The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Tuesday swore in his 39 member executive council comprising Commissioners and Special Advisers, thus inaugurating the team that would accompany him in what he called “our home run.”
On the list of the commissioners are an Associate Professor of Economics, Olalekan Dauda Yinusa; a Doctor of Law, Ajibola Basiru and a former Senator, Mudasiru Hussain.
The Governor announced that he as well as his deputy, Iyaafin Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori, were dropping their portfolios in Works and Infrastructure and Education respectively for new entrants into the cabinet to allow for more effective policy coordinations and supervisions.
The Governor at the inauguration at the parking lot of Bola Ige House in Osogbo stated that the inauguration was long overdue, but for dire constraint of funds.
Aregbesola stressed that Osun was not insulated from the financial challenges that the country had during the Peoples Democratic Party-led administration in Nigeria.
He held that Osun was receiving negative monthly allocations from the Federation Account during the period, saying what hit Nigeria during this period was the equivalent of economic natural disaster and Osun was not alone.
According to him, “I congratulate all the appointees for being considered worthy of service to the government and people of our dear state and for scaling the hurdle of screening.
“Many of you served in the first term; the rest are fresh hands. Of course, this is long overdue. It should have come up immediately after my inauguration on November 27, 2014. As you all know, we were hamstrung by dire constraint – principally financial.
“Our second term coincided with the onset of a national economic disaster. The first on account of a purported daily theft of 650,000 barrels of crude oil under the watch of the immediate past PDP national government. This is curious and improbable.
“We must note that 650,000 barrels of crude oil are the equivalent of 65 supertankers each laden with over 300,000 metric tons of crude oil. By the way, a supertanker is about 450 meters long, the equivalent of four and a half football fields.
“Indeed, 27 states and the Federal Government were unable to pay salaries of workers. It might interest us to know that the government of Goodluck Jonathan, according to his Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had to borrow N476 billion from commercial banks to be able to pay salaries in the last four months of his administration,” Aregbesola told the gathering.
The Governor further stated that his government has responsibilities to three broad categories, the most important of which is the commitment to the generality of the people of the state whose mandate he swore an oath to exercise faithfully.
He also added that state workers whom his administration has a contractual obligation to pay at the end of every month, and the political class who made it possible to campaign, contest and win elections will be carried along in his administration.
He said, “What we have done during the special time occasioned by the emergency period we faced was to play a delicate balancing act between the three categories.Painfully, we came to an understanding with the workers on a realistic schedule of payment.
“We also continued with our programs and critical social intervention albeit on a reduced scale. Lastly, we have a good understanding from the political class on the need for them to make a sacrifice as we defer appointments and cabinet formation.
“Our traducers, rather than reasonably comprehend the situation went to town to harp on the non-composition of cabinet but in the process expose their own ignorance.
“They thought by doing this, they would discredit us. However, right thinking people started asking them what business they have got with the formation or non-formation of an APC government cabinet”. The Governor emphasised.
The Governor spiced his one hour plus speech with intermittent musical renditions which enlivened the event.
Speaking on behalf of newly sworn-in cabinet members, the new Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Surajudeen Ajibola Bashir, described the delay in the constitution of the cabinet by Mr. Governor as a sign of courage and commitment to good governance. He said Aregbesola had exhibited high sense of commitment to raise the bar of governance in the last six years of his administration, saying this had reflected in the general well-being of the citizens.
The new Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice said the new cabinet would leave no stone unturned at ensuring unflinching support and cooperation with the present administration in the state.
Ajibola assured the people of the state of the readiness of the new cabinet to consolidate on the legacies built by Aregbesola-led administration in the last six years.
“With this delay, it shows the courage, commitment, and doggedness of this administration in managing the limited resources.
“Though this would have been done, but with the economic prowess of Mr. Governor in meeting the demands and needs of the people of the state, it was delayed.
“So, the formation of this cabinet shows the commitment and courage of this government despite the economic recession.
“It also shows the doggedness and commitment of the present administration led by Governor Aregbesola to weather the storm.
“But the remaining 18 months to the expiration of this administration is enough to galvanise development.
“I urge my colleagues to rally round our governor to move the state forward.”