By KUNLE OYATOMI
It has never ceased to intrigue man how so-termed little things in life hardly reckoned with turn out to outclass the big ones. The whole world makes predictions that contemn the poor, ‘developing’ nations as incapable of being on the log of the respected countries on account of their low indices in such fields as education, healthcare, housing, roads, industrial output etc. But, somehow, these nations confound the forecasts and scale the heights to leave the favoured nations behind.
Among the revelation of the published findings of the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, is the news that lends credence to our declarations above. According to NBS, the State of Osun is the third least poor state in Nigeria. Only Lagos and Delta are richer that Osun among all the 36 states of Nigeria. NBS says: ‘’Lagos State has 4.50 per cent poverty head count…closely trailed by Delta with 6.02 per cent. Osun has 8.52 per cent…’’
It was a living standards survey relying on a highly technical benchmark of consumption expenditures approach rather than the income measurement. NBS says it applied World Bank standards in addition to enjoying the support the global body in order to conduct the review and reach its conclusions. Quite thorough, you would agree.
But the startling dimension of the report is that a small landlocked state called Osun, spread over 9,251 square kilometers with a population of 3,423,535 (2006), which collected the lowest allocation of N1.73b of federal largesse in 2019 would put up a sterling performance in resources management. In the NBS radar were states that raked in huge percentages of the common wealth. There were also states that could boast of exceeding land mass and vast human and natural endowments. But they all, minus Lagos and Delta, swam in the pond of poverty. Their massive riches failed them. But the State of Osun stood out against breeding a population of poor people.
What’s the magic? It’s not enough to surround yourself with gargantuan riches. The story of the ascendancy of societies in modern times is not about the massing of idle resources. Nor is it the pursuit of wealth for the sake of fame or to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
What’s the magic? It’s no magic, but the prudent management of your little by shrewd leadership. In Osun, we have an administration that has learned to apply the little we have strictly for the benefit of the majority such that the boon of society is evenly distributed. Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s creed is this: you don’t need fabulous riches to deal with poverty.
All you need is a caring, selfless and sensitive leadership to manage the available resources on behalf of the people. Simpliciter!
— OYATOMI is the Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the All Progressives Congress in the state of Osun