Otunba Segun Oni is a carbon copy of anything good incontestably!
The basis for comparison of politicians who have their candidates put forward to the teeming electorates in Ekiti State forthcoming June 18th governorship election will, by and large, be predicated on character, charisma and clout, if not antecedents and aspirations.
Of interest is the fact that Otunba Segun Oni, amongst the lot, is a juggernaut who cannot be easily under-estimated neither relegated to the back seat. At the risk of sounding like a sycophant or a bootlicker, Segun Oni is the man to beat.
Born on September 5, 1954, Otunba Olusegun Oni, the proud son of Ifaki-Ekiti attended the Methodist Secondary Modern School, Ifaki Ekiti, between 1965–1968. He thereafter proceeded to Wesley College, Ibadan, from 1969 to 1971 before proceeding to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University in 1974.
An engineer and member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, suffice to say that he is the architect of modern Ekiti, his legacies and developmental strides while he was governor between 2007-201 have largely rubbed off on all sectors in the state vis a vis education, agriculture, health, just name it.
One key administrative acumen that sets Engineer Segun Oni apart is his disposition to harnessing the scarce resources of the state for optimum development. A silent achiever who has always believed in the ideals his kind of politics which is all about prudence and accountability, education divestiture, infrastructure and civil service welfare.
Without borrowing a dime, a performing politician par excellence under his leadership he paid all gratuities arrears and pensions of retirees from 1993 in the old Ondo State up to 2007 on assumption of office to the tune of over N9billion. Whoever can beat that among the other contestants should raise his left hand and beat his chest with the left.
Another key feat of Otunba is the fact that never in the history of the state has the government absorbed as many indigenes into the civil service in less than four years, no thanks to the countless artisans and unskilled employers on the payroll of his government. Worthy of note is the fact that Segun Oni is the first governor to issue, at once, employment letters to over 4,000 graduates into the civil services, with more hands in the teaching sector.
Small and Medium-scale Enteprises (SMEs) were empowered, some established, such as the Ikun Dairy Farm. A no-interest micro-credit loan scheme was readily available as support for struggling small businesses.
In his respect for the rule of law and other arms of government, the Asiwaju of Ifaki Land, granted financial autonomy to both the legislative and judicial arms of government, with no interference in their state of affairs. He must have in mind the need to characterise the virtue of a true democrat on the altar of fiscal federalism.
May it also be noted that in the three years of being in office, no government has constructed more roads than Oni in all 16 local governments where 24 major roads were constructed simultaneously to link the villages to the state capital.
His physical legacies in Ekiti include but not limited to road infrastructure across towns and villages in the state; rehabilitated all state-owned hospitals, built new ones like the Oba Adejuyigbe General Hospital including primary health centres. He built the present House of Assembly Complex and the State Government Secretariat Complex. Segun Oni also started the building of the Irewolede Housing Estates, modern primary and secondary schools with state-of-the-art facilities including free textbooks, notebooks and laptops to pupils and students.
The provision of interest-free housing, car and furniture loans to all civil servants and other credit facilities to entrepreneurs in Ekiti is another laudable achievement of his administration.
Lighting up the streets of Ekiti, Segun Oni’s government procured 250 electric transformers aimed at mitigating the problem of epileptic power supply. It is on record that this was achieved in his first 100 days in office.
Segun Oni did not allow the excuse of low IGR and poor monthly allocation to the state weigh him down as he ensured the regular payment of workers salaries as and when due.
In his love for education, in a bid to positioning the state as fountain of knowledge in the actual sense of it, he approved an unprecedented increase in the monthly subventions of the University of Ado-Ekiti (now Ekiti State University) and established two new universities — the former University of Education, Ikere Ekiti (TUNEDIK) and the University of Science and Technology, Ifaki Ekiti (USTI). Sadly, the two institutions were shut down shortly after Oni left office.
Scholarships and bursaries within the range of N50,000 to N1.5million for qualified Ekiti students; free JAMB forms and all manner of youth empowerment schemes, for both skilled and unskilled labour, were all in place in the state when Oni was governor.
In his utmost reverence for traditional institutions, Segun Oni vehemently made an attempt to discourage long regency as he made it a policy that after the demise of a traditional ruler, a new king must be installed early enough, as no regent would be recognised by his administration for more than two years.
Out of office, he was said to have declined an offer of a car gift from a governor on the reason that the state was owing salaries of civil servants.
What a lover of the masses he is!
Pundits and even students of contemporary history can then argue that Engineer Segun Oni is the best administrator Ekiti has produced, as he didn’t even have to borrow from anywhere to run his government, despite his sterling achievements in the state. He left over N10billion in the government treasury, including two months federal allocation and security votes, when he took a bow in 2010.
Who amongst the others can beat that?
As the Ekiti people who are intellectually savvy and cerebral go to the polls on June 18, it is, however, commonsensical to say that Segun Oni is the choice of the people, a man to beat in any free, fair and credible election.
Unquestionable true believers of Segun Oni have always said a vote for their principal is a vote for a better and greater Ekiti of our dream particularly in an election where the integrity and antecedents of every candidate should be the yardstick than their deep pockets or accessibility to public funds.
An indigene of Ilawe-Ekiti, wrote this piece from London, United Kingdom.