N147million Subvention Given to LAUTECH in 2months Despite Audit, Oyo Commissioner Says

Amid impasses between the two-owners state and management of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela has said that the institution has been given subvention of N147 million in the past two months.

Olowofela disclosed this while addressing journalists against the backdrop of notions that the owner states had abandoned LAUTECH to allow for the institution’s audit.

He maintained that the government only offered support in form of subvention, which is about 25 percent of what was previously given, while the institutions were expected to work towards being financially autonomous.

Olowofela who said that the state was not unmindful of the Olanipekun panel recommendation that Oyo pays N1.8 billion in the shortest time, posited that the audit report was meant to guide the owner states on how best to fund LAUTECH.

Olowofela who spoke in company of Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun, affirmed that the owner states were undeterred in carrying out the audit which was last done in 2012.

“LAUTECH is still being given subvention. We have given them N147 million in two months. So, government has not abandoned LAUTECH. The audit will continue. After the audit, we will be guided better on funding of the school. We want them to be financially autonomous as the subvention we give them is support,” Olowofela said.

Generally, Olowofela noted that all state institutions had been to embark on ventures and generate revenue to fend for their affairs, while the state only supported with subventions based on their peculiarities.

Arulogun, while speaking, expressed optimism that the new governing council of the institution, set to be inaugurated, would assist in resolving the issues challenging LAUTECH.

Responding to government’s position, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr Biodun Olaniran has said that it was not aware of the release of subventions since members of staff were yet to receive salaries since it commenced the ongoing strike.

It would be recalled that Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Adeniyi Gbadegesin had once pegged the monthly wage bill of the institution at about N360 million.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo, may soon be opened, following letters of apology written by the institution’s unions and management to the state government.

Provost of the institution, Dr Rasaq Adefabi who confirmed this, said the institution had guaranteed government that there won’t be a recurrence of any breakdown of law and order, once the school is reopened.

200 Million Plates, By Sam Omatseye

Some frown because he sports a wild and luxuriant beard, as though it were a crime to be devout and be a governor at the same time. The same people have applauded the bombshell of hair around Fidel Castro’s chin when he dared the world’s powers, enthroned a system and rallied a lowly people against capitalist interlopers. Castro’s beard was no believer of Christ or Allah. It is atheist and proclaims no god except the man who bore it.

Some did not like his vocal ways. But being vocal was not the issue. They just did not want such a man to be bold.

But Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s foes clutched to excuses as launching pads to assail. Men in the political class, ecclesiastical order and even some in the media, shut their eyes to virtue. They saw only errors and when they erred they lacked the humility to acknowledge him. Rather they have cloaked repentance with silence. I must admit that some of the contrition is also a factor of ignorance.

Some of the ignorance arises from a puny media unwilling to balance familiar harangue with unfamiliar accolade. Some of the bad press began with salary deficit. The point has been made with as much authenticity as with malice that his government had what might be called an excess of zeal. It started with ambition and swallowed up project after project.

Whether it was a mammoth education project of N30 billion or the construction of roads and bridges and drainages to end the vehicular burden of the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, or whether it was the tablet, or opon imo, to simplify learning through technology, no one questioned him then. They actually saw the vision, which they praised in silence. There are others, including the social welfare programmes, the massive investment in small entrepreneurs. They came as O’Beef, for cattle. O’pig for piggeries, or O’honey for honey.

All of these were intended to raise the profile of a so-called backwoods state with knowledge and prosperity. But he did not anticipate, like many others, the dip in revenue after the fall of the naira. It hit the pocket books and the projects. But several months of salary arears became a rallying point.

Aregbesola became the poster man of financial imprudence. A few months after, it became clear that it was not Osun alone. Even at the time his story was trending, Imo State crawled under the same deficit. More states, including the oil-rich ones, began to unveil their books as workers groaned from months without pay.

But Aregbesola was not to be forgiven. Those governors who could not pay their salaries piled on with media frenzy and political gamesmanship to pillory him. The game was still unknown to many then. With the fall of Ekiti State, they wanted Osun out of his hands.

He prevailed with a clear victory in his return election. The people were more in touch with him than his assailants. That rattled his foes with deeper malice. But they have been unable to shake him out of his seat. Meanwhile, while other states have yet to get to the bottom of their salary issues, Ogbeni has hunkered down to business.

Today, he has reached a deal with the workers, and some of this news is known only under the bushel. How many of his detractors know that the majority of Osun workers have been paid their full salaries to date. Workers from grade level 01 to 07, have received their full salaries up till May. The deal was to pay those from levels 08 to 10 the package of 75 percent of their salaries. They have received that till date. Those above that level have had 50 percent.

In spite of this, they do not include the fact that cost overrun of government still goes on. This year, Osun has received only N2 billion in federal allocation, and its pay load in a month will gulp nearly all of it. Few have asked the question: how has he been able to do it?

This is the other side of the story. He has combined other forms of budget support, including internally generated revenue. If he has been accused of recklessness in the past for not anticipating revenue shortfall, no one has had time to wonder how he has done it now, even if they are too proud to praise. If he was footloose in the past, he is rooted now.

In spite of this, one of the great welfare work of this generation is flourishing nonstop on his watch. No other state comes close. His school feeding programme, that is. It is a project that defied low funds availability. As of last December, over 200 million plates of food had been served to the school children. This is a gift for a generation. I recall, as a kid in Methodist Primary School, Oke-Ado, Ibadan, how we looked forward to our meals and how they nourished our learning.

At a young age, especially in an impoverished country such as ours, school feeding may be their main source of daily nourishment. It plants the seed for future prosperity by breeding wards with healthy brains.

In infrastructure, few know that the financial crisis did not stop work. Over 800 kilometres of roads with drainages have been completed. He is still working on the Orile Owu-Ijebu Igbo road, Omoluabi Motorway that spans Gbogan and Akoda, Os ogbo Old Garage to Ilaodo as well as Oba Adesoji Highway.

There is more, but it is better for people to go and see. Sometimes leaders wait for history to vindicate them. But in such cases, it indicts the age for closing their eyes for historians to see. In the United States history, one of the great victims of such blindness was Harry Truman, who some historians have elevated from inept to near great. Because of the colour and swagger of John Kennedy, he is often overrated. They tend to judge him by what he might have achieved than what he actually accomplished. History, after all, is no impartial arbiter.

Ogbeni’s story is still evolving as governor for the next 500 days.

Aregbesola Charges Cabinet Members On Quality Service Delivery To People

Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has urged members of the state Executive Council to provide quality service to the people, saying that governance is the ultimate service to the people and God.
Aregbesola charged the commissioners and special advisers to live up to expectations by justifying their appointment into the cabinet.
This is contained in the briefing on the outcome of the council meeting made available to newsmen by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, on Thursday.
He said: ‘You are chosen for a purpose. It is to serve God through serving the people. This is because governance is ultimate service to the people and God. Whoever is in government must see himself or herself as the agent of the Almighty to deliver service to the people.
“Whatever might have been your motivation for coming to government, it must now be converted to delivering service to the people, either in direct or adjunct form.”
In the briefing, Baderinwa said the council members have resolved to serve the people of the state diligently and faithfully, requesting for their support and cooperation at all times.
The council, according to Baderinwa, resolved to lead by example in the pursuit of the desired goal of having a new philosophy in governance whereby running the government is seen more as a profitable enterprise in which maximum output is achieved with minimum input.
Baderinwa stated that the council concluded that Aregbesola’s administration is already a success, going by its quantum achievements, saying that all hands should be on deck to consolidate the lofty legacy which has endeared it to the people of the state.
The council directed that all ministries, agencies and departments, all local governments and LCDAs, all state facilities such as schools, hospitals, etc, should plant 60 trees wherever they can get land.
The council also urged all recognised traditional rulers, irrespective of status in the state, to participate in what is to be now tagged “Operation plant 60 trees” in pursuit of the noble idea of good environment and socio-economic value.
Baderinwa maintained that council resolved that cabinet would work on strategic focuses which are revenue generation; school discipline; security; Osuwon Omoluabi; sanitation; sports development; and civil service reform.

Like Ambode, Like Aregbesola, By Mufutau Egberongbe

Or should I have just titled this piece: ‘Unlike Ambode, Unlike Aregbesola’ or ‘Like Ambode, Unlike Aregbesola’? I decided to pick my title to avoid mischief and set the records straight. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is the governor of the State of Osun while Mr Akinwunmi Ambode is the governor of Lagos state. Both Osun and Lagos are part of what is politically referred to as south-west.

Before taking a further look at these two personalities, maybe we should quickly consider their differences. At least we know that their differences would aide us into knowing their similarities and why the title was chosen.

A closer, critical look at Aregbesola shows he is not dark (we can effectively call him fair). He is slim and has remained so (ever since the days of the struggle for a better Nigeria). Ogebni, even though has become a governor of a state, still has the ‘struggle’ running in his vein and as a result, calling him a comrade should not be out of place. He was a former commissioner in Lagos state. This governor became the first opposition to take over government in the state at a time Osun was still creeping in the dark. Maybe finally, Aregbesola seems to be enjoying a God-given, people-friendly second term.

On the other hand, Ambode could well be described as chubby (forgive me Your Excellency), ever smiling (I have never seen him frown even in the face of this daunting task of taking charge of the most sophisticated and most populated state in Nigeria). Though in his first term yet, he is not a ‘comrade’ as the rights activists would want to describe themselves, but this soft-spoken man from Epe sure fought the battle for the emancipation of Lagos especially from the draconian rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was at the centre when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the now ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was the governor of Lagos state. He is in a state that has never tasted the PDP.

For those who may not have known it, Ambode was part of the team that helped to shore up the internally generated revenue of the state at a time President Olusegun Obasanjo placed a seal on federal allocations to Lagos. This happened for many months based on the simple fact that then Governor Tinubu decided to break the state into local council development areas. Today it is known that the Tinubu example is being replicated all over the country.

When Aregbesola took over power in the State of Osun from Olagunsoye Oyinlola after a legal tussle that seriously tested the integrity of the judiciary, the major task was that of rebuilding a state from the scratch. Nothing seemed to be working, there was a huge debt and the people of the state were disgruntled. It was a headache. But Ogbeni was resolute and determined. When Ambode took over Lagos from Babatunde Fashola, there was a challenge. Of course, Lagos earns big from internally generated revenue; that was not all that matters. There was the need to know what to do and when to do what to do.

Asiwaju Tinubu stressed the point recently: “I was worried hell when you (Ambode) took over, not about your credibility, character or capacity, but because however wise or smart a man is, if there is no resources to back the ideas, production would be zero, progress would be zero. When you (Ambode) took over, I know you inherited a burden of debt. The debt profile of Lagos was high, I was wondering how you will reengineer and face the challenges to make progress.”

Maybe we can now successfully say they both started from a point where the need to make things straight was paramount.

Immediately he hit the ground, Aregbesola declared a state of emergency on schools. His belief is that the growth and progress of any state is measured through the level of enlightenment and education of its residents. He started turning schools into gigantic structures to make learning a comfortable experience. The government under Aregbesola refurbished over 1,534 classroo

Aregbesola’s Birthday Celebration Not Funded by State

Some of the friends and political associates of Governor Rauf Aregbesola have stated that the governor’s 60th birthday anniversary would be funded by the committee of friends and political associayes of Mr Governor and not the State of Osun.

While addressing journalists at the Press Conference marking the kick off of activities of the sixtieth birthday, this committee which was representes by the former Assistant Chief of State and Commissioner-designate, Barrister Gbenga Akano, said the friends and political associates of Mr Governor had opened an account at First City Monument Bank (FCMB) with account number 4495130013 for whoever wishes to donate for the programme.

He debunked the rumours that suggested otherwise, saying “monies for this elaborate programme are coming from very many friends of Mr Governor across the country and they are the ones sponsoring it.

“The cost size is reasonable over which the government has no control because the friends have resolved to give a befitting birthday bash to Ogbeni.

“The rationale behind this press conference is to solicit your support to communicate and propagate the positive results of these programmes both on the economy of the state as no single Kobo will be spent outside the state.

“This press conference was also aimed to provide answers to movement of bodies and materials aimed at celebrating the Governor as he clocks 60 in a couple of days.

“Like in most situations, birthday period is a time stocks and do self examination not only by a leader like Ogbeni but in the minds of addicted followers.

“This, we make bold to say that people who are seated here with us and those who are not here present that we are addicted to Rauf.

“I wish to inform you that the followership, political fellowship and admiration which Ogbeni enjoys across Nigeria is robust and huge.

“It is our pride and elation to inform you that these admirers have therefore chosen to ambush Ogbeni by celebrating him on the occasion of his 60th birthday which comes up next week Thursday in Osogbo”

Animasaun Prays For Aregbesola at 60; Urges Him to Remain Focused

The Chief Imam of Osogbo Sheikh Musa Animasaun on Friday advised Governor Rauf Aregbesola to remain focused on his mission and not get distracted by attempts to derail his administration.

The cleric who delivered the sermon at the special Jumat Service held at the Osogbo Central Mosque Osogbo in commemoration of the Governors 60th year birthday, said Aregbesola’s ascension to power itself is a testimony to what he described as “Allah’s unpredictable ways of doing things regardless of what the humans decide”.

Those who accompanied Aregbesola to the special service in his honour include former Minister of State for Defence Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, Senator Bayo Salami, and Other top functionaries of government such as the Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, Chief of staff Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola.
Sheikh Animasaun said Aregbesola was underrated by humans but because he had been destined to assume the mantle of leadership in the state, all hurdles placed in his way were surmounted.

He urged Nigerians to draw good lessons from the governor whom he said has surpassed all expectations in terms of his commitment to the development of the state.

“This is a great lesson for us all and it is important for all of us to learn from it. People did not give him any chance as a governorship aspirant and candidate then. But because Allah had decreed that he would preside over the affairs of Osun, he assumed the position in spite of all the hurdles placed in his way.

“Today, we have no reason not to thank Allah for his life now that he is clocking 60. The only thing we can advise him on is to remain focused and committed to the good of his people that he has demonstrated.” the cleric said.

Animasaun listed quality roads, mega schools, emergency equipments such as ambulances across the state, provision of positive engagements for several thousands of youths in the state and above all, a new image of a prosperous state where investors can now come as indelible marks that Aregbesola has created.

Aregbesola while responding, thanked the cleric and others who have been praying for his administration admitting that prayers have been effective in guiding the steps of his government.

Aregbesola’s Lonely Road To South West Regional Integration

Although many of his critics described it as a ploy to feather his personal political nests, the call by Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, that individual political aspirations in the Southwest geo-political zone should not be limited by state boundaries, is a major step towards achieving regional integration.
Aregbesola who, in the current dispensation, is perhaps the greatest advocate of politics-without-boundary in the region, is alleged to be nurturing the ambition of occupying Lagos West Senatorial District seat after his two-term tenure as Osun governor next year.
As a former member of Lagos State Executive Council where he served as Commissioner for Works for 8 years and where he still maintains a strong political structure especially in Alimosho, the most populous local council area in the state, Aregbesola’s senatorial ambition, if backed by other forces, could be a fait accompli.

But long before the rumour of the senatorial ambition that was strengthened by reported sightings of his campaign posters in Lagos, Aregbesola, who however denied nurturing such aspiration, had been a disciple of bringing regional politics under one umbrella to facilitate local development.

After his November 26, 2010, inauguration as governor, Osun State became an experiment in reliving the good old days of Western regional government and attempts, albeit controversial, were made at recording the same level of successes that the defunct government made in the development and regional identity.
The Western regional coat of arms, flag and anthem were adopted for the state and massive investments in the education sector, one of the greatest hallmarks of the old regime, was embarked upon particularly in the expensive school feeding programme that increased pupil enrolment to the largest in the country and spread the wealth among operators.
The school system was reorganized to reflect the old days by merging institutions, introducing single uniform, expanding infrastructure, laying emphasis on indigenous knowledge and reenacting pupils calisthenics displays, a gymnastic and entertaining practice that was popular in the old Oyo State from which Osun was created to, in the words of the governor, “promote sound minds in sound bodies.”
For the first time, traditional religion was given recognition by the state government as local adherents get annual official public holidays and Ifa devotees, like Imams and Pastors, get recognized and offer prayers at public functions even as great efforts were made to partner with Yoruba in Diaspora, especially in Brazil and Cuba, for cultural renaissance.
Of course, this cultural and religious revival and the effects of the school restructuring on former missionary schools put the Aregbesola administration on a collision course with some faith-based organisations which accused the governor of promoting idolatry and attempts to disrupt the state’s religious balancing.
As the 2014 governorship election was drawing nearer, with a lot of issues being woven around the face-off between the governor and Christian groups by opposition politicians especially following the leave granted by the Judiciary for Muslim students to reflect their faith in school dressing, a major crisis hit the education system as protests erupted in schools.

In what was clearly instigated by outside forces, Christian students, while protesting against the leave granted their Muslim counterparts, appeared in school wearing choir robes while in one instance, a masquerade was sighted in one of the schools with full compliments of students who professed traditional religion.

But aside creating a Yoruba identity and agenda for the state, Aregbesola was also on the forefront of actualizing the much-touted south-west regional integration, which he displayed by establishing a full ministry in his administration to execute the mandate.
When the idea, which is seen as a practical step towards restructuring of the Nigerian federation, was mooted, the whole Southwest geo-political zone planned to work on the template of a confederation with shared development agenda to benefit the people.
For instance, the Oodua Investment Company, a conglomerate of companies and industrial concerns established by the old Western region now inherited and managed by the five states in the geopolitical zone, was to build a railway line to connect Lagos, the nation’s economic hub and Ibadan, the region’s political capital.
There were also plans to have a centrally-funded electricity generating plants that will take advantage of the petroleum and gas deposits in Ondo State to boost power supply while seaports, owned jointly by the states, was to be constructed somewhere between the region’s coastal line that connected the three states of Lagos, Ogun and Ondo.
To achieve the set objectives, a commission to drive the implementation of a blueprint on Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) was established with the aim of bringing a new dawn of development.
Speaking at a forum in Ibadan a few months after his inauguration, Aregbesola said South West regional integration for sustainable development could not be a herculean task “as the people have a lot in common especially in the area of education, agriculture, transportation, health and job creation.”
On agriculture, Aregbesola said, “The origin of our wealth is agriculture and we must return to it. There is no nation in history that went through development that did not begin with the development of agriculture. We must start that with the notion that farming is a big business with the farmers having their eyes on profit.

“Transportation is crucial to agriculture, movement of goods, personnel and general social interaction. Transportation is necessary for integration. The whole of the region should be linked together, seamlessly by road, rail, air and a common hub should be in Lagos in order to facilitate movement of goods and persons.

“It is a common knowledge that the federal roads are bad and we must seek to take over the maintenance of federal roads in the South West.
“Also, for a mass movement, rail takes precedence over other modes. The current attempt to develop effective rail transportation within Yorubaland should, therefore, be encouraged. We have to begin the process of extending rail lines to Ekiti, Ondo and Edo States and all the major cities in the region.
“With good transportation system, the other western states can attract a large chunk of the industries in Lagos, save it from overcrowding and in the process, kick-start their own industrialisation.”
Although the idea no longer enjoy the commitment of other governors for reasons not unconnected with economic recession and political differences, the Osun governor remains a strong disciple of regional integration and on his own, has opened up the state’s political space by having non-indigenes as members of the executive council and seeking economic partnerships with neighbouring states.
Last week at a public enlightenment forum, “Ogbeni Till Day Break,” an all-night audience-participatory programme hosted by the governor, Aregbesola harped more on his desire for regional integration saying if the South West blazed the trail, other regions would see its importance to human and physical development.
According to him, “the best period of growth in Yorubaland was when we were in a region. It was when the Southwest became the trailblazer in all facets of human endeavours and the spirit of unity was the driving force.”
In his reaction to the rumoured senatorial ambition in Lagos, Aregbesola said, “although I don’t have such thoughts now, there is nothing wrong with the idea. As a Yoruba man, I am qualified to contest for elective positions in any parts of Yoruba land.

“I was born in Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State, came into political limelight in Lagos State and now I am governor here in Osun State. I am as politically strong in Lagos as I am strong in Osun. So if I want to seek the ticket, I don’t need to take permission from anybody to do it.

“But I have not really made up my mind about it and I don’t want people to speculate on a decision that has not been made. When I leave office as governor of Osun State on November 26, 2018, there will be a clear six months to the 2019 National Assembly elections. People should wait till that time.”
He warned critics of his yet undeclared ambition to stop, “fanning the embers of sectionalism among a people that are united by history and culture and who have the same agenda and capacity for development.”
Aregbesola also said he would not be deterred by the criticism if eventually, he made up his mind to contest the senatorial seat in Lagos stressing, “politics is basically the resolution of conflicts. If I was not deterred when it was almost impossible to even look at the eyes of the incumbent in Osun, why would I be deterred now?”
But whether Aregbe, as the Osun governor is fondly called by his admirers, would have a smooth ride back to Lagos, remains to be seen as the 2019 politics of the state unfolds.
Source: News Gist

I Have Walked 91.5 Kilometers Freely With My People -Aregbesola

Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Saturday brought to for the closeness of his administration to and the magnitude of his popularity with the people of Osun by stating that he is the only head of government in Africa that has ventured to walk on the streets with the people for as long as 91.5 kilometer stretch in the whole of Africa.

Aregbesola, while speaking on the popular audience feedback programme tagged “Ogbeni till day break” at the WOCDIF centre in Osogbo, said he achieved the feat through the healthy living program tagged Walk-to-Live.

He said the walk with the people has gone a long way in promoting healthy living among the people and as well created a high sense of unity and productivity among the people of Osun.

An analysis of the various editions of the program which cumulated at 91.5kilometres shows that the governor started the program in Osogbo the state capital on18/2/12 walking with a huge crowd through a total of 5.8 km.

Two other editions of Walk-to-Live held in Osogbo with 4.8 km and 5.2 km respectively before the next edition held in Iwo on Saturday 14/4/2012 with the governor walking 5.6km.

The rest of the editions show Ile-Ife (6.8km), Ila-Orangun (6km), Ikire (5.8km), Ilesa (5.2km),  Ikirun/Iragbiji (5.8km), Ede (6.2km), Ejigbo (4.8km), Ijebu Jesa (6.2km), Apomu/Ikire  (5.4km), (14.), Ilobu/Irep (6km), Ipetumodu (6.8km), Osogbo (5km).

Aregbesola, who stated that the “walk-to-live” programme with the people will be revived soon,  explained that the feat has only been beaten by the former Chinese leader, Chairman Mao Tse Tong and the late Cuban revolutionary leader,  Fidel Castro.

He said the walk with the people of Osun shows that there can be a government that has so much faith in the people, stressing that for a leader or governor in Africa to walk freely with the people in their community goes a long way to show that the people have ample reasons to be connected to such a leader.

“It is amazing to know that I have walked a total number of 95.1 kilometres with the people of this great state right in their corridors and immediate communities for the promotion of physical fitness and healthy living as preparation for high productivity.

“It goes a long way to show that this government is in firm connection with the people of Osun and it also portrays the fact that our people have so much faith and confidence in us.

“We are the first government in Osun to take the health of the people seriously to the extent of having a healthy walk with them.

“It is interesting to know that the feat of walking a total distance of 95.1 kilometres directly and closely with the people has only been beaten by just two leaders in the world.

“The only two individuals that did more than us in history are Chairman Mao and Fidel Castro.

” Chairman Mao of China, who during the coastal revolution, moved with his people across the entire China to mobilise the people for his revolution and the second was Fidel Castro of Cuba that marched from Siamedra in the Eastern part of Cuba to Havana.

“Outside those two individuals, count me as the only head of a government in Africa that had moved with the people to cover as much as 95.1kilometer of roads.

“I own the record and I will still continue.

“It speaks so much about our administration. It means we are in connection with the people. It means they have faith in us. It means they love us and appreciate all our social interventions in the state,”Aregbesola explained.

The governor, who promised that the walk with the people, will be revived again stressed that the aim of the walk is to create a complete man,  who is physically fit, healthy and sound mentally so as to increase the production drive of the state.

He reminded the gathering that the 95.1kilometer he did with the people in different towns across the state does not include the three times he walked from Okeijetu/St Charles to Nelson Mandela Park with members of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, OYES.

The Governor explained that he embarked on the walk with the youths so as to build in them the fitness for productivity, noting that it is interesting that the people joined the walk with pump and pageantry because they love their governor.

“Let me also remind you that the 95.1kilometers walk I had with the people in different towns across the state does not include the three times I walked with our OYES cadets from Okeijetu/St Charles to Nelson Mandela Park.

“Yes, I walked three times with the youths along the streets of Osogbo and they loved it and they were excited to see their governor walking with them along their streets.

“You could feel the excitement and joy on their faces. It was so because they are happy with us and we also had the confidence to walk with them on the streets just because we know that we are doing what they elected us to do.

Aregbesola: I’ve Made Big difference In Osun

How should a poor state be administered in a period of national economic adversity? Focus, financial creativity and adjustment, resolve, courage and commitment to the vision of a greater tomorrow may serve as the bridge between despondency and survival. The audience at the popular accountability programme, ‘Aregbe Till Day Break,’ in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, agreed at the weekend that Governor Rauf Aregbegbe has led the state from economic despair to a new period of hope through sheer administrative prowess.

For more than six hours, from midnight, the governor tendered his score card before the people. He was on the popularity weighing scale at the WOCDIF Event Centre, the venue of the event. He responded to probing questions with vigour and aggression. In a sense, the governor was combative. Reeling out facts and figures, he convinced the audience that governance was not a tea party in a period of national distress. Accompanied by Deputy Governor Grace Laoye Tomori and other aides, Aregbesola, after explaining some of his projects, would ask his permanent secretaries and other state officials to shed light on the people-oriented programmes, government’s constraints and prospects of early completion.

In another breath, the governor also brought a personal character to bear on the televised programme. A DJ was on hand for an interlude. So were iterant drummers and praise singers. It was electrifying. Their intervention was to complement Aregbesola’s magnetism and aura and to make people stay awake. ‘Aregbe Till Day Break’ was a carnival-like event characterised by a display of statesmanship and showmanship by the governor.

The governor’s achievements are visible in the nooks and crannies of the state. They are felt from the boundary towns to the capital. Various callers hailed the governor for spreading the projects evenly. But, they also asked for more.

Under his transformational leadership, cosmopolitan Osun State, which has the largest number of towns in Nigeria, has become a huge construction site. The Gbongan Junction Bridge is a sight that fills commuters with awe. There is no local government where a road project is not on-going. It is a clear departure from the past. In fact, the event was revealing. More towns and villages asked for more roads, which the resources of the state cannot accommodate.

Despite the giant strides in road construction, critics believe that not much has been done. Besides, they have alleged that the contracts were inflated. This drew the ire of the workaholic governor, who gave himself a pass mark. He acknowledged that billions of naira have been spent on the roads, which have the special characteristics of concrete drainages. They are cost-effective and the government is prudent and transparent. Some of the roads and bridges commemorate historical dates in the state.An engineer, Aregbesola explained the cost implications of qualitative road construction, which made him a trailblazer in infrastructure battle. He said: “The cost of roads is not the same anywhere in the world. We cannot compare the cost of a kilometre of road in each of the states. Our roads are done with the active participation of officials of the Ministry of Works, with absolute transparency in the rate and cost. The rate is in line with the international standard. You should ask how much they construct roads in other states. You can’t compare our roads with sensational roads. We have not inflated the cost of any of our projects.”

Aregbesola added: “In the history of Osun, the quality of roads we are constructing has never been seen or done by any government. Also, no administration has constructed the number of bridges constructed by our government in the last six years.”

The governor challenged his critics to prove their allegation of contract inflation. He said his personal lifestyle abhorred theft, graft and corruption. “They say I inflated contract. I have no building of my own in Ilesa, my hometown. And they say I am inflating contracts. I don’t spend money anyhow. I don’t look at women anyhow.”

The governor praised the House of Assembly for supporting the executive to succeed. Noting that no money can be spent without the approval of the legislators, he said it is their right to claim any project executed by the administration in their constituencies.

To demonstrate the frugality of governance, Aregbesola has bridged the loopholes. Frivolous spending is old fashioned. Even, despite the high concentration of intending Christian and Muslim pilgrims, he has cancelled pilgrimage sponsorship, owing to the paucity of funds.

The governor reminded the people of their civil obligations. Describing governance as a collective enterprise, he urged them to pay their taxes and rates.

There are fears that some of the roads may not be completed before Aregbesola leaves office. Many felt that the governor was biting more than he could chew. He tried to assuage the feelings, promising that no project will be abandoned. However, he advised the intended beneficiaries and those agitating for more roads to exercise patience. “I can’t even pay salaries. Where are the resources? I am committed to the completion of the roads in Ifon, Orolu and Ede. Even, Lagos that has an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N1 billion daily cannot tar all the roads. In Osun, we realise N700 million monthly. If Lagos cannot tar all the roads, Osun cannot. We will try to tar the roads within the limit of resources,” he said.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised the government for irregular payment of salaries. Aregebsola attributed the gap to the economic condition of the state. He said he could only manage to jerk up the IGR from N200 million to a meagre N700 million monthly, while the Federal Allocation to the state decreased from N6 billion to N700 million. He said the government successfully worked out a mutually agreeable arrangement with workers. One of his aides, who shed light on the modulated salary system, said workers who fall between Level one and seven are paid fully while those between eight and 12 are paid 75 per cent of their salaries. Also, those who are in Level 12 and above receive 50 per cent. The governor promised to revert back to the normal system as soon as the situation improves.

Despite the constraints, the government has continued to defend the education sector with heavy investment. New schools with modern learning facilities are on the increase. Medical students on scholarship in Ukraine are expected to complete their programme this year. Mrs.Laoye Tomori will be a special guest there.

But, the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) crisis continue to stare his government in the face. The institution is jointly owned by Oyo and Osun governments. Aregbesola, who attributed the plight of the university to financial constraints on the part of the government, urged the institution to emulate the Osun State University by looking inward. “States cannot print money. The IGR is N700 million monthly. It is a far cry from what we need to sustain the state. On the assumption of office, we based our projections on the revenue base that has changed, following the drop in oil earnings and allocations to states. It is difficult to fund LAUTECH and other tertiary institutions because of the financial constraint.

“Why can’t LAUTECH operate within its revenue base like the Osun State University? The variation in fee is N5000. There are 12,000 students in Osun State University. There are 30,000 students in LAUTECH. LAUTECH also has postgraduate students.”

Aregbesola owned up that the state has been slow in the issuance of the Certificates of Occupancy to applicants. He assured that the delay will become a thing of the past. “We will change the situation,” he said. The governor also noted the complaints about the Emergency Centres in the state. He said they will be fixed to give maximum service to the people.

The governor said the plan to create an Osun food basket in Lagos was on course. He also said Osun farmers will soon have the opportunity to register their productive capacity on an electronic platform in August. He said the state will maintain its commitment to the education and welfare of special people, who are ignored by the society. He narrated a story of how he came across a mentally challenged person at Ilesa and how she was rehabilitated and restored to a position of optimum performance.

Aregbesola added: “We are the first government that has set up an office for a population with special needs. It is a ministry on its own. It has a permanent secretary,” he said.

A minute of silence was observed for the departed colourful politician, Senator Isiaka Adeleke. The governor paid glowing tribute to his memory.

Two sensitive questions for Aregbesola as the programme were his alleged senatorial ambition in Lagos West District and succession in Osun State. On succession, he refused to disclose his plan, saying: “I am not God who knows tomorrow. The best deserves to succeed me. I beg God to give the position to someone who will perform better than me. Let’s face our work. Let’s leave succession struggle for now. The clerics should continue to pray for us.”

He added: “The succession battle is not threatening my party. Our party is as solid, strong and effective as any party could be. Our party has not suffered. We are united, coordinated and working so well. It is the opposition party that is threatened, uncoordinated and in fear.”

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Gboyega Famodun, debunked the rumour that the succession struggle was tearing the party apart. He said the chapter was cohesive. “Our party is not threatened. It is not time yet. The party is so cohesive and united. The state transited from 30 local governments and one area office to 64 councils without acrimony. It is rare. There is no crack on the wall.”

On his alleged senatorial ambition, Aregbesola neither confirmed nor deny it. But, he said the time was not ripe. He traced his political journey his life and how God used Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to raise him to stardom. He said: “Politics is the resolution of conflict. The good of the people is the priority and it must be addressed, regardless of the method. In 2004, when I said I was coming to Osun to rescue the state, one of my relations said it was a suicide. She did not believe it was possible. The incumbent governor said I was an irritant. From an irritant, I became an Oranmiran. From Oranmiran, I became an Oranmiyan. From Oranmiyan, I became the governor.

“I am large in Osun as I am large in Lagos. If I need to contest, I don’t need to consult anybody anywhere. I thank God, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the people of the two states. I pray that God will prolong my life to prove to the world that politics is a noble calling and a good vacation. We have a commitment to regionalism. We should not fan sectionalism. If we want to have a regional arrangement, why discriminating against a Yoruba man in any Yoruba state?

“I was born in Ikare-Akoko, achieved fame in Lagos and became governor of Osun State. There is no such decision yet. By 12 midnight on November 27, 2018, a Tuesday, I will leave office. There will still be many gaps between then and election. We have time to make up our mind.”

 

 

Source: The Nation

Appointments: Osun APC Woman Leader Commends Aregbesola For Prioritising Women

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Woman Leader in the State of Osun, Alhaja
Kudirat Fakokunde has passed a vote of confidence on the Governor of the state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his wife, Sherifat for giving women special consideration for the appointment of local government caretaker committees, and cabinet position.

Fakokunde also lauded the APC under the leadership of Prince Adegboyega Famodu for not allowing compromise in the nomination of women for the appointments.
She gave the commendation in her congratulatory and thankful message issued from the office of the Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in the state.

The woman leader expressed satisfaction over the priority given to women by the state government in its recent nominations, describing it as unprecedented, unusual and new in the political history of the state.

She said the announcement of many women by the state House of Assembly as part of those that made the list of Local Government Caretaker Committees appointment, commissionership as well as Special Adviser slots has reflected the rear passion of the present administration for women’s welfare, growth and development.

According to her, the appointments of women in their numbers into various political offices were good gestures strictly in consonance with the governor’s unprecedented system of governance.

“To us, this is in line with the Governor’s transformation agenda in changing our state for the better with emerging unprecedented developmental projects being experienced by the people of the state in every nook and cranny in the last 76 months”, she added.

While congratulating the nominees especially Women among them, Fakokunde enjoined them to be law abiding and desist from any obnoxious act that could tarnish the image of women they represent.

“All women nominees, when confirmed by the House of Assembly should see their appointment as a clarion call to serve humanity and prove themselves as good mothers and responsible home managers in the formulation of good ideas and policies that will make our state and all local government areas develop beyond expectations.

She, therefore, charged the nominees to use their noble ideas as worthy women to complement the change mantra of the present administration, just as she implored them not to relent in giving their unalloyed support and loyalty to Aregbesola’s government for the state to witness more developmental.

Osun Remains Committed To Doctors’ Welfare – Aregbesola

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that his administration remained committed to the welfare of medical doctors and other workers in the state.

The governor was reacting to claims by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Osun State chapter that the state government is not paying salaries of doctors and that the health sector in the state was not well-funded.

Speaking through the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor, Semiu Okanlawon, the governor said his government has developed the most ingenious formula for satisfying the needs of its workforce within the limit of the available resources.

According to him, “The government of the State of Osun is aware of the claims by the Nigerian Medical Association today over issues of welfare where its leadership has accused the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration of insensitivity to their welfare.

He said: “This is far from the truth. This government has engaged the doctors, perhaps, more than any other category of workers in the state, on the need to equally be sensitive to the hardship foisted on the finances of the state, especially since Nigeria as a whole entered into its trying period of economic recession.

“This was what necessitated the setting up of a revenue apportionment committee led by no less personality than a former labour leader in Nigeria and veteran labour activists on the continent of Africa, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu.

“On the state of the health facilities, the doctors must be fair enough to admit that the health sector in Osun has witnessed a huge improvement since the coming of this administration.

“Apart from the huge investment of about N1.8bn for the upgrading of the state General Hospitals, this administration has ensured that health care safety and emergency measures are improved with the provision of the state-of-the-art ambulances across this state.

“As a professional body whose duty it is to save lives, we expect and continue to implore the doctors to see themselves as partners with the government in the overall task of ensuring the sanctity of lives which the doctors also swore an oath to protect.

“We hereby wish to reiterate for the umpteenth time, that the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration remains a labour-friendly one and we have always called on all groups, including the NMA to be sensitive to the prevailing economic situation across the land while the government continues its relentless efforts to make the best of the situation we have found ourselves as a country.”

 

Credit: Daily Trust