Good governance entails the imbibing of the spirit of being faithful to political covenants made with the voters and being responsive to the genuine yearnings and aspirations of the people by the driver of a given polity.
It is also a culture of sieving the best out of criticisms and advice, no matter where they emanate from, as long as the advice or suggestion will bring about a positive turn-around to any situation and change the society for the better.
When the Tourism Magazine crew of Tribune undertook a tour of the Olumirin Waterfall, located in Erin – Ijesa, State of Osun a while back in May, 2012 and published an exclusive report with the headline, “Olumirin waterfall, Erin – Ijesa, despoiled, neglected, yet fantastic” on Wednesday 9 May, 2012, nobody believed that piece of revelation would have an impact immediately on the subject matter.
Reading the piece, the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola rose up to the challenge thrown by the newspaper and directed his Commissioner for Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Sikiru Adetona Ayedun to commence work on the enhancement of the waterfall which was then an eyesore.
Months after this directive was given and nothing seemed to be going on at the site of the waterfall, another story was done calling the attention of the Governor to the fact that his directive on the Olumirin waterfall was being marooned inside the cock- pit of bureaucracy and red tapeism.
Repeated visits to the fall in the subsequent months gave no indication that something worthwhile was coming from the stable of the government to the fall.
But that seemed to be the end of a grim story of Olumirin waterfall as a chance visit to the site early last week exposed the new colour of things to come as initiated and being religiously carried out by Governo, Mr. Aregbesola.
Though the road that leads to the site remains as it was, which suggests that nothing was being done there, but the sign of good days and orderliness was noticeable at the entry gate to the site which is being efficiently manned by officers of the State Tourism Board who interacted cautiously, issued tickets and directed us to a parking lot.
Also, the poorly produced A4 papers pasted on some trees on which certain behavioural expectations were listed for the tourists added to the impression that things are definitely looking up at Olumirin.
Testifying to the seriousness of the projects were several loads of gravel, sands, granite stones and workmen ferrying them upward the fall.
And the wretched steps which lead to the fall are being touched though poor in reflecting the spirit of the moment.
The steps are being fixed with rails though of strong quality, but bereft of any attractive design while some art works which bear no relevance to the history of the fall or offer inkling of one’s expectation to see and painted on cheap flexi which would submit to the pandering of the elements as soon as possible have been fixed on rocks, ridges and trees just to show you that good times are here for Olumirin.
All these notwithstanding, the effects of the enhancement are visible. Waste bins are all over the place. Construction works are steadily going on as the staircase heading to the seven floors of the fall is being planted firmly as tourists, fun seekers, town folks and visitors all raised their voices commending the vision of the Governor; Mr. Aregbesola on Olumirin Waterfall.
Hundreds of picnickers who stormed the popular Olumirin Waterfall in Erin Ijesa during the festive period tasked the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Aregbesola to hasten the ongoing development of Olumirin Waterfall and ensure that it is internationally standardised.
Though they lauded Ogbeni Aregbesola on the ongoing work on the site and described it as a preliminary stage which needed to be seriously improved upon to make the site a good tourist destination.
Several fun seekers bared their minds in a chat. One of them was Mr. Abiodun Awe.
According to him, “ I am happy seeing this kind of development going on here , the staircase being constructed will afford people the opportunity to climb to the top of the fall which is the seventh layer, the art works are also good attraction, but they should improve on them in term of quality and theme. I was at Singapore last year where I saw a resemblance of this, things can be made to be like what we see outside the country. I see what Ogbeni Aregbesola is doing here as a step to greater things to happen here and a way of making the presence of government felt on the site.
And I am hoping to see a cable car, relaxation centre, restaurant and safety place that can guarantee visitors total enjoyment at this site. But with the way things are on here, Governor Aregbesola is doing it well.”
Funmi Rotiba an international tour operator specialising in packaging inbound and outbound tour said, “the site is a wealth pot for many . I am happy that Governor Aregbesola has hearkened to the voice of reason and distinguished himself from those before him by his commitment to develop this wonderful site. I am elated and happy for the development, if past administrations had been taken this kind of steps, this place would have been better than this, but now that the governor is taking a good step at repackaging Olumirin Waterfall, he needs to be lauded.
However, there are other things that needed to be available here to attract tourists.”
Also, Vincent Orimogunje one of the picnickers who came with the tourists band from St. Benedict Catholic Church, Oloruntumo, Apata, Ibadan, said: “the government of the State of Osun should be commended for the ongoing development on the site. I urge Governor Aregbesola to also consider repairing the road which leads to this site as it needs a better accessible road, and other facilities that will not only attract people to this site, but also will boost the economy of the town and the state at large.”
Sulaimon Olusoji who came in company of picnickers from Ayepate Baptist Church, Oyo, has this to say: “Governor Aregbesola has tried so much. I think he has started well here, unlike before, when visitors could not go beyond the basement, but now, you can see people climbing the stairs to the last layer of the fall. I only want to advise the governor to ensure hastening up of the project and do quality job that will be sustainable.”
Bola, who operates a container make shift shop at the site of Olumirin Waterfall said:
“When they first started coming here off-loading sands, gravels and granite, we thought it was going to be as usual, but later we discovered that the government is serious about transforming this place and we are happy about it.
This development has boosted trading activities here and we have resolved to co-operate with the government of the State of Osun and pray for its success on this one. We know that if the government eventually gets it right, there will be economic improvement in the town.
About seven photographers were seen doing business, making money and encouraging tourists to spend more. One of the cameramen simply identified as Sunday said “Well, this is my own dividend of democracy. I am praying to God to help Governor Aregbesola to complete the project. I will be counted as one of the big boys in this town and state.”
Definitely, a new dawn, a brightly light vista has been kindled for the hitherto parlous, neglected, sordid and stinking yet fantastic Olumirin Waterfall, located in Erin–Ijesa, State of Osun by Governor Aregbesola.
•Culled from NIGERIA TRIBUNE