Three-year-old To Be Sponsored For Eye Surgery

The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Obokun Local Government Council Area of Osun State; Dr. Olugbenga Ogunleye had promised that his administration was going to take care of the hospital bills of a three-year old child, who lost sight of both eyes.
Dr. Ogunleye was making this promise as he spoke to OSUN DEFENDERCOMMUNITY NEWS during the flag-off of the Free Eye screening, treatment and surgery organised by the council area at the Model Health Centre, Esa-Oke recently.
The council boss, who stated that he observed that of all the ailments that needed urgent attention, the first and the most important on the list was that of the eye problems, while also declaring that the decision to take care of the eye ailments of the citizens was because it was the responsibility his administration owed the people as a democratic government.
In his words, “we always take into cognizance the yearnings of our people, because the essence of governance is to make life comfortable for our people”.
The medical doctor-turned-politician revealed that in the course of his investigations, he observed some people had partially lost their vision.
In that regard, he also revealed his administration had made available eye glasses for those that needed them.
While reiterating his administration’s desire to make the eye treatment and surgery a periodical initiative in Obokun Local Government Council Area, Dr. Ogunleye revealed that corrective surgeries that would take care of hernia and lumps would be embarked-on in the coming months.
‘Before the end of this year, definitely we will come back to the eye surgery, because we discovered that there are a lot of cases still remaining”, he assured.
He maintained that the estimated sum of money spent on the free-eye treatment scheme couldnot be quantified, but the benefits on the people was much bigger.
Describing the operations as a bit expensive, Dr. Ogunleye was of the opinion that it was a necessity that made the people to be happy.
Other medical problems which the caretaker committee intended to deal with included hypertension and diabetes.
“We are going to treat people with common medical problems like hypertension and diabetes which are silent killers”, he stated.
The council boss noted that the state government was planning to rehabilitate many roads and schools.
Infrastructural development, provision of water through the reactivation of boreholes also formed part of   the plans of the Obokun council chairman for the local government.
“We have repaired old malfunctioning boreholes in five communities”, he added.

We Will Not Stop This Protest Until We Are Paid – Nipost Retirees

The Osun State branch of the National Union of NIPOST Retirees has stated that it was due to the refusal of the Federal Government through the office of the Accountant-General and Postmaster-General of the Federation to pay arrears of their pension for more than 72 months that has culminated in the mass protest to disrupt postal activities embarked upon by their members nationwide.
Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER COMMUNITY NEWS in Osogbo, two leaders of the union, Pastor Lawrence Adeyemi Ademiju; Chairman of NIPOST Union of retirees and also the South-West Zonal Chairman of the union and Olatunji Adeeyo; the representative of the 2005/2006 retirees; it maintained that the protest was a peaceful one and that they would not back down until their demands were met.
They disclosed that though their gratuities were paid after their forceful retirement on December 31, 2006 by the Olusegun Obasanjo reforms of the civil service, their pension arrears were yet to be paid.
A situation, which according to Mr. Adeeyo, had led to the deaths of more than 300 of their members nationwide.
They complained that though the verification exercise for the South-West Zone was done in Akure in March, 2011, they were promised getting their pension arrears paid after two weeks.
It was this failure that forced the NIPOST retirees to commence on a warning strike in July.
“This time, we will not allow them to do business until we are notified from our banks that our money had been credited into our accounts”, they asserted.
They noted that the Federal Government was aware of their plight, because it was the government that severed their appointments.
The retirees lamented the failure of NIPOST management to fight on their behalf.
“They would have taken our problems to the Federal Government, particularly the Accountant-General, who was to pay our money, because the payment rests on his office squarely”.
Pastor Ademiju disclosed that both the Federal Government and NIPOST were responsible for the delay in the payment of their arrears.
He maintained, “the promises they made the last time was yet to be fulfilled, but nothing had been done so far.”
Despite the protests, the retirees promised to be orderly and not to destroy anything, but called off the possibility of a round-table dialogue until their accounts were credited with their pension arrears.

Let Reason Prevail Over Strike Action

Kindly permit me a space in your widely-read newspaper to express my views on the on-going workers’ industrial action embarked upon by workers in the employ of Osun State government.
As a prelude, the two parties to the crisis must understand that such occurrence as the industrial strike action remains part of the tools normally adopted by workers worldwide while trying to press home their legitimate demands. It is also a common tool by workers in most advanced economies and democracies the world over.
However, while industrial strike action remains the legitimate right of the workers, it must also be noted that the overall interest of the common man on the street must be taken into consideration by the two parties in the crisis.
It must also be noted that the state government is there to protect our collective interest and at the same time ensure that the wheel of governance continue to move unhindered.
Within the past few days that the industrial action started, the usual N300 million believed to be the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the state on monthly basis would be lost, should the strike action continue unabated. It is therefore in the interest of all the stakeholders to ensure that the resources of the state continue to be on the increase.
My special appeal therefore, goes to the state workers and the state government under Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the need to shift grounds in the overall interest of the masses that form the bulk of the state population.
Our traditional rulers should also intervene in the lingering crisis to forestall any unpleasant consequences in the overall interest of the masses.

•Kolade Adewole, Alekunwodo, Osogbo.

How Fair Was NJC In Katsina-Alu/Salami Row?

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has asked the Pr,esident of the Court of AJ2Peal (PCA), Justice Isa Ayo Salami, to apologise in writing to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CilllJustice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and the NJC within a week, beginning from August 10. The NJC said it found Justice Salami guilty of false claims and breaching of Rule 1(1) of the Code of Conduct for judicial officers. Lawyers have faulted the directive, which expires tomorrow. They said the NJC acted ultra vires because it has usurped the powers of the courts. Only a court has the power to declare a person guilty of perjury, and not the NJC, they argued. JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU, ERIC IKHILAE and JOSEPH JIBUEZE sought their views.

FOR the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloyius Katsina-Alu, the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Ayo Isa Salami and the National Judicial Council (NJC), tomorrow means a lot. The day marks the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum given to Justice Salami to apologise to Justice Katsina-Alu as part of the NJC’s decision on the face-off between Justice Katsina-Alu, rho is retiring on August 28, and Justice Salami.
Justice Salami, NJC said, should apologise to Justice Katsina-Alu for lying against him on oath. Lawyers, who have so far reacted to this decision, feel that the NJC, which comprises mainly judges should know better than to make such pronouncement. In law, a man cannot be found guilty 6f a criminal offence by an administrative panel. It is only the courts that have the power to try and convict for criminal offences. This is why lawyers are worried by NJCs stand.
Was the NJC working to a predetermined position? Many lawyers believe it was.
From the way the NJC went about its brief, the lawyers said many be tempted to query the type of justice being dispensed daily by the courts. According to them, if judges and others in the NJC cannot ensure “true and untainted” justice among themselves, how then can they claim to understand what justice implies when adjudicating on litigants’ disputes?
The NJC was acting in good faith when it constituted the Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin panel to look into the dispute between the CJN and the PCA over the Sakoto, Ekiti and Osun governors election disputes.
On the completion of its task on March 8, last year, the Babalakin panel, among others, found “That the CJN as the chairman of the NJC has no power to interfere with any pro­ceedings in any court as was done in this case.” It absolved Justice Salami of any wrong doing.
Apparently dissatisfied with this outcome, the NJC on March 9,2011 constituted the Justice Umaru Abdullahi panel.
The panel, besides reviewing what the Babalakin panel did, also looked into fresh petitions by ex-Governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun) and Segun Oni (Ekiti) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against some Justices of the Court of Appeal, who sat on the governorship appeal election petitions in those states ..
The ex-governors alleged that Justice Salami had a rela­tionship with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its leaders. They submitted some MTN call logs to prove that Justice Salami allegedly compromised in removing them from office and declaring opponents, the ACN and its candidates, as the winners. The panel also looked into Sokoto, Ekiti and Osun states governorship appeals.
“At the end of its assignment, the Abdullahi panel reported among others, that: “Upon the totality of the evidence and the material placed before the panel, it finds:
(i) that the call logs relied on by the petition­ers lack authenticity and, therefore, have J10 evidential value;
(ii) that there is no sufficient evidence to establish the alleged unethical communication and to make finding of fact that there was such communication;
(ill) that there is nothing to show that the statement credited to Justice Salami, that he makes use of judges he trusted is indicative of an adverse connotation.
On Sokoto Governorship Appeal, the panel said there was no leakage of the judgment of the Court of Appeal as alleged against Justice Salami and Justices of the Court.
The panel, however, said the NJC and the CJN have no power to interfere in any judicial proceedings as Justice Katsina-Alu did on Sokoto Governorship Election Petitions before the Court of Appeal.
Rather than rut the nail on the head, the panel chose a middle ground, preferring not to rock the boat. “The panel, however, finds no sem­blance of ill-motive, selfishness of an indi­vidual or sectional interest being used to sub­vert the Constitution in the steps taken by the CJN, Chairman of NJC.
“In view of the surrounding circumstances, the panel finds that the CJN was motivated by an apparent urge to protect the administration of justice and avoid Dreach of peace. The panel finds that the CJN acted in good faith to have taken the steps he took,” the Abdullahi panel said in its report .
. Still unsatisfied, the NJC constituted the Justice Ibrahim Auta panel, to make recom­mendations based on the Abdullahi panel. Justice Auta, though a member of the NJC by virtue of being the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, is the most junior of all the heads of the three panels set up by NJC over the Katsina-Alu/Salami dispute.
The NJC said: “Having therefore established that the allegation by Justice Salami against Justice Katsina-Alu, regarding the Sokoto Gu­bernatorial Election Appeal was false, Council decided that it is a misconduct con~ to Rule 1 (1) of the Code of Conduct for Judicicil Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Consequently, Council further decided iliat the Hon. President of the Court of Appeal should:
(i) “be warned for such unethical conduct which eroded the ‘public confidence in the in­tegrity and impartiality of the Judiciary;
(ii) “apologise in writing to both the CJN and Chairman of NJC, Justice Katsina-Alu, and NJC within a week from today, the 10th day of Au t,2011.”
Although it has been reported that Justice Salami was planning to head for the court over this recommendation, observers are worried over the implication of the decisions on the Judiciary.
A United States of America (USA)-based non­governmental organisation, Justice For All Nations QFAN), described the apology direc­tive as a bad precedence in Nigeria’s judicial history.
The group noted that “H apology could be recommended as penalty for perjury, that shows what Nigeria has in its legal Institution are a bundle of deceptors that specialise in dress­ing corruption and pretend to be dispensing justice.”
In a statement signed DY its coordinator, Dr Dada Popoola, JPAN stated that the judiciary in Nigeria had again lost the chance of restoring its credibility in the eyes of the world.     –
He said: “Our question is, does that mean that Justice Salami, who committed perjury, will now be sitting in judgment over other people who committed the same offence? And if such a case is brought before him, is he also going to simply overlook Section 117 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation, which makes perjury a criminal offence and Section 118, which prescribes 14 years imprisonment for offenders? –
“According to Section 117, ‘Any person who in any judicial proceeding or for the purpose of instituting any judicial proceeding know­ingly gives false testimony touching any mat­ter which is material to any question then de­pending in that proceeding, or intended to be raised In that proceeding, is guilty of an of­fence which is called perjury.
“It is immaterial whether the testimony is, given on oath or under any other section authorised by law. In this instance, Justice Salami lied on oath and all that the NJC could do was to say, ‘go and apologies to the CJN and NJC: as if the CJN and the N]C are equiva­lent to Nigeria and its people that Justice Salami ridiculed!
“NJC has just set a bad precedence in Nigeria’s judicial history. This is absurd and the sooner President Goodluck Jonathan and the Senate wade into a matter like this, the better for Ni­geria and its image before the international community.”
Lawyers said only a court of law, and not a domestic panel, can preside over a· criminal matter such as alleged perjury.
A professor of law, Itsay, Sagay (SAN) said the move by NJC is very illega1 and unconsti­tutional.
“No panel other than a court of law can in­dict anyone in matter of perjury. What the NJC is doing is therefore completely illegal and unconstitutional. It is only a court of law that is constitutionally empowered to do so,” he said.
He said the allegation that the CJN interfered with a pending case on appeal has been swept under the carpet. “There has been no apology or expression of any form of regret .over the illegal and unconstitutional interference in the Sokoto governorship petition appeal,” Sagay said.
According to him, there is an “anti-progres­sive onslaught” against Justice Salami over his role in restoring true democracy. Some, he said, are not happy with the Court of Appeal headed by Salami which upturned several stolen man­dates from rigged elections, and are bent on reversing the gains made by the appellate court.
Activist-lawyer, Mr Femi Yalana said:
“Frankly speaking, I cannot appreciate why the NJC has decided to embarrass itself by act­ing outside its statutory powers. With profound respect to the members most of whom are eminent judges, the NJC has no powers to im­pose or to mete out punishment or disciplinary action on any of its members or any judge for that matter.
“There is no doubt that the NJC can investi­gate allegations of misconduct against them, Including the CJN/ but, once Investigation has been concluded, and a case of misconduct is established, the power to discipline is with the appointing authority, in this instance the President.
“The NJC is a recommending body which has no powers to execute its recommendations. By asking somebody to apologise for lying on oath, the NJC has acted Ultra vires (outside its powers) by finding somebody guilty of a crimi­nal offence of perjury which only a properly constituted court in Nigeria can find. Only a properly constituted court can make such a finding.
I therefore, hope that the attention of the NJC will be drawn to the relevant provisions of the Constitution and decided autftorities on ‘his matter, particularly the case of Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee vs. Fawehinmi. The NJC’s disciplinary power is limited to the staff of the Council.”
A human rights activist, Mr Morakinyo Ogele, ~aid the outcome of the Auta Panel was not only surprising but shocking. He said it was Jutside the purview of a panel without judicial powers to handle a’ criminal matter such as alleged perjury.
He warned NJC to expect a lawsuits over what he called breach of Constitution, adding that the NJC’s finding that justice Salami swore to a false affidavit is outside the jurisdiction of any domestic panel.
Ogele said it has been widely decided by the courts that a domestic panel such as the Auta Panel cannot preside over a criminal matter.
He cited the case of Carba vs University of Maiduguri where the Supreme Court held that it is beyond the jurisdiction of any domestic panel to preside over a criminal matter.
“We have been warning that the NJC should thread cautiously in respect of Justice Salami and the CJN. I humbly advise NJC to with­draw the outcome of Auta Panel in respect of perjury that the panel decided upon.
“Otherwise, it may open a floodgate of liti­gation in this country as any individual has the right to challenge a breach of our constitution,” Ogele said.
A human rights group, the Access to Justice (An, said the conclusions on Petitions against CJN and PCA are disappointingly shallow and side-step core Issues. They woUld not hell’ re­store public confidence in judiciary, it said.
Its Director, Mr Joseph Otteh, said: “Ulti­mately, the leadership of the Nigerian judi­ciary must take responsibility for the current state of the Judiciary, its loss of prestige and public trust, its internal conflicts and divisions, Its sagging stature and its waning authority.
“The judiciary needs new direction, new ad­ministration, new leadership, new systems and a new spirit. We urge the current leadership to make way for this-renewal.”
Former Chairman, NBA, Ikorodu Branch, Mr Nurudeen Pt;bara, said: “The verdict is most unfortunate, incredible, and perverse because the evidence is so clear even to the blind man. It is rather sad that those entrusted with the leadership of the judiciary decided to rubbish and denigrate the sacredi1ess and the sanctity of the respected institution. The least every­body expected was the resignation of the in­cumbent Chief Justice of Nigeria and commen­dation for the PCA for standing on the truth, fairness, integrity and transparency.
“From the outset, the Current occupant of the exalted office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria had sacrificed his headship of the judiciary and comprised the integrity of the system on the alter of sheer opportunism. How can you ab­solved the CJN 01 wrong doing and turned the heat on the PCA, who obviously is the one that has insisted on integrity. Besides, the his­tory of the dramatis personnel involved in this matter easily show to the whole world who is pro-integrity and who does not have any iota of integrity.
“Given the intrigues and double standards that have characterised the whole exercise, it is evident that there is a glaring conspiracy to get rid of the PCA at all cost even as the CJN retires. The ‘CJN will not even be touched. Only the just, the truthful and the meritorious with a lot integrity and the love of trans­parency that is being subjected to Persecution, harassment and molestation but the righteous are ever courageous because the Gracious God will not abandon them.
“The signs are too ominous and the clouds, too dark and unbridled. The NBA and indeed all right-thinking and justice-loving Nigerians Should not allow this otherwise the few remaining courageous and principled jurists in the Nigerian judiciary will lie completely traumatised, perma­nently intimidated and humiliated.
“One of the duties of the NBA is to protect the legal profession and defend its integrity. Not only does the NBA protect and defend the bar, she similarly does the same for the bench. Unfortunately however, the NBA has over the years been short-changed by the vary forces opposed to transparency, rule of law and due ‘process by the continued at­tempts to manipulate the NBA which the successive leadership of the bar has resisted and continue to resist.
“The constitution and relative statutory provisions allow the NBA to appoint its nominees into certain stator and constitu­tional bodies but those in authorities usu­ally frustrate the lofty intensions and often sabotage the NBA by directly appointing such nominees themselves rather than allowing the NBA to do so. They appoint their minions and stooges who are otherwise not proper and fit persons and who will not be accountable to the NBA. The leadership of the bar has gone as far as instituting legal action to redress the anomalies:
“The truth actually is that the Nigerian ju­diciary still faces a daunting task in deep­ening democracy and validating the rule of law and due process due largely to consti­tutional defects and structural problems in relation to the Judicature. These challenges include but not limited to composition of the NJC, its constitutionally assigned mandate, those who have been’ appointed to the apex court over time, by way of elevation or seniority as opposed to appointment predicated on merit and a mix of ideological cum solid professional back­grounds, deficient accountability creden­tials and the complexities of the time,
“The unfolding miasma in the Nigerian judicature has once more placed on the front burner the urgent necessity to have a trans­formed and accountable judiciary that will effective superintend an impartially adju­dicate all sorts bf grievances including po­litical transition disputes. The constitution should be amended without further delay such that the ‘CJN will no longer be the Chairman of ·the N}C, without prejudice to Section 230 (1) – as amended so as to guarantee fair play and put in place a measure of check and balances. Similarly, part 1 of the Third Schedule of the constitu­tion with regard to paragraph I dealing with the NJC should equally be reworked so that the limiting proviso in paragraph 20 (i) thereof that provides that the five (5) nomi­nees/members of the NJC “ … shall sit in the NJC only for the purposes of considering the names of persons for appointment to the superior court of record … ‘
“The foregoing, I submit, is the greatest danger to the NJC and the Nigerian polity because but for this proviso, the representa­tives of the NBA would have made a big difference and justice would have been done and the integrity of the judicial arm would have been preserved. I entertain no doubt whatsoever that the NBA will continue to rise to the occasion and engender the desir­able changes even in the face of the avoid­able contradictions the NJC has found itself.”

•Culled from THE NATION

The Fresh Blood And The Challenges Ahead

Thank God the story has changed; the critics of delayed cabinet constitution will for once hold their peace and stop the unnecessary hues and cries about the failure of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola to appoint the commissioners over the various ministries in Osun State. As it is the usual practice, majority of the critics had expected that mistakes of the past would reverberate like the echo of a sound in a deserted chamber. They were disappointed that only thirteen conventional ministries would be manned by commissioners while an additional ministry of inter-regional integration is to be managed by one young brilliant lawyer to meet the yearnings of the generality of Yoruba people who have incessantly been clamouring for a reversal to the old order; whereby all the Yoruba people in the states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and part of Kwara, Kogi and Edo states would begin to see themselves as one and entrench the principle of true federalism that brought unprecedented growth and development to the old western region under the tutelage of the late sage; chief Obafemi Awolowo. They must have been disappointed too that something new that will expose their excesses and ineptitude while they held sway for close to eight years would be exposed.
I was not surprised about what I saw in the conference hall of the local government service commission last week Friday when a team of young individuals were sworn in as commissioners to facilitate rapid turn around of Osun State that has lagged behind for too long due to acute maladministration.
I am sure these people knew what took place in Osun State between 1999 and 2003 when Chief Bisi Akande was the governor. Within a period of four years, Chief Akande put in place what can be described as the best state secretariat in Nigeria today. The man, who is now the National Chairman of the most organised party in Nigeria opened up the conducive for human habitation. Unfortunately, what took four years to build was almost destroyed by those who fraudulently occupied the place for seven and a half years.
What is expected of the new cabinet is to swing into action and key themselves into the vision of the governor so that the state can move out of doldrums. Some of them might not know the process that brought them into the new government, but I think I owe them all the duty to remind them and to let the public know too.
The uncommon ingenuity of Mr Governor was brought to bear when notable academics were contacted in July to come down to Osogbo. One of them that is well known to me is an old school mate to Professor Sola Adeyeye who is now a senator of the federal republic. The impression was that he would be coming to Osogbo to felicitate with him with the advice that he should come with spare dresses because he might have to spend a day or two with him. It was in Osogbo that all the invitees were briefed that they have been invited to screen some nominees for the positions of commissioners and special advisers. They were later told that the reasons for their invitation were kept secrete so that there would no undue influence from any power brokers from the state to tinker with the objectivity of their assignment. If any members of the screening exercise are contacted, I am sure they will tell whoever that those who eventually emerged either as commissioners or special advisers actually distinguished themselves during the screening exercise.
I may not know all the commissioners and special advisers intimately but there are three of them with whom I have had intimate interactions and I am convinced they can prove their mettles any time, any day. What is left is for them is to translate their God-given clout to reality by transforming the state from its present status of a non-performer to the envisaged status of a great achiever within the shortest time possible.
Though relatively young in age, the crop of commissioners that have been recommended for Osun by the distinguished Nigerians in the screening panel are capable of translating dreams to reality, given a very conducive operational environment. There are however challenges that they must first surmount if any impacts are to be made.
First and foremost is the factor of the old political foggies who may not want huge success to come from the functionaries. They have begun to complain already under the pretext that those recently sworn in have little exposure and experience in public life. I confronted one of the internal critics last Sunday; barely two day after swearing in and took time to educate him, that private operators are he drivers of most performing economies around the world today. With the kind of slackness in most government institutions today, any successful private practitioners will do better in public circle if given free hands to operate.
The second reservation expressed is that but for a few of them who are known politicians, most of them lack the political experience to maneuver the political terrain that will be the platform of operation of the commissioners, Whereas, it is over- politicization of government instruments that is militating against effectiveness and the efficiency profile of government machinery. Most of the time we see that mediocrity is preferred over and above proficiency. That is why most public instruments are not producing the desired results because those better materials are out there untapped. They are said not to be well connected. This notion is fast becoming archaic because in Osun State today, we have the best materials in place that are capable of making the best out of affordable opportunities.
We also have the imperviousness and general apathy of the general public. The general public has gotten used to a kind of lackadaisical and lacklustre attitude toward government business and programmes. People around here believe that government is not always serious as they most of the time say one thing and do another thing. Those saddled with the responsibilities of executing government poliscies often work against their success such that any time a policy maker makes a pronouncement, it sounds rhetoric because deep inside them, the policy maker means a direct opposite of what is being said. The new team must ensure that public confidence is restored in government businesses by matching words with actions as the days go by. Being exemplary will not only instill discipline, it will garner people’s support for government policies and programmes.
As young and vibrant individuals, the future lies very much ahead of them. The temptation of grabbling it quick through inordinate ambition of amassing wealth will only bring disrepute that will quickly erode public support needed to have successful policy implementation. A paradigm shift from practices known with the immediate past government in Osun State will speak volumes for the present administration and its achievements when it will be time for stocktaking in a short while.
Three years, three months and a few days may appear very far away; but honestly, it will soon come to an end like the passage of a thunder. Today, we are still celebrating the success of Ogbeni Aregbesola at the court of appeal because it is still fresh in our memory. Rumination will cause the reality to dawn on us that we are already eight months and twenty two days into the regime of Governor Aregbesla. This is to tell us that time and tide wait for no man and the sluggard will soon realize that the days of unnecessary pleasure will soon be ripe to yield nothingness and sorrow to the indolent. The time to rewrite the history of Osun State is now, we cannot afford to fritter away another golden opportunity because sooner than we envisage it, posterity will be there to size us up.

Osogbo Stands Still As Students Protest Expulsion Of Colleagues, ASUP Strike

Osogbo, the Osun State capital, was held to a standstill for one hour on Monday as students of the four state-owned tertiary institutions in the state blocked the popular Orita-Olaiya roundabout with a luxury bus and six mini-buses.
The students, who thronged major streets in the state capital, were protesting the expulsion of five of their colleagues from the Osun State College of Education, Ilesa, the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (NASUP).

According tothe Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Osun Axis, Comrade Seun Abosede, who led the protest, the expelled students were: Oluwaseun Oyelami, Abdulkabir Afolabi, Nurudeen Oladejo, Oluwaseyi Olagunju and Samuel Awowole.

Abosede claimed that the affected students were expelled for agitating for a conducive academic learning environment for the students and reduction in their tuition fees.

The protest temporarily paralysed commercial activities in the state capital, as free-flow of traffic was temporarily disrupted.

Officers of the State Security Service including the State Security Service, Nigerian Police Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, guarded the students to avoid break down of law and order.

Addressing pressmen at the Ola-Iya junction, Abosede said the students resorted to protest, following the failure of the management of the OSCEI to reinstate the expelled students.

He added that dialogue and negotiation with the OSCEI authority were unfruitful, as the institution authorities were not ready to reverse the expulsion.

The NANS chairman also maintained that the minimum wage crisis between the state government and workers of the tertiary institutions had been affecting their academic activities, saying that the indefinite strike action embarked upon by workers would definitely prolong their stay in school.

Abosede, however, called on the state government, ASUP and NASUP to shift grounds for each other and ensure restoration of academic activities on the state-owned institutions’ campuses.

He gave the state government and the workers of the tertiary institutions, 10 days ultimatum forthe return of academic activities on campuses, saying that failure to do that would lead to unprecedented protest by the students’ body in the state.

Tiv Community In Osun Elects Tradition Ruler, Pledges Support To Govt

The Tiv/Benue Community in Osun State has elected Evangelists Augustine Apezan Tsor, as its new traditional ruler (Tyoor-U-Tiv) in the state.
Giving the hint in Osogbo, the state capital recently, the Chairman, Forum of Tiv Elders in the South-West, Mr. Tor Gowon Yaro said, members of the community had further organised themselves as progressives to be able to contribute to the development of Osun State.
Tsor, a 46-year old farmer and a full-time Christian Evangelist with the Anglican Church in the state, has been a resident in Osun for over 20 years.
In a notification letter to the governor of the state, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola and the State House of Assembly, on the activities of the community, dated June 6, 2011, signed by its elders. The community demanded official record and recognition from the government, so that they would be involved in the development of the state.
The letter stated that members of the community are largely farmers and 75 per cent of labour force in rural areas, adding that the communities are ready to assist the government at ensuring that its quest for massive food production is achieved.
Commending the current administration of Aregbesola for the peace and stability brought to the state, the community pledged its support, loyalty and cooperation to sustain the tempo.
Meanwhile, in an acknowledgement letter signed by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honourable Najeem Salaam, he assured members of the community and other non-indigenes in the state not to entertain any fear over their lives and properties, as everybody living in the state is regarded as one family.
The lawmaker commended the community for maintaining peace and order in the state, just as he called for the support of all non-indigenous communities to continue giving their support to the present administration of Aregbesola.

Osun Council Bosses Lament Career Officers’ Insincerity, Nonchalant Attitude

Caretaker Committee Chairmen in the 30 local government council areas of Osun State, including Area Office, Modakeke, have been lamenting the insincerity and lackadaisical attitude of top career officers in the councils, accusing them of deliberate plans to frustrate their achievements.
Investigation by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that top career officers, particularly the Head of Local Government Authority (HLA) and Director of Works, have not been wholeheartedly supporting the chairmen for the reasons best known to them.
Finding showed that official documents and information that had to do with financial, security, economic and administrative running of some of the councils, were being revealed to chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who in-turn castigate and even blackmail the council chairmen with the documents.
According to three chairmen in some local council area in Osun West, Central and Ife-Ijesa Senatorial Districts, the HLAs and the Directors of Works in their councils were in habit of withholding information and files that had to do with developmental projects in the council areas.
They further alleged that projects that are not handled directly by the Department  of Works or any other department of the local councils, would not be given priority, a development that had resulted into many confrontations between the chairmen and the career officers.
It was learnt that the career officers were embitteredover the prudence of some of the council chairmen, a situation that had stemmed frivolous spendings and fraudulent activities in the councils.
The medium learnt that some of the career officers had been inciting some chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) against the caretaker committee chairmen, with the claim that the chairmen were being reluctant to give out money to politicians, while the councils were having much cash at their disposal.
According to the affected chairmen, the career officers had for some time been in the habit of giving out the quotation of monthly allocations of the councils, their expenditures, incomes and allowances of the chairmen to the politicians, in order to aggravate hatred towards the council bosses.
Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER on Monday, one of the council chairmen, who pleaded anonymity, said; “The issue of our career officers is pathetic. I must say that we are playing hide and seek game with them.”
“We have not been enjoying their full corporation and this has been affecting our achievements. I wouldn’t know if they want us to fail, but it is very clear that we don’t enjoy their support as expected.
“The career officers would make sure they frustrate all projects that they would not handle directly,especially thoseawarded to contractors or supervised by the council chairman himself”.
Currently, controversies are surrounding the extraction of some official documents with which a lawyer had been threatening to institute legal action against one of the local government councils in Iwo area, oversome debts the council is owing.
Investigation showed that the affected council, under the administration of the sacked PDP chairman, owed some cow dealers to the tune of N2million, whilethe current caretaker committee chairman had been attempting to offset the debt before the lawyer to the cow dealers threatened a court action.
The chairman of the council, had however, demanded to know where the lawyer obtained the official document of the council containing his comments and that of the other top officials of the council on the debt, without any formal application.

Osun Groove’ Facelifts – Residents Laud Aregbesola

In line with its pledge to reinvigorate tourism in Osun State, the current administration in the state had given Osun Groove a new look to commensurate with the Osun Osogbo festival’s international status.
Renovating works are currently going on at the groove, which had since been abandoned by successive administrations in the state.
According to the leader of Tourism Development Committee in the state, Engineer Abimbola Daniyan, the groove was to take a new look that would present it to the international community as a befitting world heritage centre.
He added that the target of the committee was to bring in about 4000 tourists and help boost the revenue base of the people of the state.
Speaking at a recent gathering, Mr. Folorunso Alao commended the vision of Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, to revive the state tourism industry from its current state of stupour.
He maintained that this year’s festival would be the best among the ones ever celebrated in the state, adding that residents would have course to smile during and after the festival.
A former calabash bearer (Arugba), Mrs. Abiodun Idayat told OSUN DEFENDER that the problem of low earnings during the festival would soon be a thing of the past, if the effort of the present administration to globally market the event eventually materialised.
She stated further that past administrations were only concerned about the festivity and did not bother about its administration and projection, which according to her, had reduced the glamour associated with it.
Mr. Bayo Oke, while supporting the initiative of the governor, stated that private organisations would join hands with the government to develop the state’s tourism sector to enviable height.
He also commended the efforts of Aregbesola towards developing the sector and turns it into money spinning sector for the state and the country at large.
It would be recall that Aregbesola had instructed the OYES commandant to mobilise his entire corps members to the state capital, toward ensuring a hitch-free festival, which had been tagged O-fest.

Osun Osogbo Festival Takes Off Amidst Tight Security

The Annual Osun Osogbo International Festival commenced with the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, paying homage (Iwo Popo) to various traditional compounds in the ancient town.
He (Ataoja) danced through the main Catholic Mission Road to Gbaemu Junction, where he sat to give royal blessings to his subjects, who took time to join him in the celebration.
This put to rest the controversy that Ataoja would not be allowed to perform the traditional rites ahead of the festival.
An Osogbo High Court had earlier in the year declared the stool of Ataoja vacant and the judgment of the court later upheld by another High Court of the state, presided by Justice Jide Falola, later in the year.
However, unlike the previous festivals, the palace and the link roads to Gbaemu junction were guarded by arm-wielding mobile and regular police men to forestall any trouble from the aggrieved parties that sue the monarch.
The Ataoja himself was led by teams of security operatives consisting of men of the State Security Service (SSS), anti-riot policemen and other security operatives.
The palace entrance, Isale-Osun and Ilesa Garage roads were all barricaded by policemen, scaring people from taking part from the usually fun-filled festival.
Though the monarch took part in the procession, he however did not stay long before returning to his palace, where only few people were allowed to follow him into the palace.
Some of the residents that spoke with OSUN DEFENDER disclosed that the problem with this year’s celebration was the presence of armed-security operatives, saying their looks scared people and denied them the enthusiasm of the festival.
A trader at Oja-Oba, Mrs. Idiat Aleshinloye lamented the security situation, saying past celebrations were not overwhelmed with the presence of arm-wielding security operatives.
Also, a commercial driver at the Palace Square lamented the heavy presence of security operatives, adding that the various road-blocks constituted impediment to their businesses, unlike in the past, when it was usually a money-spinning festival.
However, the medium gathered that the presence of security operatives was due to insinuations that a section of the aggrieve parties would disrupt the procession should the deposed monarch took part in the rites.

Strike: Senator Appeals to Osun Workers, Preaches Collective Interest

Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District, Professor Sola Adeyeye had asked workers in Osun State to champion the collective interest of Osun State, saying that they should be ready to juggle figures with the government with a view to working on the development of the state together.
In a statement issued by the legislative Assistant to the Senator, Mr. Odun Ayeni, the University don-turned-politician, made the statement while distributing Ramadan gifts to some Muslim faithful who are loyalists of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) of Osun Central extraction in Osogbo last week.
Senator Adeyeye stressed that Osun State needs industrial harmony this time around in order to catalyze the integral action plans of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, saying that the workers should not be adamant on their own generated figures, but should be able to reason with the government on the economic reality of the state.
The lawmaker further urged the government to engage the leadership of the workforce in negotiation, before opposition parties introduced cynicism to the strike action, noting that all parties in the negotiation should be ready for compromise in the name of progress.
According to him, “Our people in Osun state do not want the workforce that would impede the developmental plans of Governor Rauf Aregbesola. What they want was positive forces that would enhance the delivery of good governance promised, and I am convinced that the workforce in Osun State would not serve as impediment.”
Besides, Adeyeye blamed the government at the centre for creating industrial hitches for the state without taking the economic peculiarity of each state into cognizance, arguing that, it was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that made the minimum wage issue an electioneering jamboree.
The lawmaker then argued that the reason for Federal Government’s re-negotiation with workers after President Goodluck Jonathan had signed the wage bill to law was a demonstration of poor federal structure.
“In a standard federal structure, an individual state would be left to negotiate with its workers, not that some politicians would just sit at the centre to determine what happens to Ekiti or Osun State, but cynicism of the PDP had come to play on the minimum wage crisis.
It would be recalled that the workforce in Osun State had embarked on strike action as a result of its disagreement with the government on the wage table presented by the latter, which submitted to paying N18,000 to workers on salaries grade levels 01-07, while other levels would be graduated in prorated.
However, the leadership of the workers had drawn the battle-line with the government, arguing that the new wage should be paid across board.