Ilowa Community Wants Aregbesola To Intervene In Monarch’s Rape Case

In a bid to save the Ilowa traditional throne from public embarrassment, the people of the community has appealed to the state government to intervene in the trial of the rapecase against their mornarch, Oba Adebukola Ali.
Hundreds of indigenes of Ilowa-Ijesa in the Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State on Thursday protested to the state Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, and the leadership of the state House of Assembly to wage into the trial of the monarch who is currently in the Prison custody.
The people of the community, led by their kingmakers, were received at the Executive Chamber, Office of the Governor by the state Deputy Governor, Otunba Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, and the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola.
The younger brother to the monarch, Olagunju Ali; and Oba Odo, David Oduremi who spoke unbehalf of the people of the community call on the state government to prevailed on the interested parties in the case to preserve their “cherished traditional throne”.
They also denied the rumor around the state that the kingmakers are planning to remove Oba Alli from the throne, affirming that the whole community is strongly behind him despite his current ordeal.
In her response, the deputy governor told the community to rule out political coloration in the case of their monarch saying that Alowa had identified with the Aregbesola administration from its inception with the aim of advancing the Ilowa community.
She, however promised to ask the state Ministry of Justice to study the case and advice the government accordingly, saying the accused had failed to furnish the public his own side of the story.
“All this while, all we read in the newspapers is the lady’s side of the story. This is the first time I am hearing your own side. But I want you to know that his problem is not politically motivated as some of you have said,” the deputy governor said.
Corroborating the deputy governor, the SSG also told the community that the state government under Aregbesola respects the principle of separation of power among the three organs of government and will strictly adhere to the rule of law.
The monarch has been facing trial before an Osogbo Magistrate Court on two count charge over the allegation of raping one Miss Helen Opara a serving corps member.
The monarch was remanded in prison custody during the trial by Magistrate Olalakan Ijiyode.

Lawmaker Lauds OSUN DEFENDER

Honourable Olalekan Rasheed Afolabi, member, , representing Ifelodun State Constituency of the state, has lauded Osun Defender newspaper over its efforts in the struggle to set Osun State free from the manacles of reactionary elements.
Afolabi who paid an unscheduled visit to the newspaper headquarters in Osogbo, Osun State, last Thursday, said there was no way the contributions of the newspaper during the struggle could be rubbished.
The lawmaker said after Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who is the state governor and the arrowhead of the struggle, OSUN DEFENDER was the next visible corporate consistent entity that was steadfast in the prosecution of the struggle to a logical conclusion.
His words: “It is only a shallow-minded and ungrateful person who will not acknowledge the contributions of OSUN DEFENDER towards the socio-political freedom being enjoyed by the people of the state today.
“Some of us who are holding either elective or appointive position owe our appreciation to God Almighty, our peoples governor, Ogbeni Aregbesola, Osun defender and by extension, the entire people of the state who stood by us in the face of glaring persecution, oppression and harassment by the then government of the day which has been relegated to the opposition with its attendant shame.
“It is on record that OSUN DEFENDER was there for us when the terrain of politics was extremely tough. Some of you laid down your lives for the struggle of which some of us are the beneficiaries today. I appreciate you and your contributions.
“Any of us who is not appreciative of your contribution can be likened to someone who is given a wife to marry and refuses to show appreciation to his inlaws.”
The lawmaker tasked the management and staff of OSUN DEFENDER not to waver in their resolve to continue to defend the policies of the government and the people of the state.
In his response, the Managing Editor of the newspaper, Mr Kola Olabisi, said it would be on record that Afolabi was the first appointed or elected political functionary who would pay such visit since the advent of the present administration.
The media chief pledged that his establishment would always be on the side of the people, charging the lawmaker to be part of change agents needed to move the state forward through qualitative and people-friendly legislation

Security Of Lives And Properties Is Our Concern – Laoye-Tomori

Osun State government has expressed its commitment to the protection of lives of its citizenry, as well as their properties and the readiness of the state government to respond quickly to their needs whenever any of its citizens is entrapped in any troubled area.
This was the submission of the state deputy governor, Otunba Grace Laoye–Tomori, while receiving Osun State indigenes evacuated from Maiduguri at the state government secretariat, Abeere, last Friday.
The deputy governor further said that the state government was committed to the welfare and protection of its indigenes in any part of the world.
She assured the state indigenes, who were displaced in Borno State as a result of the Boko Haram attack in some parts of the Northern States, of government support.
Otunba Laoye-Tomori assured the over 60 returnees of the plans of the state government to resettle them into their communities in the state, while advising them to provide the state with the needed information on any of their people that might still be trapped in any part of the troubled zones.
The deputy governor, who received the returnees in the company of the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and other senior government officials said “your safe return to us is an indication of the preparedness of the Rauf Aregbesola-led government to be responsible and responsive.”
She stated further; “you must be aware that it was this state that first responded to the call by its citizens to rescue them from Bauchi State when there was an attack on youth corps members.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Alhaji Sabitu Yusuf thanked the state government for its promptness in responding to their call, but also sought for government assistance for the welfare of the returnees, as he said that they did not come back with any of their valuables, as they left in haste so as not to be hacked down by the rampaging Boko Haram sect members.
One of the returnees, Mr Lasisi Salaudeen said that the Boko Haram sect’s attack on Maiduguri had not only taken lives of innocent citizens of the country, but it had also inflicted untold hardship on Borno State.
He added that many of the state indigenes were trapped in remote parts of Borno State, he concluded.

Aregbesola Charges Policy-makers On Conflict Resolution

The governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, has called on policy makers in the country to work hard in finding a lasting solution to the unnecessary conflicts going on in Nigeria, which he described as worrisome.
Aregbesola who spoke in Osogbo, the state capital on Monday while receiving participants of the Senior Executive Course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies on a courtesy visit said that the government was worried over the violence, especially the ones being carried out by Boko Haram sect.
Also, the Director-General of the institute who was represented by Professor Ibrahim Jumare commended the state government for the atmosphere of peace, as well as clean environment being enjoyed in the state.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, Otunba (Mrs) Tiyilayo Laoye-Tomori while urging the institute to ensure that it makes positive difference on the lives of the people by finding a way of resolving the conflict especially in the Northern part of the country, said that it was only under peaceful atmosphere that people could feel the impact of good governance.
“You can affect this nation positively because we are worried about the various unnecessary conflicts going on in Nigeria, especially the Boko Haram issue. You can make a positive difference and find a solution to the religious crisis, unnecessary political upheaval after the presidential election and others”, he added.
Commending the people of the state for supporting the state government in allowing peace to reign, Aregbesola recalled that the state had had its period of crisis in the past between Ile-Ife and Modakeke communities, saying that due to the understanding of the people of the two communities and the effort of the government, the towns are now living in peace and harmony.
Speaking on the cleanliness being enjoyed in the state, the governor noted that, “cleanliness is a culture that the people of Osun State are now imbibing”, saying that it was only in a clean environment that the people could enjoy healthy living, which he described as an important aspect of lives.
“Cleanliness is a culture that we have imbibed in Osun which this government has taken very serious and that is why we have declared a 90-day zero tolerance for filth in this state. If you go to any corner of the state, you will see that this state is relatively clean”, he noted.
In his response, Jumare said: “We are now in your beautiful and very clean state. We have moved round the city and seen free city which is free from rowdy and chaotic nature unlike some other areas in the country and we hope it will continue to be like this”.
Attributing the bottom line of most of the violence in the country to politics, he said that the institute, through its courses, was saddled with the responsibility of training the participants to confront the varieties of challenges within the context of the diversity of the country.

Oyinlola Apologises To Ogundokun •I Have Forgiven Him – Ogundokun

The crisis between former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Chief Abiola Ogundokun, might have been laid to rest, as Oyinlola has reportedly apologised and the duo agreed to embrace peace in the interest of the party.
It was gathered that the successful parley was initiated by some party elders and Oyinlola’s brother, Adetoyese Oyinlola (TOYESTIK).
The duo have been at loggerheads for over a year, since the former governor supported Senator Iyiola Omisore as the party’s flag-bearer in the 2011 governorship election that never came to be.
Oyinlola and Ogudokun’s rifts deepened after the 2011 general elections when the party lost all the elective offices in the state and the struggle for the federal appointments finally tore them apart with open confrontations in the media.
Confirming the parley in Osogbo, Ogundokun said he had forgiven the former governor, having realized his mistakes and asked for forgiveness. He also enjoined all aggrieved members of the party to forgive the former governor and other party leaders, who might have offended them in the past.
Ogundokun blamed what went wrong between himself and the former governor on bad advisers milling round Oyinlola when he was governor in the state.
The duo parted ways when Ogundokun resisted Oyinlola’s alleged use of the party machinery to appropriate elective positions to himself and his cronies, leading to factions and disintegration that eventually cost the party’s performance in the last general elections.
The PDP chieftain had, at different fora, alleged Oyinlola and the acting State Chairman of the party, Chief Sunday Ojo-Williams of attempting to assassinate him.
Realizing the need to close ranks, it was learnt that Oyinlola, in company of some PDP stakeholders and relations, met Ogundokun and apologised at the said meeting.
Ogundokun said “I have no alternative than to forget the past and forgive him. More so that life is lived forward, not backward. I believe once he has realized he was wrong to have done things he did and beg for forgiveness, I should forgive him and begin to think of the party’s interest as always.
“After all, as a foundation member of the party and an elder statesman, I should always think of how to harmonise conflicting interests and bring everyone together in the overall interest of the party, Osun State and the nation. Having listened to Oyinlola’s defence, he must have been acting under the influence beyond. He must have been misled by a gang of selfish conspirators, particularly among the party executives and the sit-tight agents of destruction
“I am delighted and overwhelmed that Oyinlola’s blind-folded eyes are more than open now, and the simplicity, he had accepted his mistakes really impressed me. He had promised to work with others in making the party great again in the state,” Ogundokun said.
Ogundokun enjoined members of the PDP in Osun State, who might have wronged their colleagues to emulate Oyinlola’s example and approach them for forgiveness, adding that all aggrieved members should also bury the hatchets and learn to forgive in the interest of peace and progress of the party.
While congratulating former deputy governor of Osun State, Erelu Olusola Obada, on her appointment as Minister of State for Defence, Ogundokun urged every PDP member to rally support for her and see her presence in the President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet as victory for them, the PDP and Osun State in general.

LAUTECH N200m Tuition Fee Fraud: ACN Demands Thorough Investigation

The Osun State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called on the Osun and Oyo State governments to set up an investigative panel on over N200 million tuition fees scandal that is rocking the (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso jointly owned by the two states.
Close to 200 LAUTECH students were recently defrauded of their tuition fees by a bank official in connivance with some staff members of the institution, who issued fake scratch cards to the unsuspected students after payment of their tuition fees.
The ACN accused the management of the university of complicity and covering the fraud by obstructing investigation into the matter.
According to the party in a press statement signed by its Director of Research and Strategy, Mr. Sunday Akere, the printing of scratch cards for payment of tuition fees was awarded to a company named M/S ROYAL BIRD VENTURES, which is owned by a relation of a top management official of the institution.
“Investigation ordered into the scam was not allowed to commence before police were ordered to arrest an innocent first class graduate of the institution, who is a programmer with the university. The student was tortured to implicate some perceived opponents of the illegal administrator of the institution”, said the press statement.
Akere questioned: “How an investigation into tuition fee scam of such magnitude could be ordered without the consent of the Bursar of the university and bursary department?” adding that: “those printing the scratch cards that are being investigated still beat one’s imagination”.
The party chieftain therefore called on Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and his counterpart from Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, to set up an investigative panel and seek the assistance of anti-graft agencies in investigating the tuition fees fraud.
He also urged Governors Aregbesola show take keen interest in the financial situation of LAUTECH as at 26th of April, 2010 when the former Vice Chancellor, Professor Babatunde Adeleke, was forced out of office.
Adeleke had recently in The Nation newspaper advertorial claimed to have left over N1.2 billion in various accounts of the institution, while his successor, Professor M. Nasir , claimed to have met a debt of over N500 million.
The party also commended the Oyo State government and the state House of Assembly for ordering the immediate return of students of clinical sciences and medical college of the university to Osogbo campus in conformity with the edict setting up the university.
Osun ACN therefore charged the two sister governors not to stop at making the students return to base in Osogbo, but should order the return of all lecturers forcefully ordered to report in Ogbomoso and who are being forced to remain in Ogbomosho or have their salaries stopped.

Osun Deputy Gov Lauds Susan Wenger

Osun State Deputy Governor, Otunba (Mrs) Grace Laoye-Tomori has extolled the virtues of the late Susan Wenger, popularly known as Adunni Olorisa, who devoted her life to preserving the Osun Osogbo Groove since 1950.
Laoye-Tomori gave this commendation while receiving the Chairman, Working Committee on 2011 Osun Osogbo Festival, High Chief Gabriel Oparanti and his team, who paid her a courtesy visit in her office at the state secretariat, Abeere, Osun State, last Friday.
According to the  deputy governor, without the effort of the late Susan, little would have been available to ensure Osun Osogbo Groove’s enlistment as world heritage site by the United Nations Economic Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), during its conference held at Durban in South Africa in July 2005.
Tomori-Laoye  expressed her happiness that Osun Osogbo Groove has become a tourist centre, that is known throughout the world. She added that there was a river in the United States of America that’s been proposed to be named River Osun.
The state deputy governor promised that Aregbesola’s administration would not leave any stone unturned to provide necessary wherewithal to ensure the success of Osun Osogbo Festival this year and further ensure that tourism and cultural sectors in the state get a boost and become a vibrant foreign exchange earner.
She then implored the 2011 working committee of Osun Osogbo Festival to liaise with Osun Tourism Revival Committee tagged O’TOURS recently set up by Osun State government.
Earlier, the chief Festival consultant, Mr Ayo Olumoko, had declared that the grand finale of 2011 edition of Osun Osogbo festival would come up from Monday 22nd through Friday 26th August with the procession to the Osun Groove.
Olumoko therefore implored the state government to provide mega-screens at designated viewing centres within and outside the groove, so as to reduce the crowd congestion during the grand finale.
He also urged the government to assist in providing publicity for the festival from both print and electronic media.
Other members of the festival committee present at the visit to the deputy governor’s office included Chief Jimoh Buraimoh, Chief Adejare Agboola, Aare Ifagbemisola Atanda, Chief Aliu Sonibare and others.

Park Set For United Extension

Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung is set to extend his contract at Old Trafford for a further two years, Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed.
Park, 30, retired from international football after January’s Asian Cup in Qatar in order to prolong his club career. And the reward is a contract extension Ferguson expects to be a mere formality.
“We have offered him a new contract and I am sure he will sign it,” said Ferguson.
“His career at United has been nothing but excellent. He is a tremendous professional. I am sure he will accept the new offer and tie himself down at the club for the next two years.”
Park’s current contract is due to expire in 2012 and many tipped the South Korean to depart United this summer along with Wes Brown and John O’Shea, who have both since moved on to Sunderland. However, the midfielder stated his intention to remain in Manchester last week.
He told the Sunday Mirror: “There’s no truth at all that I would leave United – I want to stay here and I have no reason to leave. I would like to stay here for life, of course – why not? It’s the best club in the world.”
Ferguson also confirmed he expects the recovering Darren Fletcher to be part of his squad again by the time United return to England on July 31.
Meanwhile, Ferguson says new signing David de Gea will make his United debut in Saturday’s friendly with MLS side Chicago Fire at Soldier Field. The 20-year-old goalkeeper was a late arrival on tour after a successful European Under-21 Championship campaign for Spain.
He has trained with his new team-mates for three days now and Ferguson wants to see how he performs in a match environment, believing the £18 million signing from Atletico Madrid may draw comparisons to Chelsea’s Petr Cech.
“David de Gea will start on Saturday,” said Ferguson. “He has had a few days’ training now and has done fine. Being young and coming into the English game, the one area we are not sure about is that he may need time.

Wole Oke And The Satanic Police Arrest

I do not want to comment on the ongoing election petition tribunal cases in Osun State; based on my experience on political writing. However, unfolding events at the legal battle between former Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Honourable Wole Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Honourable Nathaniel Agunbiade of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the tribunal, attracted my attention, which gave birth to this piece. I also understand that being an apolitical person does not impede someone from guiding our politicians when they are going gaga. Wole Oke was the PDP candidate for Oriade/Obokun Federal Constituency race in the last National Assembly election. He lost to ACN candidate, Barrister Nathaniel Agunbaide by 4,137 votes. Oke polled 18,005 while Agunbiade polled 22,142 votes. Unlike other defeated PDP candidates in the likes of sacked former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the rattled Iyiola Omisore, Wole Oke polled spirited votes.
He obviously would have been the Speaker of the House of Representatives, if he had not been defeated and that is the major reason why the politician is crying wolves on the election and thus challenging Agunbiade’s declaration as the winner of the election at the tribunal.  He spent fortune on the election, knowing his political calculations would favour him if he won, but fate, not Agunbaide defeated him.
Wole Oke is a gentle handsome-looking man, but his strategies and sense of reasoning have been infiltrated by the PDP viruses of fraud, lies, intimidation, persecution and suppression.  If not, why would the Police arrest one of their own forensic experts, Usman Agboh, one of Agunbiade’s witnesses, barely few minutes to his appearance in the witness box of the tribunal? Agboh, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), attached to Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, Lagos, came to the court, following a subpoena by the three-member election petition tribunal headed by Justice Yargata B. Nimpar in Osogbo, the state capital.
The mission of the expert was to reveal to the tribunal how Wole Oke, in collusion with INEC officials and the PDP allegedly, voided valid votes cast for Agunbiade at the INEC office in Osogbo. According to investigation by this writer, a single fingerprint appeared on all the voided votes recorded for Agunbiade. How and when did this happen? Of course; Oke would not want anyone to open the pandora box. So he contacted top police officers to help him out, apparently to stop the police forensic expert from testifying before the court. Trust the police, an institution garnished with corruption, injustice, lack of intelligence; morality, credibility and absence of qualified personnel, they helped Oke. The expert was arrested on Friday at the premises of the Tribunal venue for a “big and unprecedented offence called Order from Above”. The witness was barred from revealing what he uncovered. As at the time of writing this piece, the forensic expert was still in police custody at the Police Headquarters, Abuja. This is the style of PDP. It is not new.
What I keep thinking is that could Wole Oke go to the tribunal for alleged election rigging? Oh! Has he forgotten how he controversially won the 2007 election? So, it pains the oppressors when they are being oppressed; it hurts the defrauders when they are being oppressed, it jolts the manipulators when they are being manipulated. The Yoruba have said it all when they say “Apani Kii fe kamu Ida koja lori ara re”
“It is unfortunate that our people have now formed the ungainly habit of rushing to court when they are defeated in an electoral contest. In many cases, the parties indulge in rigging, but the one who is out-rigged challenges the results of the election. In accusing the other and his minions of distortions, he forgets to remove the beam in his own eyes. Politicians in the third world countries, particularly Nigeria, should be manly and sportsmanly enough to take a beating at the polls and stop rushing to court, in some cases, making nuisance of themselves and heaping on the court an avalanche of cases”. These were the words of the prolific Pats-Acholonu, JCA (as he then was) of blessed memory, in the case of Uwa Vs, Emide (1999), 4 NWLR (pt.600) 677 at 680-681 paras.
I believe Pats-Acholonu, was talking to Wole Oke in vision before he died. Oke has forgotten that he had been the grand patron of election riggers and vote robbers. I am not in any way against his desire to challenge the election in court, neither am I attacking his personality. What I stand against is; the satanic hanky-panky game and tactics he employed in fighting his cause. It is a legal and judicial parlance that: “The Law is an Ass”- meaning that justice might go against the litigants in some cases due to the two sharp edges of the law (justice). The plaintiff might turn out to be the defendant in the cause of justice.
My candid advice to Wole Oke is for him to totally submit to the rule of law and the judiciary. He should never engage in hide-and-seek game, if he believes he has a very good case before the tribunal. He should stop illegality to avert adding salt to his already sustained injuries. I know he is dogged and desperate to win at the tribunal. One could easily see that in his eyes and action. Many were called, few were chosen. Wole Oke might not be among the lawmakers at the lower chamber of the National Assembly as decided by the electorate in his constituency. Forcing his way into the chamber would be accompanied by fraud, manipulation and undemocratic actions. The wrath of the masses and the law is awaiting anybody that engages in these acts. The PDP candidate should remember that Oyinlola and his godfathers had perverted justice for over three years on the case of Governor Rauf Aregbesola. At the end of the day, the truth prevailed and Oyinlola was disgraced out of the government house. It is only God that appoints; it is only the Immortal God that promotes and demotes, it is the Supreme Being that fixes and unfixes. Wole Oke should continue his legal battle, but confine, himself to legality and just action in the interest of justice. We cannot escape our fate. The Machiavellian power game of fair is foul and foul is fair, of power by all means, just or unjust, righteous or unrighteous, cannot sustain the rules of the power game in any nation engaged in the pursuit of freedom, unity, peace, progress and prosperity.
The politics of money and position adoration can never build a new Nigeria. The politics of money and position adoration will succeed only in crucifying Nigeria and on the cross of gold. That kind of politics would blind the Nigerian eyes from seeing the “vision of the new nation”.
For my dear police bosses, who ordered the arrest and detention of an innocent witness, performing his duty of promoting democracy and the rule of law, you will surely have the bitter experience of the force. In the history of the Nigeria Police, no police officer had ever compromised the common interest of the public and go scot free. The present leadership of the police is nothing, but agama lizard, bragging on nothing. I know the police can arrest, shoot, detain and attack innocent civilians, but the officers are helpless and cowards when it comes to Boko Haram, terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, oil pipeline vandalisation among other social vices. Oh! My God! What type of police are we having in this country? A Police that could not protect itself from the terrorists; a police that could not root out the bombers that attacked its headquarters, a force that could not tame kidnapping in the Eastern part of the country, a force that could not safeguard the lives and properties of hapless Nigerians. More grace to your laziness elbow, my dear Afiz Ringim, our toothless Inspector-General of Police.
The arrest of this police forensic expert in Osun State has further raised my concern for the independence of the Nigeria Police Force and its officers. It baffles me a lot, when I see policemen behaving like robots with insanity. The arrest of the forensic expert is barbaric and uncommonsensical. How would someone order the arrest of an innocent person, because he is not on the side of your friend or associate? We have progressives, who are right-thinking members of the public in the Force, but, because of the slang “Order is Order” they are being mixed with the black sheep of the Force. The NPF needs thorough sanitation and if not, we will all be doomed very soon.
For the record, I am neither attacking the police nor saluting them. It is our collective responsibility to make sure that we have a just and egalitarian society, whereby everybody will be free from being oppressed by the power that be. It is the duty that we owe this nation to defend democracy without fear or favour. Osun had been a police state and thank God everything is normal now. We should all resist any attempt to draw back the state to what it was in the past.  One of the cardinal responsibilities we owe our people is to put more in making them understand the rudiment and philosophical concept of quest for livable condition of their social life.
Long Live the State of the Virtuous!

Reinventing Agriculture In Osun: Need To Replicate Songhai Scheme

With the present drive of the Aregbesola administration in revamping agriculture in Osun State, NIYI OLASINDE brings the plight of trainees in the “Songhai Experiment” of the immediate past administration under focus; stressing the need by the incumbent administration to revisit the scheme and give it proper repackaging and utilization.

In the earliest days of his administration, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State, came out pungently to demonstrate his unflinching commitment and determination to turn around the civil-service status hitherto worn by the state. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)-led administration started this new focus with a view to ensuring food security, provide farm produces for use by domestic industries; creating excesses in agricultural produces to make exportation possible; and improve Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) base of the state thereby. Before the coming on board of the Aregbesola administration, the state had become a victim of visionless administration with no focus or will-power to improve the revenue profile of the state and save it from financial embarrassment. The prevailing situation around here had been that of overdependence on the monthly statutory allocation coming from the centre, which could hardly settle the overhead bills of governance, not to talk of providing infrastructure, making industrialization more formidable, creating wealth and saving the people from the fangs of unemployment, poverty and squalor by improving their general standards of living.
Early enough, the administration of Engineer Rauf  Aregbesola brainstormed and identified that there existed a vacuum, created by underutilization of a vibrant sector which had been the pride of the nation in the pre-independence era till about a dscade after the nation’s independence in 1960. This was prior to the oil boom of early 1970s. In those times cocoa, palm produce, groundnut, rubber, kolanut, timber, to mention just a new, created wealth for the nation. In addition, the agricultural sector of our economy engaged well above 80 per cent of our workforce productively such that our appellation among the comity of nations was “the Giant of Africa”. This part of the nation, which is now proudly being referred to as the South-Western geopolitical zone was then wondrously blessed, since it made utmost use of its natural, God-endowed resources. A combination of crave for leisure; sloth; carelessness; poor leadership lacking in vision, foresight, discretion and willpower; irresponsible followership; and lack of focus contributed to the prevailing situation of “land of plenty and want” that pervaded the area. Needless to say, the sector which had been so neglected is Agriculture.
At the very inception of the incumbent administration, the helmsman of the state, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola constituted a committee of experts which was saddled, prior to the commencement of rolling out his programmes of relief, encouragement and assistance to farmers and practising agriculturists in the state, to tour and accurately capture the thirty (30) local government council areas of the state, with the inclusion of Ife East Area Office. The committee, which comprised agricultural experts, geographers, soil scientists and engineers toured the wide expanse of the state in a week-long exercise between late January and early February. Their professional tour took them to various local government areas, farm settlements, farm centres and villages where discussions were held with practising farmers on their farms, with a view to getting first-hand information on how to assist them in achieving increased production of food and other produces this year and years to come.
The committee, which approached the exercise on zonal basis, left no stone unturned in pin-pointing the numerous challenges which had militated in the past to hamper the growth, development and productivity of agricultural sector in the state. At the end of its exploratory tour, problems identified to be inhibiting agricultural prosperity in the state include financial limitations, bad road network and storage facilities.
While in active tour of all the nooks and crannies of the state, the chairman of the committee, Mr. Bayo Ojo, was reported to have defined the terms of reference of the committee to include mainly going round all farm settlements, centres and villages in all council areas of the state to ascertain the problems facing crop and farm-produce production in order to proffer timely and lasting solutions. The committee observed that though the agricultural policy of the nascent administration was still on course, the Governor had considered it necessary to tackle head-on the issue of rendering timely assistance to farmers so as not to waste the whole stretch of this year’s (20ll) rainy season, which held high promise of bumper and prolific harvest for the state.
Integral part of the committee’s activities and findings included feeling the pulse of farmers in situ, in all the locations where practising ones are found in the state. Findings revealed that farmers made a clarion call on the State Government to assist them in ensuring the eradication of the numerous challenges facing them, with a view to empowering them to increase their production in the areas of food security and other numerous farm produces. It was also reestablished that the state is naturally endowed and well-positioned for a prolific harvest in various food and cash crops including animal produces.
In addition to the three challenges earlier-mentioned in this report, other challenges were identified first-hand through a working interaction with practising farmers. Far from theoretical abstractions, other identified challenges include those connected with marketing, non-availability of tractors and modern equipment that could make for economies of scale brought about by agricultural mechanization, non-availability of chemicals (pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and the likes), shortage of fertilizer supply and lack of facilities for irrigation to ensure an all-year-round production of vital staple farm produces and food items. Closely knit to this last issue of all-year-round availability of produces is poor storage facilities, which threatens conservation and preservation of harvested crops and livestock, cause colossal waste; forcing farmers to quickly dispose what they laboured hard to produce at exorbitant cost at give-away prices
Central to the problems identified by the committee is that of poor infrastructure at the grassroots, which perpetually keeps agricultural productivity at an abysmally low level and compels massive drift of working population from rural areas to urban areas where little or no farming activities could take place. In other words, it was found out that with the focus of the incumbent administration in the state which is bent o give a boost to agriculture, the coast is clear to making agriculture more attractive and far more profitable – all to the enhanced prosperity of the macro society.
Apart from the committee’s achievement is getting the input of the farmers direct, it also succeeded in ensuring that individuals and communities volunteered the release of parcels of land areas to the State Government for cultivation to enhance a boost in food productions and production of other farm produces. The released land areas per local government council area measured up to 1,000 hectares each. This development was, and is still a signal to better things to come for our state and its people under the administration of Engineer Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
The foregoing is a preamble to other frantic efforts put in so far by the Aregbesola administration to better the lot of the State of Omoluabi by turning around agriculture as a trade, a vocation, an industry and an income-earner. The administration is also committed to transforming Osun State into the food basket of the nation in no time. Subsequent segments of this report shall reveal more of this policy and the frantic steps taken so far.

Following the groundwork tour of the Agriculture Committee discussed above, the Osun State Government, under the governorship of Ogbeni Aregbesola has launched its first agricultural programme. The programme, tagged Osun State Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP), has as its focus granting assistance in finance, materials and equipment to individual farmers and farmers’ cooperative societies with a view to boosting their scope of operations, productivity and ensuring abundance in food production and raw materials for existing and emerging industries.
The Osun Rural Enterprise and  Agricultural Programme (OREAP) has distinguished itself already by winning widespread acceptance and praises by residents of Osun State and people from other states who view it as a right step in the right direction. By the tone and spirit of the blueprint and activities rolled out for the programme, it becomes clear that the efforts of the becomes clear that the efforts of the incumbent administration in the state to revamp the economy of the state through massive food production and cash crop production would go a long way, not only in quelling the devastating blows dealt by hunger, unemployment, starvation and sloth, but also in improving the revenue profile of the state and launching the state forward into a highly industrialized society.
According to findings through the feelers sent into the field by OSUN DEFENDER Magazine, the major besetting of some earlier administrations in the state was that loans given or intended to be given to farmers or farmers’ cooperative societies ended in wrong hands as pen-brandishing farmers took it up and considered it their own largesse or share of the “national cake.” Under the immediate past administration of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola in particular, findings revealed that enormous proportions of micro credit facilities for farmers and Fadama project loans went into wrong hands which diverted the funds into uses that were totally unconnected with farming.
Already, the Aregbesola administration has proved its worth and mettle at safeguarding against this misadventure. Governor Rauf Aregbesola has embraced the practising farmers in the state warmly, first by making them feel involved and second, by encouraging them to form cooperative groups through which they could more easily access loans and credits with easier and more comfortable repayment. The loans, by their fat sizes, could stand them in better stead to afford procurement of tractors and other equipment which would enhance their productivity and prosperity.
Already, the Aregbesola administration has commenced a state-wide crusade for opening of rural areas and farm settlement to the urban areas. Governor Aregbesola, noticed with discontent that much of the food consumed in the state were imported from other places, while our fertile arable land lay fallow. This said development presents sharp deviation to known standards set by the late avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his days as Premier of the defunct Western Region. At the zenith of that Region’s glory, Awolowo turned agriculture to wealth by effectively generating revenue from it and efficiently using the wealth to build infrastructure for the benefit of all. Good road network, decent and befitting school buildings, the famous Cocoa House Building in Ibadan, the first television station in Africa (known today as Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Ibadan), and the Liberty Stadium (now Obafemi Awolowo Stadium) also at Ibadan remain till date legacies from the benevolence of the good leadership of the late sage. These are not to talk of enormous fund spent on the free education programme of that era, which till date has launched the region to the fore-front of educational progress and advancement in the country. Also, the free health services of that glorious and illustrious past era broke the jinx of superstitions and untimely death. Like legendary Mary Slessor, Awolowo saved a whole generation from extinction via his free Medicare, financed through proceeds from agriculture.
Like Joseph in the foreign land of Egypt, Aregbesola is set and determined to explore and use our abundance in natural endowments and climatic conditions to provide for now and the future. He is also resolute to help other lands through our own vibrant agricultural sector. The wisdom which distinguished Joseph to excel and get elevated to the exalted position of Prime Minister in a foreign land spoke for Aregbesola to become and perform creditably as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in Lagos. The selfsame wisdom is at work for him in his home state today. Like Oyinlola, Aregbesola first functioned in Lagos State before his home-coming. Most unlike Oyinlola, however, he had good credentials out there and is already making a mark here at home.
Still in the area of infrastructure as a fillip to agricultural productivity, Aregbesola is already busy working on building railway network across Osun State to link cosmopolitan Lagos State. This is with a view to getting farm produces, labour and material inputs easily transported with lower expenses. Much outcry was heard from farmers during the locust years of the Oyinlola administration concerning diversion of fertilizers, poor storage facilities, poor market conditions, lack of requisite infrastructure, poor access to credit and loans facilities and other problems. In spite of boastful ranting by that administration, nothing significant was done to assuage the sufferings of these members of the most productive segment of our economy, who were relegated to the lowly status of peasants of pre-Adam Smith era. The pact of the Aregbesola administration with the Chinese railway construction gurus shall soon materialize into flowing economy with easy access to market in Lagos and overseas.
In replication of the agricultural drive of Osun State Government, local government caretaker committees across the state; which were inaugurated in February 2011 are also taking decisive steps to give support and encouragement to agriculture. Forming an integral part of their 100th day anniversary in office was the donation of various agricultural items, materials and implements ranging from improved seeds and seedlings to agro-chemicals (i.e. pesticides, insecticides and herbicides), with implements of various kinds and fertilizers to bring relief and soccour to farmers.
Already, various local government administrations are involved in agreements with Leventis (Nigeria) Schools Limited to enrol youths for entrepreneurship/empowerment training in different fields of agricultural operations. A case in hand is the visit by the management team of the school in Ilesa to the chairman and cabinet of Ilesa West Local Government in May to work out an action plan on how to revolutionize agriculture in the area. The Caretaker Chairman of the local council, Alhaji Honourable Azeez Isa Adesiji provided an enabling environment by promising to tow the line of the State Government in pursuing a replica of its agricultural policies to the letter.
This was the situation across all local government council areas in the state. In Odo-Otin, Boripe, Ifelodun, Irewole Ayedaade and Irepodun for instance, the chairmen and members of the councils’ caretaker committees gave generous gifts and donations to farmers to enhance their productivity this season and yonder.

Time and time again, Governor Aregbesola has always reiterated his commitment to make Osun State Economically viable through agriculture and industrialization. The government spares no occasion to renew his avowed determination to turning the tide of the state around by generating greater Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through agriculture. To him, it is first thing first-agriculture first; then industrialization. The budget analysis for year 2011, presented by the Permanent Secretary for on public advocacy on agricultural policy and food the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Budget, Elder Abiodun Akintaro, JP in June 2011 contains details of activities and programmes planned for execution in this direction. It was not surprising to find items like silos, tractors and other equipment forming part of the details and breakdown of the agricultural sub-sector.
Also, at the instance of the Special Osun Businessmen Quarterly Retreat titled “Opening of the Untapped Business Opportunities in Osun State” held sometimes in June 2011 at the Club House, De-Place Funcity Osogbo, Aregbesola renewed his vow to make Osun State a treasure trove of human and material resources capable of making it a veritable economic hub of the South-West geopolitical zone of Nigeria. The governor promised that economic development would soon take place under the astute leadership which his team would provide so as to pool the various opportunities and resources.
According to the Governor, the usual reference to the state s a “civil service state” is an anathema. Describing this reference as derisive, the governor observed that other charitable commentators were in the habit of referring to Osun State as centre of arts and culture. This development, Aregbesola reasoned became the norm because when compared with other states like Lagos, Oyo and Rivers, Osun is not yet in the business league of Nigeria.
Excerpts from the governor’s speech at the occasion read:

“Osun State is often derisively referred to as a civil service state. Those who will be more charitable will refer to Osun as a centre of art and culture. This is because compared to Lagos, Oyo and Rivers states; Osun is not yet in the business league in Nigeria. Ironically, Osun sits on a treasure trove of human and material resources capable of making it a veritable economic hub of the South-West.
“What we can make of this is that no matter the degree of potentiality, economic development can only take place where there is astute leadership to pool together the various opportunities and resources.”

The governor confessed that upon his assumption of office, his team discovered that the economic potentials of the state were just lying fallow while there were opportunities that could have been channelled to create jobs, economically empower the people and increase the income base of the government. He added that a good majority of the people of Osun State comprises farmers who are blessed with good arable land to cultivate food and cash crops. In effect, if the fertile soil had been well-harnessed, agro-allied industries and several other opportunities in the area of food processing would have thrived.
In his further submission, if the fertile soil had been well harnessed, a waiting market would have been sighted to absorb the agricultural produce of Osun State. Identifying this waiting market, Aregbesola revealed that there exists a daily N3 Billion food market in Lagos, Nigeria’s former federal capital and commercial cum industrial nerve-centre of Nigeria.
Governor Aregbesola promised the commitment of the State Government under his leadership to position farmers to take a sizeable chunk of the N3 Billion food market in Lagos while also working with financial institutions on how farmers could be helped to begin a transition from subsistence to large-scale commercial farming.
Earlier this year, the Governor paid a visit to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (ITTA) which headquarters in Nigeria resides in Ibadan, Oyo State. Also, reference has been made in an earlier segment of this report of plans to provide the state with adequate railway network, linking up with the agricultural market in Lagos. It was at the occasion that Governor Aregbesola announced that all arrangements had been concluded to partner with the IITA and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in the respective connections concerning their auspicious services.
In his words at the occasion, Governor Aregbesola declared that:

“There is a daily N3 Billion food market in Lagos and we are positioning our farmers to take a sizeable chunk of this. We are working with financial institutions on how our farmers can be helped to begin a transition from subsistence farming to large scale commercial farming. Towards this, we are also working with research institutions like IITA to provide them with techniques, modern implements and improved high-yielding seeds.”

Finally, the governor made a categorical statement on the intended overall benefit of the Osun State Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP). He promised that his administration would do everything necessary to empower men, women and youths through agriculture, and via the instrumentality of the programme.
The agricultural cum food security campaign of Governor Rauf Aregbesola is not confined to Osun Sate alone. The amazons of solutions gave his model a global perspective when he counseled the Federal Government to adopt a national food sufficiency policy which is reasoned to avert an unpleasant diplomatic situation for the country.
Featuring at an event held recently, where he was represented by the co-coordinating Director, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Adegbite Ojo, the governor noted that Nigeria is poised with challenges associated with food security. He therefore called for the development of a policy that would guarantee food sufficiency. The governor had this to say:

“A food-dependent country can be brought to its knees very easily if supply is withdrawn by the supplying nation.”

He pled that the Federal Government should act fast in view of what he described as “the international system that is increasingly becoming hostile and insatiable.”
Food security, according to the governor, has become a national security since any country that could not feed its population is diplomatically weak, dependent and vulnerable to external aggression and manipulation. He further stressed that the development of any nation is always preceded by development in agriculture which provides most of the raw materials for industrial development. Once a nation is able to master its agricultural potentials, such a country would be almost immediately able to master other areas of development. Wondering on the reason why children of war-ravaged countries should look well-fed while Nigerian children should look gaunt and malnourished, Aregbesola said:

“I have often wondered on the national food crisis. When I look at the pictures of children from war-ravaged countries, how they look healthy and robust while our own children in a war-free country look gaunt and malnourished. Our people are not well-fed.”

According to him, the implications of citizens not being well fed are evident in the mental capabilities, physical prowess of the youth and longevity in general. He then called on researchers to look into the situation. While paying glowing tributes to the foundation Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Hezekiah Oluwasanmi, Aregbesola challenged scholars to find out whether there are correlations between mass failure in secondary school examinations and nutrition deficiency in the kids; since the cognitive capacity of children is largely proportional to their access to basic nutrients. Excerpts:

“Do you often observe how underperforming athletes upon getting to Europe and America suddenly become physically big and are catapulted to world beaters’ class? Does recess to good nutrition play any role in this transformation?”

He then threw further challenges to social scientists and nutrition experts to start embarking on public advocacy on agricultural policy and food security. He made it expressly clear that the best way to create wealth, provide jobs, grow the economy, expand government income and uplift the standard of living of our people is to develop agriculture with the right incentives including land, soft loans, modern farming techniques and implements, improved seedlings and extension services.
From the horse’s mouth, it was made known at the occasion the giant strides of the Aregbesola administration – how the administration has been favourably disposed to tackle head-on the problems of food security in the land. According to him, his government had secured 30,000 hectares of land across the state to produce food crops through the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP). This aspect deserves documentation to substantiate our earlier claims and authenticate the achievements so far pointed to in this edition. The governor declared as follows:

“In Osun State, our commitment to agricultural development is total and irrevocable. Though our Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP), we are working to revitalize agriculture and empower our people. We have acquired 30,000 hectares of land in all the local government councils in the state for the purpose of commercial farming. We want to transform our farmers from subsistence farmers to large-scale commercial farmers.”

As earlier pointed out in this edition, given a daily N3 Billion food market in Lagos, the governor made it categorically clear that his team would position Osun State farmers to tap into 10 per cent of this while arrangements are being made to partaker with the Nigerian Railway Corporation and other partners to give farmers direct daily access to sell their produce.

The foregoing does not bare the full list of efforts by the present-day administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in Osun State to lift the state’s economic viability through agricultural renaissance. There have been other areas where the present-day administration is making ground-breaking moves to revolutionize agriculture and turn the economic fortunes of the state around positively. OSUN DEFENDER Magazine shall devote this segment to those salient measures already being adopted or embraced to make agriculture and our entire economy vibrant once again.
Within the first six months of his administration, Ogbeni Aregbesola has set the stage for the state’s unparalleled growth and transformation in the area of agriculture. His intellectual preparedness, strategic planning, administrative sagacity and infectious hardwork are not in doubt – they have begun to manifest with great rapidity. In that length of time mentioned, the incumbent administration has set mark to achieve what the inept Oyinlola administration could not achieve in the entire seven-and-a-half years that it sat tight in office.
Today, the atmosphere has changed. A set of Korean investors has come to invest in agriculture in the state. This is a separate arrangement from the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP) earlier natured. They are however complementary. The truth of the matter is that agriculture is now considered as a matter of priority and great urgency as a veritable resource base, revenue earner and employment generator.
With the present development, citizens of the State, youths and incoming generation in particular can view the future with greater confidence. Agriculture in Osun State has started to witness rejuvenation with the ageing population of farm workers being replaced with vibrant youths. This trend would produce greater yield. Also with the higher educational attainments wielded by a new entrants into the agricultural sector, the sector shall witness total reinvigoration. In a fell swoop, the effect would be triple-attracting youth employment, increasing agricultural yields outputs and boosting our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Korean farmers have a brilliant focus for investing in an area. Their primary focus is large-scale mechanized farming. Our besetting hitherto had been gross reliance on crude implements and traditional/agrarian farming method/techniques, which limits productivity. The modernize techniques do not suggest utter jettisoning of peasant farmers. They are to be incorporated into the scheme of reinvigoration. In other words, the large scale mechanized farms can find these peasants useful as out croppers who are incorporated into contact schemes, this shall produce an end-result of getting them well conversant with more up-to-date methods of farming, while at the same time allowing them to be trained in the use of new improved seedlings, storage facilities, systems and marketing techniques.
The initiative that gave birth to the advent of Koreans instills fresh lease of life that eventually, Osun State has begun to be seen as a land of prolific harvest and profound resources. This is a vital impetus to the overall economic regeneration of the state. More so when the socio-political climate prevailing in the state today is friendly and congenial to investors who may wish to sink heavy resources into production on our land. Thank God for the peace that we enjoy.
Also, a robust partnership is in the pipeline between the incumbent Osun State Government and People’s Republic of China in areas as critical as agriculture. This could be the best explanation for the governor’s working visits to that foreign land. Cooperation and partnership in agriculture is of particular interest to the State Government, which has the focus of boosting the economy of the state as its topmost priority.
During a recent visit to China, Governor Aregbesola presented the Osun State Economic Development Agenda to a gathering of Chinese investors and government officials at a seminar facilitated by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. The ACFTU has vested interest in incurring huge massive investments in critical areas in Nigeria with special attention on Osun State.
In his quoted speech to Chinese Xinhua recently, the following excerpts by Aregbesola are of relevant interest to OSUN DEFENDER Magazine:

“We are keen on agricultural programmes and projects, particularly food. So we are going to explore possibility of engagement in food production programmes and activities. We are equally keen on logistics, improvement of agricultural produce from our remotely located state to Lagos where the market is.”

In addition, it is imperative that through the bond, Osun State would also explore the possibility of having investment in heavy agricultural equipment.
Recently, the State Government approved a sum of N255 Million for release to execute Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) to assist farmers in getting their farm produces transported from rural areas and farm centres to urban centres. This step is a giant stride in opening rural areas up to large markets in urban areas.
Also recently, the government of Engineer Rauf Aregbesola signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Synctop Corporation Limited, a Korean Company, to the tune of $400 million (equivalent of N60 Billion) on an investment deal in food production and other areas of agriculture. This deal is expected to bring 127,000 jobs into Osun State and bring a boost to our Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) base.

However, there is a segment of new-breed, young and vibrant trained farmers in the state who are waiting, like an untapped resources to be enlisted and incorporated into the Aregbesola agricultural revolution. Last April, about one-hundred and forty-Nine (149) graduates who participated in the Songhai Agricultural “Experiment” of the Oyinlola administration trooped into the venue of the Justice Odewingie Uwaifo-led Truth and Reconciliation Commission to lay their grievances over the breach of the bond agreement signed with the ousted administration. Among the grievances laid before the commission was the delay and denial of other opportunities caused the participants by the retention of their academic certificates in the custody of the last administration as part of the bond agreement. Also the youth agitated over the economic hardship they had been subjected to. They therefore requested a handsome compensation of N500, 000.00 per participant while they asked the commission to bar Oyinlola and his Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, who doubled as the anchor for the Songhai Programme, Professor Muheeb Opeloye from holding public offices.
It would be recollected that the Osun State Government under Governor Aregbesola inaugurated the Osun Truth and Reconciliation Commission (OSTRC) on Thursday, February 17, 2011 to identify the causes of human rights abuse and violation with a view to preventing similar future occurrences.
If it is agreed that our agriculture here had suffered terrible besetting in the past and that a large proportion of our farming populace are ageing, then it is true that such ageing workforce cannot be vigorous and vibrant. Furthermore, the ageing workforce cannot be receptive to new ideas, modern concepts as well as change brought about by different ways of doing things. The various youth employment/empowerment programmes embarked upon by the Aregbesola administration are a clear demonstration that it is determined to infuse new blood into the system.
By bringing in fresh blood, the agricultural sector will be reinvigorated. A new, innovative educated workforce is vital to resuscitating the sector. With new personnel coming into the agricultural sector, a modern rural economy can now be built. This was where Oyinlola failed. The effort he put into the pursuance of this lofty agenda was overglossed by self-seeking ulterior motives which hijacked the Songhai programme in the midstream. As it is, the Songhai programme is potent tool which Ogbeni Aregbesola could use to kickstart the home-based personnel component of his agricultural drive.
When in early 2009 the announcement came through the air by the ousted Osun State Government of Brigadier-General Oyinlola, through its Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, requesting unemployed vibrant youths of the state’s origin who had deep-seated interest in agriculture to apply for a training programme at the Songhai Centre, Porto Novo, Republic of Benin, most youths in that category, their parents and other concerned relations breathed a sigh of relief, hyping that the long-awaited employment opportunity which had been elusive had at last come their way. Little did they hope that the newly-emerging scheme would end up a trap of deceit, aimed at further subjecting them to a difficult situation which would be unequalled in their post-graduation years.
The announcement, which was given wide publicity on all the state-owned media stations instructed the youths, who were expected to be university graduates or Higher National Diploma (HND) holders to proceed to the secretariats of their local government council areas of origin to obtain application forms free of charge. In a swift response characteristic of someone that has apparently found what he had been searching for, interested unemployed graduates of Osun State origin jostled and scampered, to the seat of their local councils of origin to obtain the forms, in order not to be left behind in making the best use of the new opportunity, which they viewed as emerging ray of hope, a dawn new era. That was even as most of them found, embarrassingly, that the forms that were claimed to be free were not free afterall. Authorities of most local government councils in the state did not part with the forms until the needy youths were made to cough out some whooping sums of their meagre means.
Though not all unemployed youths in the state were interested in farming; just as it was not all unemployed graduates who were so interested that met the 36-year-old age requirement, the invitation/job vacancy announcement received a rousing response as it was greeted by a multitude of youths and graduates at that, whose disciplines cut across different fields of human endeavour. Really, it was a parade ground for different age grades as several classes of young graduates, including those with fair measure of hoary hairs and ageing lines milled in for the application forms.
The mammoth crowd that greeted the Songhai training invitation is characteristic of any similar call for job application in this part of the nation where graduates are present in large number without surety of a timely employment after school. Prior to that year’s call for Songhai training in agriculture, many youths had been subjected to hardship, disappointments and frustration occasioned by dashed hopes of securing employment under various job selection exercises that came up earlier; such as Osun State Civil Service Commission, Osun State Universal Basic Education Board, Teaching Service Commission or even, the Reality Television, Iwo and the Osun State University (UNIOSUN) which was much flatulently celebrated.
For some of these graduate applicants, it was not that they did not have some kind of job in hand. The fact of the case was that the job they held was just not enough as a means of livelihood. A good number of them had got employed in the private sector, mainly in private educational institutions, while others were in ad hoc employment of the State Government of the time, especially Oyin Corp in this regard. The common feature with all these engagements was that they offered the youths mere stipends which could neither commensurate with their levels of academic attainment and years of certification nor meet up with their ever-surging responsibilities.
The foregoing analysis became necessary to make readers asses the true situation with the affected youths, so as not to keep anyone in ignorance of what could push graduates into a farming scheme organized by a state government under a political dispensation which lacked focus and secretion. This feeling that a government that operated under the aegis of a political party could not pursue such scheme to a logical conclusion was justified, especially with the wishy-washy performance of the Oyinlola administration in all schemes embarked upon. The Graduate Gainful Employment Scheme, the Multi-Purpose Micro-Credit Scheme, Fadama Credit Scheme, Government-Guaranteed Agricultural Loan Scheme, Osun State Micro-Credit Agency Fund for Agricultural Development and Osun State Agricultural Youth Empowerment Programme (OSSAYEP) – all came and passed as figurehead, money-gulping programmes which their initiators intended them to be, without fulfilling the yearnings and aspiration of the people of Osun State in the least.
If on the basis of the abysmal failure of these earlier programmes we attempted to blame the youths who took up the Songhai programme, our assessment would not be fair enough. The fact is that we are in a world unlimited opportunities and as human organisms; we continue to explore new opportunities until our lots are bettered. More so, the initiators of each new programme make them so attractive in their branding and definition, so much that our minds are made to trust that each new programme would not be a failure that its preceding counterpart had been

To be continued..

 

Court Remands Two For Stealing Osun Govt House Cups

An Osogbo Magistrate’s Court last Thursday remanded two persons, Babatunde Mohammed, 23, and Sanni Abudulahi, 29, for allegedly stealing glass-cups belonging to the Osun State Government House.
It was stated in the charge sheet that the accused persons conspired together to commit felony to wit; stealing.
The charge sheet further alleged that the two accused persons stole four glass cups valued at N500, property of Osun State government house.
The offence was allegedly committed on July 20, 2011 at 11:45am at Osun State Government House, Osogbo, Osun State capital.
It further stated that the offence the accused persons committed was contrary to and punishable under sections 516A (1) and 390 of the state criminal law.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge leveled against them.
Presiding magistrate, Mr. Olalekan Ijiyode, then remanded the accused persons at Dugbe Police Station till the next adjourned date.
He subsequently adjourned the case till July 25, 2011 for judgment.