It was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet and educator who rightly posited that: “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” The sixth US President John Quincy Adams had a unique definition for a leader: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” JF Kennedy is on record as stating that: ‘’one person can make a difference; and everyone should try.’’ The three personalities whose contributions are acknowledged here have made differences in their lives and by their conducts and achievements great patriots and role models. It is for the purpose of encouraging the younger generation that we have continued to devote our time and attention to writing about great deeds. The three personalities listed here never had opportunities to use computers, some never had access to purified water and all those good things of life. But here they are today being celebrated as achievers, whose contributions have been recorded on the positive pages of history. You can be greater than any of them through preparation and dedication. Yes, it is possible.CHIEF ABDULKAREEM ADEBISI AKANDE – FORMER GOVERNOR, OSUN STATE
An Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries (ACIS)
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Cost and Management Accountants (FCMA).
Chief Bisi Akande was born on January 16, 1939 at Ila-Orangun in the present State of Osun, Nigeria. By parentage, he comes from a long line of highly-respected warriors and administrators. His father, Pa Lawani Bamgbose Akande, was a grandson of Pa Ladimeji of Ile Asudan, Isedo quarters, Ila Orangun, who was one of the Generals in the Yoruba inter-tribal wars. His mother, Madam Hunmuani Akande, was a daughter to Chief Elemese Adesina of Ile Obalumo, Odo Ilegun (also in Isedo quarters of Ila-Orangun) — the traditional Head of Service in the kingdom of the Orangun of Ila.
After his primary school education at Native Authority School, Oke Aloyin, lIa-Orangun (1946-1952) and at Methodist School, Ode-Idanre (in the present Ondo State) in 1953, Bisi Akande started life as a shop keeper with B.M. Akadiri at Oke-Ola in Odode, Idanre. He was subsequently lucky to become one of the pioneering teachers in the Obafemi Awolowo’s Free Primary Education programme (introduced in January 1955) at Ijama village of Idanre in the then Western Region of Nigeria. He later trained as a Grade III teacher at Divisional Teachers’ Training College, lle-lfe (1957 and 1958).
A TRAINED TEACHER
During his teaching career in Muslim School, Omu-Aran (present Kwara state, 1959), Muslim School, Ilawo-EJigbo (present Osun state, 1960-1961), Catholic School, Oro (present Kwara state,1961-1962), and Mac-Job Grammar School, Abeokuta (present Ogun state, 1963), he pursued further education through correspondence courses from Wolsey Hall, Rapid Results College, and The School of Accountancy – all based in England.
PRIVATE SECTOR WORK EXPERIENCE
• He joined the British Petroleum Nigeria Limited in August 1963 as a Manager-in-Training in the Finance and Accounts Department, and later attended several professional courses in several reputable institutions including:
• International Computers Limited Training College, Beaumont, Windsor, England (1974);
• London School of Computer Technology, England (1975);
• International Institute of Public Management, Washington, DC, USA (1979).
• Chief Bisi Akande worked for British Petroleum from 1963 to 1979 when, as Manager, System and Computer Services, he left (on a Leave of Absence) to serve in the Government of the old Oyo State: first as Secretary to the Government and, subsequently, in November 1982, he became the Deputy Governor to Chief Bola Ige.
A GRASSROOTS MOBILISER
Side by side with his job with BP, between 1963 and 1978, Chief Akande involved himself with various local town union activities. At various times, he served as a member of the Ila Students Union; member, Ila Grammar School Board of Governors; Convener, Ila Emancipation League; Secretary and member of the Ila Union in Lagos; member,
Secretary, Treasurer and President (consecutively) of Ila Charity Club; Finance Coordinator of Ila Electricity Planning Committee; member, Osun North-East Consultative Committee, etc, etc, etc.
DRAFTED INTO LOCAL POLITICS
In the process, in 1971, he was appointed by the Military as a member of Ila Local Government Management Committee and, in 1976, he was elected unopposed as a councillor for Isedo Ward 1 into Ila Local Government Council. In 1977, he was also elected to represent Ila/Odo-Otin Local governments in the Nigerian Constituent Assembly that wrote the 1979 Nigerian constitution.
HIS WAY INTO NATIONAL POLITICS
At the Constituent Assembly, Chief Bisi Akande met many Nigerian leaders like Shehu Shagari, Ibraheem Gusau, Tatari Alli, Ibrahim Tahir, Solomon Lar, Prof Shiayo, Paul Unongo, Adamu Attah, Sam Mbakwe, Sylvester Ugoh, Ambrose Alli, Richards Akinjide, Prof Tugbiyele, Abraham Adesanya, Bisi Onabanjo, Ayo Fasanmi and a host of others. It was Ayo Fasanmi who attracted Bisi Akande to Chief Obafemi Awolowo and from then he joined the Committee of Friends through which he became a foundation member of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). At the 1978 old Oyo State congress of UPN, Chief Bisi Akande was elected into the state Executive Committee of the party. He subsequently got elected as its State Deputy Chairman, thereby becoming a member of UPN’s National Executive Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
JAILED FOR FORTY-TWO (42) YEARS
After the Military seized power in December 1983, Chief Bisi Akande was arrested along with Chief Bola Ige and he was jailed for 42 years imprisonment for what the Military described as ‘conspiracy to unlawfully enrich the Unity Party of Nigeria’. He was released in 1986 before the Military passed the decrees that later enabled the Military itself to enrich lavishly the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC), the two political parties established by the Military to plan its self-succession.
Happily, however, Chief Bisi Akande was vindicated by his own people who overwhelmingly voted for him to represent Ila/Ifedayo/Boluwaduro/Boripe Local governments at the Military-sponsored Constitutional Conference under General Sani Abacha. After winning the election, he snubbed the Military and boycotted the conference in obedience to the directives of Afenifere and the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). And that was part of what led to the big “June 12” protests and the cat-and-mouse bloody scrambles between NADECO and Abacha’s Military administration.
NON-PARTICIPATION IN MILITARY POLITICAL PROGRAMMES
Chief Bisi Akande joined in the formation of PSP and PPP – the two political associations which were not registered in 1989 and 1996 respectively. He thereafter suspected that the series of military programmes called ‘Transitions towards handing over power’ were mere ploys for self-succession or self-perpetuation in office, and he therefore refused to participate in partisan politics under the military.
In 1994, Chief Bisi Akande was a co-author of the “Yoruba Agenda”, while his selfless and positive activities in mobilizing colleagues largely contributed to the production and popularisation of the definitive “Yoruba Agenda” which was published and launched in 2005 and which was widely circulated among the members of the Obasanjo’s Constitutional Conference of that year.
BACK TO ACTIVE PARTISAN POLITICS
Following the demise of Gen Abacha and Chief MKO Abiola and the military disengagement from Nigerian political administration, Chief Bisi Akande, as the Chairman of Afenifere for Osun state since 1995, co-founded the Alliance for Democracy (AD)- a political party on whose platform he contested and won elections to become the governor of Osun state (1999-2003). His tenure as governor was most remarkable and singularly spectacular for the unprecedented infrastructural development in Osun state. He thereafter rose to become a leading light among the Yoruba leadership and a famous Nigerian statesman.
LEADING NATIONAL PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL PARTIES
In December 2003, in controversial circumstances, Chief Bisi Akande was persuaded by his colleagues (the former AD governors) to accept to be the National Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy. As soon as his nomination became supported by the only then serving governor of AD (Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu), certain leaders became irked and furtively sponsored an alternative national chairman who, they claimed, enjoyed the support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidency, thereby throwing AD into two factions.
The Bisi Akande faction was finally adjudged to be the authentic AD by the Appeal Court of Nigeria. However, in December 2006, Akande decided to resign and subsequently contested for and accepted the chairmanship of the newly-formed Action Congress (AC). In 2010, at the Benin City Convention, Chief Akande was unanimously elected, again, as the National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He is the Founding National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
TRADITIONAL CHIEFTAINCY HONOURS
In recognition of Chief Bisi Akande’s indomitable courage, fighting spirit and a knack for adventures reminiscent of his warrior-ancestors, he has been conferred with the traditional chieftaincy titles of: Asiwaju of lIa-Orangun (his home town), as well as Agba Akin of Oke-Ila Orangun, Balogun of Aramoko-Ekiti (from where his ancestors migrated to Ila Orangun during the Yoruba wars), Jagunmolu-Oodua of Ijebu-Ife, Apesin of Ilashe-Ijesa and Bashorun of Ilobu. (Source: https://bisiakande.com/profile/)
LT. GEN JULIUS ALANI IPOOLA AKINRINADE – RETIRED CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF, POLITICAL ACTIVIST
Lt. Gen. Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, retired Nigerian military officer hails from Yakoyo, Osun State. He was born on 3rd October 1939, in Ile-Ife. Lt. General Ipoola Alani Akinrinade CFR FSS was Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Nigeria from October 1979 to April 1980, and then Chief of Defence Staff until 1981 during the Nigerian Second Republic.
• Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
• Staff College, Camberley
• Nigerian Defence Academy
He attended Offa Grammar School for his secondary education (1954–1958) after which he worked at the Ministry of Agriculture in the Western Region, Ibadan (1959–1960). He enlisted in the Nigerian Army as officer cadet, and received his military training at the Royal Nigeria Military Forces Training College, Kaduna. In April 1960, he proceeded to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, United Kingdom (August 1960).
He was commissioned second lieutenant in the Infantry Corps on 20 December 1962.
PIX: PRIME NEWS
Akinrinade later went through the Infantry Officer Career/Airborne Course in the USA (August 1965 – July 1966), attended Staff College Camberley (January – December 1971) and the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom (January – December 1978). Akinrinade rose steadily through the ranks. He was promoted lieutenant on 29 March 1963, captain on 29 Mar 1965, major on 10 June 1967, lieutenant colonel on 11 May 1968, colonel on 1 October 1972, brigadier general on 1 October 1974 and major general on 1 January 1976.
He held various infantry appointments, becoming commander of the Ibadan Garrison (1970–1971) and GOC of 1 Infantry Division (1975–1979). He was a member of the Supreme Military Council during the military regime of General Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo (1975–1979).
He was promoted to lieutenant general on 2 October 1979 and appointed Chief of Army Staff, and then became Chief of Defence Staff in 1980, during the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari. He voluntarily retired from service with effect from 2 October 1981. After retirement, Akinrinade engaged in large-scale farming and was chairman of Niger Feeds and Agriculture Operations (1982–1985).
In General Ibrahim Babangida’s government he was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development (1985–1986), Minister of Industries (1988 – February 1989) and Minister of Transport (1989). He became a member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a pro-democracy group, during the Sani Abacha regime. The 2014 National Conference was inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan on March 17, 2014 in Abuja, with Alani Akinrinade as a member. There were about 492 delegates that represented a cross-section of Nigerians including the professional bodies group. The Conference was headed by retired Chief Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi. Following a plenary session that lasted for weeks, the Conference was broken into 20 committees that included Public Finance and Revenue among others. Akinrinade was a member of the National Security Committee.
He distinguished himself in that committee. My discussions and meetings with General Akinrinade on Dr. Amos Akingba and others are what I still cherish till today. The Conference allowed me the golden opportunity of meeting prominent Nigerians who are concerned about the future of this country. If the recommendations of the conference, especially the committee’s report on transport and security had been implemented, I am sure Boko Haram, kidnapping and other security challenges we have today could have been avoided. Akinrinade is an unrepentant apostle of true federalism and has delivered papers on restructuring to defend his position.
Akinrinade was honoured by Vanguard newspaper as one of the Vanguard Personality of the Year Awardees 2018 in the Lifetime Achievement category. .Vanguard newspaper, in a piece titled: Lt General Alani Akinrinade: In celebration of a soldier-activist wrote that: It was a story that began when he joined the Nigerian Army in 1960. And from the rookie that emerged from cadet school he subsequently passed through several ranks to attain the rank of Lieutenant General. He had as his companions on the day he joined distinguished officers we know today as Colonel Sule Apollo, Brigadier General Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, Major General Emmanuel Olumuyiwa Abisoye, Brigadier General Alabi-Isama, Colonel Ben Gbulie, General Yakubu Theophilus Danjuma, Major General Martins Adamu, Lt-Colonel Ayo Ariyo, Brigadier Pius Eromobor, Brigadier Ignatius Obeya, Brigadier General Femi David Bamigboye and Colonel Simon Uwakwe Ihedigbo.
But it would appear that destiny had his career path cut out for him as a man of history. Perhaps to illustrate this is an interesting and indeed engaging story told by Emeka Obasi about this man who through the circumstance and accident of his soldierly calling became one of the principal actors in the leadership succession struggles that broke out in the First Republic, culminating in a civil strife that almost put paid to Nigeria’s emergent, if not fledgling, nationhood. According to the story, Akinrinade who was a Lieutenant Colonel when the civil war broke out soon found himself in the thick of some of the bloodiest battles fought at different fronts. He was Commanding Officer, CO, Sixth Brigade of Nigeria Army’s Second Division under Colonel Murtala Muhammed. His tour of duty during the war took him from Ifon, Sobe to the Mid West to the Eastern Region. But particularly remarkable was the attempt by Nigerian troops under different commanders to cross the Niger Bridge on two occasions which ended in disaster. Not satisfied with the development, especially the high casualty to troops, Lt. Col. Akinrinade was said to have challenged Murtala’s tactics. So when he was asked to lead a third attempt, he refused and left in protest.
His next posting was the Third Marine Commando Division under Col. Benjamin Adekunle and later Col. Olusegun Obasanjo. From commanding the 15 Brigade in Bonny, Akinrinade became Commander, Sector Two from where he led operations in Aba and Owerri. His exploits and experiences are story materials from which blockbuster war movies are made, especially given the accounts of his many close shaves with death. But happily he survived all the near-death encounters, came back stronger and emerged from the war as General Staff Officer, GSO, One, of the Division with some of the Brigade commanders under his control as Majors George Innih, Philemon Shande and Sam Tomoye
MAJOR-GEN LEO SEGUN AJIBORISHA – FIRST MILITARY ADMINISTRATOR, OSUN STATE
Major General (retired) Leo Segun Ajiborisha served as the first Administrator of Osun State, Nigeria after it was created from part of Oyo State in August 1991 during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
One of Ajiborisha’s first actions as Osun Governor was to establish the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation. The radio channel based in Ile-Ife came on air on 25 November 1991 He inaugurated the Osun State Civil Service Commission on 30 September 1991. He handed over to the elected civilian governor Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke in January 1992 at the start of the Nigerian Third Republic.
Later he became Director of Operations, Defence Headquarters, and then Principal Staff Officer to General Abdulsalami Abubakar (1998–1999). As a former military administrator, he was required to retire from the army in June 1999 at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic, In April 2008 the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission cleared Leo Ajiborisa of allegations of corrupt practices related to acquisition of an oil block by two Lagos-based companies. In 2010 he was President and Chairman-in-Council of the Institute of Strategic Management, Nigeria.
A very rich and well researched piece on Ajiborisha titled: COLONEL LEO SEGUN AJIBORISHA: THE “BUILDER” IN A MILITARY ADMINISTRATOR is authored by Monsour Muritala of the Department of History, University of Ibadan, Ibadan
This chapter examines the administration of Colonel (Col.) Leo Segun Ajiborisha and its contributions in laying the foundation and development of Osun State. It profiles the personality of the administrator–Col. Leo Ajiborisha and some of the specific policies that were used to engineer the growth of Osun State in various sectors of its economy, such as infrastructure, administration, security, and socio-cultural and economic development. It further discusses the major achievements and challenges of his administration. Indeed, as the first head of the new state, Col. Ajiborisha had a daunting task in positioning the new state for future socio-economic and political development. This involves putting together human, material and other vital resources and managing these for sustainable and effective result. To a very large extent, it could be said that Col. Leo Ajiborisha achieved some successes in laying the foundation of the state. But further achievements appear to have been cut short by the brevity of his administration which paved way for a representative government of Alhaji Adetunji Isiaka Adeleke in 1992. In spite of this, however, it is important to observe that Col. Leo Ajiborisha was a significant factor in the early building, growth and development of Osun State.
COL. SEGUN LEO AJIBORISHA: A BRIEF PROFILE
As observed by the Nigerian Tribune , before 27th August, 1991, Col. Leo Ajiborisha never knew that outside his military career he would be saddled with the responsibility of building a state from the scratch. He was given this responsibility when he was named the pioneer Military Administrator of the newly created Osun State by General Ibrahim Babangida in his network broadcast on the radio and television on 27th August, 1991. Having been named thus, he was recalled from the United States where he had gone to attend a course on his military career. He was sworn in on 30th August, 1991, and assumed duty in Osogbo – the capital of the newly created state on 3rd September, 1991. Even though, the responsibility seemed very challenging, Col. Ajiborisha appeared to be endowed with the training and skills needed for the onerous task of building a new state. This is evident in his educational qualifications and military training before his appointment. More so, in the maiden speech of 3rd September, 1991, Col. Ajiborisha confirmed his readiness and inherent administrative skills needed to build the new state.
Significantly, then, a brief profile of Col. Ajiborisha will suffice.
Col. Segun Leo Ajiborisha, a native of Ibonwon, Epe, Lagos State was born into a Christian and royal family on 31st March, 1948. He had his primary education at St. Patrick’s Catholic School, Yaba between 1954 and 1966. He proceeded to Zumratul Islamiyah Grammar School, Yaba between 1964 and 1967. By 14th October, 1968, he was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna for military training. Three years later, he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on 13th March, 1971. As a way of improving on his training, Leo Ajiborisha attended courses on Telecommunication Engineering in Europe (especially United Kingdom) and the USA. While in the army, his brilliance and reliability earned him the number two (2nd) position in the Nigerian Army Signal Corps before he was appointed the 1st Administrator of Osun State. Indeed, Col. Ajiborisha had a successful career as a soldier before and after his appointment as an administrator in Osun State. In fact, he rose to the rank of a Major–General before he retired in 1999.
On his arrival at Osogbo on 3rd September, 1991, Col. Ajiborisha demonstrated to all and sundry the respect he has for culture and tradition by paying a courtesy visit to the Ataoja of Osogbo, Late Oba Iyiola Oyewale Matanmi III, at his palace, among other traditional rulers who he later visited. Although, he was confronted with the herculean task of securing a temporary site for the state secretariat, providing accommodation for the migrating civil servants from Ibadan, Oyo State to Osogbo, among others, he was very positive and proactive by applying logical steps into attaining the developmental set goals for the state. In his maiden broadcast to the people of the state, Col. Ajiborisha assured the people that the foundation of the state would be laid on a solid ground with the cooperation and participation of all. Below is the full text of his maiden address to the people of Osun State on 3rd September, 1991.
On Friday 30th August 1991, I was sworn in as the Military Administrator of our newly created state, Osun State by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Since then, I have been opportuned to have an in depth knowledge as to the type of gesture and hospitality that will herald in this administration.
Being my first address to you as the Military Administrator, therefore, I consider it most vital that I should start by thanking you most heartily for the very rousing welcome accorded me on my assumption of duty, and to assure you that I will do my utmost to provide a forthright, dynamic, dedicated and result achieving leadership during my short tenure of office. I will also live up to the essence and spirit of my oaths of office.
At this stage, I congratulate all of us on the creation of Osun State. It has gone a long way to fulfill our long awaited dream. However, I must be quick to mention that the Herculean task ahead of us demands team work to succeed, therefore, we need the active participation and cooperation of the entire Osun State citizenry, public servants, natural rulers, the business community, market women, rural and urban inhabitants, people in the academia, and, indeed, everybody because, in the final analysis, Osun State belongs to all of us and its failures and successes should be our collective concern.
There is no alternative; we have to make it a reality. This is very important when we consider the very short period available for the achievement of our goals and objectives.
I believe in an open-door form of administration because I cannot perform the wonders alone. It is therefore, necessary that people who have good ideas should come forward with such ideas and suggestions. On my part, I guarantee always ready access and attentive ears to positive and concrete suggestions and ideas.
As a means of having more intimate knowledge of our people in their various environments particularly those far removed from the lustier and glare of city life, I intend to undertake working visits to all the local government areas of the state within a couple of weeks from now.
Dear citizens of Osun State, before I end this address, I wish to appeal for loyalty, dedication, hardwork, resourcefulness, foresightness and cooperation from the entire citizens of our state.
We should individually and collectivelly, make a new resolve which will usher in efficiency, productivity, purposeful and results-oriented administration and also imbibe a culture of public accountability which will see our state compete favourably with other older ones in the nearest future.
BUILDING OSUN STATE: ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES
Unlike the other states created along with Osun, the choice of Osogbo as the state capital had its ample advantages. Osogbo by 1991 had functional telecommunication facilities and regular electricity supply. Water was also centrally located, while motorable roads and few manufacturing industries are located in the city. Moreso, Osogbo was centrally located with road networks leading to places like Ibadan, Ilorin, among others. In spite of this, however, the new state and its administrator had a short tenure and meagre fund to put the city and indeed, the state on a solid footing. Rather than being deterred, Col. Ajiborisha received his meagre take off grant of N30m from the Federal government with enthusiasm and determination to succeed.
One of the first steps taken by him was the setting up of a committee that worked out a master plan for the new State. The master plan identified the available infrastructure and new projects with where they should be located. The state building project was started by redeploying some of the Commissioners in the old Oyo State who were indigenes of Osun State to serve as Assistant Special Advisers with specific portfolio. The pioneer team consisted of members of his cabinet and Directors-General who assisted him in his day-to-day activities. Also, apart from making clarion calls to the citizens for voluntary provision of building for offices and accommodation, he chose to use the headquarters of the Olorunda Local Government as his take off office. One month salary advance was also given to the civil servants redeployed to the state in order to alleviate their financial burden and at the same time assist them to settle down. The salary advance was however converted to non-refundable grants by the civilian administration of Adeleke that succeeded Ajiborisha. The pioneer Executive Council is as follows:
• Col. Leo Segun Ajiborisha – Military Administrator
• Chief M. I. Aboaba – Secretary to the State Government and Head of Service.
• Mr Olusegun Ayinla Olajolo – Assistant Special Adviser for Justice
• Engineer A. A. Famuboni – Assistant Special Adviser for Information Social Development, Youth and Culture
• Lt. Col Paul Odediran (Rtd) – Assistant Special Adviser for Education
• Dr.Oluwole Onawumi – Assistant Special Adviser for Health
• Alhaja Silifat Adejoke Ajao – Assistant Special Adviser for Agriculture and Natural Resources
• Chief Ademola Sadipe – Assistant Special Adviser for Finance Commerce and Industry
The pioneer twelve Directors-General were:
• Mr.M. O. Ojedele – Finance, Commerce and Industry
• Mr Kunle Adeleke – Education
• Mr L. O. Dada – Health
• Pastor E. O. Omobowale – Lands and Physical Planning
• Mr A. O. Omojowolo – Agriculture and Natural Resources
• Mr F. O. Abiona – Local Government
• Mr G. A. Bamgboje – Establishments and Training
• Mrs M. O. Ayoola – Civil Service Commission
• Chief Mrs O. A. Adeniyi – Planning and Budget
• Chief E. O. A. Taiwo – Information, Social Development, Youth, Sport and Culture
• Chief Tony Osanyin – Political and Security
• Mr Femi Osunro – General Services
There are other pioneer principal officers, who worked with Col. Ajiborisha in the Executive Council that was inaugurated on 16th September, 1991. The Council held its first meeting this same day. Among these officers was Mr. Akinola Bamidele, formerly in the civil service of Oyo State, and an Assistant Director in Osun. In 1999, he was named Chairman/Sole Administrator, Odo-Otin Local Government, and in 2003, he was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Osun State Civil Service, a post he still hold till today. Others include Mr. Olufemi Adeleke, the Deputy Director and Mr. Oluwole Awobiyi, Director to the Executive Council. The staff strength of the civil service at inception was 10,587.
For effective administration, Colonel Ajiborisha and his Executive Council in this maiden meeting approved the division of Osun State into five zones. The zones were Osogbo Zone (Osogbo, Olorunda, Irepodun, Ede, Egbedore and Ejigbo); Ife Zone (Ife central, Ife North and Ife South); while Ilesha Zone consisted of Ilesha, Atakumosa, Oriade and Obokun. Other zones include Iwo which was made up of Iwo, Ola-Oluwa, Ayedire, Irewole and Ayedade, while Ikirun Zone consisted of Ifelodun, Boripe, Ila and Odo-Otin. Besides, he delineated the state into three Senatorial districts as approved in the 1989 constitution. The Senatorial districts were Osun 1, Osun 2 and Osun 3.
Within the four months of his administration, Col. Ajiborisha touched the lives of the people of the state through his populist programmes that cut across communication, agriculture, education, sports and youth development. He expended the sum of N12million naira on the renovation and procurement of radio and television equipment for the state’s broadcasting corporation. Indeed, his intervention can be said to have put Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC) on a solid foundation. Also, he made sure that the redundant Osun indigenes in the employment of Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) were absorbed.
As a result of the sudden increase in the population of the state due to migration of Osun indigenes from other states in the country, especially the capital city, the existing infrastructure and amenities became overused and thus inadequate. This gained the attention of the Col. Ajiborisha who responded by earmarking, for instance, the sum of N7.5 million for the rehabilitation of water scheme in the state as well as renovations of public buildings in order to forestall outbreak of disease or epidemic.
The Osun State government under Col. Ajiborisha established the Osun State Property Development Corporation (OSPDC) with its headquarters in Ile-Ife. The Corporation was saddled with the following main responsibilities, among others:
i. Development of estates in various parts of the state and provision of sites and services for residential, commercial and industrial purposes;
ii. Construction of modern dwelling houses at reasonable costs for sale to members of the public;
iii. Construction of offices, commercial and industrial buildings for letting out to members of the public, and
iv. Granting of mortgage loans to members of the public for the development of residential buildings.
Col. Ajiborisha seemed to appreciate the importance of human resources and its capacity for engendering growth and development in the state. For him, requisite skills, competence and necessary qualifications are not enough in building a virile and sustainable workforce for growth. It also depends on the ability of the management team to motivate and influence the workers. To this end, Col. Ajiborisha took various measures to enhance the capacity of industrial and labour unions in the state. This included constant dialogue with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) leaders and all affiliated bodies in the civil service (e.g. Nigerian Civil Service Union, the Agricultural and Allied Union of Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, etc.) on issues which bordered on accommodation, salary, pensions and other welfare packages. The Military Administrator, for instance, approved the adoption of two circulars for use in Osun State on the upward review of pension rate for retirees. In furtherance of this, a sum of N3, 694,956 was released to the Accountant-General of the state for the payment of arrears to pensioners as first instalment.
During the short tenure of Col. Ajiborisha as the Military Administrator of the state, he was able to lay the foundation for even development upon which subsequent administrations built. He encouraged development in the major towns of the state. For example, his administration sited the Osun State Property Development Corporation in Ile-Ife; Osun Water Corporation in Ede; Osun State Agricultural Development Projects at Iwo; Osun State Tractor Hiring Corporation in Ikirun; Osun State Broadcasting Corporation in Osogbo while the State Sports Council was at Ijebu-Jesa.
Col. Ajiborisha’s leadership quality was demonstrated in providing options in his master plan for the State. He had a clear picture and foresight on how to administer the State. This quality was exemplified in his recognition of small scale businesses and industries as constituting the bulk of indigenous enterprises and catalyst for the development of the state. Therefore in an attempt to promote agricultural production and ensure food security in the state within the short period of his administration, he established Osun State Agricultural Credit Corporation (OSACC) in line with (edict No.6 of 1986) as one of the parastatals supervised by the General Duties Department of the office of the Military Administrator of Osun State. The objectives of the Corporation are as follows:
1. To improve and develop Osun State farms by making it possible for the farmers to purchase new tools and inputs, improved seeds, livestock, fertilizer and to adopt improved farming methods. Self sufficiency or near self sufficiency in food and fibre production has been identified as a strong prerequisite for a credible economic take-off of a nation. In Osun State, the small holder farmers constitute the determinant of such self-sufficiency, investigations confirmed that these small-holders account for about 90 percent of the state farming population and are responsible for about 95 per cent of the aggregate food and fibre production in the state.
It was in view of the foregoing that the Osun State Government set up this corporation which had no objective in isolating these small holders as its major clients with the target of self sufficiency or near self sufficiency in food and fibre production. It was this group of farmers that was carefully studied by the corporation to determine its actual loan needs in relation to its absorptive capacity. Agricultural loans are therefore being made available to this group of farmers on this basis. And by making this loan available, they were able to purchase new farm equipment and tools like cutlasses, hoes, spraying pumps, shovels and diggers which are useful for land clearing and preparation. Fertilizers were readily given to farmers as loan in kind. Indeed, farmers were able to adopt and practice good and improved farm management. Other Objectives of the Corporation are:
2. To increase farmer’s income by providing credit with guidance in farms.
3. To make credit available to farmers at reasonable rates and terms within the farmers resources to accomplish the stated objectives; etc.
The credits made available by the corporation are concessionary and reasonable that they are within the farmers’ resources to accomplish better production for life. This corporation also engaged in soft and friendly loans for farmers. There were three categories of loan, namely, large holders, medium holders and small holders’ loans. The small holders were the major beneficiaries of the corporation’s loan for reasons of expediency. In fact, the orientation of the loans was service to the community. Thus, instead of concentrating the loans in few hands at low overhead costs, the allocation was state-wide and scattered with its implication of high overhead costs.
Indeed, it could be said that the Corporation (OSACC) achieved a lot in the rural communities. Its operations penetrated the grassroots and delivered goods to the rural populace who but for the corporation would have remained completely unaware of the government’s concern for their plight. Also, as a result of the role of the corporation which cannot be quantified in financial terms, the level of political participation improved since the peasant farmers considered themselves as direct beneficiaries of public resources and to continue to enjoy such benefits they had to participate in politics. While banks and other financial houses were completely remote from peasant farmers who constituted around 70 percent of the state population, the corporation’s loans were carried to them on their farms. As a result of the activities of the corporation in the rural areas, tension was reduced and the peasant farmers became recognized. They were able to send their children to school and afford essential facilities which made life more comfortable for them. The Corporation contributed to the community development efforts, thereby making the people to live in a better environment.
Similarly, Col. Ajiborisha reached out to the rural communities in infrastructural development. Soon after his assumption, he had meetings with heads of Local Governments who were quick to express their challenges in the rural areas. After conducting a walking visit to most of these communities himself, he wasted no time in giving his support for the revitalization and rehabilitation of various projects which are urgently in need of attention. Apart from granting the requests of some of the communities, he also disclosed that contracts for the construction of roads and water supply projects had been awarded. He also used that opportunity to appeal to the people to continue to live in peace and harmony while embracing dialogue in solving their differences.
Perhaps, it is also important to underscore the contributions of Col. Ajiborisha’s wife in the rural communities. By the time the administration of Ajiborisha began in Osun State, a programme known as the “Better Life for Rural Women” championed by the wife of the President, Mrs. Maryam Babangida had been in place. At the state level, the onus was on Mrs. Betty Ajiborisha who went straight into business. By 15th October, 1991, the Osun State chapter of the Better Life Programme was formally inaugurated with 20 members appointed into the committee. The objective of the Better Life Programme was “to sensitize government and indeed, private organizations to the useful role that women can play in our national development” . It is also intended to improve the standard of living of women to complement the efforts of their husbands at home and for the benefit of their children. Part of the activities of the Osun State Government for women was to establish a Centre for Women Development in Osogbo. Other future plans were to establish soap-making centres and food processing machines in areas where they would be useful in enhancing the production of staple foods.
As earlier mentioned, in the area of communication, Col. Ajiborisha facilitated the establishment of the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation. Following the creation of the State on 27th August, 1991, the redeployed staff of Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State moved to its temporary office located in some of the bedrooms at the Osun Presidential Hotel. Though about 194 staffers were affected by the movement, less than 25 per cent of them actively and permanently reported for duties due to lack of accommodation. The pioneers, who had reported at the Corporation’s major departments and various locations at Ile-ife, Ibokun, Iwo, Iree and Osogbo, comprised the top managers and some operatives poised at laying a solid foundation for the effective take off of the station. At inception, the following departments were established: Personnel, Finance and Supply Department; Commercial Department; Programme Services Department; News and Current Affairs Department; Planning, Research and Statistics Department; and Engineering Services Department.
In spite of the initial challenges encountered by the corporation, with the support of government, the corporation was able to secure an office accommodation at Osogbo. Work on the radio and television studio equipment ordered by government was delivered and installed without any delay. The radio service of the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation then started test transmission from its temporary studio at Ile-Ife. The performance of the studio was very impressive because of the adequate funding and support of Colonel Ajiborisha.
Sports and Youths development also gained the attention of Colonel Ajiborisha’s administration when on assumption of duty he established the Osun State Sports Council with its headquarters at Ijebu-jesa.. Five zones of the council were created for effective administration. The Zones were Osogbo, Ikirun, Ilesa, Ile-Ife and Iwo. The council took off with 97 pioneering staff with Mr. T. A .O. Onibokun as its Chief Executive. By 22nd October, 1991, the first historical state league began in Osogbo with four clubs and by 25th October, 1991, Colonel Ajiborisha inaugurated a 10 member board of the state sports council. The council had Mr. Onibokun as Director of Sports/Secretary. Also, it had on its list seasoned sports administrators, such as the former head coach (football) in the old Oyo State, Chief Onigbinde. The composition of the council was as follows:
• Chief O. B. A. Onigbinde – Chairman
• Mr. A.A. Babajide – Member
• Dr. P.A.Odumuyiwa – Member
• Mrs. Adeola Bello – Member
• Mr. A.A. Badmus – Member
• Mr. M.K. Afolabi – Member
• Mr. Olaniyi Areoye – Member
• Mr. Adun Amoo – Member
• Mr. Taiwo Ogunjobi – Member
• Mr. T.A. O. Onibokun – Director of Sports/Secretary
Following the inauguration of the council, by 14th November, 1991, the Council in turn inaugurated three associations namely: Athletics, Football and Table Tennis Associations. In spite of the poor state of the existing stadia in Ilesa and Osogbo, Ajiborisha administration laid the foundation for the sport development in the new state.
Development of human capital, of course, is central to development in all ramifications. This was one of the cardinal points of Col. Ajiborisha’s short administration when he put in place a solid ministry of education for the advancement of training in all the levels of the education sector. The Osun State Ministry of Education took off with a total strength of 537 officers and staff. The ministry was headed by an Assistant Special Adviser, Lt. Col. P.O. Odediran (rtd), and assisted by a Director-General, Chief Kunle Adeleke. The Ministry had three mandatory departments of Personnel Management; Finance and Supply; Planning, Research and Statistics, as well as six others as follows:
• Higher, Non-Formal and Special Education
• Science, Mathematics and Technical
• Curriculum Development and Evaluation
• Quality Control, and
• Implementation Task Force
In addition to the above was the Agency for Adult and Non-Formal Education set up in the Ministry of Education. Lastly, the state government opened three new government colleges to be sited at Osogbo, Ikire and Ejigbo, which of course took off early 1992. Two new science schools were also proposed to be opened in the state and sited in Ikirun and Imesi-Ile.
Apart from education, the issue of environment was another sector which received major impact of the Col. Leo Ajiborisha’s administration in the state. On 30th October, 1991, he inaugurated the state’s Environmental Protection Commission (OSEPCO) as a statutory organization that has a statewide responsibility for policy formulation and supervision of policy on environmental and ecological matters. Some other objectives of the Commission includes: conducting public enlightenment campaigns and dissemination of vital information on ecological matters and mobilizing the citizens for observance of environmental rules and safe environment; rendering advisory services and support to all local government councils in the state in the areas of flood control, solid waste management, ecological and sanitation matters; and to ensure a pollution free environment, land and water throughout the state. Among the pioneer board members of OSEPCO were Mr. Soji Ibikunle, Lekan Oyejide, Ademola Adesuyi, Muyiwa Oladimeji and Moshood Balogun Ibraheem.
Although Col. Segun Ajiborisha’s tenure was just four months, he succeeded in putting the young state on a solid footing with his exemplary leadership qualities, unalloyed commitment to duty, discipline and prudent management of meager resources. He was responsible for building various structures needed to facilitate the work of administration and governance in the state. Infrastructures and welfare pragrammes for workers and rural communities were also built. Indeed, the foundation laying programmes embarked upon by Col. Ajiborisha provided the template for future development of the state. It therefore positioned Osun state from the outset for greater height that would be cherished by every citizen of the state.