Hello <<First Name>>,
How was your week? Hope it was not as hectic as mine has been. We continue to give God glory for sparing our lives and helping us see each new day!
You must have read about my taking the COVID-19 vaccine. I wish I didn’t have to take it until everyone in Oyo State could be assured of a vaccine. However, as I have learnt, being a leader also means being the first to take vaccines to show everyone else that it is safe. Here is a photo of me taking the vaccine. As you can see, I have a low tolerance for physical pain :)
If you were one of those who received my welcome email, you would recall that I invited you to reply with anything you’d like me to talk about going forward. So, starting with my next email, I will begin to answer some of the questions I have received. You still have an opportunity to ask your leadership, governance or politics-related questions, and I will do my best to answer.
As I conclude my reading of “How to Think Politically: Sages, Scholars and Statesmen Whose Ideas Have Changed the World,” let me draw your attention to one of the contemporary thought leaders discussed in the book -
Martha Nussbaum. She is a moral philosopher who is called “the self developer” in this book. At the heart of her work is the role of emotions in political life. Her political philosophy is built around metrics that will ensure that each person has real opportunities available.
After reading about her, I quickly did an online search and found an interview she granted. Something she stated in that interview hit home. She said that there is a difference between fasting and starving. And when you think about it, one of the issues that we are facing in the Nigerian political sphere is that we give more priority to outcomes than to providing opportunities. In her words, “What is each person actually able to do and to be? What real opportunities are available to them?”
She calls it putting emotions into politics. I call it empathy. This is the question I ask each day as I head out to the office. It is this question that drives the decisions that I make. And because not many people think this way, I often run into conflicts with people who believe that they should get more access to resources because of our political affinity.
When I insisted that I would not ask traders to leave the streets until we have an alternative; or refused to enforce a total lockdown in Oyo State when other states thought it fashionable, and even the time I repeatedly said no one had a right to evict law-abiding residents of Oyo State out of their homes, it was because I understood that there is a difference between fasting and starving.
Every decision our administration has taken is in keeping with this principle. The economic prosperity of our people is hinged on opportunities. The role of government is to ensure that everyone has access to opportunities. When people are hungry, it should be because they have decided to fast and not because they are forced to starve.
I pray that April meets you well. We do not have enough vaccines to go round the state yet, but we are working hard to make this happen. I hope that those of you from Oyo State who are reading this continue to keep the faith. As I said last week during the envisioning session of the Oyo State Development Plan 2021-2040, everything we do in Oyo State will be FAITH based. I do not take that commitment lightly.
To round off this email, I ask that you continue to grow in FAITH-Fidelity, Accountability, Integrity, Transparency and Hardwork.