OSUN 2018: BETWEEN FAVOURITE AND FUTURE By Shalom Ibironke

The elders say that only a child who washes his hands clean shall dine with them. This in no way means that the other children would not eat from the elders, rather it means that they would eat after the elders have eaten, the crumbs, leftovers. However, the positive side of it is that a child who had always been eating crumbs could get elevated at some point. Osun State is at that exact point! A crossroad, where her fate for the next four years would be decided. Would the people of Osun, Awon Omoluabi, decide to wash their hands clean so as to dine with the elders. So as to compete among the top tier states in the country, so as to become a global brand?

Elections come and go, politicians come and go, the same applies with favourites. Until the state begins to look beyond elections, politicians, and even favourites. The state must begin to look in the direction of the future. The future shall be achieved by plans. The plans shall be seen through manifestos and debates. It is not impossible for a gubernatorial election debate to be held where candidates would be drilled and accessed on the art of leadership. A state that boasts of hosting more than five universities, with the likes of Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State University, Redeemers University, Adeleke University, Bowen University, Kings University and some others. Such a state has every instrument at her disposal.

On the scale of preference, the future must begin to outweigh the favourite, lest the state continues to rigmarole around stagnant. The dirty hands must be washed clean, and untapped resources must be harnessed and properly put to use, so as to enable us dine with the pillars of the country. For a state that has the blessings of Gold, Limestone, Agriculture, and even a World standard tourism site like the Osun Osogbo groove, it is unarguably sane to say that she has not lived up to her potential.

The first time a gubernatorial election debate was done in the state, several candidates turned down the idea, in 2014, only Ogbeni Stuff Aregbesola was in attendance and he consequently won the election. However, this still poses the question of choosing between the favorites or the future. This time if only a debate is well-publicised and organized, the fear of falling on the wrong side of the public by chickening out of a debate would outweigh the fear of bad performance at debate. A cue could be taken from recent elections at Edo and Anambra states. However, this time rather than confining the eminent candidates to a studio, a university could be used where the public would gather and watch, of course under heavy security. This way everyone sees beneath the beautiful faces on campaign posters, and peep into the intellectual capability of these eminent candidates.

Truly Osun State is at a crossroad, a junction, with the favourite in a corner and the future in another. To dine with the elders she must go for the future. She must harness her resources, expand her market consequently curbing unemployment, illiteracy, and crime. And then, without hesitation, she shall be given a seat at the table of the elders.


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