By Kunle Oyatomi
November 27, 2017 is the 7th anniversary of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola’s assumption of office as the governor of the state of Osun. It is more a seminal moment for reflection and through assessment of the achievements of the leader, the government and the party he has led thus far.
This is not a period to give any attention to the critics. There had been and there still are many of them but their views are inconsequential for the purpose of this exercise. We are concerned here mainly about what happened in Osun between November 27, 2010 and November 27 2017 under the watch of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
Whatever anyone thinks or would like others to believe, there is a reality on ground which even lunatics should recognize; the state of Osun has changed dramatically. But some strange characters refuse to recognise this dramatic change.
Some people have been ravaged so much by envy, anger and hate that they have seen nothing, absolutely nothing good in EVERYTHING that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has done for the state. Their cynical disposition to what had been occurring in this state under the charismatic leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola since 2010 is inexplicable. However, this category of people is mostly the governor’s political rivals and opponents, and a misguided minority.
But Osun is greater than these people. The majority of citizens of this state who have eyes, a conscience and ability to appreciate what they are seeing and experiencing have every reason to be grateful to God for bringing Aregbesola on the scene to pull the state out of the depths of stagnation, which bred poverty and backwardness.
A state that was practically obscure suddenly leapt into the limelight with a revolutionary approach to governance that took his political opponents by storm and flabbergasted political observers who were not prepared for Aregbesola’s “re-branding of Osun state.” But more shocks were on the way.
In the process of implementing his six point integral action plan to * Banish poverty, * Banish hunger, *Create work and wealth, * Restore healthy living, * Promote functional education, * Enhance communalpeace and progress, Aregbesola created a sensation. He began a rebuilding and restoration exercise unprecedented in scale and astonishing in planning and the precision of execution.
This drove the opposition and the biased critics literally mad with envy, rage and hatred. They threw all the mud they could find in Osun at Aregbesola, but he remained focused.
The Result? Tens of thousands of idle and unemployed youths were plucked off the streets. Crime rate plummeted. A health emergency was to address an environment tragedy, which put citizens’ health at grave risk. Investment on human capital development was intensified. Education was re-engineered, while the schools’ infrastructure was modernised.
As you read this, over 800km of roads have been constructed since 2010 including the marvellous network of mega high ways that link Osogbo directly with other city centers in the state. There is nobody who left Osogbo 10 years ago and returns this Christmas that would not be awestruck by the transformation which has taken place under the leadership of Ogbeni Aregbesola-led APC government.
Never in the history of this state has business activities been as bustling as under Aregbesola’s time in office. Today there are more events centers, hotels and entertainment facilities in the state of Osun than there were 10 years ago. These social facilities are as busy as ever and it will surprise you to hear that some of these places charge as much as N500, 000 per event!! Isn’t that an indication that things are better now than before?
Aregbesola’s social welfare programme is worthy of note. Helpless elderly people are supported, widows are empowered to earn a living; even the disabled are not left out. Children in primary schools are given a rich meal everyday that they are in school. The impact of this programme to feed school children resonated across the world.
The British Parliament noticed, the United Nations agency applauded and the Federal Government has adopted the programme nationwide. Yet, what the fake news media propagate is the falsehood which opponents of Aregbesola spread.
Now people accuse the governor of not paying salaries. They argue that instead of paying full salaries he is building schools, constructing roads and building M .K. O Abiola International airport. Some elite in Osun society are saying that the people don’t need all the sophistication that Aregbesola is introducing into the state. These conceited people want Osun to remain as Aregbesola met it and they are inciting one of the population to spread hate across the state against the governor. But the harder they try to demonize Aregbesola, he becomes more popular.
We shall address the foolishness of this one percent of Osun people who are waging a war of calumny against the governor in the coming days and months. However, let these people be assured that their ingratitude and greed will be their undoing in the near future.
The rest of Osun people celebrate with Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the APC because the last seven years are a memorable period of articulate and responsible governance, which has made the people not only proud but also grateful to God for progress made.
We are proud of what Ogbeni has done to the environment; we salute you for the human capital development that the state has had since 2010; we rejoice with parents and children for the wonderful school infrastructure that you have built and the rich meals you are providing for them daily; God will continue to bless you, Ogbeni, for the exquisite roads network you have constructed across the state, especially the ones in Osogbo and other city centres which only fools do not appreciate.
You have proved to the intelligent and responsible world that even in crisis situation, you keep on thinking and working to give the people of Osun a respectable place in Yorubaland particularly and Nigeria in general. Even those in Osun who oppose you cannot but admit that something different has happened in the state, which they themselves cannot do because they don’t have what it takes to govern responsibly.
As we celebrate the 7th year of your tenure as governor of the Stateof Osun, we note that in spite of the financial constraints, you are still hard at work to complete all the projects you have started, especially the road constructions.
We are not unaware that prominent people amongst Osun elite on the opposite side are working to undo what God has used you to do in the state, THEY WILL FAIL.However, we urge you to ensure that the transition process is smooth and will produce a successor that will continue where you stopped. God will give you the wisdom to do what is right.
Oyatomi Esq., is spokesman of All Progressives Congress, State of Osun.
By Nofisat Adeoye
The State of Osun chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress has debunked reports circulating on online media that while two people died, scores were also injured at the party’s secretariat, Ogo Oluwa area in Osogbo, the state capital.
According to the party’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, who spoke to our correspondent on phone, said the online stories are fabricated lies.
Though the party admitted that there was unruly behaviour by some people who felt unhappy about the outcome of the primaries, it stated that it was not the true reflection of what happened as presented in the media.
The party noted that the aggrieved members of the party left the secretariat after they had “satisfied” themselves.
It was reported that some members who apparently, are not satisfied with the ward congress of the party in some local governments, went to the Secretariat to protest peacefully.
The aggrieved members were said to have been prevented from entering the Secretariat by securities, thus causing chaos.
Oyatomi, however, debunked this. According to him, “it was a mere protest by some party members. It was Ife South, East and Boripe local governments. They came to just protest the announcement of local government, ward congresses in their areas.
“You know that people who did not win would want to say they cheated them and we are very transparent about everything we did at the party Secretariat. People are going about their businesses. So, it is a lie that anybody died.”
On what the party has done to the issue of the aggrieved members, Oyatomi said “we have addressed every issue that was brought to our notice.”
Denying that some people were injured, Oyatomi said “I don’t know about injured, because, if anybody is injured, there will be issue of taking people to the hospital, and there is nothing like that. May be they were injured outside and they are claiming to be injured at the Secretariat, I don’t know about that and it didn’t happen anyway. “
Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State of Osun, Barr. Kunle Oyatomi, recently had an interview with some newsmen. Below are excerpts:
Your party’s defeat in the last Osun West Senatorial District by-election has remained talk of the town especially among the opposition, what do you think is responsible for the defeat?
Oyatomi: There are two aspects to this question. I will answer one but I won’t answer the other.
The first aspect is that the passing of the former Senator, late Isiaka Adeleke created genuine sympathy that was politically exploited by his brother that succeeded him with the assistance of the APC members who sabotaged the party.
The second aspect is that strategic errors were made, which we have identified, but we refuse to talk about. Those errors will not be repeated.
Would you say that your party is still popular among the people of the state?
Oyatomi: Yes. We have no doubt in our mind about that and we are sure that about 80% of the people of Osun are still solidly behind APC.
Some party members appeared aggrieved over the control of ruling party and selection processes for the election, what do you think is actually responsible and is there any remedy in sight?
Oyatomi: There is terrible indiscipline in present day the politics of Nigeria and everyone wants to be the leader at the same time. Some will kill to achieve that goal; others will sabotage their own party to achieve the same goal. At the end, it is the inordinate ambition of some individuals within a party structure that lead them to jettison rules, regulations and standard setup by the party which they purport to support. Behind the rat race for political positions in this country is a selfish end to become wealthy and powerful. Most politicians are not in politics to serve. They are in it because it has proved to become one of the faster ways to become rich in Nigeria. That is what is behind the sabotage of the APC by some members of our party in the Osun West Electoral scenario.
But a party that is well structured and disciplined will stick to its rules and principles and damn the bluff of inordinate ambitious individuals who want to subvert the rules. That is what the APC in Osun will do to take care of that crisis.
The opposition has vowed to unseat your party come 2018 election, boasting to repeat last Osun West victory’s syndrome, what is your take on that?
Oyatomi: Osun West Senatorial District by-election is not a standard gauge for the popularity of the APC in the state. Let’s put that victory in context as we have said earlier. The figures revealed that the majority of votes that gave the PDP the victory came from Ede land (Ede North, Ede South and Egbedore). The Adeleke factor is predominant and sabotage by the APC dissidents added significantly to PDP victory. But as a district, Osun West is less than 20 per cent of the total votes needed to win the governorship.
However, when serious and responsible politicians in Osun are weighing their options, there is no way they will opt for the PDP as an alternative to the APC in this state. Never, ever as the people of Osun have had the opportunity to experience the PDP and APC for about the same period of time (7 years each) and Osun people are intelligent enough to know the difference. Only a fool will look far away for an answer because the difference is clear. We need not say more.
The coming weeks and months will determine how the future of Osun will unfold. But as far as we are concerned, the outcome is clear. Osun will remain an APC state after August 2018.
The issue of worker’s salary has remained one of the reasons why Aregbesola administration is being criticised, what is your take?
Oyatomi: Sadly enough, the criticism has been amplified unduly by the media. The question of the inability of a state to pay salary was and is not peculiar to Osun. But for some satanic reasons, Osun appears to be the only state that was criticised beyond the imagination of the more than 20 states that have the same problem for the same reason.
Nigeria’s economy collapsed, and went into recession between 2013 and 2014. By 2015, we were already in recession, a very serious one, yet the only state that was criticised for not being able to pay salary was Osun.
We do not want to waste our energy to go into the satanism and propagandist acts involved in the unprecedented criticism that the Aregbesola APC-led government in Osun was subjected to. The records are documented in the print and electronic media.
However, nobody cared to look at the details of how the crisis was managed. It was easy to assault the personality and administration at the same time, but everybody turned the blind eye to the skilful way that crisis was managed. First, there was the human aspect. Should the government sack workers in order to pay salary, or should it define another way to keep people on their jobs and manage to pay some kind of emoluments or the other? If the government had chosen the former, it could have involved sacking over 50% of the workforce in the state.
This appeared and indeed was inhuman as well as inhumane to the government. So, the Governor decided to dialogue with the Labour Force. And no other person than Africa No 1 Labour Leader, Alhaji Hassan Sumonu was brought to preside over the negotiation. To cut a long story short, Labour leaders and the government agreed that sacking workers was not an option. They then agreed that workers on level 1-7, are to receive their full salaries; level 8 to 10 take 75% of their salaries while those on level 11 and above are to get half salaries.
That has been the situation since July 2015. But the wicked propaganda of the PDP which was widely politicised was that Aregbesola was paying half salaries to workers while in fact and in truth, only senior officers from level 11 and above which represented far less than 25% of the workforce are getting half salaries. Unfortunately for us and for humanity, majority of people are easily persuaded to believe lies than to believe the truth. And PDP is a very rich fountain of lies in Osun.
Debt is another factor militating against the government, what is the situation of things?
Oyatomi: There is no serious and responsible government on planet earth that is not indebted in one form or the other. That means, from the point of view of a layman, governments are always indebted because they cannot function optimally on their own funds.
The principle surrounding borrowing is that you can use funds from other sources to develop your country or your state in such a way that jobs are created for people and development can take place in the area of governance.
One of the best examples today, if we can say so, is that one of the greatest and richest countries in the world, the United States of America, is the most indebted government on earth.
Now, talking about Nigeria, the most indebted states today is Lagos. Let the PDP cynics tell us which is the most developed states in Nigeria today, ahead of Lagos?
The question of indebtedness in the state of Osun has a very positive side to it, which people are not being allowed to recognise. The impression is created by amplified lie of the PDP that Aregbesola’s government “recklessly misused” borrowed funds without anything to show for it. That egregious lie has gained resonance with the uninformed, the ill-informed and the unsuspecting clientele of doctored information. This is what created the wrong impression that nothing has happened in Osun to justify all the money borrowed for developmental purposes.
It will take the gullible or the cynical and the wicked to come to Osun and then agree that the Aregbesola government has been reckless. The infrastructural development in Osun since 2010 when Aregbesola assumed office has been monumental. The environmental impact of his clean-up operation of the state has not only saved lives, but has also improved healthcare of the people. The government investment on education is first of its kind since Osun was created. His human capital development has been unique and unparallel in the history of Osun.
Osogbo and many other cities of the state have become such attraction for the citizens, that only evil-minded people will not notice the difference during holidays. It will be stating the obvious and we are proud to say so, that no government since Osun was created has done half as much as Aregbesola had done for the state and its people, and no government has achieved as much in internally generated revenue as Aregbesola has done in the last 7 years. For anybody to think and speculate that the PDP opposition or its collaborators or both could be substituted for APC in 2018 will amount to call the people of the state fools, which they are not.
What are the factors that would come to play in determining the party’s choice of its candidate?
Oyatomi: This is a very good question. As we said earlier, the APC in Osun is a very responsible and disciplined political party, which will take into serious consideration, the quality, loyalty and competence of whoever will take over to continue with good job that Aregbesola had laid its stepping stone. A saboteur cannot qualify. An indiscipline person cannot qualify and a person who is not ingrained in and with all the developments that have taken place under Aregbesola, cannot be trusted to succeed him. Anybody who has motives inconsistent with and treacherous in the main, against what Aregbesola has done can never, ever be the party’s choice in Osun. Also anyone who is looking outside Osun APC to win the party’s nomination will fail and therefore cannot succeed Aregbesola.
Does your party has strong conviction of zoning arrangement and if yes which zone do you think should produce the next governor after Aregbesola?
The APC party in Osun is supreme. It will determine in due course what its preference will be from all available options. At the moment, we are concentrating on governance.
By Toba Ajisafe
All Progressives Congress, State of Osun has maintained that Peoples Democracy Party is unhealthy to rule the State, irrespective of their gubernatorial candidate.
This assertion was contained in the statement by the Party’s Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Barr. Kunle Oyatomi, made available over the weekend to OSUN DEFENDER in Osogbo.
APC reacting to speculations circulating concerning gubernatorial candidate of PDP, said, “whether or not the opposition plans to entice some elements in APC to make the PDP win, they will lose.
It was also noted that, “no matter who is chosen as PDP flag bearer for the 2018 governorship in Osun, or whoever jumps ship from the APC to gang up with the PDP, the ruling party will still win convincingly”.
According to the Statement, it was highlighted that, “what the PDP failed to understand, is that it has such a terrible image in the state that no matter who, from the APC defects to PDP, the good people of Osun can’t choose PDP as an alternative to APC, notwithstanding what happened in Osun West Senatorial District in June this year.
”So, those who may be tempted to jump ship and aligned with the PDP are very well aware of the monstrosity they will be moving into; an action that will amount to cutting their noses to spite their faces.
“PDP in Osun suffers multiple political defects, which worsen by the day, as a result of the lack of respectable, focussed and dignified leadership that Osun people can trust.
The APC further argued that, although a personality appears to encapsulate everything that’s wrong with the PDP leadership, the problem however runs deep in the rank and file.
“Osun PDP appears to be structured on a heartless, capitalist business model which end-goal is profit at all cost, no matter whose ox is gored’, the APC alleged.
APC accused PDP has been riotous, it was also alleged that , ”the use of violence by the PDP has become such a nasty part of their DNA, that rather than gain the people’s confidence, they earn rejection – that’s why the PDP can’t win the governorship election in Osun.
” The PDP’s reckless and baseless antagonism to virtually everything Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has done since 2010, including the party’s proclamation to reverse all of it, make the PDP not only detestable, but also unelectable in the state of Osun.
‘”The party is terribly unhealthy politically to govern the state ‘, the APC concluded.
By Toba Ajisafe
The spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress in Osun, Barr Kunle Oyatomi on Tuesday insisted that the party is not divided as claimed in some quarters.
Oyatomi who spoke to our Correspondent on phone reaffirmed party’s initial stand that there is no faction of any sort within the party adding that all organs of the party are working perfectly.
Recall that a chieftain of the party, Alhaji Fatai Diekola in a press statement on Monday, berated the party’s spokesperson for being economical with truth concerning crisis rocking the party in Osun.
Oyatomi said “I can’t react to what Diekola said because I am sure of what I have said about our unity.
He said, “Diekola only said what he thinks he could say but you can’t claim to be in a group and talk about disunity.
According to him, “A son who claims his father is not doing well; he should be ready to look for another father.
“I won’t add to what I have said before about the party’s unity. The Osun APC remains united. If you are not there, you are not there; you can’t be talking about disunity when you are neither here or there. It will only be contradictory.
“We know what is happening in Peoples Democratic Party, they made manifest their disunity but APC is different as we have only one chairman in person of Prince Gboyega Famoodu and we are holding our State Executive meeting every time at Osogbo party Secretariat and all the Exco members are usually in attendance.
“No division among the elders of the party, so we have all this on ground and if you are not part of this, it only shows you are an outsider and that is your own not APC issue.
It would be recalled that Barr. Kunle Oyatomi said in a statement issued over the weekend that, anyone who says there is division and faction in APC is an agent of PDP.
All Progressives Congress in the state of Osun has described Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola ‘the most consistently people-oriented leader, the state has ever known since it was created some 26 years ago.
‘Every project he had designed, and decision he had taken, (even when critics pilloried him for them), were conceived to improve the quality of life of the people and develop the economy of the state’.
These claims were made today by the Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in a statement signed by its director, Kunle Oyatomi, and made available to the media in Osogbo.
According to APC, ‘it takes only a person consumed by hate or one totally misinformed by fake news to viciously criticise the governor’s policies and projects as the case has been since he got into office in 2010.
‘One of the most topical of these tragic attempts to undermine Aregbesola and the APC government he leads, is the issue of salary.
‘This tragedy, which is national, has been made to look as if Osun was the only one in default.
‘But the truth of the matter is that of all the states that were affected, Osun has the best plan in the circumstance to manage the crisis.
‘Even in that process, his vicious critics gave the impression, and continue to mislead the public that Aregbesola is only paying half salaries to all workers and has refused to pay pensioners.
‘However, what this calculating and populist governor did was to make a rational deal with labour leaders in the state as to how resources available to the government could be best used to pay salaries and pension
‘The deal is as follows:(1) Workers on levels 1-7 will receive their full salaries. (2) Workers from 8 -10 will receive 75% of their salaries, while (3) the rest of workers take 50% of their salaries. This template applies to pensioners as well.
‘And since this deal was made in 2015, this template has been followed till today. As with the workers, so it is with pensioners’, the APC declared
‘However’, the party further said, ‘fraudulent politicians have been all over town spreading the misleading impression that Aregbesola is paying all workers in the state half salaries, owing pensioners and had diverted the second tranche of the Paris Club funds that was meant for salaries and pension.
‘This falsehood is responsible for misleading some pensioners who allow themselves to become pawns in the hands of evil opposition politicians, to disturb the peace of Osun recently.
‘In spite of all the mischief and false information, the fact remains that no governor yet in the state of Osun who can be adjudged to have done better than Ogbeni Aregbesola in developing the state.
‘If the satanists in politics would not acknowledge it, and shortsighted people would deny it, history will however acclaim it because the facts are there to prove it.
‘But more importantly, it is after Aregbesola would have left the stage that the people for whom he has worked so hard will come to fully realise how much this vilified populist leader had done for Osun and that regrettably is when it will truly matter.
All Progressives Congress has advised the People’s Democratic Party in the state of Osun to get wise and stop dreaming about impossibilities, in the structure of governance within the state.
‘The PDP is asking for what it cannot get and it is a pity it is doing so over and over again’.
This was the reaction of the APC to the call by the PDP leadership to Governor Rauf Aregbesola to immediately reconstitute the State Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections now.
Besides, the PDP canvassed absolute autonomy for the local government, so that the state will have no say in how a local government uses its funds.
However, the APC described these demands as useless.
In a statement from the party’s Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy, signed by its Director, Kunle Oyatomi, the APC argued that the Governor had made it clear long ago that there would be local government election in the state before the end of the year.
‘Election is a process which should be well planned and efficiently executed’, the APC said, adding that ‘the reconstitution of the local government management is the first step in that process’.
The second step is to constitute a new electoral body that will handle the election, so, the PDP’s dream of having election tomorrow or the next is ‘childish’, the APC emphasised.
On the issue of ‘absolute autonomy’ for the local government, the APC described the idea as fundamentally flawed and basically ignorant of how true federation works.
‘Nowhere in the world with a federal constitution, is a local council autonomous, not to talk of being absolutely autonomous.
‘In Nigeria today, the local council with the fanciful name of local government, does not enjoy the status of a federating unit. Therefore, it cannot be autonomous’.
‘We sympathise with the ignorance of the PDP on thIs issue which has been compounded by its desperation for power in the state’.
On the reconstitution of the management of the local government councils, the APC submitted that the process was thoroughly democratic, because, it was subjected to popular participation within the party.
‘This became necessary after the extensive rearrangement that expanded the councils to accommodate LCDAs
‘These are the people who will mobilise and sensitise the voters for the coming local government elections.
‘Everything is being properly put together before an election. The PDP cannot therefore stampede the government into doing otherwise.
‘So, all the noisemaking by the PDP is an exercise in futility. That party should look for something more constructive to do’, the APC concluded.