Aregbesola, Akeredolu: Sheathe The Sword

By Bola Bolawole

Last week Thursday, thugs reportedly beat up the Osun State Commissioner for Regional Integration, Mr. Bola Ilori in Akure, Ondo State. Ilori was in the Ondo State capital to represent his state at an All Progressives Congress (APC) regional meeting on restructuring. Why would anyone want to beat the Osun State commissioner, seeing that both Osun and Ondo are APC-ruled states? The answer is in the politics of last year’s gubernatorial election in Ondo State, in which the Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, was said to have supported Olusola Oke, who defected from APC to contest the governorship election. Ilori was the Director-General of the Oke campaign organisation. According to grapevine sources, Aregbe, as the Osun governor is popularly called, was fighting the proxy war of APC’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with Arakunrin (Mr.) Rotimi Akeredolu, aka Aketi, governor of Ondo State.

Asiwaju reportedly did not support Akeredolu in the last election; his support, instead, was for another aspirant. Asiwaju was loud in his condemnation that the APC primary election was rigged in favour of Akeredolu by the APC national secretariat and, as some did say, with the directive of the Presidency. The Ondo guber polls, thus, was bitterly contested. Reports said Oke was encouraged to ditch APC and fly another party’s flag in that election, which he lost to Akeredolu. During the campaign, Akeredolu fired broadsides at Asiwaju, boasting that he would win handsomely without his support – and he did. Afterwards, he behaved like a bad and intemperate winner when he congratulated every APC leader but snubbed Asiwaju. This background information leaves no one in doubt that Akeredolu and his people on one side and Asiwaju, Aregbe, Ilori and their own people on the other were not on the best of terms.

But I should have thought that was during the elections! The elections have come and gone and Asiwaju and Akeredolu have publicly tried to paper over the cracks in their relationship. As members of the same party, it speaks volumes if they are still on the warpath close to one year after. Politicians must have very short memories! I recall that in Akeredolu’s first shot at the governorship, he was purportedly supported and bankrolled by Asiwaju. In fact, Asiwaju imposed Akeredolu on the other aspirants and split the party down the middle. One of the aspirants who broke ranks with Asiwaju at that time was Olusola Oke, who defected to another party but lost the election. My brother, Yemi Olowolabi, who is the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, must tell his cock-and-bull story of what happened at the parley where Ilori was reportedly stripped, to the Marines. Olowolabi simply spoke like a politician desirous of defending his government when he shifted the blame on the Osun delegation. Ilori was made to pay for his “sins” during the last governorship campaign, pure and simple. As cultured as Ondo is, there should have been no place for such crudity, barbarism, and politics with bitterness in this age.

Should Aregbe have sent Ilori of all people to Ondo State to represent Osun State? Granted that Ilori was the appropriate commissioner, going by his designation, to attend the function, Osun State should still have erred on the side of caution, considering Ilori’s antecedents and (soured?) relations with the principal characters governing Ondo State at the moment. Possibly Osun thought politics was over and it was now time for governance to take over and never expected the unforgiving spirit displayed at Akure. Still, they should have been discerning enough to know that Ilori would be a persona non grata to the Akeredolu government. What the Ondo people would have tolerated from someone else would be deemed grievous insult should it come from Ilori.

Politicians using the cover of Abuja and or neighbouring states to pursue personal agendas in their home state have been known to knock heads and heat up the polity. They catch-in on their high offices elsewhere to try to achieve political goals in their home states and, in the process, run into trouble with their home governments. We should be very careful to avoid that as much as possible. Having said that, what is bad is bad; Ilori’s manhandling in Akure should be roundly condemned and the culprits brought to book. Akeredolu should reach out to his brother and “senior” and resolve this issue amicably. Even though both are governors, as my grandmother would say “gwere-gwere meji, o n’agba”; meaning that even though two things may both be small, if you study them closely, you will discover that one is bigger than the other. Aregbe is a two-term governor. “Omo t’o ba fe d’agba nko? A word, as they say, is enough for the wise.

Importantly, governors of the South-West zone have been on the same page recently with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) and nothing must be allowed to truncate the lofty goals and ideals of regional integration. Other governors in the zone should step in to reconcile Aregbe and Aketi and nip this needless rancour in the bud.

 

Akeredolu Reveals Blueprint For Ondo Development

The Ondo state Government has unveiled a policy template that will be there to guide the All Progressive Congress, APC-led state government in Ondo State in developing the economy of the state has been unveiled.

The document which is tagged the “Blue Print to Progress, 2017-2021,” followed a report of the Strategic Development and Policy Implementation Committee SDPIC, put up by the state government.

While unveiling the document on Wednesday, at the Dome in Akure, the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said the move signaled the commencement of total transformation of all sectors by his administration.

Mr. Akeredolu stressed the importance of meaningful planning to the success of any government, noting that that was why his government chose to take off on a sound footing based on well mapped out strategies.

“We believe it is more profitable for us to proceed assuredly than to embark on any unorganized pastime which accommodates tokenism and peripheral attention extended to systemic problems of existence in the State,” the governor said.

He directed all state officials to adopt the “blueprint to progress” as a guide to good governance and ensure strict compliance with its contents.

“Consequently, we direct all state functionaries to adopt this compendium of recommendations for the administration of all sectors as a guide for governance,” Mr. Akeredolu said.

“Commissioners, heads of agencies and parastatals are further instructed to ensure strict compliance with the clear provisions of this document as regards their respective portfolios and agencies.”

Mr. Akeredolu expressed his administration’s desire to make the welfare of the people a strategic component of his policy.
He explained that proper planning dictated the pace at which his government moved at inception not minding the palpable anxiety concerning the delay in the appointment of commissioners and advisers until recently.

“An appreciation of the necessity for planning dictated the pace at which we proceeded from inception,” he said.

“It is our fervent hope that the wait will be justified by the quality of performance which all government functionaries will bring to bear on the challenges confronting the state.

He thanked members of the SDPIC for availing their wealth of experience, time and resources to design a roadmap for development for the state.

“Posterity reserves an enviable mention for this imperishable intervention. These people will be remembered for their invaluable service to the people at this crucial period in the life of the country,” Mr. Akeredolu said

Earlier, the Deputy Governor and chairman of the SDPIC Steering Committee, Agboola Ajayi, said the report also provided an in-depth exposure to constraints currently encountered by the state as well as the potentials and possibilities available.

He noted the document would chart a clear course of government activities for the next four years, and stand the administration in good stead in engagements with development partners including World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNIDO, FAO, JICA, USAID.

“While thanking the SDPIC subcommittee members for this great service to Ondo state, I also wish to acknowledge and commend all the members of the Steering Committee, especially the Secretary, Mr Kunle Adebayo and his staff who ran a highly efficient secretariat,” Mr. Ajayi said.

Osinbajo In Akure To Attend National Council On Niger Delta Meeting

The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has arrived Akure, the capital of Ondo State to attend 2nd National Council on Niger Delta meeting.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Osinbajo would deliver the keynote address at the event and later meet with communities of riverside areas of Ondo State.

Osinbajo, accompanied by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, was received on arrival by Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

Also on the vice presidents entourage were the Minister of State, Niger Delta Affairs, Prof Claudius Daramola, and Sen. Victor Udoma, Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission.

He touched down at the Akure airport amid tight security provided by the police, Army, Civil Defence Corps and road marshals among others.

Others at the airport to receive the vice president were the Speaker, Ondo state House of Assembly, Mr Bamidele Oleyeloogun, Secretary to the State Government, Ifedayo Abegunde and other top government officials.

RUGIPO Strike: Akeredolu Blames Dwindling Federal Allocations For Unpaid Arrears

The Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has said that lecturers of the state-owned Polytechnic, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, RUGIPO, went on strike without a formal notice to the state government.

He also said the poor funding of the institution and other government agencies was due to the shortfalls in the allocation from the federation account.

The governor spoke on Wednesday in Akure while receiving students of the Polytechnic who held a peaceful protest at his office while seeking a quick resolution of the industrial dispute.

Mr. Akeredolu said he had called the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, for a meeting with a view to resolving the problem.

According to him, what comes from the federal government is not enough to pay workers salaries and subventions to government agencies and institutions.

Mr Akeredolu enjoined the students to play their own part by paying their school fees so that the government could pay lecturers.

The President of the institution’s Student Union Government, Temitayo Ayeduyo, urged the government to dialogue with the lecturers as quickly as possible so that academic activities could be restored.

The lecturers on Monday began an indefinite strike to protest the state government’s refusal to pay an outstanding N2.1 billion subvention to the institution.

The Chairman of ASUP, Rafiu Ijawoye, had told journalists in Akure that the amount resulted from the slash of the subvention to the institution first, by the Olusegun Mimiko led administration and recently, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

He said the cut in the subvention had caused the inability of the school to pay the arrears of N1.7 billion unpaid salaries of all staff in the institution in the last 10 years.

The Union is also demanding the immediate payment of 16 months consolidated Polytechnic Salary Structure, CONPOCASS, allowance which it said was long overdue.

 

 

 

Source: Premium Times

Akeredolu Sees SAP’s Code Training Boosting Infotech Development

The Ondo State Government is optimistic that SAP’s Africa Code Week initiative will lift Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development in the state.
The Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who said this at a two-day Train-the-Trainer hands-on workshop organised by SAP in partnership with the state, added that the initiative will help to bridge the continent-wide digital divide, as well as being a significant launch pad for youth empowerment in the digital era.

Speaking through his Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, he, appreciated SAP and ACW key and primary partners, (UNESCO YouthMobile, the Cape Town Science Centre, the Galway Education Centre, and Google) for their vision of every African child empowered though ICT.

The Governor considered the workshop as relevant as the time  had come for governments and private sector entities to work together to promote digital access, “improve Information and Communications Technology skills and create opportunities for youths in our ever-competitive and dynamic world.”

The TTT was aimed at imparting coding skills to secondary school teachers across the three senatorial districts in the state, in the run up to Africa Code Week 2017, which will take place from October 18 to 25 across 35 countries.

He said: “It is also gratifying to note that SAP shares this philosophy that we need to join forces to bridge the digital skills and gender gap continent-wide. I am therefore very happy that SAP is deploying their skilled volunteers to train teachers in Ondo State who, will in turn, train the next generation of the ICT savvy youths.”Akeredolu said the government desired that the people of Ondo State participated actively in the new economy, and benefitted from the opportunities it presents.
“To facilitate this, the government is championing many ICT initiatives such as the planned establishment of tech hubs in each of the three senatorial districts, to make governance more effective and efficient,” he noted.

He said: “This will provide an enabling environment for different categories of youths and ICT enthusiasts to acquire and develop different skills in the ICT, which can be deployed for economic gains as ‘techpreneurs’.”

“The ICT has become an indispensable and most effective platform for rapid and sustainable development in the 21st Century. It provides multiple economic and employment opportunities to both urban and rural development, increases productivity, offers easier and cheaper access to financial, educational and health services and generally enables society to function more efficiently.”

Speaking further on ACW 2017, the Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Africa Code Week Global Lead, Claire Gillissen-Duval, said: “Leveraging freely accessible teaching materials like Scratch, ACW Train-the-Trainer workshops provide a sound, scalable structure for inter-group knowledge sharing, unlocking people’s potential and desire to serve as resources for each other.“In the knowledge sharing age we live in, this is the key to scaling digital literacy initiatives in a sustainable way, across all communities.”

Ondo Govt To Settle Rift Of Workers Percentage Salary

Ondo State government made a promise to pay the 20 per cent of September 2016 salaries owed workers as soon as possible has ended the standoff between it and the workers.

The workers have been protesting the payment of 80 per cent of the arrears from the second tranche of the Paris Club refund after they insisted that they should be paid in full.

An initial verbal exchange escalated the crisis leading to an emergency meeting of the labour unions on Saturday.

But at a meeting on Monday between the union leaders and the government team led by the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, the unions decided to rest their agitations after receiving assurances from the government that there would no longer be fractional payment of salaries in the state.

The government said ‘the 80 percent salary was paid in error’ and that it would ensure the balance was paid ‘as soon as possible.’

The government also assured the workers that salaries, subventions, and pensions would be paid promptly henceforth.

A bulletin of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC issued to workers at the end of the meeting expressed satisfaction with the offers made by the government.

“In view of all of the above, the planned actions by the organised labour waiting to be executed are hereby placed on hold until further notice,” the bulletin stated.

“The organised labour leaders appreciate the Ondo State government for its bravery and understanding, not forgetting also the unalloyed support and solidarity of our teeming members and sympathizers in the state.”

Ondo Varsity Unions Urge Akeredolu To Review Subvention Slash

The labor unions in Ondo State University of Science and Technology, OSUSTECH, Okitipupa, on Tuesday urged Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to reverse the decision slashing the institution’s monthly subvention.

The unions made up of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union NASU and National Association of Academic Technologists NAAT made the appeal in a communiqué.

Academic Technologists NAAT made the appeal in a communiqué.

The communiqué was jointly signed by leaders of the unions–Temidayo Temola, Peter Akindehinde and Bobola Bamigbola for SSANU, NASU and NAAT respectively.

The unions said that the institution’s monthly subvention was slashed from N60 million to N42 million, adding that this was not enough to pay staff salaries let alone maintenance and other overhead costs.

They said that the administration had promised to make the university a world class institution.

“This present government of the masses had promised to make our institution a world class one that will compete favorably with others outside the country which we still hold tentatively.

“The feat recorded by the present government had shown its readiness to uplift education.

“We hereby appeal to Gov. Akeredolu to leave the subvention at N60 million if it cannot be increased further.

“We also urge our amiable governor to look into the backlog of eight months’ subvention owed by the immediate past administration and also make the subvention quarterly or bi-annual.

“We pledge our unalloyed support for this government because we believe it meant well and together we shall succeed,” the communique stated

Akeredolu And Ondo Workers At Logger Head Over Payment Of Salaries

The Union Leaders of the Ondo State are at loggerheads with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu over his offer of a “fractional payment” meant to offset the outstanding salaries and arrears of civil servants in the state.

The union leaders, under the aegis of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC) of the state, decided to reject the offer after a failed negotiation with the state government over the nonpayment of their outstanding salaries and pension arrears.

The state workers’ demand for the payment of their outstanding salaries came on the heels of the disbursement of the second tranche of the Paris Club refund to the state by the federal government.

Our correspondent reported that the government workers are owed six months’ worth of salaries accrued from August 2016 through January 2017 by ex-governor Olusegun Mimiko.

Governor Akeredolu, who began his term in February 2017, has thus far only offset one month, August.

The governor had on several occasions vowed to make the welfare of the civil servants in the state a top priority of his government while also soliciting for an increase in the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.

On July 19, 2017, Governor Akeredolu confirmed receiving a total sum of N7,003,648,314  as the state’s own share of the second tranche of the Paris Club refund released to all 36 states of the federation.

Mr. Akeredolu, in a statement issued by his head media aide, Segun Ajiboye, said 75 percent of the fund would be devoted to payment of workers’ salaries and pensions while the remaining 25 percent would be used for government exigencies.

He explained further that 32.68 percent of this same refund would be allocated to the local government areas while the state government would receive 67.32 percent as its own share.

It was observed that since the disbursement of the Paris Club refund to the states, civil servants have been demanding the quick payment of their outstanding arrears from the money.

But on July 31, 2017, Mr. Akeredolu met with leaders of the organized labour unions in the state and told them that 75 percent of the Paris Club refund, approximately N4.7 billion, could not offset the outstanding salaries of the civil servants.

Sources at that meeting told Reporters that both the labour leaders and the governor reached a deal where 75 percent would be used to offset workers’ salaries up till the grade level that it could accommodate.

“But after that meeting with the governor, the state Head of Service and the Accountant General met again on behalf of the government with the labour leaders and turned down the initial deal with the union and went ahead to propose a percentage [fractional] payment.

“This means that some workers would have to receive half or quarter payment of their outstanding [September] salaries and arrears but the workers have rejected it anyway and will have to state their position on the way forward,” the source said.

Meanwhile, last Thursday the labour unions issued a statement in Akure and vehemently rejected the idea of a “percentage payment” to offset the workers’ outstanding salaries by the Akeredolu-led government.

The statement obtained by SaharaReporters was jointly signed by the trio of Bose Daramola, Chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Sola Ekundayo, Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Adeleye Oluwole, the Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) in the state.

The labor leaders all demanded a full payment of the 2016 workers’ salaries and asked the government to better devise means of paying the outstanding arrears without further delay.

“Organized labor met today, Thursday, the 10th of August, 2017, and resolved as follows:

“That percentage payment or fractional payment in whatever form is unacceptable to Ondo State public servants and pensioners; that government should look inward to augment and pay September 2016 salaries in full to all workers and pensioners in the state.

“While assuring Your Excellency of our support and loyalty at all times, it is our wish that the entire workers of Ondo State will receive their September 2016 salaries and pensions without further delay,” the statement read.

Speaking further, the Chairman of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC), Adeleye Sunday Oluwole, said the government should reason enough with the state civil servants who are demanding the full payment of their outstanding salaries.

Mr. Oluwole, who spoke on a phone interview, explained that the labour leaders are not fighting the Akeredolu led government but are only protecting the interests of the workers, hence the rejection of the percentage [fractional] payment offer.

“We are not fighting the state government over the outstanding salaries. What we are demanding is that over N400 million will still be needed to pay the outstanding salaries of the workers.

“We said they should help us to add this money from the treasury of the state government to at least offset just one month [September] but they are saying no to this.

“The N4.7 billion from the state could only pay 80 percent of one month’s salaries for workers.”

He added that the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was still new in the state and could not be solely blamed for the woes of the outstanding salaries, but stressed that Governor Akeredolu should put the interest of the workers at heart by holding onto his promises.

It was observed that the monthly wage bill of the state is still put at N3.9 billion despite the discovery of some ghost workers in the state football agency in June.

South-West Governors Meet, Plan Common Agenda on Development

The South-West governors yesterday met in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, to deliberate on how to chart a common agenda to fast-track the development of the region.

The meeting, hosted by Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, was attended by all the six governors in the region, including Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun).

They met under the aegis of Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum, a meeting put together by Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), a technocratic institution for the sustainable development of the region, which according to Amosun, had been the vanguard for socio-economic and re-engineering of the South-West.

At the end of the four-hour meeting, all the participants agreed that regional integration as a sustainable economic development paradigm presents the Western Region, and indeed the whole of Nigeria, a pathway into economic prosperity for all.

A communique read by Amosun stated, among others:

• “A joint task force and joint actions will be pursued and sustained on security threats to guarantee the safety of lives, property and prosperity of the people of the region.

• “The competitive advantage of constituent states would be harnessed for sustainable regional development.

• “In order to improve the food security of the region, DAWN should convene a regional agric summit to be held in Ibadan.

• “Approval is given for the establishment of a Western Nigeria Export Development Initiative (WENEDI) to drive the export potentials of the region.”

• “A committee be set up for codification of our values and ethos as an instrument of Yoruba uniqueness to strengthen our identity and unity of purpose.”

Also, the governors agreed that the artificial boundaries of states, religions, political affiliations, among others, would not be a barrier to regional development and urged all the states to be encouraged to significantly improve bilateral and multilateral co-operation to foster regional development.

Amosun had in his welcome address charged his colleagues not to allow themselves to be used as “instruments of division”.

He stated that creation of states from the Old Western Region in 1976, which should have been an impetus for development in the South-West, had been “allowed to create artificial boundaries between the Yoruba nation.”

“To further worsen the situation, some of our people are also making themselves available as instruments of division because of their selfish political gains. The consequence is that our people begin to see themselves as a people of one state or the other rather than as a sub-unit of the entity of the Yoruba people,” he said.

PHOTONEWS: Southwest Governors Meet In Ogun for Regional Integration

Governors from Southwest states, Nigeria, Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Akintunde Ambode (Lagos), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) on Monday met in Abeokuta, Ogun state for Southwest Economic Governor’s Forum.

The meeting which was organised by Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), the governors reaffirmed determination of the region to rebuild Yoruba nation amid mutual collaboration from member states.

See those in attendant……………..

Akeredolu Begs Ondo Workers To Waive Outstanding Salaries And Arrears

Ondo Sttate Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has begged civil servants in the state workforce to waive their outstanding salaries and arrears owed by the immediate past government.

Mr. Akeredolu made the plea when the committee on arrears of salaries of state public servants submitted its final report at the cocoa conference hall in Akure.

Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi headed the committee, which was inaugurated on the March 7, 2017.

The governor explained that it was becoming increasingly difficult to use state funds to offset workers’ accumulated and outstanding salaries and arrears.

He said the government workers must be prepared to “pay the sacrifices” of waiving their salaries as part of their own contributions to the economic development of the state.

“We have said this many times, we must be prepared to pay sacrifices because we don’t borrow money to pay salaries. If they (workers) meet and say they waive two months, we will be glad, but if they insist on having the full arrears, we will look for ways of paying,” Mr. Akeredolu said.

“I will have to address the workers to let them know that it’s not possible to use all our money to pay salaries,” he added.

He promised that the All Progressives Congress-led government in the state would endeavor to not owe civil servants’ salaries accruing from his assumption of office in February 2017.

“I know it is not easy but it is also getting increasingly difficult for the government, too, but whatever we do, we will try not to owe salaries,” the governor said.

SaharaReporters learned that the governor has paid three months’ salaries – February, March and April – to the government workers of the state.

Our correspondent reported that Mr. Akeredolu has also paid one out of six months’ outstanding salaries owed to the workers by the immediate past governor, Olusegun Mimiko.

Mr. Akeredolu stated that the government would, however, look inwardly for solutions by increasing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in order to help address issues of funds in the state treasury.

Submitting the report, Mr. Agboola claimed that of the total salaries owed to civil servants, N38.57 billion was owed to the workers by the immediate past government of Mr. Mimiko.

The deputy governor disclosed that the figure was excluding an additional N41.5 billion which represents outstanding gratuities.

“What the government is owing now is N34.5 billion, representing five months’ salaries as against the six months we met on board and it is outside the N41.5 billion representing outstanding gratuities.”

In June 2016, former Governor Olusegun Mimiko declared that the monthly wage bill, including pensions, of Ondo State was N3.9 billion.

Mr. Mimiko disclosed the figure while pacifying state workers during one of their protests at the front of the government house in Akure before leaving office.

Political pundits have been asking Mr. Mimiko’s successor, Mr. Akeredolu, to declare the true figure of the state monthly wage bill since he promised government transparency after being sworn-in as governor.

Sahara Reporters