The Legacy Of Osun And FG Sukuk Projects

By Inwalomhe Donald

It is on record that the first set of Sukuk projects emerged from Osun State, hence, the Sukuk projects in Nigeria will ever remain the bequeathed legacy of Governor Rauf Aregbesola who was the first Nigerian to introduce it. He has always maintained that Sukuk projects are purely for business purposes and that the global issuance of it is “expanding with remarkable international reach and driven, in particular, by strong economic growth”, saying it resembles “public-private partnership financing whereby investors finance the assets and then own them which leads to real securitisation (a process of pooling/repackaging the non-marketable assets into tradable certificates of investment) after which they transfer them at maturity to the government”.

President Muhammadu Buhari last year described the newly completed Sukuk steel structure Osogbo Government High school as an educational legacy that should be emulated by other states of the federation, thanking the governor for exposing Nigeria to the Sukuk market which has drawn increasing interest from sovereigns, multilateral institutions, multinational and national corporations both from developed and emerging economies to finance investments in a wide range of economic activities and development projects.

In Osun, Sukuk funds were used to finance construction of education projects, among other development initiatives with which Governor Aregbesola laid a solid foundation for the future of the state which has helped to convince the President. There are eleven High Schools with a total of 72 classrooms, some of which had been completed and others at various stages of completion across the state, all financed with Sukuk bond.

There is clear indication of the growing relevance and importance of the Sukuk market in Osun State which spread to other parts of Nigeria with the growing interest from both emerging and developed jurisdictions and the strategic approaches taken to diversify the funding sources through the market.

The overall direction and potential of the market are certainly well recognized, particularly in its role in contributing towards greater economic development of Osun. There is significant potential for the Sukuk, in particular to fund infrastructure projects. This would contribute towards building deeper and more liquid, efficient and effective global Sukuk market. The dynamism of the market also contributes towards strengthening financial stability and in facilitating the expansion of inter-regional investment flows. As we move towards increasing this internationalisation of Islamic finance, and thus towards greater global financial integration, it will contribute towards a global growth process and financial stability that will be mutually reinforcing. With this calibre of governments following suit to obtain Sukuk, it is now crystal clear that Aregbesola is not just a leader, but a leader that set positive pace globally.

The Federal Government has released the proceeds of the N100 billion Sukuk bond to 25 key economic road projects of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, handed over the cheque to Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola. The offer was oversubscribed at N105.87 billion.

To Mrs Adeosun, “the milestone was a sign of confidence in the Nigerian economy and the administration of President Buhari”, adding that the Sukuk proceeds would unlock Nigeria’s potential.

“This is the first Sukuk bond issuance for the Federal Government and second Sukuk bond in Nigeria because Osun State was the first to issue Sukuk bond in 2013. It is about financial inclusion and deepening of our financial markets. The proceeds will be used to further support government capital spending for 2017 – the construction and rehabilitation of 25 key economic roads across the six geo-political zones of the country.”

The question now is: are there implications of Islamic financing of these roads and their subsequent ownership by the Sukuk holders?  Christians Association of Nigeria fears that the Islamic financial institutions will own the 25 major roads after construction. The answer to that fear is no and Nigerians are eulogizing Aregbesola for introducing Sukuk to Nigeria. ­

There is no doubt about the potentials for using Sukuk as a tool for capital raising and infrastructural development in Nigeria. The Sukuk issuance attracted international acclaim by winning the IFN Africa Deal of the Year Award 2013. The Government of Osun through a wholly owned Special Purpose Company, Osun Sukuk Company Plc issued on the 8th of October, 2013 the first Sukuk in Sub-Saharan Africa worth N11.4 billion to fund the development of 11 High Schools in the  State.

The issuance of the first state Sukuk by Osun Sukuk Company Plc attests to the huge potentials for Islamic Finance in Nigeria, while its subsequent international acclaim creates integrity within the market which has the propensity to promote foreign direct investments. With the right team of professional advisers, it is clear that focusing on substance over form can contribute significantly to the rapid development of the Nigerian economy through the issuance of Islamic Finance products.  Nigeria should not miss out on this opportunity.

 

Workers Like No Other

It gives me great pleasure to be at this unique occasion, a special event on a special day to celebrate and honour workers.

Today’s event is more special in that it will be the last our administration will be celebrating with the workers in the state. However, goodbye is a hated word. Where we are stopping, our successor, who, we pray, will also come from among us, will continue to relate well with workers, by the grace of God.

Going down memory lane, May 1 of every year is an important day set aside to commemorate the Chicago incident of May 4, 1886. That was the horrible day law enforcement agents attempted to violently put down a protest by workers demanding for an eight-hour working day which led to a rowdy situation during which a bomb was hauled at the police. Eight people lost their lives with many injured at the Haymarket Park venue of the rally. Seven radical Labour activists were later sentenced to death with four executed, one committed suicide and the rest served various terms in prison. It was in commemoration of this very ugly incident that international Labour movement set aside this day to celebrate WORKERS worldwide.

In many parts of the world, industrial relations is still far from being cordial as workers still experience one form of injustice or another. You will agree with me, however, that workers have since gone past the Industrial Revolution era characterisation as providers of labour who rely on their brawn in the enterprise equation. Today, the concept that everybody is trying to adapt to is the worker as ‘stakeholder and joint owner’ in any enterprise or organisation.

Indeed, that is what it should be. Without workers, there can be no government. While it is possible in an efficient and well primed system for the government to function without the political functionaries, it is inconceivable that any government can function without workers. You will recall that for more than two years, due to dire financial constraints, I could not form my cabinet, but the government ran smoothly, because the civil service was capable and efficient.

Indeed, workers are the greatest asset of any people. Incontrovertible is the fact that workers are the most viable instrument for ensuring a successful execution of government’s policies and programmes on security, education, environment, health, transport, agriculture, and employment generation, among many others. For this and many more, we appreciate our workers.

I will therefore like to thank all the workers in Osun for their support, steadfastness, sacrifice and unwavering loyalty these past seven years. The workers have been our cutting edge instrument of governance and service delivery. Our infrastructure and human development programmes have been hugely successful because of the workers through their sacrifice, endurance and commitment.

I implore you also to extend the same courtesy to our successor. The saying is apt here that government goes and comes but the civil service remains. The only permanent government structure is the civil service that enjoys a permanent tenure.

I urge you therefore to support the government, but more importantly, be committed to the principles of anonymity, impartiality and patriotism. Let honesty, dedication and commitment to the objectives of governance be your watchword. You are civil servants which means your duty is to serve the people.

As we all know, the tragedy of financial tsunami that befell our nation hampered us from doing as much as we would have loved for our workers. We however did our best, as the situation will permit.

As you are all aware, we have committed more than 80 per cent of the resources of the state to paying salaries, pensions, gratuities and other emoluments of workers. When we came, the monthly wage bill in the state was N1.3billion, but by the time we embarked on modulated salaries, it had risen to N3.6 billion, largely on account of the doubling of minimum wage from N9,000 to N18,000. Monthly pension payment also increased from N250 million to N500 million. Quite paradoxically, our monthly revenue fell from the peak of N5 billion to less than N1 billion and even negative allocation in some months.

But we have exerted ourselves to satisfy workers and ensure every worker gets something at the end of the month. This informed our painful decision to pay modulated salaries to the top echelon of the civil service and political appointees.

Nevertheless, we have recorded many milestones this year. First, we commissioned the ultra modern, newly constructed road from Orita Olaiya to Ita Olokan and named it Workers Drive to honour, to appreciate and celebrate our hard working workers.

Our administration has also lifted the cap on career progression for all workers in the state, especially teachers, who now have opportunity to rise to the apex of service. Consequently, we have appointed nine teachers as Headmasters-General to oversee the Elementary and Middle Schools in each of the nine Federal Constituencies in the state, just as we appointed three Tutors- General to superintend the High Schools in the three Senatorial Districts in Osun.

We have also commissioned a lake resort at the Osogbo secretariat, named after Mrs Oluwakemi Olufunke Kolawole, who was slain last year on her way to Abuja. This is to immortalise her and honour her good memory as a dutiful, dedicated, efficient and loyal public servant.

The brakes have now been lifted from promotion and career progression as we speak. Workers will now be confirmed, converted, promoted and moved to the next level as and when due.

We have also made huge sums available to pay the gratuities of workers, including those on contributory pension scheme, many of whom have since obtained their bond certificate.

The agitation has been rife to increase the minimum wage of workers and negotiation is ongoing in determining what should be the benchmark. I support the demand of workers for good condition of service and improvement in their living condition. However, the solution lies in improved productivity and wealth creation, not just in asking for and getting any amount we want, using the power of collective bargaining and industrial action. The only way we can sustain the government, pay workers and satisfy the larger population is by being productive. Each person must have a surplus from his or her productive effort over consumption. Part of this surplus must go to the government as taxes, levies and rates. The entire workforce of the government must be run as a successful business enterprise in which income is more than expenditure.

No amount should be considered too much to pay if the system can generate it. If we are making enough money to pay workers N100,000 minimum wage, so be it. But we must first be in a position to make the money and have more income than expenditure. This requires that we ask for a realistic amount that our current effort can sustain and then strive to generate the money before we can spend it.

What we have been doing in the past is to spend money we did not earn. We receive money from Abuja every month that we don’t know where it comes from. We spend money because it available, not because we have the capacity to work for it. Nowhere is this ever done without dire consequences.

Now that the bubble has burst and the free money is no longer available, it has been very difficult to pay. It is of utmost importance therefore that we look inwards, use our talents and creativity to improve our revenue base. It is only the money that is available that can be spent. Our nation has the least GDP to internally generated revenue ratio in the world. This must change in our bid to create wealth and improve the living condition of our people.

  • Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Osun Governor, gave this remarks in Osogbo at the 2018 Workers’ Day

FRSC Records 42 Deaths From 27 Road Mishaps In Osun

The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC says 42 lives were lost in 27 road accidents that occurred in Osun State in March.

The FRSC Sector Commander in the state, Mr Anthony Oko, made this known in Osogbo on Monday.

Oko said that the accidents, which were recorded in different locations in the state, involved 198 persons, out of which 101 victims sustained various degrees of injuries, while others were unhurt.

He said that most of the accidents were due to speeding, poor condition of the roads and sometimes failure by motorists to comply with road traffic rules and regulations.

The official, who blamed the accidents on human errors, recklessness and impatience on the part of drivers, advised motorists to always operate within the road safety guidelines while driving.

Oko said, however, that the commission issued 1,273 driver’s license to motorists in the month under review, while 173 traffic offenders were educated after they were apprehended.

He warned that the commission continues to apprehend drivers without valid drivers’ licence.

According to him, FRSC personnel had been directed to work round-the-clock to apprehend and prosecute traffic offenders to prevent unnecessary loss of lives and property on the roads.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Good News For Retiree

Of recent, it has become crystal clear that the government of Osun is highly committed to the welfare of both retired and serving officers of government in the state.

That indication emerged recently when the National Pension Commission (NPC) categorically stated that Osun and only 11 other states in Nigeria have been remitting the proceeds from the Contributory Pension Scheme.

This is a good news for workers in the state of Osun, particularly for workers who are preparing for retirement.

When the people were still living in this euphoria, another good news came that the government has begun the payment of pensions by giving cheque to 2,006 pensioners, particularly those that have perfected their retirement documents.

Also, on Tuesday the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola commissioned a 2.8kilometer Ola Iya/Odi Olowo/Ita Olokan road and named it Workers’ Drive.

No doubt these demonstrations by the government were clearly against the accusation that the government is not committed to the welfare of workers in the state.

While I congratulate the workers and the retirees for these developments, I believe that the government still needs to show more commitment to strengthen the confidence of the people in the government.

Osun 2018 Countdown: 197 Days To Go!

Analysis By Osun Defender’s Data Analyst, Ojenike Oluwadamilola.

Merging Of Previous Elections Results To Evaluate And Project

The graphics below show the aggregate of the merger of total votes cast by registered voters which decided the outcome of the presidential and governorship elections in 2015 and 2014 respectively. The charts show that approximately 2/3 of the voters participating supported the APC in both the presidential and state governorship elections in Osun State merged and weighted together to get an aggregate.

It also shows that in deciding the next presidential and governorship elections, the PDP with 1/3 of the votes will need massive effort to overturn this aggregation of past voting trends and results. Significantly, the APC has been involved in a structured drive of new voters in the ongoing voters’ registration exercise, with a rather dismal response from PDP and the ‘’third parties’’. Our own projection at this stage is that a Generic APC candidate is way ahead of the pack. As British Prime Minister Harold Wilson is often quoted as observing, “A week is a long time in politics’’. As we go along, we will look at other factors that might change the settled equation and affect the projections.

 

LG poll: A Massive Triumph For Osun – APC

THE All Progressives Congress in the state of Osun has described its victory at last Saturday council polls as a massive triumph for the people and the state of Osun, and one big step forward for the popular desire of Nigerians to revert to parliamentary democracy.

In a statement from the Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy, signed by its Director, Kunle Oyatomi Esq., and made available to the media in Osogbo today, the party congratulated the people for the emphatic statement they got across to the haters of progress in Osun that ‘the people know what they want and they will not allow themselves to be deceived by the shenanigans of the opposition.

According to the party, ‘beyond the electoral victory, is the political step forward into the less expensive parliamentary democracy, which will now start in Osun’s local government setting for the first time in 52 years since our parliamentary democracy was destroyed by the military in 1966.
‘When the import of this election will be addressed in the history books in the future, the state of Osun will be celebrated as a catalyst for the return of parliamentary democracy if not in Nigeria, certainly in Yorubaland, the APC said.

‘Those who objected to the development met their waterloo in the court and owing to their obsession for retaining the presidential system, they shot themselves in the foot, anticipating victory at the court by not registering to participate in the election. They miscalculated so badly that it turned out a double tragedy for them’, the APC argued.

‘And as God would have it against the PDP and its co-travellers, their double tragedy translated into double massive victory for the APC and the people of Osun’, the party celebrated.
The APC therefore thanked the people for their support, loyalty and appreciation of all the good things that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, the government he leads and the party have done to bring this state from the doldrums in which the PDP left it, to the pacesetter it has become today.
‘Whatever the opposition parties are saying about the election, is symptomatic of ‘the grapes are sour’ mentality.

‘Those who love to hate will ultimately hate themselves in failure and deceit. That is the fate of the PDP and its opposition partners’, the APC concluded.

Expert Harps On Safe Handling Of Lubricants, Petrochemical

Trains 49 NUPENG/Engine Oil Dealers

In an effort to grease the wheel of economic development and safe handling of petrochemical, over 49 NUPENG/Engine Oil dealers have received training for development.

Speaking at the one day training workshop, the plant manager of Polar Petrochemical Company, Ilorin, Mr. Olajide Adetoyi noted that the training programme shows part of the company’s effort to increase the participants knowledge in petrochemical and allied products.

He stressed that it is also to ensure that the company do not only produce quality but engages in the production of internationally acceptable products.

Mr Adebisi contended that the company wouldalso ensure that the standards and qualities are sustained even after the products must have left the factory until it gets to the final consumers.

The training which theme was “Lubricant” gave the marketing manager the avenue to stress that lubricant is a substance used to reduce friction and wear of the surfaces in a contact of the bodies in relative motion.

He urged participants to make use of the knowledge gained during the training to improve their individual businesses.

He equally asked them to deliver the company’s vision to become an organisation that matters in the society.

Present at the workshop are the Marketing Manager, Mr. Adekunle Adebisi and Mr. Richard Tolowoye, a Senior Manager and several others.

 

Festive Season: AGF Felicitates With Christians

By Nofisat Adeoye

A socio-political organization, Asiwaju Grassroot Foundation, has Felicitated with Christian residents of Osun State on the celebration of Christmas and New Year.

In a release signed by its Coordinator, Tijani Sikiru and Secretary, Comrade Adeniji Yahaya, the group wished the people of the state many happy returns of the season.

AGF also urged the Christians to imbibe the lessons of the period and follow the good examples laid by Jesus Christ.

Lamenting over the current fuel scarcity which has dulled the period, AGF implored Christians to be thankful for the gift of life and still enjoy the period in any little way possible.

“From all of us at AGF, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We pray the coming year marks the beginning of great things in our lives and our society.”

Aregbesola Flags Off Olumirin Access Road: Assures Citizens of Improved Economy

Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has reiterated his commitment towards making life more meaningful to the people in a bid to making tourism a money spinning venture and ecotourism accessible to tourists all over the world in order to boost the economy of the host community and the State in general.

Ogbeni Aregbesola who was represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Culture and Tourism, Mrs Taiwo Oluga made this remarks at Erin-Ijesa during the flags off ceremony of access road to Olumirin Water Falls.

The Governor explained that provision of access road is a major criterion for consideration before a tourism site is recognised and when the road is completed, a lot of unimaginable transformation will definitely come to Erin-Ijesa and its environment in terms of socio-economic and cultural-tourism activities.

Ogbeni Aregbesola said his administration has made easy the task of tourists at Olumirin Water Falls by constructing the Pedestrian bridge to ease the ascension and dissension of tourists and aesthetics to attract visitors and researchers.

The Governor who said this is happening at a time when MKO Abiola International Airport, Ido-Osun is being put in place thereby making the arrival of tourists to Olumirin Water Falls from around the world an easy one.

He therefore thanked the management of International Breweries Plc, Ilesa for the construction of Garden Parks at the site as part of her Corporate Social Responsibility while appealing to the people to pay their taxes and other levies, so as to make government provide more infrastructural development to the State.

Also speaking, Chairman Osun State House of Assembly House Committee on Home Affairs, Tourism and Culture, Hon. Olasunkanmi Akinola, Chairman House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Kamil Oyedele and Hon. Israel Aloba appreciated the governments’ gesture and appealed for the continued support to Aregbesola’s administration.

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman Osun Tourism Board and Authority, Engr Abimbola Daniyan thanked the Governor for his commitment to tourism development in the State.

In his brief on the project, the Project Coordinator, Office of Water Resources, Rural Development and Community Affairs, Engr. Adelere Oriolowo said the intervention of the RAMP which is to make life meaningful to rural dwellers has impacted positively in Osun through the commitment of Mr Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. He then assured all that, the road will be completed by January, 2018 and all bridges will be done to standard with asphaltic lane.

In his address, the royal host, Oba (Dr) Engr Isaac Adeyeba Ayeni, Okin Oloro 2nd of Erin -Ijesa who was visibly happy thanked the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his support and commitment to making Olumirin Water Falls the desired place for every tourist. He therefore appealed to the government, to provide security post and health centre along the site for the safety of visiting tourists.

Highlights of the event were cultural entertainment by Osun Cultural Troupe and site tour of the vicinity.

Osun Presents N1.6 Billion Bond Certificates To 234 Retirees

The government of the State of Osun has presented Bond certificates worth over N 1.6 billion to 234 retirees from the state civil service who participated in the Contributory Pension Scheme while in service.

 

Governor, Rauf Aregbesola represented by the Permanent Secretary, Local Government Pension Bureau, Mr Kayode Afolabi presented the certificates at the Local Government Service Commission Multipurpose Hall, Government Secretariat, Osogbo during the week. According to Afolabi, the formal presentation marked the fifth batch of the pension bond certificate distribution to the retirees by the state government in compliance with the contributory pension scheme.

 

Out of the 234 beneficiaries, 137 were drawn from Primary Schools while 97 retirees were drawn from the local government service. Afolabi explained that the presentation of the total  N1,682,261,706.75 was a confirmation of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s commitment to the welfare of the retirees, adding that the governor is highly sensitive to the plight of the pensioners, who have served the state meritoriously.

 

He added that despite the paucity of fund, the governor has promised to ensure that the bond certificate will be a continuous exercise to ameliorate the suffering of the pensioners and assured that all the retiree will collect their legitimate earnings. The permanent secretary admonished beneficiaries to make judicious use of their earnings. The pension bureau had earlier organised a brief seminar about the bond for the beneficiaries to have a better understanding of the disbursement process and conditions attached to the bond in accordance with the contributory regulation policies.

 

One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Mukaila Adedeji commended the state governor for his determination to put smiles on the face of retirees despite the daunting economic realities. A contributory pension scheme is a federal and state governments policy adopted to assist civil servants in saving for retirement and old age.

Residents Berate IBEDC Over Blackout

Residents of Communities affected by the blackout in Olorunda and Osogbo Local Government Council Areas of the State of Osun have berated the management of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company for paralysing commercial activities in their areas. It would be recalled that some communities in the affected local governments including Testing ground, Orita Sabo, Aderin, Oluode, Ayetoro, part of Owode, Iludun, Oke Odo, Kola-Balogun and Atelewo have been without electricity supply since the 5th day of September 2017 a situation that made living difficult for them.

 

According to a resident, Mrs Sadiat Idowu “since the electricity has been faulty, I cannot express how tough life has been for me, because I am mostly surviving on selling cold drinks like water, soft drinks and since the blackout issue over a month now, it has been very difficult to make ends meet”. Another resident who pleaded anonymity also condemned IBEDC, saying it has caused his business a lot of damage being the owner of a frozen store at Oluode market.

 

“I cannot quantify the amount of loss I have incurred since the blackout even with the fact that I operate on generator daily, I still record a lot of damaged product. The situation is just very pathetic for many of us who own businesses in the affected communities”, the source added. A technician affected by the situation, Mr Sunday Oni also stated that the blackout has rendered his business redundant and has made life difficult for his family as he has been unable to fend for them for three weeks.

 

Another resident also said, “It is very unpleasant and difficult for me to live without electricity because I cannot be sleeping in darkness and as a result of this, I cannot estimate what I have spent on petrol everyday”. The Baale of Aderin community, Alfa Waheed Salam charged the management of IBEDC to as a matter of urgency come to the aid of the affected communities by speeding up work on the replacement of the damaged conductors, with a view to making life more conducive for the masses.

 

He added that the lack of electricity on the transmission lines has been leading to stealing of cables in some areas which would eventually lead to other expenses if power is eventually restored to the areas. The various residents of the affected communities also pleaded with the appropriate authorities to implore IBDEC management not to abandon the communities in perpetual darkness for the sake of security of lives and properties in the respective communities.