By: Tunde Adeyemo
I was not in Ogun State when the state was run under the able leadership of Aremo Olusegun Osoba, but his people-oriented programmes and rural development agenda, was often heard of in Lagos, where I resided then.
Though, as a young man growing up in Lagos, I was less interested in politics, hence, I didn’t pitch my tent -covertly or overtly – with any political party. Even in 1999, when the then Alliance for Democracy and the Peoples Democratic Party, slugged it out in their battle to govern Lagos, where I was based, I didn’t show any sign of interest.
Rather, I craved for good governance, particularly after years of military misrule. So, when Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, who emerged as Lagos governor in 1999, was espousing good governance, news of how Governor Osoba was arresting rural-urban drift, via his rural development programmes, was filtering to us in Lagos.
I further appreciated Osoba’s visionary leadership early this year, when I was searching for suitable expanse of land to begin Pelican-Brief Estate project, a subsidiary of our first Estate, Pelicanvalley.
As a budding entrepreneur with a bias for real estate, I began charting for land free from government acquisition, along Oke-Mosan,Kobape axis of the state capital, Abeokuta. The search, which I can describe as herculean, took me and my team into the interior, with about 34 different villages. This was to ensure that we escape the 1.5 kilometres government acquisition mark.
However, our search ran into a hitch when it was later learnt that the immediate past administration in the state had increased the acquisition mark in most of the areas. I was discouraged as I never intended to start the estate at a remote location, which would make access for my clients nearly impossible.
But lo and behold, after a painstaking search, we discovered a location where the proposed new Pelican-brief nestles presently. And to my astonishment, the community and the environs have electricity almost for 24 hours.
Apart from that, a road, though not tarred, but highly motorable, snaked around the communities. And investigation carried out by me revealed that the development was undertaken by Osoba’s administration between 1999 and 2003. I further talked to the villagers and they were full of eulogies for the former governor, stating that they barely felt governments presence since Osoba left office several decades ago. According to them, the provision of social amenities indeed stemmed migration of their youth to the city centre.
They also informed me that apart the above, realtors like me had besieged their villages for land. This news did not only stir excitement in me, but it quickly increased my respect and adoration for Chief Olusegun Osoba, a veteran cum successful journalist turned politician.
But when I asked the villagers that why then did they vote out such a performing governor when he sought reelection in 2003, they claimed ignorance, having been misled by the people in the city.
As a real estate developer, what former Governor Osoba did as a governor, is today giving a boon to my endeavour. The then rural and agrarian communities are today hotcake for developers, courtesy of the vision of the enigmatic Akirogun of Egbaland.
Today, Pelican-Brief is a prime choice for prospective home owners. The terminus of the FG’s Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan new rail project is within the reach of the estate. When the rail service becomes fully operational, residents of the estate can work in either in Lagos or Ibadan, without any hassle. Thanks to the foresight of Osoba.
So, as the Aremo Awujale clocks 81, Pelican Valley Nigeria LTD wishes him more years on the face of the earth. We salute the people’s man, a friend of rural communities and harbinger of socioeconomic development to the grassroots in Ogun.
Happy birthday, Baba Osoba, a consummate progressive political figure!