When I read the explanation given by Osun State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Akirogun Sunday Akere, for the introduction of Hijrah public holiday into the New Year Calendar of the State; I was depressed for the people of Osun State.
I was one of the many Osunites in the diaspora that celebrated the victory of Rauf Aregbesola because it helps increase faith in the democratic practices but his economic initiatives to date are not impressive. How many holidays do we need in Nigeria or at State level to ensure the so-called “religious harmony”. How many holiday slots do we have for the tradition religion in Nigeria or at State level – if we even for once accept that assertion as logical; if any group should feel discriminated against in Nigeria, it should not be Christianity or Islam.
Osun State Government is acting in a manner that will likely create religious struggle in a state that is relatively tension free. The choice of language use for promoting the administration’s latest initiative and timing reveals a State Government that lacks insight. Does Osun State suffer from religious tension or imbalance? What is the opposite of harmony? I wonder!
If this policy is geared toward holiday equity then say so without coating it in religion and make the announcement a long time ago and ensure it’s a balance exercise with more than one religion compensated!
However, my disagreement with the current Osun State approach is mainly from an economic perspective because a sensible administration does not just introduce policies without commissioning a report on it and engaging with the relevant stakeholders to address concerns; that is why we have a democratic system of Government. Did the state government undertake an economic impact assessment? Did the governor engaged with the business associations, investment chambers and large employers about the cost implication.
Let me enlighten the governor and his economic advisers on this subject matter. When you declare a public holiday then the following will happen:
– some private businesses will shut down because staff will need to stay at home (so no business output which will impact on annual revenue and profit margin)
– majority of the private businesses will pay their staff for not working and state government will pay all her workers
– educational institutions will close up for that day and that will have adverse impact on school syllabus in a state will poor WAEC/GCE rating anyway- impact on statutory bodies like the police that will have to pay overtime for staff to work thus adversely impacting on their budget
Thus, this is a political statement that might win extra votes but is an economic disaster for the state. This is one of many bad policies of the State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, that lacks sound economic reasoning or insight.
The latest act of this governor only reaffirms my position that he lacks the necessary understanding for repositioning of the state for economic prosperity and it is time that the electorates question his so called ‘strategic Insight’ because all I see personally is wastage and lack of in-depth analysis.
The potential of the tourism industry is yet to be tapped by a dilly dally government with no foresight. We are yet to see a comprehensible strategy on tourism that embeds employability, visibility and legacy as key components. About 90% of the hotels don’t have tourism experience as part of their policy and tourism brochure of the State is not visible in hotspot destinations or libraries around the world. There is no visible link between the tourism policy and economic timeline projections.
The administration of Rauf Aregbesola is likely to destroy the good foundation he started on; if he continues with this current philosophy that only ACN card carrying members are knowledgeable or only Awoists qualify to have an opinion on how to move Osun State forward. He is father of all Osunites both at home and abroad until election time but it seems Nigeria public office holders lack the ability to apprehend this simple concept and this is likely to be his greatest hurdle.
It is the most irresponsible way to introduce religious tension in a state that has enjoyed peace for so long. Does the Governor appreciate that he represents the interest of all and no one?
By all, I mean his policies and decisions must “cover the ground”. He is not a Muslim Governor but a Governor who is a Muslim, just as a state should not have a Christian, Babalawo, Hare Krishna etc Governor, but a Governor who subscribes to that faith. Will he therefore introduce a holiday for Egungun worshippers and those of Obatala, Eleripa etc?
When the SSS reported that he jettisoned them for a Muslim group for protection, people cried foul. When the Christian Association of Nigeria shouted that he wanted to change the name of a missionary school to some funny nomenclature, people disbelieved them.
Soon, this saviour from Lagos State will create religious strife in Osun. Mark my words. Christians will be ranged against Muslims and the Boko Haram will readily offer assistance. Is there any other definition for self immolation by a sitting Governor?
Temitope Olodo Esq.,
London, United Kingdom