Aregbesola Appoints 9 Headmasters as Permanent Secretaries

Governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has appointed nine headmasters of elementary schools in the state as Permanent Secretaries.

The nine headmasters who were drawn from the nine federal constituencies in the state were promoted to Headmaster Generals which is equivalent to Permanent Secretaries.

Aregbesola, who sworn-in the headmaster generals on Tuesday at the state government Secretariat, Abere, stated that the move was to break the barriers and limitation of primary school teacher to attain higher position in the civil service.

The governor disclosed that the primary aim of the promotion of the headmasters is to encourage primary school teachers and enhance the standard of education at the grassroot level.

He stressed that the state government deliberately situated the offices of the headmaster generals in rural areas for them to be able to see to the educational needs of those at the grassroots level.

Aregbesola urged them to ensure that their appointment translate into immediate positives results, by seeing to how they can assist government in improving education at the basic level.

The Governor said: “The appointment of headmaster generals among our teachers is in line with the positive transformation we are carrying out in our schools.

“We want to take the basic education system in our schools to an enviable height and we also want to encourage our teachers at the basic level for them to know that they can rise to the highest level of their career as teachers under the employment of the state government.”

Aregbesola also commissioned a lakeside resort named after a slain Permanent Secretary, Mrs Kemi Kolawole, explaining that it was done to keep the memories of the dedicated civil servant alive.

He noted that Mrs Kolawole was an exemplary civil servant who served the state with all might and integrity, saying that her death was one that the entire state will not recover from in a long time.

In his remarks, the Head of Service in the state, Dr. Olowogboyega Oyebade, commended Aregbesola for creating an enabling and conducive working atmosphere for the state workers.

He said the present government has created serene and conducive working environment for the workers in the state to perform their duties and services to advance socioeconomic development of the state.

Oyebade said: “This occasion is unprecedented. You continue to give vista to governance, demonstrating strength of character in public service since the inauguration of this administration in November, 2010.

“We in the state civil service are not surprised because our governor has demonstrated that he is a trained ideologue of the left and the only thing that can draw smiles from your face is to see that the mass of the people is provided with the basic things of life to link them with the rest of civilized humanity.

“You have given them automatic conversion as Education Officers and changing their profession to a Directorate Cadre as I recalled with nostalgia the creation of the Office of Tutors-General/Permanent Secretaries on 28th September, 2012 in the three Senatorial Districts.

“You continue to invest heavily in Education as the only lasting legacy for the future as your architectural master-pieces we called High Schools are universities of other states.

 

PHOTONEWS: New Oyo/Osun Customs Boss Visits Governor Aregbesola

The New Customs Area Comptroller of Oyo and Osun area command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Compt; Odibu, C.O on Tuesday paid a courtesy call on Governor Rauf Aregbesola at the Government House in Osogbo.

The event was covered by Dolapo Julius and he sent in the following photos,

Osun IGR: National Bureau Of Statistics Goofed! By Abiodun Komolafe

 

 

Lies, when told too often, unchallenged, have the capacity to be mistaken for the truth. As an indigene of the State of Osun, a key stakeholder in the Osun project; and as a living witness to Rauf Aregbesola’s judicious use of the taxpayers’ money for the development of the state, surprise was a better word to describe the recently-released Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) status of Osun for 2017 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

 

In the report, NBS stated that internally generated revenues for Osun declined from N8,884,756,040.35 in 2016 to N6,486,524,226.45 in 2017, representing a -26.99% drop. But, in what could be considered a swift reaction, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenues Service (FIRS) and Chairman, Joint Tax Board (JTB), Babatunde Fowler, disclosed that the Aregbesola-led administration raised the state’s IGR by over-30% in 2017. Contrary to the Bureau’s misleading position, facts at the disposal of yours sincerely did reveal that the state’s actual full year IGR for 2017 was N11.9 billion. Of course, it could have been much more, but for the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies’ tax audit outstanding, totaling N4 billion, to the state.

 

Established by Section 86 (1) of the Personal Income Tax Act cap. P8 LFN 2004, findings also revealed that JTB is the body statutorily mandated to contribute to the advancement of the tax administration in Nigeria”, especially “in the area of harmonization of Personal Income Tax administration throughout Nigeria.” Well, one can only hope that appropriate quarters would use the circumstances in Osun to resolve needless conflicts in job descriptions between NBS and JTB.

 

As Aregbesola remarked while declaring open the Board’s 140th Quarterly Meeting in Osogbo, tax payment is about the most important component of any civilized and forward-looking society; because, “without taxes, there’s no government.” Essentially therefore, sustaining any government involves active participation of the people; and the way to it is taxation! Well, though Osun is at the moment not there in terms of IGR and tax remittances, it bears repeating that the present administration has done well in growing the state’s IGR base from a miserable N300 million monthly average in 2010 to where it currently stands. It is therefore believed that, if the taxable population is mobilized to pay its dues “adequately and sufficiently”, the state will no doubt be better for it.

 

Let’s come back to the Bureau and its inaccurate information! When Benjamin Disraeli wittily painted “lies, damned lies and statistics” as three kinds of lies troubling our world, he probably might have had our NBS in mind. This is because inaccurate information distorts facts and misleads the people. It exaggerates accomplishments and stigmatizes performance in subsequent tasks. It impinges on the evaluation of the government in power and habitually sets the led against their leaders.

 

Though endowed with human and natural resources, Osun had never come close to fulfilling its potentials until Aregbesola assumed office as governor. A classical example of impressive performance and impactful governance in times of an unstable economic situation, it is interesting to note that, right from his days in the Bola Tinubu-led administration in Lagos State, Aregbesola has been a passionate advocate of efficient taxation in Nigeria. That he has conspicuously and consistently deployed his unwavering resilience, unmistakable commitment, innovative ideology, administrative ingenuity, political prowess and determined efforts towards making Osun a good example to showcase to the world that taxpayers’ money can be used to develop a society for good did not come as a surprise.

 

Information feeds democracy! Beyond NBS inaccuracy and cynics’ duplicity, one can easily see that Osun taxpayers’ money is working! For instance, no fewer than 13,000 persons have accessed the Free AMBULANCE services and no fewer than 250,000 students in 1,382 public primary schools across the state have been covered in its one-free-meal-per-day policy since its inception. So far, so impressive: primary and secondary healthcare services at public facilities, including anti-retroviral medication, are being rendered free-of-charge. This is in addition to free laboratory services and surgery for pregnant women, children under the age of 5, and elderly persons in 876 Primary Healthcare facilities and 51 Secondary Health facilities across the 67 Local Government Areas, Local Council Development Areas, Area Councils and Area Offices in the state.

 

Between 2010 and 2017, more than 50,000 qualified youth have been employed and empowered under the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) and no fewer than 100,000 smallholder farmers have so far benefitted from the state’s ‘Agric Land Bank’ programme. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 7,000 farmers from 500 cooperative societies have benefited from the state’s low interest loans under the Quick Intervention Programme (QUIP). Besides, Osun Rehabilitation Programme (O’REHAB) has succeeded in treating no fewer than 100 persons with mental disabilities, particularly those who had been living on the streets while 1,602 elderly persons of age 65 and above, who met poverty criteria, have been receiving N10,000,00 monthly for their upkeep, in addition to medical care, under the ‘Agba Osun’ scheme.

 

While Aregbesola’s unprecedented revolution in infrastructure development and massive road construction are visible to the naked eye, I had probably underestimated the differences between the education system in Osun and elsewhere in the country until Abiola, my 8-year old boy, had a taste of its carefully-planned academic programme. At a stage, I was close to confronting his headmaster when I learnt of the ‘hurdles’ my little boy would have to cross on his way to qualifying for the Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination.

 

With these tip-of-the-iceberg achievements, one would have expected a data-dependent organization and statistical information provider of NBS status to be without blemish in the discharge of its responsibilities to the public. However, obviously imprecise information like the one on hand cannot but compel one to ask if Osun is a state against itself in terms of timely release of facts and figures to relevant agencies for processing. Or is it a case of some prodigals and prostitutes, somewhere, mightily profiting from making dear state a systematic target of slippery, sloppy rumours and conspiracy theories?

 

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in the State of Osun!

 

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ([email protected])

PHOTONEWS: Governor Aregbesola Receives 80 Students Who Rebuilt School

Governor Rauf Aregbesola received on a Courtesy Visit 80 Students and Teachers of Osogbo Government High School who through volunteerism rebuilt their school structure and facilities Led by Mr. Demola Aladekomo.

The event held at the Government House Banquet Hall, Osogbo.

Photos were captured by Dolapo Julius.

Osun Govt’s Borrowing For Infrastructural Development Laudable – Economic Expert

By Ismail Kolapo

An economic expert from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Dr. Tunji Ogunyemi, has said the idea of the State Government of Osun borrowing to uplift, upgrade and boost the infrastructural potentials of the state is a step in the right direction.

Dr Ogunyemi stated this while featuring on a radio programme monitored by our correspondent in Osogbo on Tuesday.

He said the need for infrastructural development in a state like Osun cannot be over-emphasized owing to its immense contributions to human capital development.

The financial expert also commended the present administration under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for using the money borrowed in an effective way which will in turn improve the standard of living of the people in the state.

He maintained that, there is no way government can touch the lives of the citizens without borrowing with the situation of Nigeria’s economy where little revenue accrues to the states.

According to him, “When you go for borrowing, you must use it for investment especially infrastructure.”

“Osun has borrow more than 50% of the total revenue to 150% its legal responsibility. If Osun is not borrowing there would not be any development because the monthly allocation that is available for the state is what civil servants have in salaries and significant development will not come.”

“Why is Osun government going to borrow, it is borrowing to build roads, railway, bridges and schools for the development of the state,” he remarked.

Aregbesola’s Social Intervention Programmes Reduces Unemployment, Crime Rate In Osun

 

For the past seven and half years, the social intervention programmes of the Rauf Aregbesola led-APC administration in the State of Osun has effectively made the pervasive crime rate of the state minimal and reduced the raging unemployment rate before it took over.

Studies show that before the advent of his administration, Unemployment, Violence and Corruption had been the order of the day despite the so-called “Stomach Infrastructure” which was only beneficial to party members and some politically inclined members of the public.

At the flag off of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, OYES in December 2010, many thought the scheme would be for members of the then Action Congress AC to benefit from their own which they laboured to get into office but were surprised to see how apolitical the scheme went which even absorbed members of the opposition.

The scheme which improves the economy of the state with about N200 million paid its 20,000 beneficiaries monthly also gives the Youths who were hitherto “jobless” the opportunity to eke out a living nonetheless how minimal it might be.

OYES since inception has been a model, one which the World Bank applauded and described as another way out of engaging unemployed Youths in menial jobs of community service, providing enormous opportunities for them to become self reliant and teaches them the spirit of the Omoluabi Ethos; Hardwork.

The Federal Government under the former President, Goodluck Jonathan and some states of the federation keyed into this initiative with programmes like YESSO and SURE-P before the current government refined it and modelled it after the one Rauf Aregbesola created in Osun which is today referred to as N-Power.

Aside the fact that it has reduced the unemployment rate of the state with 3% influence, it has also taken to its barest minimum the level of crime in Nigeria.

Residents of the state who had lived in major towns like Osogbo, Ikirun, Ile-Ife, Ede, Ejigbo, Ilesa among others said before Aregbesola, Violence, Crime and Youth Restiveness were the order of the day as there would be no week without an ugly incident of either bank robbery, burgling of shops, residences among others.

They told newsmen that since Aregbesola came, social intervention programmes like O’YES, Agba Osun, O’REAP and many more have and are still helpful to the reduction of crime in Osun while the solid foundation for the state’s economic prosperity in the next 50 years has been laid.

O’Ambulance Achieves 13,000 Rescue Cases Feat In 5 Years

 

The Osun Ambulance Service has handled more than 13, 000 cases of accident rescue for victims since inception in 2013.

 

This means the service has promptly responded to distress calls with standard first aid for patients before taking them to the nearest hospital in all parts of the state.

 

The figure is a big break, one that is unprecedented and unequalled in the history of the state as no government provided ambulance for the citizenry talk of having a service that would rescue such a high figure within 5 years of existence.

 

The Ambulance service launched by Governor Rauf Aregbesola in 2013 has its operations coordinated across Osun with 5 stationed ambulances in strategic locations; 50 in local governments across the state.

 

In Osogbo the state capital, the ambulance service has a station along Iwo/Ibadan road where issues affecting the rapid response vehicles are administered.

 

Unlike the past where accident victims are helped by good Samaritans and men of the FRSC if its near to their station, the 24-hours service has since engaged 404 paramedics who have been trained and equipped with designated phone calls to respond to distress calls from members of the public.

 

A major feat achieved for the past half a decade is that for every call received, officials of the Ambulance Service move into the scene within 10 minutes.

Osun 2018: Is It About Aregbesola? By Abiodun Komolafe

‘Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.’ – William Faulkner

Reactions have continued to trail the publication of my article, entitled, ‘2018: the governor Osun needs’ (See ‘The Sun’, March 2, 2018): some satisfyingly soothing; some, not too good; others troublingly disappointing! While some commentators saluted my courage for putting together such “a brilliant and balanced piece at such a critical time in the history of dear state”, others accused me of acting so pusillanimous by failing to insist that it’s the turn of a particular zone of the state to produce the next governor. Some even went as far as condemning me for “selling” my “conscience to a particular All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain”, who, on my honour, I can’t even recognize in a crowd of three. But let those who do not know me well enough be informed that my interest as a key stakeholder in ‘Project Osun’ does not go beyond my concern for its future. After all, I have no other state I can call home than this ‘Land of Virtue.’

That said, let me sympathize with those who are accusing Governor RaufAregbesola of playing games with the issue of succession because they have forgotten that governance is chiefly about finding a need and fulfilling it. On the other hand, those hawks who once made the state ungovernable for commonsense but who have suddenly transmuted into apostles of mischief need to realize that these are trying times for Nigeria and that Osun is a constitutive constituent of a country trying to find its feet after many years of despoliation, depravity and despondency. Irrespective of whatever anybody may think or say therefore, the salient truth is that Aregbesola has done well for the State of Osun. The rest is left in the hands of posterity to judge him as appropriate. Also, whatever may be the opinions of naysayers, what cannot be taken away from this man of incredible resilience is that he has passion for this state and that he has always acted swiftly to confront the challenges which sometime attempted to damage its tranquillity and coexistence.

Aregbesola’s government has succeeded to a large extent in inculcating in the people a national and moral rebirth that will inspire them to do things that will be beneficial to the people. His approach to wide-ranging infrastructure development programmes and economic growth has been pleasingly massive; his delivery style, hugely impressive; and his method of tackling accumulated failings of the past, terrifically decisive. Talking of material things, his coming to be governor was no doubt a loss to him. The comforting truth resides in the fact that, what he lost in terms of material things, he has gained it by writing his name in gold.

‘Ogbeni’, as he is fondly called, has added world-class buildings to existing school structures in Osun and constructed more than 1000 kilometers of both intra- and inter-city roads across the state. He has fed pupils and provided job opportunities for those who, ordinarily, would have been roaming our streets, unfed and unkempt. The issue of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has been resolved to a certain level and the story of Osun social protection, adjudged to be the first of its kind in Africa, has been one of tremendous success. It is gratifying to note that most of these robustly designed and perfectly implemented intervention programmes have been adopted nationally and internationally. His administration’s vision of getting at least 10% of the N3.3 billion daily food exchange bill in Lagos has largely been accomplished and expansion of the state’s economic base through diversification and increase in production has been awesomely realized. By so doing, this symbol of courage has shamed those who, for obvious reasons, have refused to purge themselves of all their presumptions that governance is all about doling out free money to the people.

While other states were wallowing in the cesspool of salary conundrum, courtesy of national economic crunch, Aregbesola’s government creatively adopted the salary apportionment model which “makes workers from grade level 08 and above collect between 75 and 50 per cent of their salaries.” He also purchased Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and several patrol vehicles, in addition to provision of other logistics, for the use of our security agencies. I doubt if those 87 medical students from Osun State University who were sponsored by this administration in 2013 to study Medicine at Karazin V.N Kharkiv National University in Ukraine will forget the governor’s gesture in many years to come! The beauty of this entire story is that the governor has broken barriers and set new records which will be difficult even for cruel foes to beat.

But then, the reality of our circumstances is that Osun has gone too far to be relegated to a state reeling or sleeping in pains. So, is September 22, 2018 about Aregbesola or should the governor give an indifferent shrug in a matter as sensitive and as important as electing his successor? Well, while the impression that post-IsiakaAdeleke controversies have weakened Aregbesola’s political machine is puny, pallid and castrated, the funny side of our Nigerianness is that those who once rejected ObafemiAwolowo as their leader have not only suddenly become madly in love with ‘Awo cap’ as a stamp of ‘ideological solidarity’, they have also surrendered their surnames for the late sage’s as the preferred passport to power and patronage.

In this part of the globalized village where risks like social exclusion, stigmatization and marginalization are commonplace scandals, Osun needs a man of intelligence, integrity and industry; a man of purpose whose humility is legendary and a governor who can sincerely key-in into this administration’s Six Integral Action Plan. Personally, I have a dream that Aregbesola’s successor will detest handouts-from-Abuja-compliance. Instead, he will appreciate personal sagacity and political shrewdness in seeking solutions to political logjams and socio-economic upheavals. Above all, he will be loaded upstairs, ready to put more boots on the ground in the interest of the state, the people and humanity as a whole.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in the State of Osun!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ([email protected])