Friday, September 21, 2012

The compassionate state
Compassionate Governor
By Sam Omatseye
Before he became governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola always let the world know that he was a communist. That is yesterday’s ideology, even if North Korea and Cuba still latch on to the fragile and terminal gasps of the idea.
Yet students of history know that communism saved capitalism after the Second World War. The welfare state enjoyed a rebirth when countries, especially those in Europe lying prostrate after the conflagrations, kindled a romance with the idea Marx and Lenin wrought. The liberal canons of democracy and free market became lost in the cloud when the ordinary citizen craved the heres and nows of food and shelter.
The West, including the United States, strengthened the social buoy of the poor and vulnerable although the idea dated back to the years of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the 19th century. That way, the countries kept the communists on the fringes while the Soviet Union glamorised the fantasy in the so-called Third world with champions like Cabral, Ortega, Lumumba and Castro.
Yet, the capitalists could not deny the idea of compassion for the poor. You cannot joy in the spoils of capitalism while the poor gnashed their teeth. In The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad observes that the condition for luxury and opulence is security.
Long before either capitalism or socialism became organized ideas, Shakespeare expressed the philosophy of compassion in his play, Coriolanus: “that distribution undo excess and each man have enough.”
What Ogbeni is practising in the State of Osun is not communism, but the beginnings of what the Western countries did to save their system: protecting the vulnerable.
In his world, the vulnerable are those in the underbelly of a rabid capitalist system. They are the old who cannot earn any more money, the young and old who cannot get healing, the children too poor to afford books and food at schools, the disenfranchised business person who cannot get seed money to pursue the dreams of independence. They are the people whom Abraham Lincoln referred to as the reason for government: those who cannot stand well on their own.
I had an opportunity to sit as an observer at the state of Osun’s executive council recently and observed the essence of his style. The meeting lasted about eight hours, and two main commissioners were asked to present their stewardships in the past two years. One of them impressed me: the deputy governor who also doubles as the commissioner for education, Titilayo Laoye-Tomori.
Its uniform and feeding projects in schools were the most telling. As Laoye-Tomori showed in her power-point presentation, in the past year the inflow into schools had leaped from between 25 percent and 30 percent. The students would now have school uniforms, spinning an industry and a jobs spur that locals are taking advantage of to tailor and provide the uniforms all over the state.
This narrative is touching in that education is perhaps the greatest driver of development in the modern world. American dominance has been attributed to education as the supreme driver. The world we know today is American, whether it is the car, airplane, the internet, the cell phone, the ipad, the movie, the suburb, the radio, television, the electric bulb, etc. They did it because they drove innovation. It is a country that makes things because it knows things. The thousands of children in Osun who are abandoning idleness at home and on the streets for school are witnessing the greatest liberation: of the human mind.
At one stage at the meeting, when he referred to the ambitious education programme, he burst into a Sunny Ade song “aiye nreti eleya mi o…”. He stood up in his characteristic soulfulness and some of his executives wafted along with him. It was a song of irony. It meant his detractors were waiting for his failure, but it was also a caution to his team not to disappoint. It costs N30 billion, the biggest project in the country.
The tablet of knowledge, a computer that would have all the lessons and books for the students is a new thing, and the deputy governor said it was close to readiness. I anticipate that as it combines modernity with the potential for commerce and jobs.
The other point of compassion is Agba Osun, and it is not its N10, 000 a month to elders that so touched me as the medical system that provides treatment to the vulnerable, especially the elderly and handicapped, in their homes. This cannot work without having all of them in a data base, and the young of the OYES programme built the data base. This is what the youth are doing but interlopers, in their willful ignorance, said they are militias for secession. The state has obviously a mobile medical system where communication between the deprived and the caregiver is streamlined. It is not perfect, and I am not sure everyone has enjoyed this even if the government is impressed with what it has done so far. I recall, too, that in the number of intakes in schools, the deputy governor’s figures were questioned in one of the districts, if for a negligible discrepancy.
What is being done for the elderly in terms of free healthcare in some states, like Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, will help improve life expectancy. But personalised care in Osun raises the stakes.
A peep into his style was his conversation with permanent secretary. Ogbeni had accused the ministry of not making an input into the education programme. It is a tribute to his open-mindedness that the permanent secretary was at ease to lash back in her courteous way. She said they actually offered their proposals but the governor did not implement. It turned out she was right. But ever the irrepressible Ogbeni with his tuft of beard, lean face, eyes alert, he asked the ministry to express the ideas and they were debated. I learnt that the Aregbesola administration in less than two years has convened more executive meetings than the seven and a half years of Oyinlola’s Gestapo era.
After the U.S. won the war of independence, Jefferson accused President Washington of apostasy for creating an elite society with Alexander Hamilton when he set up institutions for a strong federal state. This tension led to the birth of the two-party system with Jefferson breaking away from the Federalists to form the Republicans that protected the weak. That tension exists today with those who believe that anyone who is poor and fails is necessarily lazy. Philosopher Herbert Spencer says welfare institutionalises indolence. From the droves of children going to school in Osuns now, we know that is not true.
It takes an Ogbeni to prove that.
Culled From THE NATION newspaper
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Posted by admin on Sep 17 2012. Filed under AFRICA, EDITORIAL, FEATURE, FOR THE RECORDS, Front Page Story, NEWS, News Across Nigeria, PHOTO GALLERY, POLITICS, South West News, X-RAYS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

olayiwola Tayo
September 17, 2012 – 4:04 pm
This is good omen for the state of Osun. But to make these program last, the State should establish all these in bill passed by the State Assemble and signed by the governor. The things that make other nation great is the laws and order. It will be difficult once the program is base on the law of the land for anyone to comeby abolish it.

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  1. Velma Watson Says:

    This is a great piece and I am moved to know that the governor is doing wonderful things for the children, who will become the future political icons of Nigeria. Yes, Education is the key, which will aid in helping the poor, tired, and hungry become rested, fed and some how get training for jobs to support themselves. However, we must take care of the old ones and the children. We are all our brothers and sisters keepers, but so many look down on those who are poor. Our spiritual path teaches us to help those who need help, but we must pray to be shown who, when, and how to help, as the Devil sends those to rob, steal, divide, and conquer, when you think you are helping somebody in need….

  2. velma watson Says:

    This is an excellent piece and I am going to forward to you the email I got regarding Dole Company and how they did the Nigerian People to have their way. Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2012 12:50:50 +0000 To:

  3. velma watson Says:

    Hi, just sent an email to the governor’s plan in Nigeria and this was sent to us to sign. Thought this needed to be placed with the work of the governor…..

    Subject: The banana murders


    Voodoo Teachings: The Great Sun – By- Nwa-Amadi Omeife

    The Sun

    Anya-anwu na agbala

    Eze-enu, Okasi akasi



    That is to hail him by his true names being:

    the light and the spirit,

    the king of the heavens, the Almighty

    the omniscience and omnipotent


    African traditional cosmogony recognizes the potency of the Sun, as the creator force that is seen in the material form.

    Just like its earlier expression in Egypt, the Sun is the symbol of life and the God. In Khemit, the Sun was know by various names notably Ra. Voodoo as is found in modern Africa venerates the Sun by several praise names some of which are listed above.

    In this solar system, African spirituality recognizes the planets as the original gods and goddesses. The earth is a goddess; the mother of all that lives and thrives on its surface. Existence was originally made for the benefit of the planets, humans and animals are secondary to this main objective.

    The Sun is the essence of life. It is the chief of this solar system. It is the head god that is seen with the naked eyes. The Sun is the giver of life. It is also the giver of warmth and light. There could be no life on earth except for the light and warmth of the sun.

    Before a seed can come to life there must be the following forces: light, warmth, earth, and water. When these four forces penetrate the seed and combine with each other inside that very seed then live sprouts. Thus life can be defined as a combination of matter (seed), and the four forces of existence light, warmth, earth and water.

    Those forces are not “non-living beings” as we have been taught as elementary school students. These forces are the fount of life. Therefore they must be alive.

    A devotee that seeks with humility will learn the wisdom of life. Wisdom reveals the true reality of life to the mind. A humble and sincere liver of life must then give thanks and praises to the forces that giveth him life and delightful experiences.

    A true scientist will honour that which by factual verification is directly responsible for his nourishment and his joy.

    The planet earth gives rise to humans. The planet earth provides nourishment and joy for its children. The planet earth fills our daily experience with beauty and activity. Upon expiration the planet earth receives our bodies and regenerates our substance.

    The Sun is the originator of the solar system. It is the father and the mother of the earth and all the other solar system planets which it holds in its magnetic and loving embrace. The Sun sheds the energy and the solar radiation which keep the planets existing forever in this spatial reality.

    The Sun blows the wind that we breath, the Sun makes the waters to come and to go, the Sun shines the light that gives life and joy, the Sun sends the warmth that gives love and all comforts, the Sun is the creator and the sustainer of all life.

    If one can express true and simple gratitude for life and love, one must express gratitude to the causes and the sources of life and love – the Sun and its planets. As Akhenaten the King of Khemit chanted to Aten, the Sun saying:

    Hymn to the Aten

    Your dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,
    O living Sun, creator of life!

    When you set in the western horizon,
    Earth falls into a deathly darkness.
    People sleep in chambers, heads covered,
    oblivious of the world,
    the possessions in their head stolen.
    Every lion comes forth from its den,
    the serpents sting.
    Darkness reigns,
    earth is silent,
    as their maker rests in heavens.

    Earth brightens when you rise in the horizon,
    when you shine as Aten of daytime.

    As you cast your rays,
    the Two Lands are in festivity.
    Awake, the people are on their feet.
    Cleansed and clothed,
    their arms adore your appearance.

    The entire land sets out to work,
    The beasts browse on their herbs,
    trees and plants nourish.
    The birds fly from their nests,
    their wings greeting you,
    as the sheep frisk on their feet,
    and the insects utter.

    All live when you dawn for them.
    Boats travel north and south,
    and roads lie open when you dawn.
    The fish in the river leap up before you,
    your rays are in the midst of the sea.

    You are the one who makes the seed in men,
    who feeds the son in the mother’s womb,
    who soothes him that he may not weep,
    a nurse even in the womb.
    You give him breath when he is born,
    you open his mouth in speech.

    When the chick in the egg cries in the shell,
    you give him breath to sustain him.
    You have perfected him
    to break out from the egg,
    chirp and run around on his two feet.
    Your works are manifold,
    though hidden from sight,

    O One Aten, beside whom there is no other.
    You created the world as you wished,
    you alone
    all people, herds, flying creatures,
    the reckoning of their days.

    You make the heavens
    to see your creation.
    You make the beauty of form,
    through yourself, alone.
    You are in my heart,
    there is no other who knows you.

    Save your son, Akhenaten.
    You have taught him your ways,
    your might.
    The world is in your hand,
    you are duration,
    beyond mere limbs.

    Man lives by you,
    and eyes look upon your beauty.
    You established this world
    for your Son,
    who came from your body,
    the King, the Lord of the Two Lands,
    and Nefertiti, chief wife,
    living and youthful forever.

    See also, Psalm 19 and 104 of the Old Testament.

    In other philosophies, one hears how this avatar brought light, or how this saviour showed enlightenment. Yet, we all know that the Sun is the only source of true light and enlightenment literally speaking. Due to the other dimensions and radiations of the energy waves of the Sun, we are also aware that it is the true giver of mystical enlightenment.

    When one sees the Sun above, one sees the Almighty. Ye have all heard about the existence of “the God” above the Sun, but know ye verily also that the existence of the God really lives in the Sun. Beauty, bliss, and brilliance are the transcedental qualities attributable to God shinning in the Sun.

    African spirituality teaches that we all live in the palace of the Almighty. We all exist in the temple of the Lord. When this is clear to the mind, much reverence is directed to the true One.

    When due reverence and love is given to the true father and the mother, true love and grace will descend. When one calls on the One that is true, real and almighty, one ascends from the level of childish ignorance and foolish ideology to the heights of true realistic existence.

    When one calls on the true and living Sun, one gets an instant answer.

    Blessed is she who calls on the Sun, for she will get all that she seeks.

    This is why the Psalmist sang in Psalm 19th (edited):

    1 The heavens declare the glory of the Sun;
    the firmaments proclaim his handiworks.

    2 Day after day they uttereth speech;
    night after night sheweth knowledge.

    3 There is no speech or language
    where their voice is not heard.

    4 Their voice goeth out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world proclaiming that:

    In the heavens the Sun has pitched a tent for the light.

    The Sun:

    5 The Sun is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
    it is the Lord rejoicing in its works.

    6 It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is hidden from its heat.

    7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
    reviving the soul.
    The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.

    8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
    The commands of the LORD are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.

    9 The love of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever.
    The ordinances of the LORD are sure
    and altogether righteous.

    10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
    they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the comb.

    11 By them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

    12 Who can discern his errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.

    13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
    Then will I be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.

    14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my Sun, my light, my Rock and my Redeemer.

    May we all chant the most sacred name of the Sun, as was given to us by our African ancestors, in Kush, in Khem and in Guinea…Amen-Ra!!! For whosoever loves the Sun and chants the name of Amen-Ra on a daily basis, with love and reverence, shall witness the light in his/her life.

    Stay Blessed. Amen-Ra!!!

    Nwa-Amadi Omeife Jideofo

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