test of time in Osun State of today?

In Osun State, there is a new dawn. The emergence of Governor Demola Adeleke as governor of Osun State in the last governorship election has not only raised a new hope for the masses for a better living , it has also confirmed the potency of their voting power to change government at will if adjudged incompetent .

Moreover, since he assumed the leadership of the state, Adeleke’s personality and disposition seems to have created a new thinking that the bar in governance is about to be raised ,if not already raised according to his admirers .

Despite the delay on the appointment of his commissioners after about six months in office which is generating an uneasy calm among the politicians ,the governor’s rating , no doubt , seems to be on the surge , perhaps hitting the roof ; his activities so far have also passed a vote of confidence on him .

To the set of people behind this thinking  ,their excitements were prompted by his 100 days performance and pronouncements in office . No doubt , Governor Ademola Adeleke’s outlook and resolve to succeed are breaking new grounds.

Adeleke’s 100 Days  Scorecards and Pronouncements

The governor is rekindling hope with his actions. Shortly after coming to office made provision for potable water in each of 333 wards in the state and constructed 20-kilometre roads across the state. He said that the administration had presented the sum of N518 million to 40 communities for infrastructure development. The governor said he had embarked on the rehabilitation and construction of roads across the state. The governor also revealed that he would be giving bond cheques to the contributory pensioners in the state on March 10.

In the area of health, Adeleke said under the Imole surgical and medical outreach, 2000 persons in each of the nine federal constituencies in the state would benefit from free medical care. He said this was in addition to the enrollment of 3000 indigenes on the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS).

The governor also said that since his assumption of office, he had made provision for transformers and other electrical materials in communities without electricity in an ongoing project.

Again, the governor, in another show of solidarity with workers and retirees, approved the release of pensioners gratuity. Adeleke said he had started the payment of salaries and pension arrears from January 2016, owed by the past administration. This will surely bring succor to retirees, workers and their dependents.

There are efforts also by the government to tap into the boundless agricultural potentials of the state. At the moment, the sector contributes 38 per cent of the Gross State Product, GDP and directly and indirectly employs over 70 per cent of the of the state’s workforce.

He said in a bid to ensure food security in the state, he had approved subsidies on fertilisers and other farm inputs for farmers in the state. For maximum benefits, Osun State is expected to leverage on its agricultural assets, productivity, back to school scheme, collaboration and stimulation of growth for the good of the state.

He promised that in the next few months, he would embark on robust delivery of services in the area of climate change action plans for job creation.

Adeleke said that he would also focus on tourism and entrainment, and the application of telemedicine to expand healthcare access for artisans, among others.“To that end, Osun people should expect more robust delivery of services as well as new initiatives,” he said.

 The governor, no doubt, knows what the stakeholders particularly value or the critical success factors and hit the targets .Sequel to the above , he has been adjudged a gold medalist . Everywhere, Adeleke is being hailed for his uncommon leadership and courage.


Though the  jubilation  after the supreme declaration and confirmation of Adeleke was to welcome Adeleke , the new sheriff in town or the “new messiah  , it was equally to  tactically demonstrate their annoyance towards the immediate past administration of Governor Gboyega Oyetola .

 Some observers  believed those behind the jubilation  were not in any way different from those who celebrated Rauf Aregbesola ,Oyetola and Bisi Akande and called them the best governors but later condemned them for their selfish interests  .Sequel to this , they warned the governor himself  to be cautious in his condemnation of his predecessors because he could suffer the same fate before or after his four years in office.   

 Most importantly ,not everybody is optimistic about Adeleke’s capability to deliver and outperform his predecessors .    Some believed the current exuberance displayed in some quarters is unexpected and ridiculous ; to  them ,it is not only raising some critical questions but whimsical. They believed  the governor is just embarking in  mere populism  and their fear is that populist programmes and pronouncements could  rarely stand the test of time  . And the speculation is that the   Governor Adeleke  will soon  exhaust himself      

Before bench marking his achievements with his predecessors and adjudging him the best- in –class , his admirers are warned to watch him carefully between two or more years before buying into a mere dummy .

The above view may not be farfetched . To  benchmark  any government  which has used 100 days in office with the one that had completed a full term of four years in office  and adjudge  it to be outperforming  is not only  sentimental  but absolutely  superficial .

The key concern is how sustainable is what  some  critics considered the populist programme of the new governor. This is the crux of their concern . Does the governor have the pedigree to make the difference and outperform his predecessors? First, Demola Adeleke is believed not to be a tested hand whether in the private or public business .

The above   view may not be farfetched. Even when he replaced his brother in the senate his critics believed  he did not demonstrate any extra-ordinary quality or idea to justify the current optimism .

Moreover , the new governor, some analysts believed, may be confronted with more enormous challenges than his predecessors , at least with the economy currently heading down to comatose. Surely ,the   new governor has many battles to fight in the next four years  .

 The current  highly demanding strategic position of the state which  is the outcomes  the inclement environment , lean or meager resources  of the state , less inspiring capability that manifests in the poor deployment of the state resources by the past leadership  as well as the inordinate  stakeholders’ influence and expectations on the fortunes of the state , confirm this as much .

Although Adeleke has touched the critical success factors or what the state stakeholders particularly valued and shown the love for them to continue but the current strategic position of the state is not that attractive to enable the prevailing optimism without caution .

This ugly strategic position of the state is palpable,  and in a nutshell , it  could be pinned down to the less conducive potential and existing impacts of external environment ,internal environment and absence of leadership with strong strategic capability needed and necessary to make the difference ; moreover , with the experience from the past leadership , the influence and expectations of its stakeholders’ over the progress of the state so far have not been palatable .

 First ,   the   environment and the challenges  posed by it to the current and incumbent governor of the state are critical determinant of his performance . Organizations ,whether private or public , depend upon their environments for their survival ; both macro and micro environmental factors supply both opportunities and threats . Environments, in their widest   , include political, economic, social, technological and legal factors as well as ecological ones.

First , politically , Osun state is in the opposition ,and the only state in the south west where the tribe men of Mr President voted against him . First , it will be difficult to enjoy any tangible federal presence except the president is magnanimous enough for forget this .

Economically ,for the past few years the tight monetary and fiscal environments have made things difficult for the government at centre while the state and the local governments are catching the cold as most of them depend mostly on the centre . Skyrocketing inflations , weak foreign exchange and its instability as well as the less impressive Gross Domestic Product ,GDP, remain the major sources of headache in addition to insecurity issues to the governments at three levels . The latest is the recent subsidy removal.

No doubt , these will continue to fuel agitations for increase in salaries and infrastructural facilities .  The latest now is the removal of the fuel subsidy .For these , many governors are now boxed to a tight corner while public agitations continue endlessly .

The influence of the state’s immediate or internal environment and its leadership are equally critical to any governor’s or government’s capability to deliver good dividends of democracy .

For Osun state, the internal environment just like the macro environment is not equally attractive to give the state an edge other states in Nigeria or allow any average leader to outperform.     

 A significant issue is   the constraint posed by its resources which manifest in diverse ways . The most important among these are the resources that each states has or can call upon  as well as the capabilities of its leaders.     Considering  the heavy burden of loan on ground ,low internal generating revenue potentials and heavy reliance on federal allocation ,that is almost among the least ,how  the government  under Adeleke hope to cope and live up to the hope and expectations already created by him is the reason behind the pessimism.

 Osun is a practically agrarian state with virtually no industrial potential to be depended upon for taxation and employment generation . The state consequently depends largely on its meager portion of federal allocation and loans for its survival. The only opportunities are the potential for agro allied industries as well as its strategic location in the South West which has  not been exploited by any administration in the past optimally

 The most critical is the leadership capability . Where is the blueprint for his turnaround of the state ? In this era of a knowledge driven-economy ,what does he want to tap on to drive his administration and deliver better values to the populace since knowledge is about learning and experience ?

While resources are certainly important, how a leadership employs and deploys its resources in the form of capabilities is  actually the most critical challenge  for a  long-term survival and   Osun state has not been lucky to get the leadership that is prepared for the prevailing  challenges   . Most of those who were fortunate to lead the state in the past  appeared to be less prepared for the job and rarely without any concrete plan  to build the state with a point of view of its  future competitiveness.

 .  A  leadership that is prepared to build is usually armed with  concrete and clearly defined  purposes  manifesting  in its missions, visions, values and objectives  . These  are  the critical success factors that should be  explicitly defined by any government as its blueprint . In such a blueprint , stakeholders influences and the expectations  are fully taken care of .

 Strong leaders that are determined to make difference are known by this habit . During the time of the late sage , Chief Obafemi Awolowo these are clearly defined  in the party manifesto and religiously followed  at implementation . However , since Osun state was created ,this is either absent or neglected once voted in  ; Osun state  is a case study of this ugly scenario .    Consequently , both the state civil servants and the politicians have hijacked this responsibility and  continued  to hold every successive government in Osun state by jugular with massive influence and expectations from the government at the expense of the majority or the rest populace .

For this , some administrations in the past had fallen victim of their unrealistic demands and influence and consequently unable to perform or follow any credible blueprint for the state development .

With the above challenges , the  Osun State leadership will need to do a number of  things  to change the current strategic position of the state .First , it has to cut down the domestic fiscal debt, refinance short-term foreign debt with lower rate foreign instrument .Also , it has to bring in Private Public Partnerships, bring down recurrent expenditure as a proportion of its IGR ,increase IGR by promoting larger investment activities and optimize the States balance sheet by releasing liquidity where possible and improving results per naira spent on projects and programme, balance the excessive demands  of civil servants and political office holders relative  to the rest  stakeholders who are the majority   and reduce commercial financial exposure of the State’s treasury.

 The question now is : how are the above critical drivers of  the  state strategic position that are specifically playing out in Osun state likely to impact the performance of Adeleke ?  These are what shaped the performance of the past governments in Osun State and will do the same to the performance of Ademola Adeleke in the next four years .

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