Aregbesola Tasks Insurance Brokers on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery…Says Survival Of Nigeria Is A Duty For All

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has charged members and leadership of Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) to deploy its resources in facilitating quick recovery of Nigeria’s economy.

Aregbesola also tasked the professional body to workout a modality capable of rescuing Nigerian government out of the present economic imbroglio.

Governor Aregbesola gave the charge while playing a host on the national delegation of Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) who were on a courtesy call to his office, at Government Secretariat, Osogbo.

Governor Aregbesola who lamented over the worsen state of the nation’s economy, however, suggested that one of the ways to liberate Nigeria and Nigerians from the scourge of the present economic disaster was for the professional bodies to institutionalize strategies and as well map-out realistic economic policies to mitigate the situation.

Aregbesola who decried over the mono-economic nature of Nigeria’s economy, said all hands must be on deck to find possible solutions to the nation’s socioeconomic, political and cultural tribulations.

He attributed some of the challenges facing the country to what he regarded as over-reliance on crude oil, saying if the successive governments had brilliantly diversified the economy, Nigeria would not have suffered from the present economic calamity.

The Governor who reiterated that the nation is going through a tough economic situation, called on the members and leadership of (NCRIB) to come to the aid of the nation especially in rescuing over 27 states of the federation who are presently facing challenges in the payment of salary arrears.

Aregbesola who advocated creativity and innovation as an antidote to the nation’s economic woes, revealed that changing of the nation’s economy drastically from what it was before was as a result of poor leadership.

He said the economy of the nation would have grown if the successive administrations did not lack productive-economic direction and vision over the years.

Governor Aregbesola who said the nation is at economic war, stressed that the present economic situation was even worst than the civil war being experienced some years back in Nigeria.

He called on the body to urgently intensify plans capable of strengthening it relationship with government and as well facilitating better economic condition for Nigerian people.

Aregbesola who contented that there were little creativity and innovation in governance in the past, said the present economic situation remains a clarion call that must be obeyed by all.

The Governor charged the council to go back to the drawing board and come up with fantastic and sustainable policies that would support the revival of the nation’s economy.

Aregbesola however said in spite the fact that the nation is battling with unusual economic period, yet the professional bodies whose expertise would have been deployed to cushion the effects failed to intervene in the nation’s economic woes.

He said the nation can no longer be traditional, just as the present economic situation calls for different approaches, affirming that insurance company can really come to bailout Nigeria by forming a modality to do so.

Governor said except Lagos State, no other state government can boast of meeting its workers’ salary obligations and pensions, therefore charged the council to wade into rescuing the affected states through its expertise.

Aregbesola also said there is a need at this special economic period for the leadership of (NCRIB) to reflect on how to contribute tremendously towards the recovery, revival, stimulation and rejuvenation of the nation’s economy.

According to him, “one of the ways your professional body can really be of help is to urgently intervene in the present economic situation.

“I am worry about the present economic situation in Nigeria because the professional bodies who expertise would have been intellectually deployed to rescue the nation are shying away from such responsibility.

“Though the present economic situation is no more a news, but one of the realistic ways to rescue the nation is for your council to go back to the drawing board and formulate workable policies to liberate the nation.

“The baglog of workers’ salaries being owed by some states could have been better relieved by your council if you have worked out a way of providing a long-term bond to the states.

“In assisting our economy on quick recovery, your council can for instance prepare a bond that would go a long way in rescuing some states who are presently being tormented with cash crunch in the payment of workers’ salary arrears and pensions.

“To me I believe that there is no other nation to call our own except Nigeria, therefore let us workout strategies to salvage our nation’s economy because time has come for us to rise to the occasion on the need to revive our battered economy with extreme sincerity and genuinety”, Aregbesola stated.

Earlier, the President Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr. Emmanuel Kayode Okunoren commended Governor Aregbesola for living up to the expectation in both human and infrastructural developments.

He lauded the state government on its giant strides in all sectors of the economy, stressing that Osun government has proven its weights as a model by all ramifications.

Mr. Okunoren who identified with the government on the effect of the present economic realities, however applauded Governor Aregbesola for prudently and judiciously managing the meagre resources of the state for the betterment of her citizens.

He confirmed that the presence of the national team of the council has attested to the greater performances of the present administration most especially on the infrastructural development.

Mr. Okunoren noted that the choice of Osun for the council’s retreat was a clear manifestation to the peaceful nature of the state, adding that the national leadership of the body has had several programmes in the state over the times.

He said, “We chose Osun for our retreat so as appreciate the good works of the current government and as well further entrench our relationship with the state.

“We have been holding several programmes in this state because of its peaceful nature and the strength of its economic growth.

“Our council has seen the need to continuously relate to government because in real sense, government remains the largest institution being relevant to our profession.

Mr. Okunoren who said insurance brokers are the interface between the insurance and the insured, said the body was ready to add much values to the state’s economy.

He therefore called for a mutually-beneficial relationship between the council and the state government.

Nigeria Needs Architectural Intervention For Rapid Economic Recovery – Aregbesola

By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has called for quick architectural intervention to stimulate the nation’s economy.

Aregbesola also charged the leadership of Nigerian Institute of Architects, NIA, on the need to intensify efforts at fast tracking rapid economic recovery of the nation through quality of service delivery.

The Governor made the statement while playing host to the national delegation of the NIA, at government house, Osogbo.

Aregbesola stressed that the nation has gotten to a stage where architectural intervention is required to salvage her economy from the drift of collapse.

The Governor who decried the untapped numerous resources being endowed with the nation, said the time has come for government at all levels to maximize their endowments for greater productivity.

He contented that prompt intervention of government towards building an effective and efficient architectural institution would go a long way in encouraging adequate patronage of locally produced building materials in the country.

Aregbesola who attributed some of the architectural challenges in Nigeria to negligence of “necessity”, contented that government’s intervention on the activities of Nigerian architects would go a long way in building a vibrant architectural institution that would be a model in the world.

According to him, “one of the ways to revive our economy is to invest greatly in resuscitating some of our dearth and dilapidated sectors as architectural institution is of greater importance.

“it is obvious that our economy has been seriously bastardized by the successive administrations, but nevertheless, much has to be done to stimulate our economy for greater development.


“No sector should be ignored at this special economic period, just as government intervention in the services being rendered by the members of the NIA would contribute significantly towards encouragement and promotion of local building materials in the country”, he added.

Governor Aregbesola who bemoaned over what he described as retrogressive backwardness in the performance of Nigerian architects over the years, said the nation’s economy would have grown to its peak if the leadership of the NIS had come up with a modality capable of promoting the nation’s local building materials.

He lamented over what he regarded as “obsolete building ideology” in the country, identifying lack of innovative ideology and perspection as a contributory factor to nation’s woes in building world.

Aregbesola said it is unfortunate that the nation was still crawling with what he regarded as “leftover ideas” of her colonialists in building techniques, saying the time has come to establish and enhance a collaborative effort between the government and the leadership of NIA.

The Governor who further charged the three tiers of government on the need to build a professionally-beneficial relationship with Nigerian architects, said such development would not only contribute significantly to national unity but also strengthen the economic rejuvenation.

Aregbesola maintained that though Nigeria was facing a serious economic challenge, thus calls for the need to promote the patronage of locally-sourced building materials by the nation’s builders.

Recognizing the challenges facing architects in Nigeria, Aregbesola noted that the time is now for the NIA to recommend suitable roofing sheets that would be affordable, durable and sustainable for the Nigerian people especially the rural dwellers.

The Governor who appreciated the large number of architects in Nigeria however stressed that the nation’s economy would have benefited more from their services if they had come up with ideas that will make builders in Nigeria appreciate and use more locally sourced building materials for construction.

He said “Nigerian Architects have not come up with a structure on the kind roofing sheet that best suit Nigerian territory despite years of being in practice.

“Greater volume of the materials we use for building construction in the country are very unsuitable as this pose a serious challenge to our society.

“This implied that if our architects who are professionally saddled with the primary responsibility of planning, designing and building are committed, hence, the exercise is enough to revive the nation’s economy.

“There is a need for Nigerian Architects to build up a strategy that glories a recommended roofing materials, as this idea will go a long way in restructuring our building view and as well revamping the nation’s economy.

He urged Architects to direct their attention towards things that will benefit the nation by maximaxing the available resources for greater architectural development.

The Governor submitted that architects in Nigeria and the entire African region need to apply their professional knowledge and competence at influencing the development of durable, useful and beautiful structures that is suitable for the country, noting that the exercise is enough to revamp the nation’s economy.

According to him, “though our architects do great things in the midst of the elites, we want them to make it general so that it can cut across.

Earlier, the National President of NIA,  Tonye Oliver Braide who was represented by his Vice, Eyinbeng Ebong commended Governor Aregbesola for prioritizing the role of architects in the state since assumption of office.

Architect Braide attributed some of Aregbesola’s strides in all sectors of the economy especial on infrastructure to what he regarded as a result of preference given to NIA.

The NIA President who described Aregbesola as an extra-ordinary Governor governing a unique state, saying Osun that can boast of huge presence of architectural staff in virtually all the local governments across the state.

He acknowledged that Osun remained the only state in Nigeria that has over 50 architects employed by the Local Government Service Commission.

Braide stressed that efforts are underway to synergize with relevant institutions in strengthening the essential role of the NIA, adding that plans are also in top gear to introduce building materials that would be of economic value to Nigeria.

According to Braids, “Osun is so blessed for having an extraordinary governor that is doing extraordinary things in the state.
“Osun is the only state in Nigeria that can boast of having at least an architect in every local government council in the state, just as the state remained the only state that has over fifty architects employed by the Local Government Service Commission”, he opined.

Children Day: Aregbesola Reiterates Commitment to Qualitative Education

By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo

Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has restated his commitment towards providing qualitative education for the school children in the state.

He said this at Osogbo city stadium during the celebration of children day on Friday.

Aregbesola who was represented by his deputy, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori noted that his government has valued education of children since inception, promising that he would strive further to ensure that Osun state provide the best education for children in the country.

He noted that the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has adopted his school feeding programme, maintaining that the initiative has been one of the best in the country.

Aregbesola who lamented continuous hostage of Chibok Girls by the deadly Boko Haram, assured that the present government is committed and sincere in the rescue of the girls.

He commended the soldiers for their gallant fight against Boko Haram, appealing to Nigerians to pray for Buhari’s government.

In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Osun state Ministry of Women, Children and Social Affairs, Mrs Omolara Ajayi, appealed to parents and guardians to brace up and exercise a collaborative effort in the training of their children.

She condemned the violence against children saying “the inhuman and barbaric tradition of Female Genital Mutilation and the current trend of violence through child trafficking, child forced marriages, sex exploitation, abduction, can no longer be condoned.

Children’s Day: Aregbesola Restates Commitment To Better Education In Osun

Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has restated his commitment towards providing qualitative education for the school children in the state.

He said this at Osogbo city stadium during the celebration of children day on Friday.

Aregbesola who was represented by his deputy, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori noted that his government has valued education of children since inception, promising that he would strive further to ensure that Osun state provide the best education for children in the country.

He noted that the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has adopted his school feeding programme, maintaining that the initiative has been one of the best in the country.

Aregbesola who lamented continuous hostage of Chibok Girls by the deadly Boko Haram, assured that the present government is committed and sincere in the rescue of the girls.

He commended the soldiers for their gallant fight against Boko Haram, appealing to Nigerians to pray for Buhari’s government.

In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Osun state Ministry of Women, Children and Social Affairs, Mrs Omolara Ajayi, appealed to parents and guardians to brace up and exercise a collaborative effort in the training of their children.

She condemned the violence against children saying “the inhuman and barbaric tradition of Female Genital Mutilation and the current trend of violence through child trafficking, child forced marriages, sex exploitation, abduction, can no longer be condoned.

Tomori, Adeoti, Oyetola, Others Hail Aregbesola’s Commitment To Humanity At 59

The uniqueness and kindness of Governor Rauf Aregbesola was brought to fore as dignitaries from all walks of life gathered in Osogbo to celebrate the man who is described as an essential asset to humanity.

The event which could be best described as an unprecedented celebration galore witnessed plethora of encomiums, eulogies and tributes to usher-in him into a fruitful years ahead.

In her congratulatory message, Osun Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori described Aregbesola as an epitome of good character, saying his enigmatic leadership has taken the state to the greater heights.

Mrs. Tomori said the emergence of Governor Aregbesola has resuscitated the already collapsed economic system of the state, saying his impacts had also been felt in all sectors.

The Deputy Governor who attributed the remarkable achievements of Aregbesola’s administration to what she described as “indispensable commitment” to good governance since assumption of office, said the state had successfully set pace for its counterparts in the country.

Mrs. Tomori averred that Osun through the sterling leadership of Governor Aregbesola had recorded unparalleled feats in all spheres of human’s life most especially on the socioeconomic, political and religious system.

She said, “My boss had made me proud. He had shown to the people of Osun what politics and good governance are all about as he had succeeded in demonstrating these noble gestures in all aspects of his life.

“Aregbesola is truly a passionate leader whose sense of commitment to both human and material development can never be undermined in both political and social circles.

“Since he became the Governor of Osun less than six years ago, he has been struggling relentlessly to position the state to a vantage-peak never known in history.

“We thank God for giving us a Governor like Aregbesola in this state, he is a unique man, a divinely anointed person to lead the state of Osun at this time.

“There are several things unique about Aregbesola, aside being passionate, he has been driving his vision with such a passion to turn around the economic prospects of the state for the betterment of all.

Though he is on an official assignment outside the state presently, but the volume of people gathered here is a testimony to his kindness and clear conscience to human development just as people came from far and near to celebrate with him despite the fact that he is not in town”, she added.

In their separate remarks, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, Director General, the Raufs Volunteer Group, Comrade Amitolu Shittu extolled Aregbesola for dedicating his life to service God and humanity.

While itemizing some of the immense achievements of Governor Aregbesola in the last five years, the trio said the current government is building unforgettable legacies in all sectors of the economy.

They said the present administration through its unique economic policies had helped at stimulating the standard of living of the people in the state.

They canvassed for people’s support towards the success of the present administration just as they used the occasion to appealed to the peopled to continuously exercise patience as Aregbesola is working round the clock to reposition the state.

Others in attendance include, members of the State House of Assembly, former members of the State Executives Council, political functionaries, religious leaders, top state officials, Aregbesola’s political associates among others.

Aregbesola Advocates Support For Subsidy Removal, Hails Presidency On Giant Economic Strides

…As NIS President Lauds Osun Govt on Giant Strides

By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has declared his support for the recent removal of subsidy in the oil sector by the Federal Government. Aregbesola also extolled the economic policies adopted by the current government which he described as the best in the political history of Nigeria.

The Governor stated this while declaring open, the 51st Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Institution of Surveyors holding at the Women and Children Development Initiative Foundation (WOCDIF), Osogbo.

Aregbesola revealed that his administration is in support of the removal of fuel subsidy, assuring that the proceeds will be used to cater for the needs of the most vulnerables in the society who according to him represent the basis of governance.

Aregbesola at the 51st Annual General Meeting NIS2

Aregbesola described the subsidy regime as a cancer in the society which can not be sustained for the benefit of the country, saying as time goes on, Nigerians will appreciate the fact that the present administration means well by deregulating the oil sector.

He said, “I so much support the removal of fuel subsidy because the proceeds will be used to better the lives of the very poor Nigerians who are more in the society.

“People should not confuse the basis for the removal in 2012 to that of today, the reason for 2012 was corrupt but today’s government is very sincere to the people about how the proceeds will be used.

“This government has already set aside 500bn in the 2016 budget to address the needs of the most vulnerable in our society jusr as we all no that no government in the history of Nigeria has ever deemed it fit to set aside any funds in the budget to take care of the poor.

Aregbesola at the 51st Annual General Meeting NIS 3

While appreciating the efforts of surveyors at developing the society, Aregbesola stressed that the role of surveyors in nation building can never be overemphasized, noting that a world without surveyors can only be imagined.

He added that the absence of surveyors in the society would have constituted a major security challenge as it remains an act of surviving that helps in determining who owns what and who owns where.

He described land surveyors as those who make it possible to register titles on land and to prepare the certificate of occupancy for the said land.

Governor contented that it is important to continually thank those who have taken it upon themselves to engage in a profession that will contribute meaningfully to the general growth and development of the society especially on   land ownership disputes.

Aregbesola at the 51st Annual General Meeting NIS

” It is important for the space we call our own to have identities for easy documentation, and land surveyors are those that make it possible for us to be able register our titles on the assets.

“In modern times those who want to add value to their land engage the services of a surveyor and it is my joy to know that government and surveyors work together for the development of the society.

“It would have been a major source of security concern if surveyors were not in existence, just as the Certificate of Occupancy which is used to carry out so many business transactions is made possible through the services of a surveyor”, Aregbesola noted.

Governor Aregbesola also used the occasion to call on all and sundry to support the anti-corruption crusade of president Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the time has come for Nigerians to jettison all forms of corruption in the country.

He lamented over the rate of corruption in the country, saying it is disheartening to know that corruption has eaten deep into the Nigerian system.

Aregbesola who commended the anti-corruption drive of the present administration, noting that there has been so much dishonesty in the country for President Buhari to strike out over night.

He added, “most of us are guilty of promoting corruption tendency because there has been so much dishonesty in our system just as every body wants to make quick money.

“But all what we need to do is to support the president in the fight against corruption by changing our attitude toward life.

Aregbesola at the 51st Annual General Meeting NIS 4

Earlier, the president of the Nigeria Institution of Surveyors, NIS, Surveyor Ben Omo Akbigbe who lauded Governor Aregbesola’s achievements over the years, said Osun was chosen for this year’s AGM because of governor Aregbesola’s good antecedents towards governance.

He said his members from other states who are in the state have been impressed with what they have seen so far in the state.

“Our choice of Osun for this year’s AGM was born out of the fact that majority of my members want to see the good works Aregbesola is doing in Osun.

“Since arriving in Osun, we have been feeling at home because of the hospitality we have been receiving from the government and the good people of Osun”, he stressed.

The NIS president then used the occasion to appeal to President Buhari through Governor Rauf Aregbesola to reconstitute the Surveyors Council of Nigeria.

In his keynote address, Prof. Itse Sagay who was represented by Sen. Femi Odekunle stressed that Nigerians should not see the job of fighting corruption as one man show which should be left for the president alone.

He said the fight against corruption requires a collective effort for the scourge to be purged out of the system.

Prof. Sagay urged Nigerians to see the fight against corruption as a fight for the soul Nigeria which must be considered as a onerous task.

“the fight against corruption is a fight for all, all hands must be on deck to destroy this monster called corruption that is staring us in the face”

“Nigeria can only move forward as a nation if we all see corruption as a common enemy which must be defeated at all cost”, he stated.

Osun Welcomes EFCC Invitation Of Fake Crusaders In Move To Curb Frivolous Petitions

The Government of Osun on Monday said invitations to fake petitioners and paid agents of destabilization will put an end to frivolous petitions in Nigeria.

Citing Friday’s invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun over its petition alleging diversion of funds belonging to the Local Governments in the state by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor in a statement signed by its Director, Semiu Okanlawon, said the self-appointed civil society group is a group that had been making bogus claims against Governor Aregbesola and his government without producing evidence to substantiate any of the allegations.

For instance, this was the group that accused Governor Aregbesola of embezzling the N34.988bn bailout loan obtained last year as part of the Federal Government’s intervention to assist states meet their salary obligations.

The same group had accused Governor Aregbesola of borrowing over N750 billion, which, according to it, has not impacted on the socio-economic lives of the people of Osun.
The government had also been accused of planning a mass sack of civil servants in the state especially in the wake of the challenges to meet salary obligations by the state.

“It is instructive that none of these allegations and others from this same group has been proved to be true,” the Bureau stated.

The Bureau described the CSCEO as dubious two-man contraption put together and masquerading as a pro-people organization.

“We must remind Nigerians lest they take this group serious at all that Mr. Sulaiman Adeniyi who claims to be the leader of the group and Seun Adeoye, have been no more than two hired hands of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun and its allied opposition elements.

“It is pertinent to state that the so-called civil society group is a contraption hurriedly put together by Adeniyi and Adeoye to push the dubious agenda of their sponsors, the humiliated governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Senator Iyiola Omisore and Mr. Segun Akinwusi respectively to blackmail Governor Aregbesola and his government.

“When all their antics against the Aregbesola government failed, Nigerians must recall how these characters procured the services of a High Court Judge to write a petition with all forms of spurious allegations which she equally failed to defend.

“It is on record that when the EFCC and the Osun State House of Assembly invited Justice Folahanmi Oloyede to defend the claims in her petition, she developed cold feet.”the Bureau stated.

The statement added that all the allegations leveled against Aregbesola are the same as those allegations made by Omisore, Akinwusi and Justice Oloyede, noting that it is clear that the motive of these is to set the state on fire by misinforming the people.

Describing the step taken by the EFCC as a welcome development, the Bureau stated that “this is a welcome development as perhaps this will put an end to frivolous activities of the likes of hired groups like this and their cohorts in the trade of making allegations that they cannot substantiate.

“The Osun example in local government funds administration is a study in transparency and accountability. Perhaps, it is only in Osun that the governor introduced Heads of Local Government Administrations, HLAs, to the monthly allocation meetings. The HLAs have full knowledge of how much is received and other allied information. A governor with a plan to divert council funds would not bring such a novel addition to the way funds are administered.”

The statement also urged the petitioners to check out Osun’s record of payment of council salaries and pensions and compare those with what obtains in many other states of the federation.

Burden Of Proof: EFCC Invites CSO To Substantiate Claims Of Fund Diversion In Osun

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has invited a Civil Societies Organisation based in Osogbo, the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State (CSCEOS) to appear before it and substantiate its allegation of diversion of local governments funds by the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

In the invitation letter seen by OsunDefender, and dated 13th May, 2016, titled: “Investigation Activities: Acknowledgement/Invitation Letter” and signed by EFCC’s Zonal Head, Akaninyene Ezima, the EFCC said that the organization should report to EFCC Zonal Office at No.16 Rev’d Oyebode Crescent, Iyaganku Ibadan G.R.A., Ibadan for an interview with the undersigned through the Head Team B, on the 17th May, 2016, at 10am prompt.

However, in a bid to get the reaction of the Governor to the latest investigation, a highly placed source at the Government House in Osogbo said “many news outlets only followed Punch Newspaper’s headline which erroneously claimed the Governor of the State of Osun is under investigation”.

Speaking with our correspondent on Monday morning, the source who did not want his name in print because he was not authorized to speak to the media told this paper “ there is nothing to worry about.”

Asked to clarify his statement, the highly placed source said, “we have nothing to worry about, in fact, we welcome any investigation by any law enforcement agency. We are certain at the end of this, we would be given a clean bill of health.”

Continuing, he said “the EFCC only asked the CSCEOS – which is a two-man organization by the way- to come and clarify its spurious allegation, so how that equates to the EFCC investigating Mr. Governor for Punch newspaper is a wonder to us.”

“The Punch headline is so mis-leading, I have seen the letter written by the EFCC and even have a copy of it. Nothing in it claims the agency was investigating Mr. Governor.”
We recall that Punch newspaper had also reported recently that Governor Aregbesola was under investigation by the ICPC for diverting bailout funds, a claim that was immediately refuted by the ICPC in a letter to the Governor.

However, a short interim statement by the governor’s spokesman Mr. Semiu Okanlawon stated thus, “My attention has been drawn to invitation purportedly sent to Suleiman Adeniyi by the EFCC to come forward over his group’s allegation of diversion of local government funds in Osun.”

“This is a welcome development as perhaps this will put an end to frivolous activities of the likes of this group and their cohorts in the trade of making allegations that they can not substantiate.”

“The Osun example in local government funds administration is a study in transparency and accountability. Perhaps, it is only in Osun that the governor introduced Heads of Local Government Administrations, HLAs, to the monthly allocation meeting. The HLAs have full knowledge of how much is received and other allied information. A governor with a plan to divert funds would not bring such a novel addition to the way funds are administered.”

“Have these petitioners checked out Osun’s record of payment of council salaries and pensions and compared it with what obtains in many other states of the federation?”, the spokesman asked.

Aregbesola To Deliver Keynote Address At Alimosho Symposium

The inaugural edition of the Enilolobo Abdullahi Ayinde Symposium will be held tomorrow at De Santos Hotel, 7 Shasha Road, Akowonjo Roundabout in Lagos by 1pm.

A statement by the organizers said the theme of the discuss is –

“ALIMOSHO: Where Effective Political Strategy and Democratic Management meet with Emulative Political Tolerance and Peaceful Co-existence – A Political Case Study”.

Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is expected to deliver the keynote address.

The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef, and a member of Lagos House of Assembly , Hon. Adebisi Yusuff, are expected to speak on the theme of the symposium.

Expected dignitaries include the National Leader of All Progressives’ Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola; Minister of Information, Chief Lai Mohammed and Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, among others.

New Fuel Price: A Much Better Deal For Nigerians By Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The President’s decision to reallocate funds once earmarked for the fuel subsidy and commit these to other more socially productive services and undertakings was a difficult decision. It was also a necessary one. Politically, it would have been easy for the president to sit back and let the subsidy remain in place, yet in the art of governance, the easiest policy is rarely the best one.

As originally envisioned, subsidy formed a basic part of the social contract between the people and government. It was a benefit all were to enjoy. Yet, because past governments were not for and of the people, the true meaning and objective of the subsidy policy became lost.

Over the years, the operation of the measure was distorted to where it no longer functioned for the benefit of the masses but for the undue enrichment of a small club of businessmen, some legitimate in their work, some not. Instead of remaining a positive aspect of the social contract, subsidy was transformed into an opaque haven of intrigue and malfeasance.

It was turned into a shadowy process from which the unscrupulous extracted large sums of money without providing the services and products duly paid for. Fake businessmen became true billionaires over night as if by supernatural force. They paraded themselves as such.

Meanwhile, the rest of the nation, the innocent people, where left to face erratic supply and were made to groan in the misery of long fuel queues and the high costs and loss of time attendant to this situation. To allow this unfairness to continue would have been a breach of the promise made by this government to the people.

While we all have an emotional and sympathetic attachment to the ideals upon which subsidy was founded, we all must recognise that the institution was hijacked years ago. Instead of a bonus to the masses, it became a factory of corrupt enrichment, so imbued with trickery deceit and theft, it stopped serving the interests of the people. It became a weapon of profiteering.

The machinery of the subsidy had become so polluted that it was no longer feasible to talk about reforming it. Either it had to cease or we would have to surrender to the corruption now inherent in it. This administration entered office with a mandate of CHANGE. The government could not forever sit back and allow this dire inequity to continue, less it forfeit the essence of its mandate. We all want fuel at a cheaper price. Under subsidy, we got the right price but not the fuel.

Meanwhile, some were getting rich on the common man’s predicament. They were laughing to the bank while the rest of Nigeria waited on the petrol line. This is not the way to democratic development. It is a recipe for creating a class of economic predators that would feed off the people and in time gain such power and wealth that they would seek to buy and control, if not own, government as well.

President Buhari has with this decision put an abrupt and just end to the assault against our economy and political system. He has made a courageous and prudent decision. It is time to end fuel subsidy and begin to subsidise the true needs of the people.

To Mr. President, I say congratulations for having the courage to remove subsidy. The president has taken this tough decision in the interest of the present and future generations of Nigerians. For some time, I have been a proponent of this action. I believed the ending of subsidy was the only sure way to put to sleep the myriad demons that had invaded the subsidy process, sucking the blood of Nigeria, swallowing much of our needed money.

The rentiers will no longer be able to make free money at our common expense. They will no longer be laughing to the bank while you languish on endless fuel queues. Nigeria has taken the historic step needed to create a competitive environment that that will eliminate smuggling, provide incentives for private refineries and attract foreign investments in the downstream sector and create employment.

Instead of just shipping off oil and having the more expensive finished products sent back to us, Nigeria will move closer to realising its potential to become the plastic centre of the continent by manufacturing numerous by products. Nothing can stop Nigeria from being the net exporter of fertiliser from the bye products of the oil industry. I am hopeful but also realistic about this measure. I am also mindful of the situation of our people.

This change will mean higher fuel costs in generally, and I would be lying if I said this will cause no pain or dislocation. However, it will lead to better supply and end the hidden substantial costs associated with long waits and delays for fuel. The days and hours of waiting for fuel will be a thing of the past. In a perfect setting, I wish we could have sanitised the subsidy regime and thus continued with it.

However, I believe that President Buhari correctly understood that there are to many malefactors and flaws in system for that hell to be turned into heaven. Better that we remove it. But I believe he is removing it not for the austere purpose of saving money but for the nobler purpose of putting those same funds to fairer, more equitable use in order that government might better serve those of us who are truly in utmost need. Now that the subsidy is being phased-out, we should simultaneously phase in social programmes benefiting the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

Programmes such as transportation grants, school feeding, improved basic medical care and coverage for the poor, and potable water projects are profound social objectives that can be funded with the money that was once going to rentiers and speculators. This way we can use government funds to ensure that fruits go to the hungry, not the already well fed.

Thus, I ask everyone to take a step back to coolly and objectively assess what has been decided. We must not make the mistake of allowing our political and sympathetic attachment to subsidy blind us to the hard fact that the purpose and benefits of subsidy had long ago been taken from the common man to reside in the purse of an elite few. We cannot persist in this imbalance and think it will help us to develop.

Instead, it is better to end subsidy and use the funds to establish well-targeted anti-poverty programmes that actually assist the people in need. True, this measure will increase fuel cost in the immediate term, and government must be vigilant to ensure that market forces are allowed to work properly and bring about a fair balance between supply, demand and longer-term favourable pricing.

Collusion and manipulation of the market must never be allowed. If government sets the system fairly, it will ensure better supply and with it economic certainty. Over the longer term, it will boost investment that can spur employment across several sectors. Perhaps more importantly, it will liberate money that government can now use to lower the social costs of living for our brothers and sisters who really need the help. While this may not be perfect, it is a much better deal than the one the subsidy offered us.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu is National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Osun Assembly Passes N141bn 2016 Budget

The Osun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the state’s 2016 budget estimate of N141 billion.

The passage of the budget followed a motion by Mr Kamil Oyedele, the assembly Chairman of Finance and Appropriation Committee during plenary in Osogbo.

The budget has N79.18 billion representing 56.06 per cent as Recurrent Expenditure and N62.09 billion representing 43.95 as Capital Expenditure.

Also, it estimated recurrent revenue at N99.47 billion, representing 70.41 per cent, while the capital revenue expectation is N41.80 billion, representing 29.59 per cent.

Speaking after the passage of the bill, the Speaker, Mr Najeem Salaam, said that the budget would focus on capital projects, infrastructure development and workers welfare.

He warned that on no account should the executive spend beyond the approved budget without supplementary budget being presented to the legislature for consideration.

The speaker, who described the budget as `the budget of hope, expressed optimism that 2016 would be a better year for the state, and urged the civil servants to assist government in generating revenue.

He said that government needed to look inward for improved revenue without putting unnecessary burden on the people.

“The executive must explore all avenues to block leakages,” he said.

Gov. Rauf Aregbesola had on Dec. 14, 2015, presented a budget proposal of N150 billion to the assembly.

But in a letter dated April 6, 2016 to the assembly, he sought for downward review of the budget to N137.9 billion, “due to the poor economic situation”.

Meanwhile, the assembly has elected Mr Safiriyu Akinwole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP- Ife East) as Minority Leader.

His election followed the death of the former holder of the position, Mr Dejo Makinde.