In this special edition of MEET YOUR COMMISSIONER, The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Empowerment in the State of Osun, Hon Ismail Adekunle Alagbada bears his mind with OSUN DEFENDER Reporter, Nofisat Adeoye on the achievements of Governor Rauf Aregbesola in the last 7 years, the enabling environment for business to thrive and the need for all and sundry to support him.
Q: Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s administration will on Tuesday clock 7 years in office, is there any reasons to celebrate particularly as it relates to your ministry?
Well, thank you very much for this question, you will discover that, for those of you that are very conversant with the state of Osun, before 2010 when Ogbeni was sworn in as the Governor, you will discover that the state is not the same compared to then, we talk of commerce, of empowerment, we talk of industrialization, we talk of com1mercial activities, you talk of cooperatives development, it’s not the same in the state of Osun, even when you talk of infrastructure, forget it and you should know that there is no any state that will develop without infrastructure, that one is clear, even let’s start, ranging from Agriculture, education, commerce, infrastructure.
You know when Ogbeni was sworn in, he came with my Pact with the people of Osun which has about six integral action plan for the state. What are those things, banishing hunger, banishing poverty, banishing unemployment, functional education, maintaining peace among the communities and large food production.
When you look at this six integral action of the administration , you will discover that if you look round, when we talk of number one; maintaining peace, in Nigeria today, we have been rated as the most secured state. Do you want to talk about the huge amount spent on security, do you want to talk about the armoured personnel carriers, we don’t have all that in the state before, the Governor purchased them, that is security. When you talk of infrastructure, honestly, Mr Governor has performed very well, because there can’t be any development without infrastructure.
When you look at the roads across the state, is it Gbongan to Akoda that you want to talk about, do you want to talk about Olaiya junction, or about the Ilesa axis, if we don’t have roads, there will be no infrastructure and there will be no commercial activities in the state, that is why, even in terms of social amenities, the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has done well.. Look at What he did at freedom park.
Then before this government came to the state of Osun, freedom park was a terrible place, look at what is happening there now, you know before this administration, there was no social activities that you can talk of, everybody will just stay in their homes, no place of adventure, am telling you when you look at Nelson Mandela Freedom park today, right from 5 or 6pm, everybody will get there, they will just sit and relax and all this improves healthy life because some of them will always sit down inside their home, doing nothing before.
Look at that place now, honestly in terms of social amenities, this government has tried, before this Government came in, there was nothing like organized market in the state of Osun, every place was market but now we have Ayegbagu international market, all these will now boost our commercial activities, you know change is permanent, people will resist you but by the time they realize the benefit of what is coming, that is when people will know what this government is actually doing.
When we talk of commercial activities, look at what the Government is doing, look at what we did as far as the introduction of Osuwon Omoluabi is concerned, what are the things that brought that, we discovered that in our markets, they always fight, hard bargaining. We want to remove all those insinuations and look at the concept of that Osunwon Omoluabi, we call it value for money because it is what you purchase that you will actually pay for. Even when you travel abroad or go to supermarket, that is why people prefer to go to supermarket because they don’t want to be involved in hard bargaining, N10 is N10, this one is 1kg, it’s 1kg that you will pay for. But here, when you go to our markets, you will discover that they will use three different bowls for you, all these will not give you value for money and majority of our market women, they always involve in loss because when they purchase some of these goods, they use weight but they are going to sell with their hands, measuring it, how can you get it right? You don’t get it right, It’s either you sell at a loss or you get over profit or you sell exactly what you realize, qand gradually these people will move out of the market because when you sell a carton of fish today, you lose N500, another one tomorrow, instead of you gaining N1,000, you lost another one making N2500 in the course of using hand, by the time you continue this market for about six months, gradually, you are going to move away but if you use weight. If I purchase this item worth 20kg, N20,000, I want to gain N2,500, me that is doing the job because we call it opportunity cost, opportunity cost of working in another place, you must earn income, that opportunity cost that you have left is what you have to sell that fish, you have to reserve salary for that day, by the time you combine everything together, let’s say you want to realize N5, 000 making N25, 000, you now use that one for transportation and all that, you add, by the time you divide it, it’s going to give you probably N1, 000 or so per kg. All these ones, definitely anybody that wants to buy 1kg is N1, 250, your gain is already embedded, your opportunity cost of staying there is already embedded, so before you start selling, your have already calculated what is going to come to your pocket so no matter how any person is closer to you, you cannot sell below that N1, 250 so by the time you continue like that for six months, you would have had enough money to turn over and if you have all these things in place, everybody would want to be a market woman but when you lose, first month, second month, this month, will you be happy to go back?
You will not be happy, people will now say we have been selling for the past six monthsqq, there is no money, there is no market, after all, when I go to the market, I don’t realize my full capital. They will now say you better stay at home, I think that it’s clear. Then when you look at this measurement, honestly, it’s a germane programme and it will improve the commercial activities in the state, people will now go to Osogbo or Osun, in their market, what they are using is Osunwon so when I get there, I will pay for the right quantity at the right price, there will be no cheating. So the market will be will organized.
So is the enforcement going on?
The enforcement is on, you know when you want to make a change, you have to do it through persuasive approach despite the fact that we have what they call Federal Government…because it is under exclusive list. Let me tell you, those people that are selling palm kernel, cocoa, do you know that they sell in weight? You know they have been using scale before I was born. The white people that introduced scale or weighing machine know what they are doing, and the reason we are introducing this thing is because our farmers are not being encouraged to go back to the farm because they cannot place value on what they are producing, if you produce plantain, cassava and all other things that are being produced, you don’t know, you just get to the road and see a bunch of plantain, no measurement, N500, when they get to the market, they will increase it, can you quantify the efforts of the farmer before those things come out?
When you look at cassava, the same thing, all other items, the same, even tomatoes, why is it so? It is so because the white people are not interested, if they are interested, they know where they are buying it. So all these things will not allow the farmer to go back to the farm and that is why they do much of cash crops because that one has weight and a fixed price. So before the end of the year, they know what they are expecting so that is why you will see that it is after the market, they want to do marriage, build houses, they want to do the funeral of their father that died about 20 years ago, so you see people coming up after they must have realize a lot of money from the cash crop.
Q: Osunwon is one of the achievements, another major achievement is Kaadi Omoluabi. There are some reports that this card is only meant for pupils in primary schools, is this true and are the private schools involved?
No, the private schools are not involved, if they are to be, they are not going to collect the cards, they will only biometric them and already public schools are distributing it now, the residents own, you know it involves certain logistics, they are going to distribute the residents own according to their local government, then it involves cash so we have to be very careful with the way we are going to do it, hopefully by next week, they should start distributing it because you know there must be sustainability, the way you do it must be very strategic and how much are they going to pay, N1, 000, the card is not ordinary card, once you put it under the Android, it is going to bring your details, it is a card you cannot fake, all your details are already embedded in the card.
So in the schools, you don’t wear our card, you don’t come to our schools because we want to know who are the original students and the fake students.
Has the process been completed for all students in public schools?
Yes! Majority of them, for instance in Osogbo, nearly all the schools in Osogbo, except new ones that are coming in…….
Q: We are expecting the vice president next week…(Cuts In)
Before you get to that question, there is another thing that this government had seriously made impact which has to do with empowerment, we have done a lot, this government through Osun Micro credit agency, we have disbursed about 3 billion naira to the beneficiaries in the state of Osun. As at yesterday, about 33,000 individuals benefited from the scheme. You know some of these people that your are seeing, if you say you want to banish poverty, you want to banish hunger and unemployment, it’s not when you engage them that you are going to provide job for them, you provide job indirectly.
Q: What do you mean by that?
You know when you empower people, that person will engage two or three other people that will work for them, indirectly, you have created employment. The issue that we have in the state of Osun is that majority of our people do not have anywhere to go, they don’t have little capital to trade with and that is what this government has done by introducing Osun Micro Credit Agency, when you look at what we are doing, you know there is a programme called Quick Impact Programme, QUIP, we have done a lot there, we have spent almost one billion naira in partnership with the bank of industry.
All these ones are there, we have done a lot and this will actually help the so called pastoral farming, you know what I mean by that, you know so those people that just plant, it’s what they can eat that they will produce but now as a result of that assistance, they have improved seriously and this government has done a lot of rural development like constructing rural roads. More than 250 kilometers in the rural areas so that these farmers, when they produce, they will be able to bring their goods into the market, so that is what they call rural transportation.
Look at O’YES, at the end of the day, the federal government hijacked it, that is what they are calling N-Power. Look at the O’meal, I think they are about 3,000 plus that are working and they are happy, look at the impact of that programme, consider what is going to remove in terms of poverty from our people, definitely the O’meal woman will feed the family unlike before so poverty has been reduced from 3,000 plus families using O’meal alone.
Q: That takes us to the question about the visit of the Vice President, distributing cash to about 1,800 people, those benefiting from the MSME ….
Well, if you talk about 1,800, I will disagree with you because what we are actually planning for, we are looking between 3,000 to 8000, you can see that I was calling some people to submit their forms, the micro finance banks are screening them, we upload it to Bank of Industry and they must be credited before the arrival of Mr Vice President. Mr Vice President is just coming to do the formality, because you know without MSME, there can’t be development. Rome was not built in a day so it’s those small and medium scale businesses that will become kings tomorrow so they say charity begins from home so we have to start from the scratch.
You know there are some people they don’t need so much for them to start, those people that are selling pap, what is their capital base, they don’t need up to N20, 000, how much are they selling a bag of maize, that is the capital base they need so before you finish selling, your would have realize more than the amount you started with but if you don’t have that cash in place, what is going to happen to you, it means your will go and buy at credit, when you buy at credit, the price you are going to pay is more than the price carrying cash and you are going to the same market to sell, you cannot say because they have collected your profit in 1advance, you are going to add to your goods, nobody will buy it you want to reduce your own size, nobody will buy. It’s either you allow your own to be little, your can sell quickly so that the man that you collected credit from will not come and embarrass you in the house.
So what Mr Vice President is coming to do is because those are the down trodden people and those are the people that constitute more than 60% of our population. So if they want to say that who are those people that we need to assist, I will say they are the one to be assisted and that is what Mr vice President is coming to do. Then the N500, 000 that will be given to small scale enterprises, they will see them, that will say what they need, it’s like a working capital because whoever wants to benefit from that scheme must have something to showcase so still those ones are there.
So before this morning programme or before this MSME project, the State Government have already done a lot in this regard. I mentioned the issue of 3 billion naira. I mentioned 1 billion naira through quick impact intervention programme, cultural trips that was made to other states during the first regime so all these is what Mr vice President is coming for but he’s coming to officially flag off the program – Government enterprise and empowerment program in the state of Osun.
Then there is another thing that the VP is coming to do, he wants to commission a world class One-Stop shop so that those people that wants to do business, you don’t need to travel before your get the information, the office will be here in this ministry, we are going to have representative of NAFDAC, SON and other regulatory agencies of the Federal government, instead of you going to Akure, they are here so it’s a world class shop so you can get all your information at once so it’s part of what Mr vice President is coming to commission.
You don’t joke with your small scale, there are some factories in Italy, Japan that are not up to this, if you know the turn over of the factory you will be shocked. These are some of the things that the State government is collaborating with the Federal government to bring to the state. You know when you are in a state like this, people will criticize you. Why are they criticizing? Because when they were there, they couldn’t do it; somebody is doing it, they will be like what has he done so they are given to criticisms, if you say that they will not criticize you, it’s a lie, because when they were there, their focus was not the same but the focus of Ogbeni is development.
Q: You said that cheques will be distributed on Tuesday, will there be a follow up afterwards to access how these funds are being used?
That is why we are passing through the Microfinance banks, the Microfinance banks are screening them, if they discover that you have been defaulting through the facilities you took in the past, you won’t be a beneficiary anymore. You can’t eat your cake and have it, it’s not possible.
Q: There is a misconception regarding government developing infrastructure and salaries being owed, what can you say in a nutshell, so that we can put things in the right perspective as regards those who are saying such?
Thank you very much, that question is important, everything is politics, when you are doing good, people will criticize you, when you are not doing well, people will criticize you. Those people that have been deprived of cheating the state, that will definitely make something, it’s normal. Assuming you did not perform, some people will be jubilating, if you are performing, they will not be happy, you have become enemies and the only thing you will continue to pray for anytime your enemy sees you, they should appear sad, what do I mean, when you are performing, it means your enemy will not be happy with you, it means what he is praying for us is not happening but when he’s sad, he will said afterall we have criticized this man, we have done this, we have done this, he’s still performing.
To some enemies, they believe that we won’t be able to continue on this job but to the glory of God, we are doing well, is it in terms of education that you want to talk about, look at all those schools, look at all the roads, the next government will not touch those schools again, he will go and build other ones, yes good to start from where Aregbe stopped. The roads, do you want to reconstruct a good road? You have to go and start your own if you want to make an impact.
What do you want to do at Olaiya junction again, what do you want to do at Alekuwodu to Ita-Olokan? Fantastic road, what do you want to do along Oba Aderemi road, what do you want to do? And people will tell you no, it’s not your job. Those people that were in government that did not remember to do anything, how do your want them to feel, what do you want them to say, they won’t praise you, that they won’t criticize you is a lie and I want to tell you that no government can do this project again because the cost is now enormous, it’s now multiplied by three, who can do this type of secretariat again, nobody, this is one of the best secretariats in the country, this secretariat is not like this before, it was when Ogbeni came that he finished the infrastructure and the landscaping and there was a government here for about seven and half years, they did not remember to do anything, have you not seen the beauty of the secretariat now?
So it bounds to happen because when they were there, they did not do it. are they not going to criticize you? Ahh, what is he doing? But the criticism doesn’t get to their stomach. It’s because when they were there, they did not remember to do it, look at the airport, by the special grace of God, it will reach a reasonable level, when we get there, look at the impact of that airport, you get what am saying because it’s having about 3.5km runway, which means any Cargo plane 1can land so if I know am staying in Ekiti, Kwara I can take my cargo here, the triport is coming to the state which has been approved. When they come to do those kinds of transaction, are they not going to sleep here, are they not going to spend money, what do you call commercial, economic activities