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.

Civil Engineers Laud Aregbesola On Infrastructural Development

The Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE) has lauded Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the State of Osun for committing the required percentage of the state’s resources on infrastructure development in the state.

According to the civil engineers, the Aregbesola’s administration met and exceeded the minimum of six percent of its GDP recommended for infrastructural development.

The leadership of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers gave the commendation in Osogbo, the capital of the State of Osun at a public lecture.

Speaking on the theme of the conference: “Infrastructure Development and Index for National Development”, the former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Professor Olugbenga Aribisala, lauded Aregbesola’s commitment to human and capital developments in the state.

Aribisala said the present administration in Osun has raised the bar of governance in all socio-economic
sectors, particularly on infrastructure development.

He acknowledged the Aregbesola’s government for always making adequate budgetary provisions for the maintenance of infrastructure sustainability since inception.

According to him, the Osun state government has shown a very great example of government funding on projects as the state in the last seven years has been committing over 6% of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on infrastructure development.

”I want to state here unequivocally that Osun state has exceeded the minimum of 6 per cent of its GDP recommended for infrastructure developments.

“Since the diversification of the economy remains impossible without adequate infrastructure, there is need for government at all levels to make the required budgetary provisions for the maintenance of
infrastructure development as being done in Osun.

“Obviously, the Osun state government has shown a very great example on how infrastructure should be properly and adequately funded by governments as the state has exceeded the minimum of six per cent of its GDP recommended for infrastructural development.

“As an institution involved in civil engineering policies and recommendations, we can rightly confirm that the seven years of the present administration in Osun has been full of numerous big civil engineering infrastructure projects across the state.

“We have been moving around Nigeria and have been to several states in the country, we have never seen a state like Osun with huge proliferation of infrastructure development in spite of her meager resources.

“The types of projects which we have seen in Osun are the types that students of civil engineering need to come and understudy because they are breath taking.

”I want to use this medium to appeal to both the federal and state governments to make budgetary provisions for the infrastructural sustainability”, Prof. Aribisala noted.

Earlier in his remarks, the National President, Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, Engineer Andem Ekpo-Bassey, commended the level of infrastructure in the state, saying Osun has distinguished itself among its peers in developing infrastructure in all sectors of the economy.

“Without mincing words, I can tell you that you are very lucky in Osun to have a governor like Aregbesola who has decided to embark on the third type of project, which is targeted at human development.

“I can confidently tell you that Osun is on the right path to economic development, it may not have been happening today, but with what I have seen on ground, Aregbesola has secured the future for this state.

“Infrastructural development is the way to go if any economy wants to get out of the woods and be self-sustaining” Ekpo-Bassey said.

In his remarks, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola commended the leadership of NICE for organising the Conference in the state.

Aregbesola who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Transport, Engineer Nurudeen Adeagbo, encouraged engineers on the need for them to champion professional ethics and standards as they play a crucial role in national growth and development.

Osun Exceeds Global Standard for GDP To Infrastructure Ratio – Nigerian Society of Civil Engineers

Civil Engineers have lauded the performance of Governor Rauf Aregbesola especially in the realm of ground breaking infrastructural facilities across the State of Osun.

This is coming as the Engineers declared that the administration of Governor Aregbesola has exceeded Global Standard for GDP-to-Infrastructure Ratio with the several completed and ongoing infrastructural projects that ducts the state.

At a dinner of the association in Osogbo, A former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof Olugbenga Aribisala who spoke on the theme “Infrastructural Development: An Index For National Development” encouraged government to spend 6% of its GDP on Infrastructure.

At the event, the Engineers acknowledged the uncommon record of the Governor in giving Osun the needed infrastructural facelift for economic growth.

Aribisala said that “The Osun State Government has shown a very great example of government funding for infrastructural projects. I want to state here unequivocally that Osun State has exceeded the figure recommended for infrastructure development.”

According to him, diversification of the economy will remain impossible without infrastructure.

Also, the National Chairman, Nigerian Institution Of Civil Engineers, Andem Ekpo-Bassey, commended the level of infrastructure development in the state.

“From what I saw today, it is very impressive to me. There are some projects that are recreational projects, there are some projects which are political projects but there are some projects that are human driven projects. These are the kinds of projects that your Governor has really done.”

“As an institution revolving in policy and recommendations, we can rightly confirm that seven years of his government in the state has been numerous number of big civil engineering projects across the State of Osun.”

Governor Rauf Aregbesola was at the event presented with an Award of Grand Achiever Of Infrastructural Development.

Tourism Potential For National Development By Tayo Ogunbiyi

Tourism is a veritable instrument for socio-economic development as it impacts directly on the economy through the provision of resources and income that could be deployed to enhance economic growth, accelerate development and reduce poverty. Similarly, it is a good public relations mechanism through which a city, state or country could attract needed foreign investment. Having come to term with the socio- economic benefits of tourism, all over the world, tourism has now become very important that today it is a major source of income for many countries as it affects the economy of both the source and host countries.

Tourism is also an important mechanism for social exchange and identity building at all levels. Currently, the rate of tourism development has increased across the globe. Multinational investments in hotels, resort complexes and infrastructure, together with major heritage conservation projects are catalyzing significant social changes, environmental changes and re-shaping new regional and international relationships. In contemporary time, tourism can be clearly defined as the new socio-economic game changer.

The economic potential of tourism is remarkable, with direct and indirect impact on employment. Similarly, it is a good public relations mechanism through which a city, state or country could attract needed foreign investments. The MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index report of 2016 indicates that based on air traffic, Bangkok in Thailand tops the table of top ten most popular destinations of international tourism with 21.47 million tourists. Cities like, London, Paris, Dubai and New York City are also top tourists’ destinations.

In-spite of accounting for 15% of the world population and the fact some of the fastest growing economies are domiciled in the continent, the potential of Africa’s tourism remains untapped as it receives only about 3% of world tourism. And while tremendous opportunities exist to further expand tourism across the continent as expected revenues that would be accrued from this sector can make up for double the amount of donor aids received from developed countries or international organisations; However, lots of challenges are still militating against these. These challenges mainly have to do with poor infrastructure and unimaginative governance.

Nevertheless, some African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt and South Africa are making wave as famous tourist destinations. However, in Nigeria, tourism is still in its infancy considering the large accumulation of resources which are yet untapped and the institutional structure which is yet to be regulated to compete favorably with other fast growing international and continental tourism destinations. This is largely due to years of the oil boom and over dependent on the revenue from the sale of crude oil for actualization of plans and projects of successive administrations in the country. So, putting it succinctly, the country operates a mono economy.

With its dwindling economic fortune, the country has to explore other avenues to sustain the economy as well as provide necessary dividends of democracy for the citizens. One of such ways is through the development of the tourism sector which has been explored and still being explored by nations globally to generate the needed revenue to drive their economies. One of such countries as already mentioned is Thailand. Available data indicates that the country made over $60 billion from tourism in 2016.

Nigeria is abounding in various tourists sites scattered all over the country as well as cultural festivals which mirror the lifestyles and heterogeneous nature of the people who occupy the space called Nigeria. In the Northern part of the country, the Yankari game reserve, Argungu fishing festival and different Durba displays among others are popular tourists’ attractions. Ikogosi warm spring, Erin Ijesha water fall as well the Osun Osogbo festival and a lot of other sites and festivals are famous in the South Western part, in the South Eastern part is the Calabar carnival, staged every yuletide period to reflect the influence of Christianity on the historical town, where Mary Slessor, a Christian missionary eradicated the killing of twins.

But despite these enormous tourist potentials as well as successive governments’ efforts to put the tourism industry in the national economic map, the country cannot meet up with up with the exclusive listing. This is due to lack of political will and legislation to regulate the industry to keep abreast with the United Nations framework on sustainable tourism development efforts.

In order to fully develop the potentials of the tourism sector, it is crucial to train personnel who will help make our dreams of a prosperous tourism sector a realizable one. One of such personnel and are tour guides who are quite essential to the thriving of the industry. In Israel, for instance, tour guides are so efficient, passionate and so enthusiastic that they make tourists feel immensely excited and somehow fulfilled.

Also, all tiers of government need to produce carefully researched and professionally produced tourists guidebooks which prospective tourists could find handy when they plan or decide to visit the country. It should contain everything required information about the country such as its geography, economy, hospitality, system of government among others. This could be made available at major international and local airports across the world as well as various other platforms with mass appeal. This way, prospective tourists have essential information about the country and its tourist sites on their fingertips.

Vital infrastructures that are quite essential to the growth of tourism must also be developed as any visible defect in infrastructure will surely dissuade tourists. It is pertinent to provide these supporting infrastructures for leisure and business travel for the industry to really grow. For instance, a poorly managed public transportation constitutes a serious disservice to tourism. Equally, our hospitality industry has to be top notched by every world standard. Additionally, we need to put in place a clear cut strategy to professionally manage all attractive festivals and carnivals in the country.

With many attractive tourist centers, diverse cultural heritages and a resilient people the country certainly stands to gain a lot if all stakeholders evolve new strategies to explore its huge tourism potentials.

Lessons from the Reopened Abuja Airport By Ikeogu Oke

Now that our faith in our country – Nigeria – seems to be at its nadir, when it has become fashionable to hear some of us declare that they have given up on her, that they no longer believe she can regain her lost glory or ever give them cause to believe in her destiny, I think the reopening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, offers us good reasons to re-examine such cynicism, and lessons worth considering about the potential for her renaissance.
I think the cynicism is not entirely unjustified because so much has happened in our history since Independence in 1960 that one may be deemed pollyannaish or an unrealistic patriot for continuing to believe in our country.

In The Trouble with Nigeria, Chinua Achebe, one of our greatest writers, sums up our many lost opportunities to achieve greatness despite our being endowed with vast human and natural resources as a case of “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” In “What is Nigeria to Me,” an essay in The Education of a British-Protected Child, he describes our country as “a child. Gifted, enormously talented, prodigiously endowed, and incredibly wayward.”

And Fela Anikulapo Kuti, one of our greatest musicians, once sang of our country: “As time dey go, things just dey bad, dey bad more and more…” a recognition of the constant decline in her fortunes, and ours with it, due to poor management and sometimes sheer irresponsibility, corruption or cluelessness on the part of the managers.
What is worse, however, is that despite such strictures, our country seems to have remained dedicated to walking the downward path. And those expressing loss of faith in her are largely venting their frustration with her seemingly chronic inability to put her acts together and make sense of her vast potential.

But, as I have also said, the reopening of the Abuja airport offers us reasons to re-examine such cynicism, and lessons from the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari as to how we can make our country work, or experience a renaissance.

To summarise the related events as a quarry for the lessons: The airport reopened a day before schedule on April 18, 2017, having been closed for rehabilitation for six weeks on March 8, 2017. Ethiopian Airlines, the only foreign airline that accepted to use the alternative Kaduna airport during the rehabilitation, actually landed an aircraft at the reopened airport. Before its closure, our government was criticised by some stakeholders, especially the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), which argued that the rehabilitation could take place with the airport in use. The sum of N5.8 billion was earmarked for the rehabilitation; and in an unprecedented declaration, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, vowed to resign if the airport was not reopened on schedule, thereby putting his job and integrity on the line to support a task under his charge.

The fundamental lesson is that our country can work if we and our governments can pursue her ventures with the type of commitment shown in the rehabilitation of the Abuja airport. And we mustn’t give up on her as long as she continues to provide us such evidence of its workability which, like a ray of light, can dispel the darkness of doubt threatening to envelope her.

There is also the lesson that, once convinced of the rightness of their plans, our governments must exercise the resolve to follow them through despite criticisms, provided they do not act outside the law and can show proof of the projected results in the long run as in the case of the Abuja airport.

Then there is the lesson that our public servants should be made to face the music for failing to deliver: The need to save themselves from the attendant shame can be a spur for personal success which can translate into success for our country. The fact is, but for the rare resolve to deliver reflected in Sirika’s pledge to resign if the airport was not reopened on schedule, its rehabilitation could have turned into another uncompleted project as we have scattered across our country, despite the resources committed to it, and we might have little or no choice but to whine helplessly and adjust to the resultant hardship afterwards.

Also, we should learn that countries are not much different from individuals. Most of them are fair-weather friends. In good times they will associate with us in pursuit of their interests and avoid us in difficult times or when they perceive our relationship to pose risks to them. Linked to this lesson is that we should prioritise our relationship with countries that show us the type of solidarity Ethiopia did by its airlines continuing to identify with us at such a critical time. And we cannot say that the solidarity was motivated by its commercial interests since those countries that would rather keep a safe distance from us by their airlines refusing to fly to the alternative Kaduna airport, unlike Ethiopian Airlines, also have commercial interests in our country, some far more than Ethiopia. The boycott by those other countries somewhat reflects the Igbo saying: “Ozu siwa ishi, enyi ka nwanne alaa.”: “When the corpse begins to smell, the friends that are greater than family take their leave.” So our country must strengthen her ties with such a genuinely friendly and supportive country as Ethiopia and others she may still discover if she wishes to rebound and make sustainable progress.

There is also the lesson that we can prove our critics wrong by acting decisively, efficiently and patriotically in our national interest. Actually, the decision by the other airlines not to utilise the Kaduna airport while the Abuja airport was under rehabilitation implied their being critical of the capacity of the Kaduna airport to serve as an alternative for the Abuja airport as an interim measure. Well, it did.

And there is the lesson that self-reliance and belief in our country and government are critical to our success. The support we seek from most foreign countries to help revive our power sector, for instance, may become like the type we got from their airlines in respect of the Kaduna airport, leaving us to work out our salvation ourselves as we must when the chips are down.
Then there is the lesson that funds must be applied to the projects for which they are appropriated, like those for the rehabilitation of the Abuja airport, and the projects executed in accordance with their deadlines and by competent hands as Julius Berger has proven to be in carrying out the rehabilitation.

The final lesson from the Abuja airport rehabilitation and timely reopening is that we have summarised the blueprint for our country’s renaissance as efficiency, and that we can have a far more functional country if we can replicate that efficiency with many more projects and in other sectors nationwide.

Oke, a poet and public affairs analyst, lives in Abuja.

Minister Of Health Joins Aregbesola On Inspection Of School Projects (Photos)

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole joined Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on an inspection visit to school projects in Oshogbo, the capital of Osun State. See pictures from the inpection below;

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (right); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (2nd right), during the recent inspection to the
on going Construction of AUD Goveronr Elementary School at Sabo area, Osogbo

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2ndright); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (right); former Commissioner for Regional
and Integration, Hon. Ajibola Basiru (left), during the recent inspection of the
on going Construction of AUD Goveronr Elementary School at Sabo area, Osogbo


Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (right); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (2nd right);
Former Commissioner for Regional and Integration, Hon. Ajibola Basiru
(right), seating in one of the classroms, during the recent inspection
of the on going
Construction of Osogbo High School, at the State capital.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (left); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (2nd right);
Former Commissioner for Regional an Integration, Hon. Ajibola Basiru
(right), at the School Library, during the recent inspection of the on
going Construction of Osogbo High School, at the State capital.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2nd left); Minster for
Health, Honorable Isaac Adewole (2nd right); former Commissioner for
Regional and Integration, Hon. Ajibola Basiru (left); former Media
Assistant to the Governor, Oluremi Omowaye (right), during the recent
inspection of the on going Construction of Osogbo High School, at the
State capital.