He noted that in Osun, the administration’s policies and programmes are driven by citizens’ needs, which were harvested during the Thank You Tour/Town Hall Meetings, where the people presented their yearnings and aspirations to the government.
The governor also said that the exercise was further validated by the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s (DFID) funded Citizens’ Needs Assessment exercise in Osun, adding that the administration would continue to harness the potentials of the state in the direction of Sustainable Development Goals for the betterment of the citizenry.
Oyetola spoke on Wednesday while receiving, on behalf of the state, the Overall Best State Development Award, from the Nigeria Africa Development Indicators Monitoring Foundation (NADIM), at Aurora Events Centre, Osogbo.
The governor, who described the landmark achievements recorded in the almost nine years of progressives’ government in the state as unprecedented, said he was determined to build on the good legacies of the previous administrations.
Represented on the occasion by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prince Wole Oyebamiji, the governor said the award is a challenge to the state to do more and that the administration would take the “gauntlet.”
Explaining his initial reluctance towards the award, Oyetola said “when I was told our state was due for an award, I was sceptical. How can a government that is less than a year old be adjudged the overall best in the country, beating states like Lagos, Edo, Anambra and even the FCT among others, I asked. What were the indices used? All these were some of the questions that ran through my mind.
“As a government, I know we are doing our best to provide good governance by continuing the transformation of Osun from where the last administration left off. But even at that I felt it was too early to begin to recognise us as the best performing state in the country. However, I felt relieved when I was told the award was based on our performances in the last five years. At that point, I concluded that we truly deserve the award as a state.
“It is, therefore, with a deep sense of humility and appreciation that I step forward on behalf of the Government and People of the State of Osun to receive this award of Overall Best State in Nigeria, from the Nigeria Africa Development Indicators Monitoring Foundation (NADIM).
“I understand that this Overall Best State in Nigeria Award is instituted to showcase the development templates and remarkable achievements of states on a competitive basis.
“The creativity and initiative of our personnel fetched us second position in the Federal Government-facilitated Save One Million Souls initiative of the World Bank in the Health Sector. Their cooperation and support for the state’s programmes in other critical sectors provided a strong basis for their successes.
“The ingenuity of our forefathers, the initiative of our successive leaders especially the immediate past governor and Interior minister, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the sweat of our people produced this award. This award belongs to all of them. I dedicate it to them accordingly,” Oyetola said.
Earlier in his remarks, NADIM founder and Vice Chancellor of Al-Hikmah , Prof. Taofeek Ibrahim, said Osun came first because it scored over 50 percent in 12 out of the 18 Development Performance Indicators used for the assessment.
He said the organisation embarked on development performance ranking with a conviction to ensure accountability, probity and responsible leadership.
“We are independent development monitoring agency that dwell into pace of development in each of the states. We deal with evidenced-based data. It is a project based on empirical analysis of data from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, and the online databases of the World Bank, World Health Statistics, Transparency International and the Social Progress Imperatives. The work is aimed at assessing and evaluating the development status of the 36 states of the federation and the FCT and African countries generally, to motivate transparency, accountability, responsible leadership and good governance,” the professor of Community Medicine said.