Leadership in difficult times: the example of Oyetola

By Jibola Oyekunle

The past two weeks have been difficult for countries around the world. Between February 27, 2020, when Nigeria registered its first case of the new coronavirus pandemic and now, when the scourge is already displeasing its ugly head in communities, Nigerians witnessed a moving show of intermittent parody and many tragic episodes.

Code-named Covid-19, the pandemic caused fear and grief among people and threw many families into mourning. At the time of this writing, almost 100 deaths from coronavirus have been recorded in the country.


In Kano alone, no fewer than 150 people, who reportedly exhibited symptoms of coronavirus, suddenly fell into the cold hand of what was described in the news as "mysterious death".

This is arguably a difficult time and we are all co-travelers on the stormy journey. Sad enough, in the middle of that are the clown characters who distract us with an unsolicited scam!

Imagine, a man who would fight the Osun state government for not extending palliative care to him in the comfort of his home in a reserved government area, the police who tried to bestialize the execution of the government's blocking orders and some unrepentant mourners who would stop at nothing to discredit the government's good efforts to contain the spread of the virus.


Interestingly, this challenge gave us the opportunity to better appreciate our leaders who are at the forefront of this collective battle against a common enemy: the Coronavirus. Of all, the Governor of the State of Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, stands out.

He established himself as an intrepid warrior on the battlefield, exemplifying responsible and responsive leadership, particularly in this difficult time of the global pandemic.


To borrow Batiatus' words in a recent Hollywood, Oyetola remains "the champion of Capua". His proactive approach to curbing the spread of the Coronavirus in Osun and even the country at large is legendary.

For example, if the 167 returnees from Côte d'Ivoire had managed to sneak to their various destinations within the country, the consequence would have been nothing more than a disgrace.

For their proactivity to isolate them at the state isolation and treatment center in Ejigbo and to ensure that their samples are collected and tested at the NCDC-accredited testing center; the African Center of Excellence in Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Oyetola avoided what would have been a national disaster.

The government's strategic approach and laudable efforts have been nearly 100 percent successful, despite the perfidy of some corrupt and unscrupulous security officials who compromise state borders and the folly of recalcitrant residents, who surreptitiously received visitors from outside the state, even in the midst of a blockade against government guidelines.


The Osun government has been on tiptoe to prevent possible obstacles to the success already recorded in the battle against the new virus.


And that determination must have informed the decision to open a Joint Task Force and create the Amotekun Corps; all with the responsibility of ensuring citizens' lives and property.

After the inauguration, men from the Amotekun Corps were immediately deployed to occupy all borders and mining sites in the state.

This action was timely and praiseworthy, as it helped the government to intercept some young people from the north, especially the Zamfara Indians who entered the state while the state was in total blockade.

In less than a week, the Joint Task Force launched an operation around the Ilesa and Ife axis of the state and arrested 27 illegal miners, including 17 Chinese, 9 local and a traditional chief.

In addition to ensuring that prisoners are prosecuted, the state government assured members of the public that offenders would pay compensation for the damage caused by illegal mining.

With that, it is evident that, in the midst of the fierce battle against the pandemic, the government is not distracted from doing what is necessary to protect the environment and block possible economic leaks.

Typical of a visionary leader, Oyetola quickly predicted a possible threat that COVID-19 could pose. That is why in March 2020, even before many of his colleagues in other states began to take the necessary steps, he declared a two-week holiday for public officials in the state.

He also banned all public meetings, announced the indefinite closure of the mall, markets and also set limits on the carrying capacity of public transport.

However, before the end of March, he announced a total blockade of the state, an action that has been widely applauded as a more proactive step to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Furthermore, as a good-hearted man, he would certainly not abandon people, particularly the vulnerable, in difficulties. As a responsible government, Oyetola created the Osun Food and Assistance Resources Committee, made up of notable philanthropists in the country and prominent citizens of Osun.

The Committee, chaired by the General Superintendent of the Redeemed Christian Church of God around the world, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, was responsible for raising funds to provide palliative care for the state's destitute residents during the period of the blockade.

To commend the Committee's efforts, despite the lean state grant, the Adegboyega Oyetola administration purchased more than 6,000 bags of rice (50 kg), which were distributed to the vulnerable across the state, regardless of their social, political affiliation. and religious.

All the gains emanating from this praiseworthy initiative and the kind gesture towards the indigent continued to enjoy a reverberation of praise from the beneficiaries, traditional rulers of their respective communities and many observers who were aware of Oyetola's responsiveness during this pandemic.

The palliative distribution exercise began a few days ago and continues unabated, with considerable packages of rice, beans, gari and other food items being distributed to no less than 30,000 families in the 30 local government areas in the state.

The exercise is being carried out in the most fair and transparent way possible, as noted in the various video clips that circulate on the various social media platforms.

The beneficiaries, in an apparently exalted mood and with a voice full of emotion, described Oyetola and the committee members as "sent by God".

Without resorting to exaggeration and confessed by some of the beneficiaries, the food items shared in the videos could support an individual for more than a month.

A septuagenarian beneficiary, Pa Lamidi Bisiriyu, after receiving his relief items at his residence in Ofatedo, in the local government of Egbedore state, said: “Despite the pressure and challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, our governor found it necessary to feed the vulnerable In the region. society.

He went ahead and started a committee to provide the food I received today. Oyetola is not an ordinary man, he is definitely sent by God.

In addition to palliative care provided by the government and supported by the 21-man assistance committee, some good-hearted people, particularly among government officials, also bought and distributed food and aid materials to the vulnerable in their respective communities.

Taking the lead was the governor's wife, Ms. Kafayat Oyetola, who personally delivered packages of assistance to the vulnerable from home to home, regardless of their political, religious or social affiliation.

Others who followed suit are Deputy Chief of Staff, Prince Abdullah Binuyo, Commissioner for Information and Civic Guidance, Ms. Funke Egbemode, Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Remi Omowaye, Special Advisor to the Governor of Water Resources and Energy, Engr. Adeniran Felix Ibitoye, Member, House of the Assembly representing Odo-Otin, Hon. Adeyinka Michael to mention just a few.

By supporting government efforts through their personal resources, these government officials have convinced good people in the state that they are part of an administration that believes in leadership by example and prioritizes the welfare of people in the state. .

For Oyetola, not even cynics would challenge his ability to lead a responsible and agile government, desired by the good people of Osun, both in good and difficult times.

He can only be instructed to keep up the good work he is doing in Osun state. Your efforts then, now and always will certainly be crowned with success.

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