State of the States: Osun State – THEWILL NEWS MEDIA

October 24, (THEWILL) – There are concerns that Nigeria’s Worsening revenue challenge may escalate into a financial implosion, with the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (sub-nationals), being the worst hit. The situation is aggravated by the nation’s escalating public debt stock (now over N35 trillion). The debt stock comprises domestic and external loan obligations of the Federal Government and the sub-nationals.
With over 70 percent of the nation’s revenue committed to debt servicing annually, governments at all levels are struggling to survive. There is little left for capital budget, pay salaries  and undertake other priorities to grow the economy. Moreover, there is a limit to which the people and corporates could be taxed. Yet, profligacy and waste take the centre of our governance space while frugality assumes the back seat.
As such, the sub-nationals are hemorrhaging huge resources in paying salaries and other emoluments of a bloated bureaucracy. To survive, they are urged to diversify their revenue base, embark on aggressive internally generated revenue (IGR) and depend less on the shrinking federal allocations.
The purpose of the State of the States project, is to present evidence-based alternatives. These include avenues for the sub-nationals to become more viable and less dependent on the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) – referred to as  Abuja handout.

State of the States, a bi-weekly publication, features two states per edition. It endeavours to unearth hidden treasures in each state and ascertain,  through consultations and evidence-based survey, areas of comparative advantages and economies of scale. The publication will show-case, in no exaggerated terms, the socio-economic status of each state and highlight the opportunities and threats.
Furthermore, State of the States will examine existing realities that hinge on sector-specific areas of competitive advantage – Agriculture, Tourism, Transportation, Education and Skill Acquisition, Wellbeing and MSMEs.  Ultimately, the project seeks to create the desired spotlight on the sub-nationals to motivate them to venture into something different for better results.
We have featured Lagos and Ogun, Kwara and Kogi, Anambra and Enugu, Benue and Taraba, Kebbi and Sokoto, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.
This week periscopes Osun and Ekiti.
Osun State was created in 1991 from the old Oyo State. It’s capital and most commercially active city is Oshogbo. Osun is bounded on the north-east by Kwara State, on the east by Ekiti and Ondo States,  on the south by Ogun State and Oyo on the west and northwest. The Yoruba Hills run through the northern part of the territory. It has a covering of tropical rain forest with River Osun as the most important river in the area.

The state’s economy is mainly driven by agriculture. Major crops cultivated in Osun include yams, cassava (manioc), corn (maize), beans, millet, plantains, cacao, palm oil and kernels, and fruits. Cottage industries produce brass works, woven cloth, wood carvings, pottery and cloth dying.  Oshogbo has a textile industry, a food-processing plant and a steel-rolling mill.
Local government:  30
Land area: 3,572sq mi.
Population:  4.536million @ 2019
Registered businesses: 1,006
Public Primary Schools: 1,690 circa
Public Secondary Schools: 695 circa
University: (10) Federal – 1, state – 1, private – 8.
Polytechnic: (7) Federal – 1,  state – 1, private – 5.
College of Education: (5)  State-1, private-4
College of Agriculture:(2) State -1, private – 1.
Nursing School/Health & Science: (3)  Federal- 1, state-1, private-1.
Technical School: (4) Federal -1, state 2, private-1.
Total Revenue: N50.29bn  @ 2020
Total tax: N11.44bn @ 2020
IGR: N19.66bn @ 2020 (39.11% of total revenue)
FAAC:  N30.62bn @ 2020 (68.89% of total revenue)
Domestic Debt: N134.11bn @ 2020
External Debt: $107.44m @ 2020
Unemployment rate: 11.65@ 2021
Mineral Resources 
Gold, talc, feldspars, cassiterite, columbite, granite, mica, iron ore, kaolin, tourmaline, aquamarine. Although not all these are of economic quantity, they have led to further discoveries of other minerals.
Tourism Potential
The numerous tourists’ attractions in the state include: The Ooni of Ife’s Palace, Ile-Nla; Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, also known as the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Woodland; Erin Ijesha Waterfalls; Moremi Statue; Osun-Osogbo Festival and Obatala Centre for Arts.
Tourism Cocoa Cultivation & Processing
Others are  Oba Hills Forest Reserve; Opa Oranmiyan; Owala Dam; Olumirin Waterfalls; Ayinkunugba Art Gallery, Oshogbo; National Museum, Ile-Ife; Natural History Museum, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Ayikunugba Waterfalls, Oke-Ila.
On the list also are Yemoo Pottery Museum, Ile-Ife; Niki Art Gallery; National Art Gallery, Oshogbo; Mbari Arts Centre, Oshogbo; the palaces of Yoruba rulers in Ilesha and  Ile-Ife; Dharmiecoal Textile and Art gallery in Oshogbo and African Hermitage Gallery, Oshogbo.
Three-Window Development
The Osun State Government is pursuing a three-pronged development approach centred on tourism, agriculture and mining. It has accelerated a programme on tourism development as a major source of revenue. Its historic location and heritage offers a window of opportunity to achieve this goal.
It is in partnership arrangement with Sterling Bank to implement the Osun Sterling Tourism Vision (OSTOV) 30-30. The state government is developing six sites for this purpose. It said it will do all that is required to create an enabling environment for the success of the tourism sector.
‘Osun is Pursuing Rapid Tourism And Agriculture Development’
The windows of accelerated development in tourism and agriculture are being explored in Osun with strategic investments programmes initiated by the state government. Although the popular Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove developed by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre is seen as eclipsing other tourism potential, the government has said it will partner with the Centre to create other revenue earning opportunities for the state through tourism.
The state is planning an annual pilgrimage called ‘Karele Oodua’, to be built around the Osun Festival. To actualise this vision, the government has moved to partner with investors to introduce motorsport while players in the real state, hospitality and allied sectors have been invited to participate in the scheme.
According to the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Adebisi Obawale, the state tourism development masterplan tagged, ‘Culture and Tourism for Sustainable Economy’ (CUTOSEC), targets 30 long-term projects in partnership with the private sector.  The partners include La Campagne Tropicana, Goge Africa and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSUC) of the African Union.
The state government is providing an additional 1,000 hectares of land for mechanized farming to boost food production.  The Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Adedayo Adewole, disclosed that 400 hectares of the ploughed landwill be devoted to cocoa and cassava cultivation.
“We have been carrying the traditional rulers and other community stakeholders along to ensure their full participation in the allocation process and in identifying the real farmers.
“The objective is to serve as a catalyst for the diversification process by the government, in line with our clear vision to turn our state into the food basket of the South-West zone.
“Aside from the 1,000 hectares of land that we are working on in Ife, we have equally cleared 23 hectares in Ifon-Orolu for tomato production”.
Challenging Factors: Insecurity, poor road network, extortion by local government officials, poor electricity supply, chains of traditional rulers to ‘settle’.