Iwude Festival Promotes Unity Amongst Ijesa Descendants

By Oluwapelumi Fasoyin

Chief Olu Falomo, a revered indigene of Ijesa land has described the modernity of the annual Iwude Ijesa Festival as a means of promoting unity among all Ijesa descendants at home and in the diaspora.

Falomo, who is the Chairman of the planning committee said the festival has been transformed to meet modern trend and make it a foremost event among the people.

He made the remarks at a press conference in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, as part of the events to mark the annual celebration.

“Iwude is the foremost festival that brings Ijesa people together and makes it possible for the paramount ruler of Ijesaland, Oba (Dr) Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran II, to visit some palaces and rejoice with his people.

“The festival would also afford the monarch the opportunity to pay homage to his ancestors, and offers sacrifices and prayers to God for the good of his people”, he said.

Falomo further explained that the event which has commenced on Wednesday, December 13, and would end with a grand finale on December 23.

“This festival remains a rallying point for all Ijesa people in the modern time, for the purpose of fostering greater unity among Ijesa people all over the world.

“It affords us the opportunity to celebrate our heroes and heroines and in the process, open a new chapter of cooperation and progress in Ijesa land.

Osun Assembly Charges Ministry Of Technology On Service Delivery

By Israel Afolabi

The State of Osun House of Assembly has charged the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology to use modern technology in helping the state to generate more revenue through tax collection.

Chairman, House Committee on Innovation, Science and Technology, Hon. Olaolu Oyeniran gave the charge during a meeting with officials of the ministry last Tuesday at the House of Assembly complex Osogbo, State of Osun.

He assured the new Ministry of the Assembly’s adequate support to survive and succeed in discharging its responsibilities.

The lawmaker also advised the ministry to use all its power to redress anomalies in the state civil service and put everything in proper shape in the interest of the peoples’ welfare.

He said, “Use your ministry to right the wrong things, especially in the area of tax collection in the state”.

Oyeniran said the meeting was called in other to discuss the proposed 2018 budget of the State of Osun and to know how prepared the ministry is for the next year fiscal responsibilities.

According to him, “We need to call on your ministry concerning the proposed 2018 budget and to find solution to some of the likely problems to be encountered”

In their separate remarks, members of the committee urged the ministry to justify its existence in the state as an agent of coordination to others for best service delivery.

However, in his response the Commissioner of Innovation, Science and Technology, Engineer Oluremi Omowaye said there are lots of developments in Osun between 2010 to 2015 which put the state on high score board.

According to him, “government has revived infrastructure in the state by linking them together. The Government House, State Secretariat and State House of Assembly Complex have been linked with internet facilities to fast track procedures in the state”.

He also informed the House that Osun Science Innovation and Technological Research Council will be inaugurated early next year to provide technology support for the State to generate fund.

Omowaye then solicited the support of the House of Assembly to deliver all these projects in the State.

He said, “With the support of the House of Assembly, we believe the Ministry will deliver on all these projects”.

In his contribution, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation, Science and Technology Mr. Muhideen Olateju described the ministry as the backbone to drive every ministry in the state, saying it is tirelessly working on making the House of Assembly an E-parliament platform to make procedure easier and better.

He noted that with the support of the Assembly, the State would move forward in Information, Communication and Technology.

Osun 2018: ‘It Will Be Impossible For PDP To Return’

By Kehinde Ayantunji

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has said that with the noticeable all round development in the state, it would be highly impossible for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to come back to power in Osun.

The Governor while flagging off the distribution of over 15,000 health incentives to pregnant women in Osun held that Osun citizens having compared the wasteful reign of the PDP and the progressives’ developmental stride, will not make the mistake of voting the PDP in the coming election.

Aregbesola also commended traditional rulers in the state for their supports to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state of the virtuous.

He said, over 15,000 health incentives will be given to pregnant women in a programme tagged “Saving One Million Lives Programme For Results (SOML PforR), Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Mama Kits Distribution” a federal government and World Bank assisted project.

Aregbesola who promised that the present administration would continue to pursue its health policy with all doggedness and commitment, reminded the audience that his major campaign promise was the restoration of healthy living among the people.

He added that since inception, his administration has embarked on the renovation, rehabilitation and upgrading of the nine state hospitals to ensure public accessibility to qualitative healthcare services in all parts of the state.

The Governor also recalled the Public Private Partnership (PPP) which entails the outsourcing of the pharmacy units of all State Hospitals in order to have regular availability of effective and safe drugs.

He then commended the management of the Osun Ambulance scheme for saving thousands of lives since the programme kick-started in 2013.

Aregbesola said, “With all we have done to develop the state, it is highly impossible for the PDP to ever have a say in the governance of this state. With their wasteful seven and half years, the people of the state have totally rejected them.

“Also, we have been providing and will continue to provide essential drugs and medical consumables in all our hospitals.

“O’Ambulance is another success story. The scheme was introduced in 2013 when 50 state-of-the-art ambulance vehicles were put on the road for medical emergencies, a scheme which has been used to save a lot of lives in situations of emergency in the state.

“In 2016 alone, O’Ambulance saved 1774 lives. Between January and March this year, it has also saved 630 lives”, Aregbesola stated.

Osun LG Election: Court Fixes Jan 11 For Hearing

By Ismaeel Uthman

As against the January 23, 2018 fixed by the Federal High Court for hearing on the legal tussle over Local Government elections in the State of Osun, the court has fixed January 11 for the hearing of applications of Osun Government against the decision to stop the poll.

The State government of Osun has filed an application for the vacation of the ex-parte orders granted by the court last week grounding the state’s Local Government funds, as well as restraining orders in respect of election to Local Council Development Areas and Area Councils as regards the conduct of the local government poll in the state slated for January 27, 2018.

According to the application filed by the state government before the same Federal High Court by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Dr Basiru Ajibola, the court order was liable to be set aside ‘ex debito justitae’ for fundamental irregularity, breach of applicant’s right to fair hearing and manifest lack of jurisdiction.

Three chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Kolawole Osunkemitan, Chief Douglas Adeyinka Oyinlola and Prince Aderemi Adeniran Adelowo had approached the court with an application for the stoppage of monies for the local government in the state in an attempt to stop the conduct of the local government.

The government stated that the court order was made in violation of the legal right to fair hearing of the government as guaranteed under Order 26, Rules 13 and 14 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 and in consequence that it breached the right to fair hearing as guaranteed under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

On this, the government argued that whereas the Rules of the court mandated a minimum of three days as return date for the order to show cause, the Applicant only had one day between the day of service of the order on the Abuja Liaison Office on Thursday 30th November, 2017 and 4th December, 2017 when the orders were granted. This is in view of the fact that Friday, December 1 and Sunday, December 3 were public holidays in the eye of the law and cannot be computed in determining the three day return date.

In the application, the government contested that the court had earlier refused the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs (now defendants) on November 27 for interim injunction in a Motion Ex-Parte dated November 8, 2017, pointing out that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant same reliefs on December 4, 2017 as it had now turned around to do.

The government argued that it amounted to sitting on appeal over its ruling and/or orders for the court to grant same reliefs of the motion ex-parte it had earlier refused, adding that the application had become ‘functus officio’.

It explained that the court lacks requisite jurisdiction to still proceed to make an order to show cause against the defendants (now applicants) in contrary to its earlier verdict refusing the reliefs.

According to the government, there is no urgency to warrant the grant of the interim orders, maintaining that it amounted to using the court as “a vehicle for perpetrating injustice”. The government also argued that the orders are liable for non-disclosure of material facts by the Plaintiffs in obtaining the ex-parte orders. For instance, that the LCDAs had been operational since 2015.

Apart from the application to discharge the orders ex-parte, the government also filed Notice of Preliminary Objection that the matter should be dismissed and/or struck out on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, locus standi and absence of cause of action.

The government argued that the plaintiffs lacked locus standi to file the suit and that the subject matter of the suit does not fall within civil causes and matters for which the Federal High Court is conferred with exclusive jurisdiction to entertain by virtue of the provisions of 251 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended).

The government asked the court to dismiss or strike out the suit for being speculative, vexatious, and frivolous and intended to irritate the state and constituting abuse of court process.

Also, the State House of Assembly and the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) have filed applications to set aside the order of substituted service granted by the court and all the proceedings of the court.

The grounds of their application are that the court could not competently make an order for substituted service at an address within jurisdiction on a defendant residing outside the jurisdiction of the court.

In the circumstance of non-service of all the processes in the suit on the House of Assembly and the Commission (OSIEC), government stressed that the court ought to set aside all the proceedings and orders granted in this suit.

Lessons To Learn From Osun-YESSO

The Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) which is a tripartite agreement among the World Bank, the Federal Government of Nigeria and participating states was launched in September 2013 with the overall objective to increase access of the poor to youth employment opportunities, social services and strengthen safety net system.

YESSO which is an offshoot of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O-YES) was designed to achieve the same feat as OYES which saw unemployment rate plummeting from 12 per cent to 3 per cent in the State of Osun in the year 2010 (Source: National Bureau of Statistics, 2010).

In other words, YESSO was designed to strengthen the safety nets programme through coordination, effective targeting and monitoring and evaluation. Some of the merits of
YESSO are the establishment of Single Register (SR) of poor and vulnerable households which is now building block of the Federal Government Cash Transfer programme, provision of labour intensive work (Public Workfare), skills training for unemployed youths (Skills for Job) and targeted grant transfer in the North East region of Nigeria.

The Osun-YESSO was institutionalized with the State Operation Coordinating Unit (SOCU) as the institution responsible for coordination, management and oversight of social safety nets.

It does these by developing a database of poor and vulnerable households for selection into safety nets interventions that can support their needs. Three important lessons can be learned from the YESSO model of curbing unemployment. First, is the targeting method which demonstrates the important roles communities can play towards the identification of poor and vulnerable households.

Second, it is the selection criteria which limits the error of inclusion and exclusion. Lastly is the output of the Single Register (SR).

Targeting

The failure of previous interventions on youth empowerment programmes to reach the poor and vulnerable groups in the society has shifted the attention towards Community Based Targeting (CBT).

The CBT process involves geographical targeting, community gathering, data collection and analysis, and validation of list of identified households at the community level.

The key distinction of this approach is the substantial role of the community in the overall selection of the beneficiaries, albeit following some selection criteria.

Selection Criteria
The target groups are poor and vulnerable youths within the identified households that will either participate in the labour intensive work (PWF) or skill matching training programme (Skills for Job). The following conditions applied: (a) they have to be between 18 and 35 years old; (b) they have to be in a community identified as poor; (c) they have to be unemployed.

Numbers enrolled
By December 2016 till date, a total of 7,000 households have received direct cash transfer on monthly basis. Also, a total of number 1,000 of youths between ages 18 and 35 have been effectively enrolled in labour intensive work and receive monthly stipends. These numbers increase per phase of CBT which is already at the fourth phase.
Other states adopting similar model will experience the same dramatic improvement in their unemployment numbers.

Ondo Govt Understudies Osun Welfare Programmes

By Israel Afolabi

The successes recorded by the government of the State of Osun on the operations of Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) have drawn the attention of the Ondo State government, which was impressed enough to send a team to Osun in order to understudy the programme.

YESSO which is an offshoot of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) is a tripartite agreement among the World Bank, the Federal Government of Nigeria and participating states.

The programme was launched in September 2013 with the overall objective to increase access of the poor to youth employment opportunities, social services and strengthen the safety net system.

Addressing the Ondo delegates in Osogbo on Wednesday, the State Coordinator, Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO), Mr. Femi Ifaturoti said that Governor Rauf Aregbesola conceived the OYES idea as a social intervention programme to reduce the unemployment rate among the youths in the state.

The Coordinator declared that OYES, borne out of passion and vision has become a reality, commending the Ondo State Team for choosing Osun to learn from and promised them all necessary supports during the period of their assignment in the state.

He noted that there are similarities between the leaders of Osun and Ondo states in terms of development.

According to him “it is the vision and passion of Ogbeni Aregbesola to put this OYES scheme in place in Osun and we set up this scheme to tackle the problems of unemployment”.

“For the first time in the history of Nigeria, Osun government employed 20,000 youths at a go to reduce unemployment. There are other schemes which have addressed the need of those that are not educated and the vulnerable people in the state”.

In her response, the head of the Ondo State delegation, Mrs. Bunmi Ademosu, who is the Special Adviser to the Ondo State Governor on Inter-governmental Affairs, said the purpose of the tour to Osun was to study the developmental programmes that encourage the youths.

According to her, “We are here to share from the State of Osun experience and to know what the state of the virtuous has been doing to tackle unemployment among youths”.

She said that Osun and Ondo states share the same vision in dealing with youth unemployment, as everybody, according to her, should have the passion and confidence to move the country forward for better.

“With this Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) programme in place, the idle hands will get busy with something worthy”, she added.

In his presentation, the leader of the Osun Project Implementation Unit, Mr. Olugbenga Odulaja emphasised the need to develop youths and engage them for better goals.

In his goodwill message, the OYES Commandante, Col. Eniibukun Oyewole (rtd) noted that OYES is a premier project in Osun which 42,000 youths has passed through to better the lots of the people across the state.

He said, “Osun has a low-crime rate, because the scheme has taken many youths off the streets who now work on building a sustainable society”.

He appreciated the effort of the present administration in the state for the supports given to the programme.

Federal Lawmaker Blasts PDP Over Court Order On Osun LGs’ Fund

By Ismaeel Uthman

A member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon Ajibola Famurewa has described as inhuman, the move by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ground local government administration through the instituted ex-parte motion at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Ajibola who is representing Ilesa-East, Ilesa-West, Atakumosa-East and Atakumosa-West in the State of Osun said it is an act of wickedness and brutality against the masses for the PDP chieftains to aim at shutting down governance at local government levels.

The lawmaker in an interview with newsmen on Monday said: “All over the world, local government is the closest to the down trodden and the rural dwellers.

“That is why the dynamic style of governance of Ogbeni Aregbesola has taken giant strides to affect local government positively in the last seven years. But it is very unfortunate that the opposition party, PDP, in her usual retrogressive approach is designing famine, scarcity and artificial recession in the face of dwindling economic challenges.

“The PDP has never meant well for the people; they are jealous of Aregebsola’s numerous achievements. All their antics are to impoverish the people and turn them into beggars and this will not stand.”

Famurewa added: “Local governments in the State of Osun have kept pace with developmental policies in delivering the dividends of democracy, but have continued to struggle to make ends meet financially, as they cannot survive outside the FAAC disbursement as the case is in Lagos.

Aregbesola Advocates Taxation Culture For Sustainable Development

By Kehinde Ayantunji

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has tasked Nigerians to imbibe the culture of taxation.

According to him, for a developing country like Nigeria to confront boldly the socio-economic and political challenges, taxation must be taken seriously.

He said all the responsible, civilised and advanced countries remain successful because they generate their resources from taxes collected from the populace, while under-developed and developing countries remain poor and backward because of their poor taxation culture.

Governor Aregbesola made the statement while addressing leaders and members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Osogbo Branch, during the ceremonial presentation of the 2017 Group Dynamics Cup Trophy won by the Osogbo NSE.

Aregbesola explained that the emerging economic realities remained the signal to the fact that no nation can survive without huge revenue from taxation, adding that global economic reality is compelling seriousness on the need for government and the people of any country that desire development to prioritise taxation as the basic way for revenue generation.

He said, “It is unfortunate that most professionals in our state do not take the issue of taxes seriously. That is why I want to appeal to the leaders of the NSE and other professionals bodies in the state to rally round their members to correctly and appropriately assess themselves so as to pay appropriate taxes to government.

“Before the military interregnum in Nigeria, taxation was a serious civic obligation and responsibility of every citizen and as a matter of fact, the liberty of the citizens was defined and determined by how citizens fulfilled their tax obligations.

“At the time, negligence in tax obligation had a citizen’s liberty circumscribed. But the military during its interregnum with the need for it to forcibly acquire legitimacy from the people, overlooked that very critical factor in modern society.

“The reason adults worked then was to serve themselves and serve the government because there was no other way government could get money outside the taxes paid by all entities, both human and corporate in their domain”.

“It is not a doubt that today, all developed nations in the world have one characteristic of sole means of revenue generation from taxes paid by their citizens.

“The advanced nations of the world generate much more of their resources from the taxes paid by their citizens and that is the only way for responsible, civilised and consequently advanced nations to generate their revenues.

“But backward, under-developed and primitive societies depend on natural resources that, in most cases, they do not even know where such resources came from. Their belief was, once the natural resource is bringing the proceeds to them, they don’t want to know how effective their own assessment of the proceeds is.

“We just found that we all depend on rent to live our lives and any nation that depends on such will just be living a mere existence.

“So, we must all come to the need to understand the essence of taxation in ensuring good governance. It is time for citizens of the third world particularly African countries to rise to the challenges of poor taxation culture”, Aregbesola stated.

Osun Assembly Issues Relocation Order To Traders

By Israel Afolabi

The State of Osun House of Assembly has directed the State Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Industries and Empowerment to relocate traders at the Oroki Market, popularly referred to as Alekuwodo Market to the new space provided for them at Awosuru Area of the state capital by Friday, December 15 (today).

Chairman, House Committee on Commerce, Cooperatives, Industries and Empowerment, Hon. Babatunde Olatunji gave the directive on Thursday at an interactive meeting with concerned stakeholders at the State House of Assembly Complex Osogbo, State of Osun.

He said the state government has provided all necessary facilities for the traders at the new market site, considering the fact that the present location is very dangerous to their lives and property.

The Commissioner in the Ministry, Mr. Ismaila Alagbada had told the lawmakers that the government had served the traders with quit notice of 21 days since July, which has since expired but the traders refused to comply.

He added that the issue of relocation has started since 2013, adding that, government has been very patient enough with the traders’ reluctance to relocate.

However, in their separate contributions, the representatives of the traders, Mr. Ojolowo and Mrs. Erinjogunola Bola agreed that the government had earlier served them with notice and they had appealed that the relocation order be reversed on several occasions.

The duo further appealed to Government at the meeting to extend the order till after yuletide season.

“We want government to have little patience till next year because the new market is not yet filled up as it has scanty occupiers”, they pleaded.

However, Hon. Olatunji made it known that the purpose of the interactive meeting was to see to the welfare of the traders in the state and also instructed that the affected traders should be given consideration in the empowerment programmes of the State Government.

According to him, “We have all resolved that from December 15, 2017, Awosuru market will come alive with commercial activities. “We also agreed that those on the road side will relocate to the new market at Awosuru”, he added.

Olatunji appreciated market men and women at Akindeko for their support to the present government and lauded the State Government for making trading convenience for traders and implored the latter to move to the new market site for their safety.

Meanwhile, other committee members urged the representatives of the traders to discuss the details of the meeting with their co-traders at Akindeko market.

The Assembly further directed the Ministry of Commerce, cooperatives, Industries and Empowerment to ensure quick access of the traders at Oroki market, Alekuwodo in Osogbo to Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP) facilities so as to hasten their relocation and smooth commencement of marketing activities at the new market site.

They urged the traders to embrace the new development of the government of Osun and adhere to its directives in their best interest.

Alagbada assure the traders at Akindeko Market scheduled to move to Awosuru market site of adequate facilities to make trading convenient for them and assured them of safety of their lives and property.

According to him, “We now have enough space at the new market to accommodate every trader and this government made things convenient for market users in Osun”.

“We are now appealing to other street traders to move down to the new market at Awosuru because there would not be a market at Akindeko again from December 15, 2017”.

In her contribution, the Executive Secretary, Osogbo West Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Alhaja Temilade Olokungboye stated the council’s readiness to cooperate with traders and stakeholders to make the new market thrive.

She commended the State House of Assembly for intervening.

She said, “With our meeting today in the House of Assembly, we are satisfied because we believe in moving the market forward”.

She added that the council has issued warning to property owners on the other side of Ola-Egbon Chemist not to harbor any of the traders in their own interest.

Nigerian To Spend 18 Years In Vietnam Jail

A Southern Vietnam court has sentenced a Nigerian to 18 years in prison over a fake customs enforcement scam, state media reported on Friday.

A local media reported that Michael Ikechukwu Leonard, 45, was convicted on Thursday of “deceiving others to steal their assets” in a scam which targeted wealthy Vietnamese women.

The court in Can Tho city determined that Leonard gained his victims’ trust on messaging apps using various alter egos, including a U.S. army officer.

The convict was said to have promised to send his victims valuable presents, including laptops and jewellery from the U.S.

Local accomplices, Huynh Ha Binh, Huynh Ha Uyen and Nguyen Tran Quynh Nhi, would then contact the women claiming to be customs agents and demand fees or fines for the non-existent shipments.

They successfully conned a woman in Can Tho out of 28,500 dollars, leading to their arrest.

It is unclear how many women were duped by the gang in total.

Leonard’s accomplices received sentences ranging from 12 to 15 years.

NAN

Putin, Trump Discuss North Korea In Phone Call

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump discussed the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program in a phone call Thursday, in which the US president took the unusual step of thanking his Russian counterpart for praising America’s economy.

The two heads of state discussed “the situation in several crisis zones, with a focus on solving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula,” the Kremlin said in a statement, without elaborating.

The White House said the two “discussed working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.”

But Trump’s thanks to Putin took top billing in the US statement.

“President Trump thanked President Putin for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference,” it said.

Earlier in the day, Putin told his press conference: “Look at how the markets are reacting, they are growing. This shows confidence in the American economy. With all due respect to (Trump’s) opponents, these are objective facts.”

The pair have lavished praise on each other in the past, with commentators describing their cozy relationship as a “bromance.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow to tilt the White House race in his favor.

Washington this week said it was ready to talk to North Korea — which has launched several intercontinental ballistic missiles in recent months — “without preconditions.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that while the Trump administration was still determined to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arsenal, it was willing to “have the first meeting without preconditions.”

Putin, in his annual press conference with hundreds of journalists in Moscow, welcomed the United States’ “awareness of reality” in the crisis.

However, he called on all sides to “stop aggravating the situation” and said Moscow did not recognize North Korea’s status as a nuclear power.

AFP