A New Year Prayer For Osun!

Goodbye 2017! May your soul rest in peace! Welcome 2018, the year Pastor Enoch Adeboye has prophesied would be “far better … for the country.” While the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration sees 2018 as “pivotal” in Nigerians’ quest for “Change”, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua describes it as a year of battles, a “warfare where the serious-minded will be victorious.” In the State of Osun, it is better referred to as the Year of the Politics of Power, when the Rauf Aregbesola-led government will relinquish power, in consonance with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution of 1999 (as amended). Coincidentally, Adeboye’s message of hope came on a day National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Nigeria’s economy’s final exit from recession, following its contraction for five consecutive quarters.

Like Adeboye, whose target on assumption of office as General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) was to “put a church within five minutes of every person on earth,” Aregbesola assumed power at a time things were not looking up for dear state. But, being a man on a mission to succeed, the governor promised responsive, responsible and capable government in strict compliance with the Six Point Integral Action Plan. Commendably, more than 75 per cent success has been recorded.

Within seven years in office, he has added new, state-of-the-art buildings to existing school structures and refurbished several others. He has constructed more than 1000 kilometres of roads and empowered several thousands of our youth. The Health sector has benefitted immensely from the contents of his administration’s large heart while Agriculture has also had a feel of the efficiency of his intellect. Aregbesola touched the lives of the widows and people with special needs were not left out. To demonstrate his fairness to all religions, this administration has since 2013 been declaring ‘Isese Day’ as a public holiday which allows advocates of traditional religion to come together for their annual celebration. Leadership is described as the ability to transform dreams into realities. However, Nigeria’s search for relevance in a hurting world remains one of a compartmentalised bag of mixed fortunes where winners embrace the interesting accent of ‘Hallelujah’ while losers heap their misfortune on marginalisation.
The North is right at the moment infested with the dysentery of terrorism and has as such not been able to recognize its location while the South is bogged down by the stench of restructuring and has all along been all grunt, no bacon. The corrupted illogicality and the inability of the judiciary to serve as a moral compass for a nation that is stuck in a rut, coupled with the generation of a whirlwind of identity politics among the electorate, are some of the tragic manifestations of our beingness as Nigerians. Why is Nigeria this fated? First and foremost, money is scarce in circulation. Secondly, crude oil is in short supply, thereby leading to a sharp reduction in oil prices, and … accruals. Thirdly, crude oil as the cash cow is fast approaching a state of depletion and uselessness! Fourthly, once upon a regime, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gluttonously ate all of Nigeria’s honey as if it already had a premonition of defeat in 2015.

Fifthly, from the look of things, it’s as if the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) got it wrong in terms of election promises. Little wonder the party has been scavenging for solutions to Nigeria’s multi-dimensional problems! Added to the above is lack of political appointments into offices by the party in power. Last but not the least is the opposition’s satanic grip on most of those offices expected to have long been taken over by APC. All these have not only made empowerment among party members and loyalty to the party thin on the ground, they have also continued to make 2019 look as if it’s 1000 years away.

But God wills us to “give thanks in all circumstances” and “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” So, Lord, we pray: in this New Year 2018, let Osun’s land yield its harvest and let openness, good health, employment opportunities, security of lives and property define our state. Create in us a new spirit; a new spirit that recognises worth and appreciates performance. Teach our leaders to understand that satisfaction of the people encompasses the acknowledgment of significant accomplishments and the utilisation of personal prudence. Grant them the wisdom to know that fulfillment yields smooth work, better relations and greater achievements and that enjoyment helps in restoring lost and unexploited thoughts, reciprocated alertness and proficiency. Consolation of Israel, rest the souls of the faithful departed and discourage the living from having to seek the dead among the living (Luke 24:5). Instead, teach us always to remember that death is “only a horizon” and that “a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”

Jehovah Rapha, the socio-economic waves which have been beating Nigeria to different, unimagined shores has considerably impacted its federating units. Take for example, my state is now Nigeria’s 13th most secured state. In my view, this is not too good for a state that is now her 2nd richest state. The God Most High, who raised the lost axe-head (2 Kings 6: 1-7), correct our steps and let there be abundance in Osun. Disabuse the dreamers and the adventurous of their using the state as a front for unnecessary confrontation between God and glamour.

El Elyon, You who, in Your omniscience, arranged for a coin to be found in a miraculous way (Matthew 17: 24-27), express Your divinity and spiritual power again in Osun’s state of finances and lead enemies of development up out of their poorly-mapped seas so that they will stop using the state’s ‘within manageable level’ debt stock as a tool for the national salary impasse. By Your power, deprive the do-nothing-but-rail-from-morning-to-night elements the privilege of mistaking a dimple for a pimple whenever issues relating to social welfare and ‘stomach infrastructure’ are raised.

Finally, Lord, You’re the God who chooses the “foolish things of the world to confound the wise,” We beseech Thee: lead us to elect a worthy successor to the incumbent governor and let not our land return to those locust years of insidious logic of uncertainty and ravenous culture of impunity.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
Komolafe wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

Ooni Prays, Seeks More Support For Governor Aregbesola

Residents and Indigenes of the State of Osun have been urged to continue supporting Governor Rauf Aregbesola and be prayerful for the success of his administration at all times.

Speaking at a New Year Prayer Service organised by the Ife Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) held in front of his palace, Oba Ogunwusi charged the people of the state to support and pray for Aregbesola.

Oba Ogunwusi posited that prayers is a vital tool to sustaining peace, enhancing growth and development of the country.

The frontline Traditional Ruler in Nigeria also called on Christians to always pray for leaders for peaceful co-existence in the country.

He prayed for President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Aregbesola to succeed in their offices and also urged the people of Ile-Ife to keep praying for the duo.

“God is the Almighty King of Kings that spared our lives throughout 2017 till date despite all challenges facing each and every one of us. There is nothing we can offer Him than to give Him all our praises throughout the days of our lives.

“Only God is worthy of our praises for we are still alive to see the new year, who can questioned God, if we all have been buried in the year 2017. Therefore, Prayers remain sacrosanct if we truly want to achieved peace and development and we must also pray for those in the position of authority. Please keep praying for Governor Rauf Aregbesola and his cabinet to succeed in their efforts to make this state a better place to live and do businesses”, Ooni said.

The Secretary of CAN, Ife chapter, Apostle Segun Olatokunbo expressed appreciation to the monarch for attending the prayer service.

Osun Attorney General Felicitates With Residents On New Year

The State of Osun Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Ajibola Basiru has congratulated the good people of Osun for witnessing another year. He also wished and prayed that 2018 would be a prosperous year for all.

In a statement signed by the state Ministry of Justice Information officer, Opeyemi Bello, the Commissioner appreciated the citizens for supporting the All Progressive Congress administration led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in the state, also commending the Public and Civil Servants in the State for their perseverance.

Basiru also charged all the stake holders in the State to continue supporting this administration to deliver more dividends of democracy.

He stressed further that the Aregbesola administration has laid good foundation in the State and provided modern infrastructures to make life better for the citizens.

He thereby admonished all residents to continue praying for the success of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration.

2018 Is A Year Of Unlimited Possibilities, Positivity – Babajide Omoworare

The Senator representing Osun East, Senator Babajide Omoworare in his new year message felicitate with Nigerians on the successful ending of the year 2017, saying that the year 2018 is loaded with great positive developments for the Nation.
In a new year message issued through his Media Assistant Comrade Tunde Dairo in Ile-Ife, Omoworare expressed his gratitude to the people of Nigeria, Osun State, Ife and Ijesa people for standing by him, the Government and the APC through the year regardless of the challenges faced by Nigeria.

He thanked the workers and the people of Osun for their resilience and understanding as Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the APC strives to take the state to greater heights and improve on the life of the people.

The Senator also promised to reinvigorate his commitment to the service of the people of Osun, his constituents and Nigerians as a whole.

“I remain committed to the responsibility placed on me as your legislator as I brace up to do more in 2018.” Omoworare said.

According to him, “the year 2018 is loaded with unlimited positive developments which would a soothing balm on the challenges of the 2017.

I strongly have faith that 2018 is a year of rapid development and radical departure from the challenges posed by 2017.”

He went further to appeal to Nigerians especially people of Osun and Ife/Ijesa land in particular not to relent in their support, hope and confidence in the Government and Leadership of President Buhari and the APC to restore Nigeria to its part of greatness.

The Senator equally congratulated all the newly appointed Federal Board Members from the state, calling on them to see the new responsibility as a call to service in collaboration with all stakeholders to work towards Nigeria that the electorates hoped for when they voted change in 2015 elections.

He called on the people of Osun to continue to vote for the APC in subsequent elections starting with 2018 gubernatorial election with a promise that the party will put it’s best foot forward to take the state to the next level from where the Ogbeni Aregbesola has taken it.

“Once again, I must appreciate the people, our party leaders and members, my constituents and electorates for the modest success recorded in 2017 as we enthusiastically await a prosperous, rewarding and mutually beneficial 2018. Happy New Year,” the Senator said.

What Buhari Told Nigerians On The Occasion Of 2018 New Year

I join my fellow citizens this morning to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018. This year promises to be pivotal in our quest for CHANGE.

Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.

The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.

Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity.

My address to fellow Nigerians this morning is devoted mainly to informing you about the intense efforts this Administration is putting to address our country’s huge infrastructural deficit.

We are going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.

The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

With regards to Railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway.

The line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.

Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.

The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually.

At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri.

Negotiations are also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.

Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people.

With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office. Only test runs remain before start of operations.

This train service will stimulate economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system. Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on climate change.

Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12 week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones.

Twenty five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention:

a. Oyo – Ogbomosho,

b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu,

c. Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,

d. Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way,

e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,

f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass,

g. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road,

h. Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road,

i. Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.

In addition, Government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019.

More Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses. However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply.

The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.

Consequently, generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.

Several moribund projects have been revived. Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.

Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria. It should be fully operational this year.

The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019. The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.

A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off. This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China. Completion is targeted for 2023.

As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated. TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria.

This Administration is working with the privatised distribution Companies to overcome the continuing challenges of distribution.

These massive public works should spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment. You will recall that it was not until last year that we got out of the economic recession into which the country had fallen as a consequence of past unsustainable economic policies which projected short-term illusory growth.

The government is slowly stabilizing the economy.

It was in order to change the steady and steep decline that we adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors. The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance.

We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business as usual are numbered.

Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to re-structure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on.

By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector. Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.

In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.

We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.

However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better. I assure you that government is ever receptive to ideas which will improve governance and contribute to the country’s peace and stability.

As the electioneering season approaches politicians must avoid exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking ethnicity with religion and religion with politics. Such must be avoided at all costs if we are to live in harmony.

In this respect the rest of Nigeria could learn from the South Western States who have successfully internalized religion, ethnicity and politics.

Political discourse should be conducted with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner. We all have a collective responsibility to strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of law. We should draw encouragement from the series of bye-elections conducted by INEC last year which were generally violence free and their outcomes adjudged to be free and fair.

Before I conclude my address I must reassure my fellow citizens that security of life and property is still top of our government’s agenda. We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America.

Our government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line with our election pledge and promises. On behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our thanks to the Armed forces, the Police, other para-military forces and traditional authorities who are working round the clock to ensure that you and I go about our normal business in reasonable safety.

Terrorism and urban crimes are world-wide phenomena and our security forces are continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.

With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, we are taking immediate short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into our societies. Tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping are on the way.

With respect to Niger Delta, Government is still engaging responsible leadership of the Communities to help in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region. Our clean-up programme in collaboration with the United Nations is making satisfactory progress.

I am grateful to all the Governors and other Political & Community leaders of the Niger Delta States for their part in bringing relative peace to the areas.

Finally let me again express my heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who prayed for me during my illness last year. I feel deeply humbled by your prayers and good wishes and I am more determined than ever to serve you to the best of my ability.

Good morning. And I wish everyone a Happy New Year.