Ijesa People In The Diaspora Raises Concern Over Adewole

A socio-cultural group, Ijesa People in the Diaspora has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the ongoing dispute between the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole and the reinstated NHIS boss, Prof Usman Yusuf before it degenerates into a life threatening escapade for the minister.

In a statement by the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the group, High Chief Bobaseye Fasakin in Lagos, the manner of the NHIS Executive Secretary’s  dismissal and onward recall to his office by the President has breeded irreconcilable differences that might put Adewole’s life in danger.

Fasakin who recalled the circumstances leading to the death of a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Chief Ajibola Ige urged the President to save “their man” from the hyenas and jackals who might want to silence him with the decision.

His words “We have paid detailed and undivided attention to the irreconcilable differences between the federal ministry of health and one of her agency, NHIS on the suspension and recently recall of Prof Usman Yussuf back to office and the attendant uproar it has generated politically in the past couple of days, we are concerned about the safety of Prof Isaac Adewole as jackals and hyenas who are agents of victimization within the leadership structure of the presidency may be looking for his downfall by all means possible.”

“As students of history in Nigeria, we can remember the circumstantial situation that finally led to the murder of one of our brightest sons, the late cicero of Esa Oke, Chief James Ajibola Ige who was a serving attorney general and minister of justice in the administration of former president of Olusegun Obasanjo.”

“We are very cautious not to be categorical in our utterances but intelligence report revealed that caucus within the presidency as at then were instruments and agents used to execute the hatchet plan of victimizing, intimidating, molesting and eventual assassination of Late Bola Ige .”

Ijesa People In Diaspora said “It is within this context that we call for reinforcement of security apparatus in and around the educationist turned politician. In the last twenty nine months, the former vice chancellor of UI has distinguished himself as a valuable asset to the assemblage of progressive team of the Buhari led government to restore the lost fortunes of the health sector through the various technical interventions and laudable programmes he has embarked on.”

“We are impressed with the outcome of the recently published performances indices of sectors where the health ministry under Adewole was one of out of the six result oriented ministry of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, mentions were made about the revitalization of the 10,000 primary healthcare centres initiative, the north east emergency health and nutrition programme, the conceptualized production of vaccines locally and the too numerous to mention international funds he has facilitated into the country for achieving universal health coverage UHC.”

The group added that “We count on President Muhammadu Buhari to act swiftly and resolve the crisis within the shortest possible time as we continually admonish our son not to relent in bringing his wealth of experience to salvage the expected turnaround in the health sector for the good of all Nigerians.”

Fulani Herdsmen Crisis Caused By Societal Issues – Aregbesola

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has described the Fulani herdsmen activities as a product of disregard for their immediate environment rather than an ethical issue.

The Governor also challenged Nigeria to be strong and bond to take the leadership role of leading the black man to the zenith of the world.

The Governor spoke in Ado-Ekiti during a visit and an interactive session he held with students at the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti.

Aregbesola said it is wrong to see the issue of the Fulani herdsmen as just an ethnic issue or from the political angle, saying most of their action is as a result of the primitive way things are still being handled in the country.

He stated further that they did not just become wild because they are herdsmen but because Nigeria as a nation has completely disregarded the environment and because nobody has cared to help them.

While emphasising that their actions are not justifiable, he noted that the root of the problem is the poor economy and the underdevelopment of the country.

He however explained that the challenges posed by the Fulani herdsmen could be turned into a huge business and economic development opportunity if the right approach is used to tackle the issue.

The Governor stressed that he expects scholars from the various universities across the country to begin to engage in researches and come up with ideas to produce pasture and other feeds which the cattles in Nigeria can use to feed all year round, saying the cattle herdsmen will be willing to buy it.

According to Aregbesola, “as much as I condemn the activities of the Fulani herdsmen, I think it is not about one ethnic group, my personal opinion is that we have not given them an alternative as a people.

“I am sure they too can not say they enjoy the manner in which they roam about with their cattles, the challenge is caused by the primitive nature we still do things in this part of the world, it is caused by our total disregard of our environment and because we have never cared to look at how to help these herdsmen.

“The challenge is also about poverty and our refusal to begin to use our God-given knowledge as a people to solve our myriad societal problems we have as a nation of which the herdsmen killings is among.

“For emphasis, I am not justifying the criminality of the herdsmen, in fact I condemn it in all totality, I am only saying the root cause of the problem is our poor economy and our refusal to develop ourselves.

“I want to tell you that there is a business angle which can help nip this crisis in the bud, but it is a pity that we are not looking into it.

“If our scholars through our universities can look inwards and find an alternative to the herdsmen grazing the land indiscriminately with their cattles, I think the herdsmen too will embrace it and be willing to pay for it which I see as a business opportunity”. Aregbesola said.

The Osun governor also used the event to challenge Nigeria as a nation to rise up to the challenge of being the rallying point of Africans and all black men all over the world, saying if the black man must succeed then Nigeria must not fail as a nation.

 

National Assembly Lacks Power To Reorder Elections

Let me begin by saying that the National Assembly itself is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended. Section 47 of the Constitution provides that ‘There shall be a National Assembly for the Federation which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives’.

This provision of the Constitution shows clearly that the National Assembly itself is a creature of the Constitution. The Constitution which is the ground-norm of all other laws in the land including any Act made by the National Assembly, also provides for legislative powers exercisable by the same National Assembly. Section 4(1) of the Constitution provides that “The Legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in a National Assembly for the Federation which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representative”. Section 4(2) provides that “The National Assembly shall have power to make law for the peace, order and good Government of the Federation or any part thereof”…

Suffice to say that the National Assembly also derives its Legislative powers from the same Constitution.

Now, Section 1(1) of the Constitution provides that “This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 1(3) provides that “If any other law (this time, Electoral Act) is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void”.

Therefore, I hereby opine that the effect of Section 1(1) and Section 1(3) is that the Constitution has binding force either on the National Assembly as an Authority or Senators and Members of House of Reps as individual persons.

Section 153(1)(f) of the Constitution provides for the establishment of INEC just as Section 47 of the Constitution as herein above mentioned, provides for the establishment of National Assembly. The composition and powers of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are as contained in part 1 of the Third Schedule of this Constitution.

For the purpose of this piece, paragraph 15(a) provides that “The Commission (INEC) shall have power to Organise, Undertake and Supervise all Elections to the offices of the President and Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor of a State and to the Membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each State of the Federation”.

I, therefore, humbly opine that the effect of Section 153 (1) (f) of the Constitution and paragraph 15 of Part 1 of the third Schedule to the Constitution is that the Commission (INEC) shall conduct elections in the order stated in the Constitution, that is, from President to Governor and finally or lastly Membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the Federation.

Alternatively, since the commission shall have power to organise, undertake and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor of a State and to the Membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each State of the Federation, the literary meaning of the word “organise” simply means arrange systematically.

Therefore, the Constitution by virtue of these provisions, has given the commission (INEC) power to arrange systematically or order Elections as it deems fit and necessary without any input from National Assembly or Executives. And so far, Section 1(3) of the Constitution says “if any other law (this time, Electoral Act) is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail and that other law shall to the extent of inconsistency be void.

Conclusively, I dare submit that the part of Amendment to Electoral Act touching on the Reorder of Elections is void ab-initio, since it is in conflict with the power constitutionally given to the Commission.

I therefore urge members of the National Assembly to stop unnecessarily heating up the polity. Similarly, I urge the INEC to challenge this unconstitutional amendment to the electoral act in a competent Court of jurisdiction, as the rule of law is the bedrock of democracy.

Cows Invade Akure Airport Runway

A herd of cattle strayed onto the runway of Akure Airport this morning, preventing an Air Peace flight from Lagos from landing.

The Corporate Communications Manager of Air Peace, Mr Chris Iwarah, confirmed the incident, saying “Flight P4 7002 from Lagos had to delay landing into Akure Airport on Saturday when the pilot-in-command sighted cows on the runway at about 12.15pm.

“On being alerted by control tower, aviation security personnel of the FAAN (FAAN AVSEC) quickly intervened and cleared the runway.

“The flight was eventually cleared to land after about seven minutes. Our guests on board were all calm while the delay lasted.”

In a statement signed by its General Manager, Corporate Affairs , Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has apologised to Air Peace Airlines and its passengers for the incident.

She said :”However, normalcy was restored quickly, as officers of the aviation security department quickly dispersed the cows from the runway and the aircraft was cleared for landing.

“The authority will like to assure travellers and the general public that efforts are already ongoing to close the gap that aided this incident.

Orolu Parliamentarians Elect Benson As Chairman, Inaugurate Principal Officers

The newly elected councillors of Orolu Local Government Council Area, Ifon-Osun have unanimously elected their principal officers among all the parliamentarians that represent the whole 10 wards constituting the council.

The event was held on Tuesday at the local government Secretariat headquarters in Ifon Osun and witnessed by traditional rulers, Chiefs, religion leaders, party leaders and members, market men and women, and the local government officials.

Prince Adekunle Benson from ward 10 was elected by the Parliamentarians as the Chairman of the council, while Adekola Toyin from ward 3 was elected the Vice-chairman and they were sworn-in in the presence of the Clerk of the House, Mr. Afonja R A.

Other principal officers of the Parliament that were sworn in were; Rafiu Abiodun Durodola from ward 3 as the leader of the house, Ganiyu Isiaka from ward 7 as the deputy leader, while Jamiyu Fatai Kayode from ward 8 was elected to be the Supervisor for Orolu Administrative Office in Diisu Ayekale.

While delivering his speech, the Chairman, Prince Adekunle Benson appreciated Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the state leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Prince Gboyega Famodun and Alh. Rasak Salinsile for giving him the opportunity, promising them that he would not let them down.

Benson then promised the entire people of the council that the six-point integral action plans of the Aregbesola administration would be adopted and total transformation and unprecedented developmental projects would be experienced and witnessed in the nooks and crannies of the council.

He said his administration has planned to assiduously work on good roads, clean environment, standard market, waterways, electricity, potable water, food security, total empowerment, Agriculture, Security, Health, Education, Wealth creation, poverty alleviation and many more.

He then sought the cooperation and support of the members of the Parliament and Civil servants, assuring that the administration would operate an open door policy and welcome suggestions and ideas that will assist in the development of the council.

According to him, “we need to work assiduously by tapping every available Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base due to the local government to complement both the federal and state allocations”.

Do Governments Exist Just To Pay Salaries?

The above question arose in my mind and got me thinking long time ago, when my State, Osun, was in the news for reasons not unconnected with these same questions, and which made Governor Rauf Aregbesola to be so unpopular among civil servants, not only in Osun but all over. Osun soon became the poster boy for states that failed to be up to date in salary payments. It was so rive and unjustified that states which we all know couldn’t pay between eighteen months to two years weren’t even noticed in the media as but Osun that probably owed just a couple of months of modulated salary arrears.

Sometimes last year, I had to engage a very popular radio On-Air Personality based in Lagos on the true situation of things in Osun. He was hitherto fond of using Osun as an example of what he termed “bad governance” until he, according to him, found out the truth. He profusely apologized on national radio to “…this man, Aregbesola, whom we have all unfairly disparaged”. What was the reason behind this misrepresentation? It was not for lack of adequate information from Osun state’s government information handlers, but the presence of morbid stereotypical syndrome which our media and other critics have not, even till date, corrected or condemned.

Thank goodness Osun has finally gotten out of the mess of inability to pay salaries, allowances and pensions up to date. The modulated salary payments agreed to by labour and government have also ended as Osun has commenced paying full salaries to all categories of staff in its employment, and up-to-date. But this is not the crux of this essay.

Few weeks back, a prominent national daily, in its editorial comment asked similar question as headlined above. The editorial board was of the opinion that payment of salaries should just be one of several other responsibilities of government. That explains why budgets are oftentimes segregated into two broad areas:  capital and recurrent expenditures. One is for real development like educational infrastructure, roads, health infrastructure and others while the recurrent is mainly to pay wages, salaries, pension and other costs of running government. But because over the years, citizens see government as the big father, almost everyone sees it as the undisputable provider of livelihood. This certainly, is not unconnected with the defunct oil boom which made us believe in rent and wages without corresponding value added. Going to school to obtain degrees and diplomas is fundamentally meant to equip us adequately to be self reliant. But, over the years, we’ve been made to believe that going to school is a certificate for free meal from government. You can say anything concerning our brothers in the southeast but one thing that probably distinguishes them from the rest of us is their spirit of self reliance which some commentators believe is the result of the sufferings they went through in the thirty months of Biafran war. This experience carried over to their younger generation could be linked to the reason many of them make it in business at relatively younger age than their contemporaries in other parts of the country, who might have spent quite a long period in conventional schooling.

According to the board of editors of the national tabloid referred to earlier, “Governor Rauf Aregbesola exposed the precariousness of the current template by his admission that personnel costs alone amounted to over 85 per cent of the total revenue that accrued to Osun State between July 2015 and November 2017. This is typical of most other states and the message must be rammed home that apart from the primary role of protecting life and property, governments exist to galvanise the people for productive activities.

“The 36 states and 774 local government councils must understand that they are not constituted only to pay salaries and pensions”.

They cited a Canadian government’s policy document which states that regional or state governments are a geographically larger level of government over existing municipalities to provide area-wide municipal functions more economically and to establish a tax base sufficient to undertake necessary new services. If this is the case, states exist mainly to provide services and infrastructure as well as generate funds through tax regimes to provide the aforementioned.

Unfortunately, incompetent governance, dishonesty, fear of popular public opinions, misunderstanding of what government really stands for have combined to make us believe that governments are in office to pay salaries only.

This self-destructive model must give way to a more rational public finance management system. The solution must begin with a proper diagnosis of what went wrong, which is the overthrow of fiscal federalism. It is a slide rich in irony; for when Nigeria first codified the federal principle through the 1954 Macpherson Constitution, it “provided fiscal autonomy to its three regions both over expenditure decisions and over a local revenue base (consisting primarily of mining rents, personal income tax, and receipts from licences). Centrally collected revenues, primarily from export, import and excise duties, were distributed to the regions based on the derivation principle,” according to a World Bank report. This allowed vibrant, self-sustaining regions and LGs that competed fiercely and ran successful administrations. But the violent intrusion of over-centralising military rule since 1966, especially through the General Aguiyi Ironsi’s Unification Decree, gradually eroded fiscal autonomy with subsequent multiple new states and LGs completing the descent that has turned today’s states and LGs into beggars.

According to this board of editors, and which I absolutely agree with, there is no alternative to radical reform; funds are simply no longer there to waste. The World Bank reports that, globally, regional governments are increasingly deploying Information Communications Technology to increase accountability, sustainability and quality of service. The about 600 federal ministries, departments and agencies should be pruned with similar cost-cutting at the states and LGs.

State Governments should downsize their outspized bureaucracies but deploy staff and school leavers to more productive ventures in agriculture, trades and vocations as office works are better automated than use of men in order to free resources for rural infrastructure and make their states magnets for investments in agriculture, mining and SMEs.

 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Incessant Road Accidents On Our Major Roads

One thorny and heart-saddening salient disaster that has become prevalent within the suburb of Osogbo and other neighbouring towns in the State of Osun is the recurrence of road accidents. Much as many encomiums would be directed to the state government for its heavily felt midas touch in the construction and rehabilitation of roads infrastructures, more still need to be done to alleviate this unbecoming disaster that has been on the rise.

Rather than often, barely a day that one wouldn’t witness or hear about a fresh road accident. The rate is quiet alarming as this would only slow down the seeming pace of economic growth in the state. How do we account for a situation whereby able minds in the working class get involved in road accidents due to lackadaisical attitude of road users?

Worthy of commendation is one of the safety net programmes put in place by the government of Osun, the O’Ambulance scheme. This initiative has helped saved many lives due to the quick response health services administered to road accident victims as they are designated and stationed along major routes in the State.

What need be done? Besides the state government’s directive to ban road-side hawking and other business activities, strict measures and punishment should be placed in line for deterring traders. The State House of Assembly should enact and pass such a bill into law.

There should be an awareness campaign by Road Safety Commission and non-governmental organisations for the teeming populace, the major road-users on the need to secure their lives from impending danger that could come to be as a result of bad road usage culture.

Faulty vehicles that break down on the roads should not be left, they should be towed away to a safety haven so as to prevent crash on the highway. Strict punishment should be placed on road traffic defaulters too as I have many times seen fatal accidents caused by this negligible act.

 

  • Oluwafoyo Akanmu.

Kobongbogboe, Osogbo.

Osun Sensitises Residents Over Health Insurance Scheme

The training of medical personnels, provision of drugs, localising of health insurance scheme in the state are all steps taken by the government of the State of Osun towards the launching of the Osun Social Insurance Health Scheme (OSHIS).

This was revealed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Adelani Baderinwa during a one day sensitisation meeting with media practitioners in Osogbo on Wednesday.

Speaking further, the commissioner stated that the state health insurance scheme which is now fully functional is established so that its benefits and advantages would be enjoyed by both the indigenes and residents of the state.

“The scheme was established for the sake and purpose of everybody in the state as its coverage is universal.

“Nobody is excluded from the scheme for any reason. It is for everybody to access.

The commissioner also revealed that modalities had been put in place to ensure that the scheme enjoys all round success and that people which it was meant for would access it.

In his opening remark, the Special Adviser to the governor on Health, Dr. Gbenga Oyinlola stated that the need for the sensitisation meeting arose as a result of creating awareness as to the kick off of the health insurance scheme in the state.

He noted that the health insurance scheme when accessed by everybody would be an avenue to make healthy living realisable in the state.

According to him, “the need for universal health coverage for all is irrespective of class, status and gender”.

“For the State of Osun, one of the modalities of grading good health is through the health insurance scheme and media sensitisation is very important because people will know the benefits of the programme as it gets to the public sphere”.

Also, the Executive Secretary of the Osun Social Health Insurance Scheme (OSHIS), Dr. Niyi Oginni stated that the idea behind the scheme was to start a process that will make health services universally available to all and sundry in the state.

“The scheme would be operated on equity where those who do not have money can have access to quality health services and we want it to succeed so that Osun will be an example to emulate”.

Iwo East LCDA Chair Hails Aregbesola Over Parliamentary System

The newly sworn-in chairman of the Iwo East Local Council Development Area, Comrade Rahman Abiola Lawal on Tuesday said Governor Rauf Aregbesola has once again written his name in gold with the introduction of the parliamentary system of administration at the local government level.

Rahman, who spoke shortly after being sworn in at the Olomowewe Secretariat of the Iwo East LCDA, said just as he has done in many other aspects of Osun’s life, Aregbesola has introduced a system that would change the face of politics.

It was amidst pomp and pageantry that he took oath of office in the presence of many community leaders, party chieftains and officials of the LCDA on Tuesday.

He said, “As we all know, Parliamentary System is not alien to our political culture, experience and history, and this reminds me of the golden period of Sir Tafawa Balewa before the First Republic was truncated by the Military Adventurists on January 15, 1966.

“As Governor Rauf Aregbesola reminded us on 6th February 2018 on the occasion of our swearing in as representatives of our respective wards, the system being ushered in ensures party supremacy and discipline.

“The system also affirms the supremacy of the political party, it personifies the view, ideology, belief and tendency of  a political association, and this gives stability, reliability and predictability to the political system.

The new Chairman promised to be law-abiding as well as discharge his relative functions of office without fear or favour.

 

Man, 38, In Prison For N1.5m Fraud

A Magistrate court sitting in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State on Tuesday remanded a 38 years old man, Oluwasegun Olanrewaju in Ilesha prison over alleged fraud of N1.5m.

The accused person was alleged to have obtained the sum of money under false pretence to buy one Akorede Omopariola, a 2014 model Sienna car.

The police prosecutor, Inspector Joshua Oladoye while addressing the court said that the accused converted the money to his own personal use.

He said the unlawful act committed by the accused person is contrary to Section 1(1)(c) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud related offences Act 2006.

The plea of the accused was not taken over the one-count charge leveled against him.

Counsel to the accused person, Taofeek Ibukunle was not allowed to request for the bail of the defendant due to the magnitude of the offence.

The magistrate, Mrs. M.A Awodele then remanded the accused in Ilesha prison custody while she adjourned the case till 19th February, 2018 for mention.

The magistrate then directed the police to send the duplicate case file of the accused to the DPP’s office for advice to be issued.

 

Weather Forecast: Cloudy Weather Expected On Sunday, Monday In Ile Ife

By Sodiq Lawal

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted mostly cloudy with a t-storm on Sunday and shower or t-storm in spots in the ancient town of Ile Ife, State of Osun.

The agency predicted that the ancient town would experience cloudy to cloudy on Sunday morning hours with day and night temperatures in the range of 34 to 24 degrees Celsius.

It also predicted that the town will experience a shower or thunderstorm on Monday with day and night temperatures in the range of 33 to 37
and 34 to 24 degrees Celsius.