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Ogbeni strives daily to make Osun a typical Dubai - aide

As my direct boss, Ogbeni has been fantastic. He's a boss that uses every opportunity to interact with you to teach and coach.

He shared some intimate details about the governor and the administration in an exclusive interview with Pulse.

Can you share with us exact details for deciding to join the Rauf Aregbesola led cabinet when it is believed the tenure is almost over?

I joined the administration towards the end of May, 2017 and this administration will be handing over towards the end of November 2018. That gives us roughly 18 months to work. In governance, even one day is a lot.

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For a serious government there is a lot that can still be achieved in 18 months and so much is going on right now in the government of the State of Osun that makes my decision as well as that of my other colleagues to serve at this time an objective one.

Yes, we are on the last lap and in any relay race the last lap is the most significant. You can either win or lose at this stage and you can also turn a glaring loss into a win with the team that anchors the last lap or even set a world record of achievement.

The Governor made this very clear to all of us during the inauguration. And personally, i think this is team will prepare the ground for the next administration to hit the ground running. The State of Osun is in a hurry for rapid development.

We have a huge ground to cover and cannot afford to fumble and wobble under any administration after Ogbeni's. That sense of urgency must be there which makes this 12 months remaining very critical.

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Again, personally i would probably have joined even if it remained one month. It was an opportunity for me to enrol in a new school of public service. I was curious to feel how it works and not just analyse from outside and and based on ignorance of what obtains inside. And indeed, it's been an experience.

The third reason is that i saw the appointment as social service or community service. I believe we all need to serve our communities in one form or the other.

We need to give back whatever skill, experience or talent that the creator has blessed us with. I'm really happy to give back to my State and one I'm very proud to be a part of.

Sometimes, it hurts, sometimes it’s inconveniencing and not as comfortable as where one is coming from but in the spirit of service one would ignore the pains. It's sacrifice. That's what my faith teaches me. The most important thing for me is the attitude and objectives for serving.

As the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Service Productivity, Efficiency & Due Process, how will you rate your principal in terms of infrastructure, maintenance and governance?

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It's not just from the perspective of the office that i would rate Ogbeni. I will like to rate him first as my boss and leader, second as the Governor of State of Osun which is my home State and third as a student of leadership development.

As my direct boss, he's been fantastic. He's a boss that uses every opportunity to interact with you to teach and coach. I find that very, very interesting. Before i joined his team, of course i have heard that he talks a lot. But on getting in, I see there's a huge difference between talking and teaching or coaching.

Perhaps those who concluded that he talks a lot don't appreciate the value in teaching and coaching. I have learnt a lot of history, science, politics, religion and even culture from him and at every opportunity to sit with him whether at EXCO meeting, in the bus, at events where he has to speak. A teacher must talk and I'm very much at home with that. I try not to miss any event he would be on account of this.

As the Governor of the State of Osun he has been excellent and I think the entire people of the state, especially the well meaning people, the real Omoluabis should be eternally grateful that someone like Ogbeni came to serve the State at the time he did. He's God sent.

I had reviewed his programmes and policies before i joined his team and done further reviews as a participant in government and i can see the transformative vision he has for the state as well as the urgency for development.

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For him, it's his desire for the entire state to come to par with Dubai in the shortest possible time. Unfortunately, it's difficult for visionless people to see this commitment or appreciate his vision. His 6 point integral action plan is a masterpiece anyday and it's the starting point if we desire to catch up with the rest of the developed world.

It's a process that must continue and must be replicated in the South West in particular for what is happening in Osun to be sustainable and the meagre resources not stretched in the future.

The developed world have been able to banish poverty and hunger from their societies as much as possible.

This is why they can have credible elections not induced by money. They have been able to banish unemployment and that is why their best come into politics and there are no hoodlums to employ to cause violence in the society.

They have been able to restore healthy living and that is why they have highly productive populace and low mortality rate. That is why they would be shocked to hear that a citizen died of some avoidable ailments. They have instituted functional education that develops the mind and the intellect.

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This is one of the reasons you can find in such societies under 40s leading as president or prime minister. This is why they are conquering the world and dominating it. The last on the 6 point integral action plan is to promote communal peace and progress.

It is because of the peaceful nature of such developed societies that we are eager to travel there for holidays and why many would take risks at any cost to want to live there. These are some of the issues that Ogbeni's administration has tried to institute in the State with many of his policies which are costing the state a lot because of the historically low revenue. But these things must be done for the sake of the masses.

They are the starting point towards our being certified as real human beings and not some contraption. Osun is adjudged to be one of the safest states in Nigeria. The huge investment in education infrastructure is towards breeding the sharpest minds in the world from here in no distant future. The ongoing infrastructure development is towards making the State investment ready and therefore creating jobs.

Nobody wants to go and invest huge sums of money in some rusty, sleepy, unconnected society. The concessioned MKO Abiola Airport will create jobs in thousands and expose our tourist centers to the world. It will also boost agricultural exports.

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The social welfare programmes are the first step towards reducing poverty and hunger. The very old people are being paid some allowances to keep body and soul together.

One can go on and on. Ogbeni has laid a very solid foundation to be candid and I'm talking now as an analyst. He's been excellent.

As a student of leader development, I will describe Ogbeni as a  transformational leader. There are very few leaders in the history of Nigeria who have ever displayed the ability to think beyond the next election and think 50 years ahead.

This is how far sighted he is with his vision. It is only when our leaders start thinking this way that we can start making meaningful progress as a country. Ogbeni is a highly cerebral person. I honestly thought i was but working with me has challenged me to read more and think deeper.

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I must not fail to mention however that he's one leader whose achievements have been grossly understated either mischievously or out of crass ignorance by his traducers. His very lofty programmes have also not been understood by many because we have lived in the dark age for far too long and therefore used to inhuman situation in a modern era and stomach infrastructure.

As a people we must make conscious effort to change this. It will be extremely difficult to match his achievements and I don't think it is a standard that any other party in the State can get close to. Ogbeni understands why he's a leader and totally connected to the purpose God has made him to lead the State.

You are a Christian, how well have you been tolerated by Gov Aregbesola, who's perceived a Muslim fanatic?

Hahahaha! First, I'm a practicing Christian of the Anglican faith and not Catholic. Somewhat similar. I don't consider the word "fanatic" as correct to describe a man who is totally committed to his faith and absolutely devoted to his God.

From my own interaction with him, he has absolute respect for other people's choices on religion. He's tolerant of all faiths and that is the mark of a genuine leader. I have seen and heard him sing hymns and praise worship songs. I don't think the man I work with can be so described as a religious fanatic. That's the wrongest description.

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Religion has never been an issue in his interaction with me or anyone that I know. I don't even think it's in his consideration when taking a decision. I stand to be corrected but I think we have more practicing Christians in this cabinet than moslems. I am also aware that one of his blood brothers is not just a Christian but a pastor and they have the best of relationships. A good number of people I imagine are his buddies are christians.

It's in the nature of weak people to qualify others just to get an advantage or put them in bad light. I appreciate him because he's devoted to his faith and unpretentious about it. Nigeria would be a lot better, it would be paradise if just 20% of us are so devoted and tolerant.

From corporate world of banking to providing solutions for corporate organisations and now politics, would it be correct to say this has given you a platform to build for yourself a political foundation?

Hmmmmm! A political foundation? If my interpretation of this question is right i would say i don't have any plan to build any political foundation. Yes, i aspired to be a federal lawmaker sometime in 2012 but i have since moved on from that aspiration. That aspiration was borne out of the desire to contribute to the development of this country that I am very passionate about  and in particular be of service to my home community by using my position to bring attention and development but i have since restrategised to be useful through other medium. I know how much it set me back financially and thunder shouldn't strike twice. I also know i would have been a damn good lawmaker that the black race would be proud of.

Somehow, it didn't happen. I have since moved on. I have however learnt a lot in this short period of being closer to the larger people, the real people, being part of a government and being deeper in the political process. I have learnt what can never be thought in school. That experience should come in really handy in whatever i desire to do henceforth. I have also learnt quite a lot on political relationships and the supremacy of the political party in a multi party democracy. I have seen the difference between politics and governance as seen on TV or read in newspapers and politics and governance as practiced. Now, when I read social media analysts and commentators i just laugh. I have moved from taking them serious and getting worked up to finding them amusing. You just can't think you are correct on what you haven't felt but have only seen or heard about.

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What i cannot change my mind about is the need and desire to serve the community in the best way i can, leveraging on my education, my exposure, my network and my passion. That is unchangeable. It does not have to be through any political foundation as you called it. Our people need us to uplift their lives and make it more meaningful. However we can do it let us do it in our collective interest.

I cannot but thank Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola for this invaluable opportunity. It has been an experience i cherish. Many people may think I lobbied for it. I have told those close to me that i never did. I was not jobless. From nowhere i got a call to come and serve. I could never have imagined i was on his radar for any reason. I weighed the cost and the benefit of leaving my family, my business and my friends and associates. The cost is huge, so so huge. The benefit of serving the people and contributing to development is of great appeal even if it's not financially commensurate with the cost. And the recognition of being chosen to serve out of the over 4 million citizens of the State of Osun both home and abroad complements the emotional satisfaction of community service. It's not been easy i must say. I have had to adjust on some issues.

Community service and the recognition are more important than any platform to build any political foundation, which clearly is not in my agenda.

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