BASTARDISING RELIGION AT OYINLOLA’S 57TH BIRTHDAY

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Monday, 10 March 2008

God really blessed Osun State with worthy spiritual and temporal fathers. We have prominent obas and clerics that can rub shoulders with their counterparts the world over. The reactions of these our spiritual fathers to political events in the state should be of concern to all and sundry because the survival of the state would be dependent majorly on the sound and Godly spiritual guidance from these our spiritual fathers.

That Obas, clerics etc. attend government functions all the times is not a misnormal and that prayers were offered at such occasions were not out of place, but political comments that were always “erroneously’ credited to them might cast aspersions on such spiritual father vis-a-vis the spiritual positions they occupy in the nation. In fact, there are places that one would not expect such spiritual fathers to be, even through it is in such abominable places that we find many spiritual fathers often and not only being there, they make statements that belittle the spiritual positions they occupy.

We must remind ourselves of some salient facts. Engr Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola or any other indigene of Osun State has every right to aspire to govern the state and that spiritual fathers should not turn themselves into instruments of oppression of oppositions and suppression of decent voice of oppositions. The oppositions are not enemies as erroneously proclaimed by the tune of prayers from spiritual fathers, but they (opposition) are check and balance organs of the society to forestall the excessive activities of the brigands that temporarily rule Osun State.

Why are obas and clerics against the voices of oppositions when they have every right to tilt to any side of their choice. The clerics can shed their cassocks for political garment, while the obas are free to put aside their beaded crowns for political caps, as such steps would give them more honour and respect than hiding under the cassocks and beaded crowns while swimming in dirty waters of politics. Why can’t these spiritual fathers and obas realize that they would outlive these political office holders and as such, should not allow them to rubbish the exalted spiritual sit they occupy?

The prayers offered by two prominent clerics at Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s 57th birthday ceremony, as reported by Nigerian Tribune of 8th February 2008, page 7, was pleasant and appealing to Oyinlola’s hearing but spiritually bankrupt as the prayers were politically motivated and directed by “Ghana-Must-Go” spiritual force. Since when has it become a crime for one to legally seek to reclaim the stolen mandate through an election tribunal even at the risk of one’s life? Why must a legitimate demand of stolen mandate be misconstrued as “the activities of those who see nothing good?” Must Engr. Rauf Aregbesola allow the mandate armed robbers to go unchallenged as if armed robbery is entrenched in the Holy Bible and Holy Koran?

It is a pity that one cleric even equated elections with wars and battles. Hear him: “His creator has destined him to be victorious in wars and battles”. If a “respectable” cleric can refer to elections as “wars and battles”, one can see how “Ghana-Must-Go” can change a respectable cleric to disrespectable cleric. The prayers of the “respectable” cleric have exposed their (clerics) hidden agenda of a one party state.

Listen to him: “It is time for his challengers to see the war they are fighting as one against God’s designs. It is time for them to surrender.” According to the cleric, the designs of his (cleric) ‘god’ is that there should be no challenger and as such, we must end up with one party Osun State. The cleric also claimed it was a sin against their ‘god’ for anybody to challenge Governor Oyinlola as they were not engaging in electoral process but ‘war’ against ‘god’s design. No wonder the clerics had flambuoyant thanksgiving services, for Oyinlola, to their “gods’ that maimed and killed innocent citizens of Osun State, to steal Engr. Rauf Aregbesola’s mandate at gunpoint for Governor Oyinlola. No wonder, there were showers of blessings, cars, jeeps, etc for clerics from Governor Oyinlola and plenty of “Ghana Must Go” to appease the “gods” that stole mandate at gunpoint.

No wonder, the house of God have been turned into merchandising houses where prayers are readily purchased by “Ghana-Must-Go to force the challenger to surrender. Thank God, for God! God cannot be mocked! The respectable” cleric also described Governor Oyinlola as “a man created to build, remould and reform masses”.

The cleric should explain to the whole world, what Governor Oyinlola was building, after stealing the mandate of Engr Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola by maiming and killing innocent souls at Igbajo, Ikirun, Ile-Ife, Ilesa, Ede etc. It was indeed a fact that Governor Oyinlola remoulded and deformed the wasted citizens of Osun State from mortality to immortality. Governor Oyinlola has also remoulded the JOY of the berieved families into eternal melancholy.

The Bible says: ” I (God) am coming soon and my reward is with me to give to everybody according to his due”. Honestly, I always feel terribly sad, when I hear or see clerics, singing praises of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and I always wonder which book of authority the clerics use as reference, as the doctrine being preached by such clerics are outside the Holy Bible and the Holy Koran. How can the clerics sing praises of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a man, who stubbornly refused to accept the practice and culture of democracy, which entails equal right of all members of the society to have a free and fair elections. A man, who believes in stealing mandate of the people of maiming and killing citizens of Osun State; a man, who brought soldiers to waste lives in Ilesa; a man, who has the devil reincarnated human being, Olusegun Obasajo as his mentor; a man whose only training has been on the foundation of deceit etc.

The clerics whether honourable of dishonourable must know that, today, ordinary citizens of Osun State, look at Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the PDP government of Osun State and the sympathizers of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, be they obas and clerics, as a den of arsonists, assassins, armed robbers, blood suckers and mandate snatchers. that is exactly what they are and with the prayers of the saint to God/Allah, they would be brought to justice soonest. Amen.

OYAGBILE wrote in from Ward 5, Odo-Otin LG, Osun State

OYINLOLA IS NOT FAIR TO LECTURERS

I am a fan of  OSUN DEFENDER, to the extent that it has become my tonic. I must confess to you that your tabloid has been very instrumental towards the ongoing efforts of the progressive elements to liberate the people of the South West particularly Osun State.

In the light of this, I shall crave your indulgence into the raging crisis between the teachers in Osun State higher institutions of learning and Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

I could recollect that Oyinlola in one of the interviews granted to a daily newspaper recently on the high school fees of University of Osun State said that his government wanted to give the lecturers the best motivation, so as to get the output from them.

I am compelled to ask whether the same condition does not attach to the lecturers of the existing schools. Or is he saying that the best could not be obtained from them? From the look of things, Mr Governor appears to have lost touch with real governance, because I could not figure out why a man who claims to be in charge would be begging the traditional rulers to settle his case for him.

Honestly, the salary scale structure presented by the lecturers is obviously low to what their counterparts in other states are earning. And they patronize the same market; where their counterparts’ go. So, why must their case be different?

Lo and behold, the peculiar case of Osun State lecturers has succeeded in telling us that the UNIOSUN project is a mere lip service, because the state of the existing higher institutions would have informed us about the UNIOSUN project.

With all intents and purposes, our lecturers in the state deserve honour and accolade not knocks from the governor. I mean, how can their best be obtained if we don’t motivate them.

Meanwhile, I do not blame Mr Governor, he knows that he was not voted-for in the 2007 election but only wriggled himself in, as a result he did not plan for real governance, but to quarrel with his workers. We all know that it is only a bad workman that quarrels with his tools.

Lukman Akinsola, Esa-Oke.

OSUN ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL: A WITNESS TO HISTORY

BY LATEEF DARE RAJI

Since the setting up of the various Election Petition Tribunals across the country following protest over the April Elections, the Judiciary has been getting raving accolades as the tribunals delivered judgments. To the people, at least the judiciary is helping to clear the Augean stable of political confusion created by the combination of the Independent National Electoral Commission under Maurice Iwu and the Peoples Democratic Party led Federal Government under the imperial ruler, General Olusegun Obasanjo. However, this is not the case in the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal under Justice Thomas Naron.

The judgment denying us the presentation of the forensic reports conducted by Mr. Adrian Forty, a witness in our petition is in bad faith. The tribunal betrayed its prejudice when it took it upon itself to advance the position of the defense counsel rather than concern itself to the issue raised in the report which it was well aware has been pleaded.

Disconcerting in the ruling was the submission that a witness lied that he was present at the inspection. It has been argued that the Tribunal over-reached itself in this regard but in view of such posit, it is only appropriate to give an eye witness account of the whole exercise because I am involved.

I am involved because Engr. Rauf Aregbesola and the Action Congress are essential part of my functionality as a politician and a Nigerian who craves a better life for the generality of our people. I am convinced that the duo could bring these virtues to bear on the polity in Osun State. For what it is worth, like the good people of Osun State, without any doubt in my mind, I believe the Action Congress represented by Engr. Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola won the April 14 Governorship Election home and dry. The defendants know this and the good people of Osun State too do.

Even while the intimidations and harassments by the combination of the military drafted from the Garrison Headquarters in Ibadan in collaboration with the police hierarchy in Osun State Command were very intense, a team was set up to start work on the petition and physical inspection of materials used in the elections. Under this very tense and unfriendly state of affairs, we went about our work as diligently as we could.

In our team were, Mr. Basiru Ajibola, an activist legal practitioner who is fast acquiring repute in the profession and a member of our legal team leading other lawyers. Mr. Wale Afolabi, a former Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly and AC lawyer based in Oshogbo, leading others in his chambers. Bayo Badmus, a lawyer in our legal team at the tribunal. There is also Mr. Bayo Ojo, a renowned author, critic and activist, Mr. Abiodun Kolawole (Arole), veteran activist and intellectual, Mr. Adeola Olayiwola, political activist, Mr. Richard Tinubu, project consultant, Mr. Dele Ogunshakin an astute politician.

There was also Tunde Yadeka, representative of Mr. Adrian Forty, who led a team of software experts and the members of the Youth Solidarity (YS), a ten thousand-membership organization that includes, Mr. Akindele Omowunmi, Abeeb Lawal, Owolanwi Luqman, Olaore Fatai, Busari Rasaq, Adegbile Adiru and Wasiu Tiamiyu. They represent the foot soldiers of our campaigns in Osun State and the subsequent victories we recorded in the elections but for the conspiracy between INEC and the PDP clique who colluded to rob the people of their votes by allocating votes unmeritoriously to the sinking Oyinlola and his gang of revelers.

There was also a formidable team in Lagos that backed up the storage facilities and kept detailed records and requirements for the eventual biometrics. The Lagos office was manned by Mr. Bayo Ojo and he worked with arrays of young talented men that include, Efe Brume, Niyi, Niran, Pastor Gbenga, Jide, Fred, Lanre, Jude, Pastor Favour, Chrstianah, Joy, Tayo, Bolaji, Segun, Akin, Michael, Gold, Emmanuel, Mojeed, Kingsley and the two twins who both answer Taiwo.

Our findings at the physical inspection stage would interest Nigerians. Howbeit, it is important to let Nigerians into few of the shockers. First, considering the fact that the election were held in April, by the time we commenced work in May, ballot papers used in Ife South were so lumped that it was difficult to determine  particularly where the ballot papers were used. Your guess that it was to create confusion is as good as mine is. In Odo-Otin, where General Oyinlola came from, all Form EC8A presented were written on pieces of paper!

Like you, dear reader, we know what this means, no election in the true sense of the word took place in Odo-Otin. Generally, in all the Local Governments we are contesting, there were huge numerical differences in the number of ballot papers presented for inspection and the figures recorded for the elections. Figures were merely allotted and to the piper. The revelation that ballot papers meant for Ondo State were found in Osun State should not surprise you. While we waited for April 14 to cast our votes, some people had actually voted two weeks earlier.

To prove beyond all shades of doubts that Oyinlola and the PDP actually rigged the elections through collusion with INEC, we listed in the petition an expert witness Mr. Adrian Forty, a world acclaimed forensic expert, to clarify scientifically details of the nature of each ballot paper and if it qualifies as a valid vote. The tribunal granted our relief to scan the ballot papers for forensic analysis. That now is its cross. Could it be that the tribunal in granting the relief does not anticipate the level of rots that would be unearthed or it simply does not understand the process and procedure involved? It would be tragic! Once again, the team went back to work.

It is important to mention that to facilitate our work at the INEC office and ensure safety of the materials, which are essentially the ballot papers used in the election; INEC attached one of its senior officers, Mr. Musa Abdullahi. Precisely, Musa’s job was to lead groups of our junior staff to accompany the EO’s to the store in bringing out those sensitive election materials for inspection and scanning. In the course of this exercise, our junior staff signs attendance and this we understand is for the purpose of security. I challenge INEC to produce similar attendance list signed by any of our senior officers or even any of the respondents. It is curious Ojo Williams’s name does not appear on the register even for the few days he was there. Howbeit, I want to believe Musa was coerced one way or the other to swear to the affidavit he deposed to. In addition, the State Security Service also kept two of its men permanently on the job to keep vigil. They watch and follow events keenly. They never keep any open records but one would be naïve to think they do not send their reports to the appropriate offices.

The position of the tribunal is worrisome that the forensic analysis took place in the United Kingdom. Pray, what does it take from the facts it represents? I see it merely as a ploy to ridicule the entire country because there is no record of any functional forensic laboratory in Nigeria yet. I expect our learned judges to know this. On the other hand, could the judges be techno phobic? Forensic analysis had come to form an integral part of knowledge in the day-to-day explanation of life in such diverse areas as medicine and Computers and we cannot claim to be an exception in this regard. What we did was to scan all the ballot papers, stored them in high capacity storage facility and sent same for forensic analysis. For a clearer understanding, scanning a document simply means converting the image into digital or electronic form for further storage, retrieval, and transmission. It does not add or remove the original value from the document. In medicine, rather than undergoing the rigor of surgery, scanning comes handy.

It is also important to point out that as soon as the court granted us the relief to scan the materials, the respondent in absolute disregard to the Tribunal insisted that they would be part of it. Mr. Ojo Williams advanced this argument, an Osogbo based lawyer in the defense team and since we had nothing to hide, we accepted the extra-judicial interpretation of the Administrative Secretary of INEC. Mr. Ojo Williams apparently after consultation, sent a team of seven PDP members to start recording the serial numbers on each of the ballot papers we scanned with a view to discover if what we are scanning are genuine and to understudy us with the likely hints to know what exactly we were doing.

Nevertheless, these people failed woefully. They just could not comprehend what was going on. Mildly put, they know these things type words and figures but thoroughly lost on its current operation. The job they were given was also very overwhelming. There is no way any human being could cope with the work at the pace the machine was working. Nearly two weeks on the job, their frustration was apparent and they quit. I suspected after the first three days, their boss was no longer interested even Ojo Williams stopped coming and nobody really cared about them. In my usual nature, I made friends with them throwing banters at them. More than once, I offered them each a bottle of Coca-Cola and baked flour, which they never rejected. At a point, they expressed their frustration that they do not know why they were there. Poor people I concluded.

Further, for every copy of ballot paper we scanned, we paid INEC N10.00 to obtain the Certified True Copy. Typical of the Nigerian System, we went there with our scanning machines, which included high resolutions Notebooks totaling twelve, printers of the same number with special features to print both sides of the paper automatically, our papers and our sets of generators all to ensure that we did our work within the period set by the Tribunal. The noise of a combination of three generating sets was too much for INEC very senior officers, after almost two weeks, they volunteered the use of the INEC generating set provided we could buy 150 liters of diesel daily. A colleague on the job told me these people could not afford to buy diesel because only one man keeps the purse, Resident Electoral Commissioner. We accepted and did this for eleven days before we rounded up.

It is important to mention that the assignment was not as easy as narrated. We suffered lots of set backs with malfunctioning equipment that at critical moments we had to place order for new imports. In more than five occasions, the Sharp Nigeria Engineer had to travel to Oshogbo when the local sales shop could not offer us necessary technical advice to look over the machines with little successes. To overcome the adversity, we resorted to using large numbers of smaller devices. In fixing the machines, we had to stay overnight to strengthen the engineer.

With these graphic and minute details of what happened, it is easier to conclude who is paying the piper at the Tribunal. Our experiences at the Thomas Naron led Tribunal prepared us for this judgment. It is disheartening though, but the Tribunal has been swimming in contradictions since it resumed. At a point the Tribunal granted a subpoena that EO’s appear in court and produce election materials but refused that the EO’s be sworn-in and cross examined. In another instance, the Electoral Act 2006 conferred the power to inspect election materials for the purpose of instituting a case and maintaining a case but each time we sought to present our report on same, Justice Naron will reject it despite the fact that his tribunal granted the relief in the first place. In another instance, the tribunal insists that we attach the witness statement of EO’s to our application when the EO’s are our adversaries. Pray, have you ever heard a thief admit he stole without forcing him to tell the truth? This has been our lot in the Thomas Naron led Tribunal but this would not shake our belief in the Nigerian judiciary. We have absolute faith in the ray of light shown on Election Petition at the Appeal Court and believing our cause is just, we would get justice.

OSUN DEFENDER’S DAY OF GLORY

It was for this newspaper, a defining moment, a moment to relish. An opportunity to salute the vision that brought the medium into being, a great moment to validate what we stood for all these years by the very people on whose behalf we took on the mission to inform, educate, and edify- in the enterprise to wrest the state from the deadly afflictions of incompetence, mediocrity, and electoral banditry.

A newspaper conceived in the crucible of battle couldn’t have chosen a better time to do its launch as was the case on February 26, 2007 at the MUSON Centre in Lagos, when the world literally stood still for Osun Defender. It was a moment of celebrations and stock-taking.

From Osogbo to Ila-Orangun; from Ikire to Gbongan; from Ile-Ife to Okuku extending to every corner of our dear state, they came. It was humbling to see the rich and the poor alike troop out in their numbers to make our day: the ordinary folks – our fellow foot soldiers with whom we have marched shoulder-to-shoulder in battle – to confront evil currently preying in our dear state. It was touching to hear from these worthy citizens that Osun Defender has lived to its billings as the authentic voice of the people.

To you all, we owe a debt of gratitude; without your invaluable contributions and support, our message would never have amounted to anything.

It is only natural to acknowledge what became the icing on the cake of epochal event- the brilliant lecture delivered by the erudite scholar and Professor of Law, Itse Sagay SAN, chaired by an equally distinguished scholar and professor of International Law, Akin Oyebode on the subject “Election Tribunals and the Survival of Democracy”?

It was our modest contribution to the debate on our democratic future.

Coincidentally, two interrelated events would render the historic launch truly historic. The first is that the launch was coming against the background of the ruling by Justice Naron-led tribunal in the petition between the Action Congress (AC) gubernatorial candidate, Rauf Aregbesola and his Peoples Democratic Party counterpart, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in which the tribunal hatched a classic Jud-el-ex coup (apologies to the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo) – when it decided, contrary to expectations, to shut out vital forensic evidence in the matter before it.

The other development was the ruling on the consolidated petitions of former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar challenging the election of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Both events, both for their timing could have overshadowed the launch; that this was far from being the case says a lot about the relevance of our theme and the timeliness of our gospel. The two developments would also remind that the battle is still a long way ahead.

On our honour, we pledge never to be bystanders in the unfolding events in our potentially great country. We will continue to do battle with the forces holding the people down even as we point the way forward for our people. This is the struggle that has endeared us to the people.

We appreciate that the large turnout of the people at the launch couldn’t be anything other than a testimonial to our unassailable integrity as well as the relevance and the timeliness of our message; we would continue to speak truth to power no matter what it costs. In return for standing by Osun Defender when the powers-that-be were sworn to hound us out of town, we can only restate our solemn pledge to remain their authentic voice.

FOR THE SAKE OF JUSTICE

Being pragmatic, I would get necessary facts to back up my claims so that I would not be guilty of feeding my people with fallacies.

This definitely will enable the little efforts I put into writing to pay off and encourage my people to still put little confidence in what they get by the helped of God. This will also motivate me not to flounder but I will naturally have the push to gather more facts that will compliment those of others in bettering the society at large and make Osun State conducive to live in.

This message ought to have come earlier but for the simple reason given above. The first day I read on the pages of the newspaper that is at, the vanguard of emancipating the people of Osun (OSUN DEFENDER) that, in conformity with the general timetable of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), there will be election in December, I yelled out in holy anger. This is not because I wanted our maturing democracy to crumble or be truncated but because I felt the atmosphere was still charged. Palpable fear was rife and it seemed to me that the another of such postulate must seek divine assistance to be free from one mild insanity. I have my reason: from the time the election tribunal swing into action in Osun people felt the political debacle would vamoose just within a month or two and the more the case lingers, the more despicable and despondent people are.

One thing that keeps soothing my people is the event of adjudications from other states of the federation. The aphorism, “THE CHIEFTAINCY THAT BECAME CONDITIONED TO IWO INDIGENS WILL SOON INFILTRATE EDE PEOPLE” becomes the commonest adage in vogue. Anytime and anywhere there is such pronouncement you see hope like dew descending. And the anxiety accompanying long period of waiting and expectation would mellow.

I did a little research, my findings are really overwhelming because an average of  80 per cent of the populace are involved. Whenever you remind this portion of the people in Osun of April 14, there are gloomy looks all round you. It is like one should become air that can neither be seen nor held escape inching. It is that bad. And this seems to be ubiquitous from Owena Ijesa to Ikire, from Ifetedo to Okuku or from Orile Owu to Ora Igbomina. The signs are really ominous.

In the midst of all these, some people somewhere feel it is high time elections to usher I functionaries to the third tier of government were help. What an insensitivity of the highest order can’t people for once be considerate. If people are not dying because of the strength of hope that God has given through His mercy and grace, must their lives be compulsorily stifled out of them through cancerous policies or moves so that a few people can continue to rule and survive?  Abba! The cadence in the actions of our people should in no way be misinterpreted. Let whoever cares to know, know that the timidity of a tiger is not due to its cowardice. What we are sitting on in Osun is more fragile and more dangerous than the keg of gun power. To say the least, the atmosphere is extraordinarily huminous but inflammable. A spark would do for the whole system to be razed to the ground. God forbid!

My duty is not to comment on the suitability or otherwise of the electoral umpire in Osun- but the desirability of his action should be a major concern to every same person who wishes that systemic continuity be ensured. I know Justice Adedotun Sijuwade as a man who knows his onions. He is not just a retired judge. He is indeed a retired Chief Justice of Osun State whom I believe must have created a landmark, albeit carved out a niche in the legal profession. Just as I am a social engineer, I doff my hat for him as a legal engineer who must have put in at least 32 years in the service of his father land. May I also remind you readers that this man for whose sake I am digressing is from the source- The cradle of the Yorubas home and abroad. I bother less about what happened in the year 2004 under his supervision because I pray premium on currency. But I am particularly curious about what is about to happen under his supervision in 2007 because the situation in which he operated in the former is quite different from that of the latter. That is actually why I am risking my neck.

There was an election in Osun, as in other states of the country in April 14.That was to have been conducted freely and fairly going by the rules of the game history by ensuring a civilian to civilian rule. Having done it before way back in 1979 through as a military head of state, people expected that eight years of civil rule should energize him enough to bring his experience to bear and keep military incursions at bay. The event of some innovations (remember GSM?) instilled confidence in people that he was really out to deliver, up to the time of bowing out. People were praying down the hands of God for deliverance and for a moment, I realized how visible the dear love that Nigerians have for their fatherland as people was, they were spontaneous in their responses at calls for God’s intervention and at the same time they showed enthusiastic epiphany toward massive participation in political activities.

Even when at a moment the seat of Power-Aso Rock- was rumbling and the number one and number two citizens were scuffing the corridor of governance due to betrayed of trusts and confidence, people were still hopeful. Even at a time that desperation heightened beyond mount Everest and the do-or-die dimension set in, the faith of the people in God was unflinching. Oh what a people! People were resolute to keep a date with destiny and defy all manipulation that is often engendered through incumbency and aimed at a renaissance that was to bring sophistication in ridding malpractices and unconventional methods which over the years, have marred out nationhood and humanhood. Osun was not an exception and people were mobilized to rise up to their civic duty which was to bring freedom that will endure for a foreseeable future civilization was exploited and inventions were made that were unprecedented in the history of Nigerian evolution.

All these in an attempt to move the country forward and liberate it forever from the debacle often employed by the conservative few to perpetrate selves in power and subject perpetually the majority to deliberating servitude. Even when they answered divine call over which they have no power and go to the greet beyond, cycling and  recycling have always been the order of the day resulting in the Osuntokuns, Fanikayodes, Ironsis and now Obasanjos, towering over others as of right of ascendancy.

God answered people’s cry and He decided to rescue the oppressed majority. He aroused in us the consciousness for total freedom and this materialized on April 14 to the chagrin and bewilderment of the bourgeoisie. Here in Osun, the governor momentarily forgot that he was no longer in Mogadishu when he carelessly said that “if it means bringing a whole battalion to Osun to silence opposition, he would do that.” This he said in Ilesa in the presence of G.O.C 2 Mechanized Division, Ibadan after he had been harshly humiliated at the polls on April14. There was covert and overt subjugation of majority will.

And people would not let go this time around. All accessible facts to substantiate claims were brought together and the genuineness of these are being proved currently at tribunal and the finality is not yet to sight. Should there then be piling up of jumbles especially in same society to dispense with the case of April 14 before another election comes up. I think the umpire should take to the path of honour by letting the dust raised on April 14 settle so that we can clearly see what is before us and fashion out ways of managing it so that we do not give room for the situation to degenerate. If it happened somewhere like in Kwara) and there was no problem, the case in Osun may be different.

Let us not call for anarchy. I think we have had enough of such as ripple effects of April 14. I am aware the opposition parties with which the ruling party will engage in a contest have spoken with one voice that they are not ready for election. The challenger of April 14 election results, Alhaji Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has also disagreed to the ripeness of another election especially as he is till faced with the need to substantiate his claims at tribunal which I agree with him into to needs total, unalloyed concentration. Let the umpire advise the actors wisely so that together we may move Osun State forward. Let justice be done and be seen to have been done. A word is enough for the wise.

I have confidence in the tribunal as to its ability to do justice. While we are expecting that, let us continue to be forward-looking. Let us also be inward-looking so that we are not caught in the web of pranks and treachery. We should open wide our eyes and our sense. If my plea is not taken, all compatriots should arise. We should defend this legacy called democracy. If my advice is defied and there is a drum of desperation rolled out for election, let us go massively out and vote out the villains from amongst us. Let us have a populist government that will impact positively on ourselves and our dear state. Ile yi o ni baje lagbara Olorun. A o segun, ao bori lagbara Edumare.

Pastor  AJANI wrote in from Osogbo.

PDP’S CRUMBLING HOUSE OF FRAUD

Predictably, the many Houses of Fraud erected by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have begun to collapse like stacks of inelegantly assembled cards that they were. However, only the shameless votes-stealing PDP and its rigging arm a.k.a the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would feign surprise at the turn of developments. Given the promises and the resolve of the judiciary to cleanse the electoral Augean stable, we are not in the least surprised. Only those with incredibly bad sensory organs would fail to anticipate that the Houses of Fraud would not endure.

With two of PDP’s Houses of Fraud — in Kogi and Kebbi — already demolished by the tribunals, and with a dozen more likely to cave in to judicial hammers, the chicken is finally coming home to roost for the humpty-dumpty electoral machine, whose final disintegration is imminent. Even in Rivers State where the PDP hatched its trade mark agenda of impunity in substituting a validly nominated candidate for another that did not even feature in party primaries, it has earned itself an ignoble thumbs down from the highest court in the land; the apex court sacked the usurper, Celestine Omehia and went ahead to order the swearing in of the lawful candidate, Rotimi Amaechi.

The nation, it appears, is finally set on the course of coming to terms with the grand electoral heist of April; the enterprise to dismantle the appurtenances and the symbols of that ugly experience in electoral brigandage, may have reached the point of no return. What the vote robbers took away on April 14 and 22, the courageous electoral petition panels are beginning to restore, even if, piecemeal. Those whose specialty is stealing the people’s votes with added desperation in keeping the loot must have reckoned by now that their days of revelries are soon to be replaced with moments of melancholy.

The masterminds of violence and the apostles of intolerance in political contestation, have a lot to worry about now with the clocks ticking by- with justice only around the corner. The Nigerian electorate should consider themselves clear winners from the developments. The PDP should bury its head in shame for putting the country through the odium.

Back home in Osun State, we have no reasons to waver in our conviction that the good people will soon breathe a fresh breath of air from the suffocating grips of the emperor currently lording over them. Most likely, the emperor and his cohorts will continue in their brazen acts of repression against people that they claim to serve. They have done well in their pastime of pillaging scarce resources that would have otherwise gone into the development of the land and its people.

There cannot be any question about it: the dawn of every new day brings the people closer to the fulfillment of their yearning for the leadership of their choice, and the disrobing of this emperor and his subalterns in the market square. The people have made it clear that this cabal means nothing to them; it neither has their mandate nor does it enjoy their confidence. In short the people say that they are tired of them because they did not elect them.

We cannot accept that the people deserve the imposition. It is only condoned because the people have one last mile to go to reassert their freedom and dignity, that is, the electoral tribunals.  While we urge patience, faith and courage on the part of the people in the testy days ahead, the usurpers are well advised to brace up for the shock treatment as the Judgment Day draws near. Surely, the judiciary has given the people fresh hope.

AN OPINION: UNIOSUN

The National Association of Osun State Students (NAOSS) is the umbrella body that represents the interest of the entire students of Osun State origin studying in Nigeria and Diaspora. The association operates on two fronts namely; i) The indigenous/township students association in towns and local Government areas in Osun State; ii) The school chapters on campuses across the country and beyond.

Overview of the university: On October 1, 2006, the state governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola announced the creation of UNIOSUN through his deputy, Mrs Erelu Obada. The National Executive Council of NAOSS and some stakeholders of the association reciprocated this monumental project by paying a Thank you Visit to the Governor on Tuesday, October 31, 2006.

Following the creation of UNIOSUN was the inauguration of the Implementation Committee, headed by ex-Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Peter Okebukola and some notable individuals within and outside the state.

People’s expectation was high, as the governor had always reiterated his intention to bring education to their reach at affordable fees. The Implementation Committee further corroborated this by promising us a university that will compete perfectly with its peers around the world, but we are confused.

Funding of the university: The governor purportedly declared the commitment of N2 billion to the commencement of this project from the state’s cover.  Also, the Osun State House of Assembly mandated in February 2007, the 30 local government areas in the state to invest 5 per cent of their monthly allocation on the project. It is on record that since then, average monthly allocation to all local government areas in Osun State from federation account is about  N1.6314 billion, excluding oil booms. Till date, about N0.75billion accrued from the local government area covers alone to the university.

Also, the sale of over 124,000 application forms at N3,000 each, scratch cards at N500 each and about  42,000 pre-degree forms at N5,000 each would have translated to N644million and by implication, the committee would have realized over N3.394billion for the project. We hope this threshold amount   is far enough for a committee that pays zero kobo for land acquisition to start with.

Shortcomings of the committee and state government: At this junction, it is important to re-emphasize that establishment of a university should not be premised on political inclinations nor for money-making purpose but a step towards sky-rocketing the educational potentials of a state. We strongly believe that this purpose has been defeated.

Per capital income in Osun State: Throughout the country, Osun State Government adopts the least salary scale for her workers with a minimum wage of N6,500 monthly.

The standard of living is low as people are wallowing in abject poverty except the political class that flash around with exotic cars. Government spends more on volatile projects rather than investing in the people. We wonder how a top class worker could sponsor just one child to this university with a fee of over N220,000.It is a sheer error on the part of government and the committee to have underestimated people’s average income before jumping into conclusion over the fees. We therefore condemn in clear terms, this uncomplimentary attempt to frustrate helpless people of Osun State.

Screening exercise/admission: After series of classical exploitation, inconsistencies and optimal irregularities surrounding the imaginary screening exercise, Prof. Olu Aina, chairman admission committee came out with a submission on partial resumption of some successful candidates this year while the bulk of them resume next year for the same academic session. Please, our amiable professor, we are not bunch of fools. This epileptic starts is nothing but 419.If the university cannot take off this year, next year is not too late.

Physical structures: The essence of screening exercises for staff and students are not yet known when classrooms and offices are not in place. September 21 seems impracticable for resumption. Student records are not safe. Maybe, they will be kept inside their cars. What about the lectures, practical and other academic activities? We hope to see whether they will commence under trees or arboreal. The exalted office of the Vice Chancellor is yet undefined in term of structures, portfolio and other paraphernalia. This is absolutely unprecedented in the history of any university.

School fees: For this university project if purpose-driven, there should be at least relative correlation between people’s income and the tuition fees. Sincerely speaking, it is unfair for government that pays least salary to overcharge its citizens. No civil servant, irrespective of his level could afford payment of N225.000 fee for just one child talkless of the helpless masses that dominate the state. The fact is that Prince Oyinlola and His kitchen committee designed the project only for their acolytes with a private structure.

Even the fee is incomparable with that of some private universities like BOWEN, MADONNA, and others that pay less. Babcock University and those in its category pay a comparable fees with UNIOSUN that is a public school. Our fear is the brutal extensive effect this would confer on other higher institutions in the states and beyond. Definitely, their school fees will rise exponentially to unbearable level come session.

Priority for Osun indigenes: That Osun indigenes deserve 95 per cent quota in students’ admission and staff recruitment is nonnegotiable. It is an acceptable norm all over the world. We urge the committee to follow this trend to the letter in order not to defeat the purpose of  UNIOSUN’s creation.
Victimisation of students’ leaders and infringement on their fundamental human rights: It is on record that Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola has always launched brutal attack on innocent students’ leaders who defend the right interest of their fellow students.

We cannot afford to forget the suspension of Alofe Babatunde (Agbakoba) former students’ union President, OSCOTECH, ESA-OKE and other stakeholders for two academic sessions. The ugly experience of Comrade Government (Former Secretary General of the students’ union OSUNPOLY Iree) is not different. While merciless matcheting of innocent students of Osunpoly Iree  towards April polls still poses physical challenges on the affected individuals.

The proscription of students’ union government in Esa-oke is another landmark achievements of Oyinlola’s administration while undue intervention in students’ election has become part of Oyinlola’s packages to students. Oyinlola’s overwhelming influence in reducing student bodies particularly, National Association of Osun State Students to government appendage is no news. We urge His Excellency to mind his business and desist from strangulating students’ activities in the state.

Bursary award: We seize this avenue to appeal to our amiable governor to reverse our local government bursary back to base. The ongoing central system of payment has denied students’ access to this ridiculous N2000 annual bursary. The snatching of the payment from Local Government has paralyzed activities of our association at local levels. We have always discussed with His Excellency, the inconsistencies, irregularities and non-payment in many schools. It is unfortunate that Oyinlola is an unyielding leader.

Since year 2005, each of the 30 local governments in the state has contributed N3 million annually to the state purse in the name of local government bursary for Osun students. This has accrued to N270million and obviously, there is nothing to show for it. It is on record that since 2005 Oyinlola has paid the bursary just once stretching from year 2005 till date. Your Excellency, where is our money?

The state bursary for final year students is another means by which Oyinlola loot the state’s treasury. For the sake of clarification, we urge His Excellency to publish and make available to our association, the record of his ghost beneficiaries and how much he has spent so far. We called on the Osun Sate House of Assembly, EFCC and ICPC to investigate this matter thoroughly.

Our demands:

•Immediate removal of Prof. Peter Okebukola and total dissolution of his committee for gross misconduct, breach of trust, inconsistencies and misapplication of public funds.

•Instant Reversal of UNIOSUN tuition fees to N7800 per student. This represents the mean annual income of an average Osun worker.

•Refund of unduly collected application fees to unjustly disqualified candidates.

•Completion of all primary physical projects before the commencement of any academic work.

•Stoppage of infiltrations into students’ activities by Oyinlola and further victimization of  student  leaders.

•Payment of outstanding 2005 and withheld 2006 and 2007 bursary to all schools especially, OSCOTECH, Esa-Oke, OSCOED Ila-Orangun, Adeyemi College Of Education, Ondo,
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU),  Ile-Ife and many other denied schools.

•Implementation of UNESCO prescribed 26 per cent of the revenue allocation on education

Conclusion: We call on His Excellency, Prince  (Dr) Olagunsoye Oyinlola to respond to this matter promptly by coming out in clear terms on the viability of this university.
We advise him and his kitchen cabinet to tread the path of his Yobe State counterpart if the project is not feasible, than beating around the bush as UNIOSUN is not a private project. We seek the prompt intervention of our revered royal fathers, religious leaders, political parties, and other stakeholders.

While we commend the enduring passion of our parents at home, we salute the courage of our members who at one instance or the other, have fallen victim of Oyinlola-Okebukola-UNIOSUN’s syndrome. To you all, sky is the limit.
by: Jimoh muhali adekilekun

Adekilekun is the National President, National Association of Osun State Students (national body).

STILL ON UNIOSUN

The people of Osun State held Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to his electoral promise in his first tenure on the establishment of a university in the state. I remember a man was verbally and physically abused for daring to ask the governor of his promise at Osogbo. When the governor suddenly announced his readiness to float a university only few people were surprised since announcement came few weeks from his second term election.

Being a clever one, he enlisted Professor Peter Okebukola, the former Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC) as the chairman, implementation committee in order to use him and his connection and make him an errand boy who will facilitate the approval of the university. With the speed of lightening, all necessary documents were given to the governor last December by the current NUC Executive Secretary, Professor Julius Okogie. The governor was beaming with smiles on the mission accomplished.

It would be recalled that Professor Okebukola championed the stoppage of some courses at various universities across the country including the law programme at the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University, among other universities, claiming they lack facilities and manpower. Now he surrendered himself to be used by a politician seeking for a second time. Quickly, he jumped at the offer placed before him and he started lobbying his former colleagues at NUC.

Immediately, sales of forms began with fees as high as N350,000. Coaching centres across the country were giving forms to sell, at the end of which more than N300, million was realised. No clear information was given to the candidates on the cut-off mark; the only information was that candidates must also collect JAMB form. Being a newly established university, they thought it would be less difficult to secure UNIOSUN’s admission so they rushed its forms as the management kept on printing the forms for hapless candidates.

Professor Okebukola is not a rank and file member of his church, The Apostolic Faith. He knows that all unrighteousness is a sin but he chose to be part of the dirty politics going on in Osun State by letting academic excellence, probity, sincerity and faithfulness to be offered on the altar of dirty politics.

It was after the candidates wrote UNIOSUN post-UME that they knew that those scoring below 200 would not be able to check their post-UME scores.That an example former NUC secretary and governor Oyinlola have laid down for us in Nigeria?

Adeyemi Oluwole, Ilorin, Kwara State

EDUCATION AS COMMERCE: THE OSUN EXAMPLE

It sounds so imponderable, almost unconscionable, that the man who today prides himself as the philosopher king of the Obasanjo concept of education as an item of trade is none other than Professor Peter Okebukola, an otherwise highly regarded academic. He is today the greatest theoretician, indeed, a zealot of those that see education-ala the Breton Wood institutions-not as a social service but one that must be paid for through the nose, even by those who have, and be completely taken beyond the reach of the children of the poor.

It is such a cruel irony that those who should facilitate access to higher education for the greater majority of our youth are the very ones now snatching it from the reach of the children of the poor. It reminds one of Margaret Thatcher, the milk snatcher, who thought nothing of denying little kids of that essential product.

Of course, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola has proved time, and again, that he is not a great fan of the under privileged. But nothing can compare with the fees regime he has now approved for his Nobel prize-targeting university, one which ranges between N150,000 and N200,000.00k, depending on where you come from and what course of study.

Even without conducing a series of open-ended interviews or having the privilege of access for an intensive study of their executive memos which must have sought of justify these totally unreasonable fees in a so-called state university, it is only too obvious that the Osun publics, like the parents whose wards were unconscionably fleeced of their hard earned money, are today not offering Oyinlola any roses.

Whatever their claims to expertise in this area, both in its multi-campus structure and the punishing fee regime, the Osun State University as conceptualized by its Implementation Committee is a study in how not to run a university especially in a largely agrarian and preponderantly poor environment. It would have made more sense if Professor Okebukola, as Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, had partnered with Governor Oyinlola to obtain a license from the Obasanjo government to own a private university even if it would be sited in Osun State.

Look around the entire country, nothing compares to this man’s inhumanity to man, the one germinating in Osun State where the sing-song for the governor’s first four years was that there was no money to establish a university.

At the Osun State University, students shall, in addition to the excessive fees, also pay for games (can you imagine), ICT, library, examination, hand-book and damage, in what would essentially be an off-campus institution. I think Prince Oyinlola must get these people to invent more ways of making a bank of a university.

Writing in her EDUTALK column in The Nation of 6 September, 2007, Kofoworola Belo-Osagie has the following to say “Thousands of potential students are weeping, weeping that after making so much effort to gain admission into the newly created Osun State University, Osogbo, they are back to square one and the poorer for it’ She went on to describe how what looks to me like a typical 419 scam was hatched. A university whose Implementation Committee must have programmed to admit less than 6000 students in all the way to sell application forms to close to 100,000 candidates at a princely sum of N3,000.00k.

If ever there was a scam, this was it. And since the NCC would not have allowed this to pass if committed by any of Communications companies, I think the NUC must get Osun State to vomit and refund this unearned bonanza.

It is stealing by style. On top of this, each candidate was made to pay N500.00k for a scratch card which hardly guaranteed access to their website and as if these were not enough indignities, many of the candidates had to bribe lower cadre staff to finally obtain application forms that had been paid for in the first instance. On top of all these too, the candidates hadn’t the slightest idea of what type of fees the university would inflict on them.

If they do not know it yet, these people have succeeded in giving Osun State a bad name. But the worst was yet to come. It came in the form of a you-can-go-to-hell admonition on their website where they insulted the poor candidates and their parents as follows: ‘APPLICANTS WHO DO NOT SHARE OUR VISION OF A WORLD CLASS UNIVERSITY through payment of our published fees are NOT compelled to enroll in UNIOSUN. This, coming from a people who lay claims to being educated is a big shame indeed.

They now went on to give some 419-like psyching: “After few months of pioneering experience from September 21, you will hold your head high anywhere in the world as a student of Osun State University’ and in 25 years, they would have produced a Nobel prize winner. Pray, how much did Professor Soyinka pay at the University of Ibadan?

What exactly are they going to do here that Covenant University to  which Professor Okebukola gets routinely invited has not done thousand times over? Is he going to replicate his state of the art facilities in every town and village where they have their campus?  If yes, can they not see the unnecessary duplication in men and materials? And if they were going to charge these fees why not have one campus? Before I get lectured on dividends of democracy, what exactly has Ire gained from its Polytechnic apart from tears, blood and mayhem? What manner of administrators are these?

I lay no claims to any expertise here, but I have been privileged to drink at the feet of the very best and this is no ego tripping: Oluwasanmi at Ife and Akinkugbe at Ilorin. These are academic giants and administrators with whom I worked directly. One thing I came away with from each of them was their total commitment to the cause and welfare of their students. Even with a punishing back-ache, Oluwasanmi would ensure they had the best and as pioneer Vice-Chancellor (Principal, University College, Ilorin), Professor Akinkugbe spared no effort in ensuring the comfort of the young men and women under his care. Not for them a take-it or leave-it, heaven-may-care pronouncements as they now gleefully tell us in Osogbo.

And lest they be carried away by fancy, these Osun people should not be led into thinking that they’re going to replicate Covenant or the Redeemer universities in Osogbo. Or are they also going to pay a professor in excess of N13m as Covenant does? These are institutions the Holy Spirit laid on the hearts of the men pioneering them and for them there is a clear vision. Academics, I know, go to certain universities, not for money, but for the incomparable academic standing of that particular university’s leadership. There in Osun, I cannot see any of that for now nor would a serious academic not think twice before taking up an appointment with a government that recently treated medical doctors like filth. So where are their Nobel Laureates coming from? After all this is a state institution with all its predilection to cult related and partisan political activities, adept as the proprietors are, at manipulating these young minds.

For all that I can glimpse of UNIOSUN for now, it is nothing more than the brainwave of an experiment-loving academic who successfully sold his pet idea of a university to less than calculating political office holder with the prospective students no better than guinea pigs. To make any significant impact therefore, the university, its structure and its underpinning philosophy, must be completely reworked.

One hopes their large egos would permit.

By: femi orebe

Culled from THE NATION.

ON THE OUTRAGEOUS FEES AT THE OSUN STATE UNIVERSITY

The outrageous schedule of payable fees recently  rolled out by the management of Osun State ‘Universities’ has only brought to the fore, once more, the earlier suspected deceitful and ill conceived intention of the Governor Oyinlola government in setting up the university in the first instance.

It will be recalled that the governor, perhaps acting in good faith then, by alleging financial insufficiency, had earlier resisted all entreaties calling upon him to honour his campaign promises by establishing the university
.
All of a sudden, however, financial ‘sufficiency’ appeared from the blue and the governor, in one fell swoop, established the university just few weeks away from the governorship election of April 14, 2007.

Hence, the apparently deceitful after thought decision did not only strike many as a surprise but also attracted fierce criticisms, arising from the reasonableness or otherwise of the six multi campuses nature of the university.

Ever since the ‘establishment’, however, the unsuspecting and helpless Nigerian students have become the victims of extortions for which the processes of getting admission into the university have become.

The first avoidable extortion was to make over a hundred thousands of students obtain the application forms for not more than five thousand vacancies.

Following this was the compulsory sale of N500 scratch card to the same students in their thousands at the screening centre for the purpose of subsequently checking the result of the applications they had earlier paid N3000 each for.

As if these were not enough, the management has just rolled out a schedule of school fees ranging from N182, 500 to N192, 500 per academic session depending on course of study and indigeneship status of the student.

This, to say the least, is outrageous, callous and quite contemptuous of the economic reality of Nigeria in general and Osun State in particular.

After all, the university is a state-owned institution where ready subsidy and good will are already presumed. Even in Lagos State, the economic hub of the entire country, the Lagos State University only charges as far less as ranging from N20,000-N30,000 only for both the indigene and non indigene students respectively.

As a matter of fact, there is no any other state-owned university in Nigeria today that charges as outrageous as it is proposed at the ‘universities’ of Osun State.
Even at the states-owned Ladoke Akintola University , Ogbomoso, where Osun State is a managing partner, they charge as less as between N20- N30, 000 per academic session. These UNIOSUN fees can, in fact, compete favourably with those at some of the private universities in the country.

Meanwhile, the craze for funds by all means and in all manners by the Osun State Government via its agent/management of UNIOSUN can be attributed to the fact that the university obviously had neither structural facilities (save its six landed sites) whatsoever nor certified funds for its take-off as at the time  license was hurriedly obtained for it. This, has no doubt, called into question the integrity of such people as Professor Peter Okebukola amongst other promoters of the ‘Universities’ of Osun State.

All the above therefore have given rise to some salient questions the Osun State Government must honestly answer now. Did or does Osun State have the financial wherewithal to establish a mono campus not to even talk of a multi-campus university?

If the governor’s answer is positive, then, why would the state make the helpless admission hungry Nigerian students and their impoverished parents to outrageously bear the burden of establishing the university?

Of what purpose is the mandatory monthly deduction of five per cent from each of the 30 local governments in the state for the singular purpose of the same university? Honest answers to these questions amongst others, will no doubt, shed some lights on the raised issues.

LATEEF, Misbau Alamu, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

AREGBESOLA ADVISES ON NAIRA POLICY

Osun State Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the April election, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, has enjoined the Federal Government to ensure that the new naira redenomination policy made is beneficial to Nigerians.According to him, the only way by which this can be achieved is for the government to quickly arrest the disquieting specter of mass poverty, unemployment, rising crime wave, urban decay, insecurity, threat to democracy and the rule of law, that the present administration inherited.

Aregbesola, who gave the admonition in a statement issued by his Media Assistant, Mr Gbenga Fayemiwo, said though the desire of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, was patriotic and well intentioned, various unintended consequences should have been attended to from the beginning. He said: “The policy, however attractive it may be, should have been preceded by a decisive revival of the nation’s comatose macro-economic fabrics. The Federal Government ought to have ensured that the local industries are producing at full capacity.”

Aregbesola expressed regret that till date, the commercial banks have not supported small and medium scale enterprises up to a level that could guarantee the economic security of Nigeria. “Already, the existing inter-bank rates are outrageously high; the cost of funds, sorting of currencies for commercial banks, interest rates are still too high. Worse still, the nation’s foreign exchange market is over-subscribed thereby making Nigeria an import-driven economy”, he said.

The engineer urged the government to do a careful study of various cases of the now repealed Exchange Control Anti-sabotage Decree, adding that “Nigeria should not return to a situation that led to the ignominious importation of 53 suitcases of loads of naira notes during the military era in 1984.”