OPINION: Real Legacy In Jeopardy

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By Smart OFUGARA

The reverend name Chief Obafemi Awolowo is synonymous with Free Education as it became a successful policy for empowerment, enlightenment, and resources for advancing society and human potential.
It was such a cherished legacy that later generations of leaders embraced free education as it was good for the growth of society and the people.

Across the old Western region (now Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti,Ondo, Edo and Delta), the importance of free education was felt with the governors who governed these states between 1979 and 1983.

The names of those governors have been remembered and institutions have been named after them.

That is what legacy is all about.

The roles played by these leaders were felt by the people.
They addressed issues of their days with the knowledge and resources that were available to them.

They were not negative, their fences were low. In fact, their fences were made of šŸŒ± beautiful flowers šŸŒŗ .

During a discussion at a public forum, Professor Tomori wept before the nation. He told the story of how he left Ilesha as a young boy for secondary school in Ughelli under the care of the driver of the lorry that took him to Government College, Ughelli. A total stranger!

There was no kidnapping, loss of life, or dastardly act.
We had values for the sanctity of life. Everyone was his brother’s keeper.
We were happy as a people despite our differences in ethnicity.

In the journey of life and leadership, no one pays homage to the palaces, mansions and tombs where leaders are buried.

Only on rare occasions were visits made to the places where leaders are buried.

When leaders pass on to eternity, their deeds and legacies are discussed.

They are remembered for the impact they made in society and how it negatively or positively impacted the society they have led and left behind for future generations to inherit.

Until 1999, we had expressions of words such as austerity measures, structural adjustment program, belt tightening, securing our future.
These phrases were sold to the people to put them in check of the hardship that was ahead.
Yet, people went to work every mornings. Productions and services were carried out.

There were companies and multinationals employing people. Contractors and suppliers were busy scathing for businesses. Subcontracts were existing, schools were functioning at capacity and order was in society while relationships were built.

Politics was not a career. Neither were roles like SSA or PA regarded as forms of employment.

The legacy of the politicians who have led the nation from 1999 to 2023 will be remembered for the insecurity they successfully inflicted on our society.

These politicians will be remembered for aiding the evacuation of companies that existed and provided sources of livelihood to people.

They will be remembered for driving away foreign investors and companies.
They will be remembered for enhancing destructive tendencies in people whereby gangsterism became a norm to its highest levels.

They will be remembered for creating poverty rather than generating wealth for the people.

They will be remembered for not building upon the evolving society they met.

They will be remembered as a group of people who made society so insecure with their policies of incessant disruption of the norms and values that governed our society.

They will be remembered for failing to plan for the increase in population and projection associated with infrastructure.

They will be remembered for their myopic and narrow mindedness in governance.

They will be remembered as a group who made instability of prices for basic amenities to be out of the reach of the common man.

They will be remembered for failing to follow through with our development plans.

They will be remembered as people who built palatial mansions which they hardly slept in or homes where they became prisoners with the very high fences built to cover the beauty of these structures. Houses which will eventually be inhabited by cockroaches, reptiles and rats.

History will remember them for everything done to bring society down and for not striving to sustain systems of wealth and good governance which they were handed.

And I repeat, they will be remembered negatively and derided in no time.

Smart I. Ofugara