Mr. Governor-in-waiting Sir, I greet you, greatly.
Since the body saddled with the conduct of elections into public offices in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), fixed 26th November, 2016 for the next governorship election in Ondo State, it is no more news that you have since stepped up the plethora of activities that will culminate in you being sworn in as the next Governor of the Great Sunshine State come February, 2017 as it is equally the right of every indigene of Ondo State, at least, for now.
Sir, the actual intent of me putting these thoughts, worries, feeling, hopes and aspirations of several youths and adults in writing and across to you is to request to know your motives and by extension, to check why you seek to occupy this exalted office.
With the current fiscal structure and situation of Nigeria today, to deliver prosperity to citizens, I think it is very apt that we engage new conversations, chart new paths, follow new inspirations, conceive fresh ideas that can help us leap into the future as every necessary tool, knowledge, relationships, and networks are all now open source.
Sir, this piece is not to do a critique of the past but to serve as one of the vast arrays of windows that mirrors the over-all growth and development trajectory of our dear Sunshine State vis-a-vis what you have to offer. If I may ask, Sir, do you seek to occupy this office because you think you have the financial war chest to achieve the unachievable; or that you want to be able move around in the convoy of cars with siren blaring and the ever handsomely dressed aides chaperoning the path while the good people of Ondo State look on and thumb your chest that you are the governor, let all men tremble; or that there has been a century-long prophecy that you will someday preside as a Chief Executive of Ondo State, such that you will largely wait for “federal allocation” to hit the bank before you efficiently deliver on the promises you make to us as we have always heard!
As you already know, development is a continuous process just as they say that government is a continuum. Hence, we hope that you will constructively continue from where we are today and not throw out the already existing dividends of governance. We rather urge you to let them proceed and progress. Sir, the speed at which you will also need to deliver the physical and verifiable form of the promises you made has, by default, tagged on you a huge burden that you cannot escape!
In the several parts that these streams of piece will be, I shall touch on issues on a sector by sector basis and also on an upfront basis; like, how I think governance can work today, public sector finance today, innovation in governance, new education models, internally generated revenue models, the environment, getting the youth involved, getting the people prosperous, smart technology, multinational and multilateral networks. But for this stream, I will stick with the state of the Internally Generated Revenue and the limitations.
Statistics from a network of relevant agencies of government put the 2015 figures of the state IGR at around N10,000,000,000.00 (Ten Billion Naira) which is about 14% (fourteen percent) of what the State had earned from the federation account between June 2015 and May 2016. Sir, without much ado, you will agree with me that this level of income may not totally guarantee the delivery of the dividends of democracy as we usually say in this part of the world. So, my concern is, if you are in touch with this TRUTH, the primacy of all your concern, as a matter of urgency is on how to re-engineer this particular and important stream of income in the face of dwindling federal allocation which is as a result of the unease in the global oil markets. (I will stop on this for now.)
So, Sir, on a deeper level and given my introductory lines, have you fully sat down with yourself and by yourself in the mirror to genuinely ask yourself if you will operate the 21st century superior mental capabilities, on-the-feet critical thinking abilities and the do-action abilities that is needed at this critical time in the history of Ondo State as a sub geo-physical structure of the current fiscal Nigeria and, by extension, the current global challenges. A quick look at these verses in the Bible (Luke 14: 28- 31) should reinforce this understanding;
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
“I believe from the above, the in-line messages and issues to draw and contend with are of; understanding one’s capacities, capabilities; the nature of the tasks; use of wisdom; deployment of tact; available resources; the publics; and certainly, the end.”
Sir, I want to believe you and your esteemed team are constructively looking at the service delivery model and service level threshold for the task ahead of you, from Arimogija to Agadaobon, from Isua Akoko to Igbara Oke, from Idanre to Igbotako, from Igbokoda to Ore, from Mahin to Akure, from Ikare to Owena, from Arogbo to Owo; Sir, there is a huge task ahead of you!
I close with this quote by Sir Winston Churchill, “to every man, there comes in his lifetime that special moment; that moment, when he is tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted for his talents. What a tragedy, if that moment finds him unprepared, or unqualified, for the work which would be his finest hour.”
Sir, it is my belief that you have been tapped and now is your time and turn to show that the blend of talent, industry, right attitude, free spirit that you have been blessed with will bear positive impact on the general well-being of Ondo State.
May you not be a man that began to build, and was not able to finish. I wish you Godspeed.
’Deji ‘Deola Ilesanmi.