Osun To Pay NYSC Members Allowance Arrears

The State Government of Osun has directed all relevant agencies in the state to begin ‎necessary processes and modalities for offsetting the arrears of the monthly stipend owe past and present members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who served (and are still serving) in Osun.

The government also directed tax collecting agencies in the state to use all means necessary to obtain cooperation of professional groups in paying their taxes and enforce all relevant laws on taxation.

The directive was contained in a statement issued and made available to journalists in Osogbo, by the Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr Sola Fasure, after the end of the weekly ‎State Executive Council meeting, held at Executive Council Chamber, Governors Office, Osogbo.

The Council frowned at the way and manner at which some professional groups in the state have not been cooperating with the state’s tax administrators, saying no effort would be spared in ensuring that taxable organisations and individuals are made to meet their civic responsibilities.

The Council called on the organisations and individuals doing business in Osun to begin to realise that taxation is the basis of government sustenance and that the State Government was fully determined to collect its revenue to the last kobo and bring the full weight of the law to bear on any defaulter.

According to the statement, “Council examined the report on outstanding allowance of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, past and present, posted to Osun, and directed that the processes and modalities for offsetting the arrears be started immediately.

“Council also received report that some professional groups in the state have not been co-operating with the state’s tax administrators. It condemned the act of non-payment of tax and urged the groups to cooperate with the tax agencies and obey the state’s tax laws forthwith.

“Council urged all organisations and individuals doing business in Osun to realise that taxation is the basis of government sustenance and the State Government of Osun is fully determined to collect its revenue to the last kobo and bring the full weight of the law to bear on any defaulter.

‎‎The state condemned in its entirety the un-hygienic culture among some residents in the state, saddened over the reports that some residents have been adamant and have continued to dump refuse on road medians in major cities in the state, in spite of government’s efforts at clearing them regularly.

Council held that if dumping of refuse at the median is not stopped, it is capable of reversing the gains made by government in ridding the state of filth.

‎According to the statement, “Council consequently directed law enforcement agencies, particularly the Civil Defence Corps, sanitary inspectors and members of community development associations in the state to apprehend these saboteurs and make them to face the full wrath of the law.

“The governor was commended by Council on his presentation of the 2018 budget to the State House of Assembly – for the people friendliness of the budget in conception and his detailed explanation of all the issues and ideas behind the facts and figures.

“The governor was also commended by council on how he handled the industrial action embarked upon by labour unions in the state, particularly for granting their demands satisfactorily and limiting work boycott by workers to four days”.

 

Osun Workers Declares Support For Aregbesola

Workers in the state of Osun have declared their supports for the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, commending him for his commitment to the welfare of the civil servants.

The workers who spoke through the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Joint Negotiation Council (JNC), among others lauded the governor for acceding to the demands of the workers without stress.

Led by Chairman of the JNC, Comrade Bayo Adejumo and TUC Chairman, Comrade Adebowale Adekola, the workers said they understood and felt the pains of the governor on his inability to pay full salary owing to the financial predicament of the state.

The labour leaders spoke at the Interdenominational Prayer organized by the state government for year 2018.

According to the workers, the recent industrial dispute in the state was not as a result of opposition to the Aregbesola’s administration but to ensure that the workers’ interest was protected and secured before and after the governor’s tenure.

The workers stated that Aregbesola has demonstrated good gesture as a workers friendly governor with some of his welfare packages for the workers, recalling that he was the first governor to pay 13th month salary to the workers in the state.

The labour leaders said: “We want to commend Governor Rauf Aregbesola for the harmonious relationship between the labour and the state government.

“Aregbesola is the first governor in the history of the state to pay 13th month salary to workers when the state was financially okay. He increased the workers car loan, without demand, from N250, 000 to about N1million. There are many good packages the governor provided for the workers without asking.

“Before the state ran into financial problem, he paid salary on or before 24th of every month. We understood the governor’s predicament, and we are in support of his government. The last labour dispute was not because we want to fight the governor but just to secure the interest of the workers.

“The industrial dispute is because of what happened in Ondo State where Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said he did not owe the workers who were owed several months salary by previous administration. We don’t want our case to be like that in Osun; that is why put up our demands.

“We commend the governor for granting the request of the workers in the shortest time, despite the financial quagmire of the state.”

Responding, Aregbesola commended the workers for their supports, sacrifice and understanding, saying that he was unhappy not being able to pay salary regularly.

Aregbesola urged the workers not to abuse the right to protest by forcing other workers who are not being owed and those that are not supposed to go on strike out of their offices.

He maintained that the financial crisis was responsible for the inability of the government to buy official vehicles for the Commissioners, Special Advisers and members of the House of Assembly.

The governor said there was end in sight for the paucity of fund in the state, describing 2018 as a year of breakthrough.

 

Aregbesola Says He Is On Home Run, Pledges To Worthy Successor

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, aggregated his two-term administration in the past seven years as a reign of unbroken people-centred government in the history of the state.

Aregbesola gave this verdict in his last New Year address to the people of the state early on Monday, marking the beginning of a New Year.

The Governor, in an address entitled: ‘Homerun with Honour and Dignity’, said his administration in the last seven years, strived to bring people-centred progressive governance to the state.

He said the evidence of this progressive trend in governance are visible in his policies and programmes such as youth empowerment,  care for vulnerable senior citizens and women empowerment, agriculture development, industrialisation, infrastructure development, education, job creation, human development, water resources development, urban renewal and so on.

According to him, these programmes have subsequently transformed Osun and projected it positively beyond what was on ground pre-Aregbesola’s regime.

He attributed the success his administration has record so far to the support his government received from all stakeholders involved in governance, saying the administration has ‘served maximally and given our best.’

He held that Osun has now become the reference point in prudent management of resources and responsible governance.

He stated that last Thursday, the budget he presented was the consolidation  of all the efforts of his government and it would represent the crowning glory of its achievements, adding that the budget would be fully implement to the last kobo.

He averred that to achieve total implementation of the budget, “There must be a clear departure from the past of dependency on allocation from the federation account. It is imperative that we generate our own revenue.

“This requires that we all work hard. The collective wealth of the state is the aggregate of what everyone contributes and we can only be economically and financially safe when everyone produces more than he or she consumes.

“All of us should pay our taxes, rates, levies, fees, fines and other financial obligations to the state. From our population, if one million of us productively engaged can contribute N250 for 20 days in a month, we will be able to raise N5 billion. This will enable us comfortably pay our workers and pensioners full salaries, run the government, provide infrastructure and carry out social protection services for all the people.

“All the things we desire like good roads, functional education, recreational facilities, security of life and property and a conducive environment for the pursuit of happiness and so on can best be provided by the government. No individual or private organisation can provide them to the satisfaction of all the people.

“This is why we all need to support the government by fulfilling our financial obligations to it in order for it to be able to carry out all its projects satisfactorily too.

“Yes, there could be irresponsible government who would rather serve themselves than serve the people but we must still support the state as the symbol of our collective aspiration. To prevent irresponsible administration, we need productivity, vigilance and patriotism.

“What we are going through now is the consequence of the bad choices we made in the past and except we change course by doing the right thing, by being productive and financially support the government and above all, vigilantly monitor its activities, there is no magic wand anywhere and the situation might get worse.

“We therefore count on you to get the maximum support from you till the very end, for us to be able to give you our maximum best.”

The Governor disclosed that his administration would bequeath a befitting successor, who is capable of continuing where his own government will end by November this year.

Aregbesola however, sounded a note of warning to the people of the state as the state entered the election year that some political desperado, who were hell bent on precipitating crisis and mayhem will want to aid some misguided individuals to cause chaos and disaffection among the people.

He continued: “We support the democratic expression of grievances through peaceful protests and other legitimate means.

“Nevertheless, all form of social agitation, be it economic, political or social, must not be done to the detriment of others. We have the mandate and strong intention to protect the right of others to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and go about their lawful duties without molestation, let or hindrance.

“This is the last New Year message our administration will pass to you as our tenure will end onNovember 26. Therefore, I will like to say from the bottom of my heart that it has been a great privilege to serve the good people of Osun. I cherish your love, fierce patriotism, courage and forthrightness. You are a great people.

“This is an election year in which our tenure will end and a successor must emerge. It is my solemn promise that we will not leave in a vacuum.

“In consultation with our leaders and the member of our great party, we will careful select and present to you a successor that belongs to our political tradition of progressive people oriented leadership, a person of integrity, who shares our aspirations and will take governance to the next level from where we stopped.

“I want you therefore to conduct yourselves with the same dignity and courage of Omoluabi – a people whose conscience and soul cannot be bought, that cannot be intimidated with guns and dogs and who stand firm behind the progressive rock of political leadership.

I must commend and thank you all most sincerely from my heart for your kind support, for the sacrifice, understanding and the willingness to do and support what is right, and not what is convenient, in the past seven years.

The governor then thanked all those who made him to succeed in administering the state in the past seven years. “I must in particular thank all the workers in the state who have laboured with us for the successful implementation of our programmes and are therefore part and parcel of our success story, especially those who have had to endure 75 per cent and 50 per cent salary regime since July 2015.

“I thank most immensely the women and their groups, market women and men, traders, artisans, workers, retirees, students, transporters, commercial motorcyclists, employers of labour, organised private sector, the business community, financial institutions, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, youth organisations, security agencies, the media, political parties, opposition members, traditional rulers, community leaders and religious organisations and their leaders.”

 

Your Own Aare Ona Kakanfo Must Not Seek War But Promote Peace; Aregbesola Tells Gani Adams

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has charged the Aare Ona kakanfo designate, Otunba Ganiyu Adams to use the office to promote regional integration, peace, unity and love among the black race and not the promotion of war.

The Governor gave the admonition while playing  host to Otunba Adams who was in Osun to formally invite the governor to his inauguration as the 15th Aare Onakakanfo of Yourubaland, at Government House, Osogbo.

Aregbesola called on Aare Ona Kakanfo designate to use his office and the new position to advance the interest of Yoruba people and their culture.‎

‎He charged him to rally round Yorubas with his position so as to understand that progress, development, wealth creation and happiness are the issues they must all embrace.

Aregbesola urged Adams to promote the peace, progress and development of the Yoruba race, stating that the issue of regional integration of the race should also be placed on the front burner once he assumes office.

He explained that the time has come where the peace, progress and economic advancement of the yoruba race should be the target of any leader that has the love of the people at heart.

The Governor also charged Adams on the need to chat a course that will make Yorubas all over the world begin to see themselves as a people ready to lead black race for all round growth and development.

He urged the incoming Aare Onakakanfo to use his office to mobilise the Yorubas for productivity, noting that it is only through this that the Yoruba nation and its people will begin to see themselves as the leaders of the black race who can tell the world that the black man has a mission.

According to him, “War is a negative phenomenon, it is destructive, it is bitter, it is cruel and it must therefore not be promoted by anyone. It must be condemned, rejected and discarded.

“So you are not the Aare Ona Kakanfo to seek war and you must not seek war. We are not therefore celebrating you as the war general to precipitate crisis but your own general must promote peace, harmony, love and collaboration among the Yoruba people.

“You must join all progressive elements, leaders and people of our land to unite us, to combine us and to ensure that whatever differences we have are properly analyzed and resolved so as to focus ‎on development both physically and socially.

“Regional integration therefore must be your watchword. You must do your best in promoting integration of our people in their various political divides such as political divide of ideologies, boundaries and interest‎s.

“You must rally round Yorubas with your position to understand that progress, development, wealth creation and happiness are the issues we must all embrace.

“Your office must seek for a united effort to elevate and promote humanity, hence, you must support all the progressive forces in Yorubaland to rally Yoruba people for productivity and through that mobilize Nigerian people for higher mobility and productivity.

“Once Nigerians are fully mobilized, our resouces and size will be promoted toa new high of global domination in this world.I am not in anyway afraid that you will champion this and play your own part to promote humanity”, Aregbesola urged. ‎

Earlier in his remarks, the Aare Ona Kakanfo designate, Otunba Gani Adams commended Governor Aregbesola for  moving Osun forward despite the harsh economic situation in the country.

He said he is proud to be associated with a man of the people like Aregbesola, noting that his position has been used to turn around the economy of the state.

Adams said he decided to come to Osun to personally invite the Osun governor to his inauguration which comes up in January 13, 2018 as he believes in his leadership.

According to him, I am proud of you. I am proud to be associated with you. You have made us proud. You have been able to do much despite the harsh economic situation.

“Though I am here to invite you to my inauguration and to pay homage to our people but as a gennuine leader with which your personality epitomize, I am happy to be at home.

“I must commend you for the matured manner in which you have  been able to steer the state”, he added.

Osun Launches Four New Health Programmes

It was a carnival-like atmosphere at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo, as the government of the State of Osun flagged-off a four-in-one programme of health activities embarked upon by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

The four-in-one programme is a combination of sensational events which includes; Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results; December edition of the Maternal Newborn and Child Healthcare Week; Sustainable Development Goals and distribution of 12,500 Mama kits for pregnant women in the state.

In his address, the governor harped on the need for family planning amongst parents in the state.

His advocacy was based on the fact that Nigeria with a population of 193 million people was on the brink of population explosion.

According to him, “in the next few years, Nigeria with a population of 193 million people will be the 3rd most populated country in the world after China and India.

“In order to help control the level of population growth which is fast overtaking the resources available to cater for such growth, government should encourage family planning to achieve optimum development”.

Aregbesola made it known that no religion kicked against family planning, as it is a worlwide phenomena that the rate of population growth globally was unprecedented.

He also stated that as part of the efforts of his government towards encouraging family planning, he was distributing 12,500 Mama Kits for pregnant women all over the state.

Meanwhile, in a bid to boost health of its citizens, the Aregbesola administration has embarked on the repair of health centres spread across the state and ensured that free health care is the bedrock of the government’s health policy.

In his welcome address, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu stated that the ‘Save One Million Lives Programme for Results’ was a federal government programme supported by the World Bank which focuses on maternal and child health.

He said: “About 900,000 children and mothers die every year in Nigeria largely from preventable diseases. The Save One Million Lives Programme for Results (SOML PforR) is designed to drive the institutional process needed in saving mothers and children from avoidable deaths.

“The programme is designed to catalyse change in the way health business is done by focusing on results rather than the inputs”.

Isamotu revealed that the aim of SOML PforR was to promote competition in the day to day activities, assuring that the programme would be used to rate the performance of health workers and facilities.

He also revealed that an award for the best performing health facility and the best performing local government in the state had been instituted.

“SOML PforR was also to objectively increase the utilisation and high quality impact reproductive, child health and nutrition interventions”, he stressed.

For the Maternal Newborn and Childcare Week (MNCHW), he said communities would be utilised as a means of incurring coverage of simple, but effective, positive interventions such as childhood immunisation, vitamin A supplementation, nutrition assessment and de-worming.

“During the MNCHW, health workers from public health facilities are expected to visit remote villages to provide these basic health services. Communities living closer to these health facilities are expected to visit the health facilities nearest to them to receive these services.

“MNCHW is a weeklong activity, conducted twice a year, aimed at strengthening the routine services at health facilities while harnessing the excitement and energy of a campaign”.

The Commissioner maintained that MNCHW represented an opportunity to increase demand for preventive and primitive services and also to bring services closer to communities, thereby yielding quick wins in terms of immunisation and vitamin A coverage.

“The achievements of SOML PforR in the state according to Isamotu include; repair of cold chain system to aid immunisation programmes; support LLINs replacement campaign in the state and the routine distribution of LLINs; training of health workers on modern daily family planning methods, malaria eradication campaign and skilled birth attendance.

Others are; “Provision of HIV test kit to all the primary healthcare facilities towards Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) of HIV; procurement of Mama Kits for distribution to health facilities; integration of supportive supervision to the health facilities towards ensuring quality service delivery.

“The essence of the Mama kits is to encourage pregnant women to deliver in public health facilities across the state so as to ensure their safe delivery. This will go a long way in preventing Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)”.

In respect of the matching order given for the establishment of the State Health Insurance Scheme to ensure achieving Universal Health Coverage and reduce pocket expenditure in health, Isamotu assured the Governor that the assignment would be fulfilled with the birth of the State Health Insurance Agency before the end of 2017.

He also thanked the Governor for his doggedness in ensuring the birth of the state Primary Health Care Development Board which has brought all the Primary Health Centres in the state under one roof.

A Frolic On The Red Sea, By Femi Adesina

 a gust of chilly wind that said Akwaaba (welcome, in Ghanaian language) to me in the Jordanian city of Aqaba, that night of December 1, 2017. We had flown for about five hours from Abuja, as President Muhammadu Buhari was to attend a summit on combating terrorism in West Africa, convened by King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The presidential plane touched down at King Hussein International Airport at 8.15 p.m local time (7.15 p.m Nigerian time) and a cold embrace was what Aqaba offered. It was winter, and the city gripped you in a forceful bear hug that was icy cold. Nobody taught me before I made a dash for the vehicle that was to take me into the city.

I had checked the weather condition online before we left Nigeria. I was told 11 degrees cold. I was ready, but nearly not ready enough. That cold hug was more like six degrees. Incidentally, that turned out to be the only very cold evening, till we left Jordan three days later.

Three state governors-those of Osun, Kogi, Niger- had accompanied the President on the trip. I was in the same car with Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. Did the protocol people know that this was my own very governor, or it was mere coincidence? Well, we had a good conversation as we rode into the city. The governor talked about the historical significance of Aqaba, how some ceasefire had been negotiated in the city in the past, how it is the economic nerve centre of Jordan, how the country has no petroleum or many other mineral resources but was quite prosperous, and above all, how Jordan was an oasis of peace in a region characterised by almost perpetual turmoil. I was intrigued, and decided to write a travelogue after the trip.

So, this piece you are reading, was inspired by my discussion with Gov Aregbesola of the State of Osun, during the 15 minutes ride from the airport to the Intercontinental Resort, Aqaba.

Presidential trips are normally busy, very, very busy, as you have to keep Nigerians back home and those in the Diaspora updated on the activities of their President. But this trip was peculiar, in that it was about security, and not everything needed be reported. There was, therefore, some time for leisure. I used it. Wouldn’t you?

My room at the hotel overlooked the Red Sea. You only needed to draw your curtains (which I did on Saturday morning) and you were confronted by the majesty of the sea, with the waters shimmering in the early morning sun. The poet, John Keats, had written about feasting one’s eyes on the glory of the sea.

“O ye that have your eyeballs vext and tir’d,
Feast them upon the wideness of the sea.
O ye whose Ears are dinned with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody-
Sit ye near some old Cavern’s mouth and brood,
Until ye start as if the Sea Nymphs quired.

And that was what I did. I feasted my eyes on the wideness of the sea. It was blue, expansive, as far as the eyes could see.

Blue? But this one was supposed to be red. Well, in 2011, I had visited Israel, and while heading for the Taba border to cross into Egypt, for an expedition to Mount Sinai, I had passed by the Red Sea. It was blue, and I had taken our tour guide to task. This was how I conveyed the explanation in a piece published in Daily Sun on December 2, 2011:

“But is that sea really red? Not actually. Why is it then called the Red Sea? The water is actually bluish, as in any other sea, but the surrounding mountains are brown in colour, something like the hue that is called ox blood. So, in the afternoon hours, when the sun is at its peak, the mountains cast a reflection on the waters. The incandescence turns the waters almost red….So, what better name for the sea? The Red Sea.”

Since there was some time on our hands, before the bilateral meeting between President Buhari and King Abdullah II, on Saturday, I called some of the media people on the trip: Abiodun Oladunjoye, a deputy director in the Media Department of State House, Ismaila Chafe of News Agency of Nigeria, Rashidat Yusuf of Mitv, and her camera man, Kelvin Okeke. “Let’s go tour the city!” They were game.

We trooped into a bus, accompanied by a guide named Mustapha Abughalion. For the next hour, we were footloose in Aqaba, seeing many points of interest.

First port of call was the bank of the Red Sea. Aqaba is a desert city. In fact, it is said that it experiences rainfall only about twice or thrice a year, but God has compensated with the Red Sea, which brings some moistness to the atmosphere. And the sea is the source of commerce for the country. Different holiday resorts dot the long coastline, and these are patronized by people from all over the world. In 2010 alone, it is on record that Jordan received over 8 million visitors. Aqaba was also named the Arab Tourism City for 2011.

There is also the Port of Aqaba, which is the only one in Jordan. It was rated as Best Container Terminal in Middle East by Lloyd’s List in 2006, and we saw brisk business going on there.

Jordan is located on the tip of the Red Sea, between Asia, Europe and Africa. Aqaba is in southernmost Jordan, with a population of about 200,000 people. Another major city and capital of the country, Amman, has about 4 million people. In a country of about 9 million, Jordanians are five million, while the rest is made of people from Palestine, Syria and Iraq, most of whom came as refugees. Jordan is quite hospitable.

Aqaba is neat, squeaky clean. Street sweepers are seen on duty, picking even the tiniest specks. The traffic is very sane, with disciplined drivers. No stress.

A city called Petra is a World Heritage Site. Other tourist attractions, about 100,000 nationwide, include the Dead Sea, near Amman, the River Jordan itself, where Jesus was baptized, in fact, Jordan has been custodian over some holy sites in Jerusalem since 1924.

The two main world religions, Christianity and Islam, have venerated sites in Jordan. Al-Maghtais is believed to be the site where Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan, while Mount Nebo, Madaba and Machaerus, are also in the country. Moab, Ammon, and Edom, in biblical times, were located in today’s Jordan.

Archaeologists have found what is believed to be the site of the world’s oldest church in the country. It dates back to 3rd Century AD, slightly older than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Both date back to 4th Century AD.

Though Jordan is about 98% Muslims, there is an indigenous Christian minority, about 5,000 of whom live in Aqaba. The city has several churches, and one Christian school, Rosary Sisters School.

Among holy Islamic sites in Jordan are shrines of Prophet Muhammed’s companions (Peace be upon him) like Abd Allah ibn Rawahah, Zayd ibn Harithah, and Muadh ibn Jabal.

Aqaba is about 20 minutes away from Saudi Arabia, and we drove till we were five kilometres away, before turning. One could see the longing in Rashidat Yusuf’s eyes. She would have given anything to be able to get into Saudi, and perhaps, do a quick Umrah. Some other time, Hajiya.

Surrounded by tumultuous countries, bordered directly by Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iraq and Syria, how come Jordan is so safe? Apart from the November 9, 2005 bombing of three hotels in Amman by Al-Qaeda, killing 60 people and injuring 115, there have been no incidents. Internal security is quite high, and Jordan has good relationship with the West. It also has a peace treaty with Israel. King Abdullah II is known as a man of peace.

Health care in Jordan is world class. In fact, medical tourism yielded over 1 billion dollars in 2010. Jordan is rated top in the region, and 5th world overall.

I had some options in my spare time on the third day. I could go scuba-diving, or take a cruise on the Red Sea. Scuba-diving? I shouldn’t be like the cricket that got so well fed, and burst its own tummy. Any form of diving was ruled out. You go diving so faraway from home, and mischief happens to you, the wailing wailers would have a field day, laughing till they fainted.

With Oladunjoye and Chafe, we paid for a cruise in a glass boat on the Red Sea. Why is it called glass boat? The bottom is made of glass, so you could look at the seabed. One could see all sorts of creatures in the sea, the flora and fauna. We saw different species of fishes, water snakes, sea turtle, sea weed, wreckage of boats, and so many other things. Under the sea is a treasure trove.

The boat was captained by a teenage boy named Yahaya. I could feel my heart moving into my mouth as we got into the middle of nowhere. Coward! Yes, I agree. I have sailed on the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and many other seas. But I am still a coward where water is concerned. Chinua Achebe wrote that we often stand in the house of a coward, to point at the ruins of the house of a brave man. I agree. Yahaya obviously saw the fear in my eyes, and he gestured that I should not panic.

I chuckled as I remembered my wife. If she could see me, she would have exclaimed: “This man, is this what I sent you to Jordan to do?” But she didn’t know until I was back from the voyage. Men and their escapades!
Human beings can fear, instead of exercising faith. It is natural. In the middle of the deep, I began to scare myself. What if a mighty wave came, and submerged the boat? What if the engine suddenly stalled? What if fire broke out? What if the boat ran out of petrol? What if… Get thee behind me, Satan!

The only fright we had was when we met a military gunboat on patrol. It was at top speed. The waves it created made our boat bob up and down, and it was an uneasy experience. It subsided after some time.

To appreciate the glory of God, take time to go out on the sea. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament His handiwork, says the Good Book. In another place, it says “they that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and His wonder in the deep.” Every man needs that experience.
There were big seafaring vessels we met. Only God knows what part of the world they were coming from, with all sorts of names. Chakra. Costa Mediterranea. Shark’s Bay. And many others.

After about an hour, when we sighted our hotel right by the seashore, it was pure relief. The sail had been good, I’ll recommend it to anyone who has the heart for it. It sure has therapeutic value. But was I glad to step on solid ground again? All other ground is sinking sand. This was terra firma. Water was terra incognita. I’ll rather have my feet planted on solid ground at any time.


  • *Femi Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

Council Boss Tasks Pupils To Justify Aregbesola’s Investments In Education

Students have been admonished to work hard and pay adequate attention to their education to justify the huge investment of the present administration on basic education.

 

Executive Secretary Boripe North Local Council Development Area, (LCDA) Prince Bola Adejumo said this while inspecting public schools in the council area to mark the first Open Day Programme in Elementary and Middle Schools in the state of Osun. He commended the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for introducing the open day programme explaining that the introduction of open day for parents is to afford them the opportunity of accessing the performance of their children in school.

 

He urged the teachers to be more committed to teaching and to give the children adequate parental care by monitoring, caring and be friendly with them in the classroom. He promised to intensify efforts in the renovation of classrooms in some affected public schools in the council area.

 

Speaking during the inspection, Principal, African Church Middle School, Iree, Mrs. Agboola Kikelomo urged the parents to always be the best friend of their children saying “any parent who failed to cater for their children destroy their end time”.

 

Kikelomo who lamented prevalence of wearing tattered school uniform urged the parents to always strive hard to provide the basic needs of their children for better concentration.

 

Aregbesola Appoints Famoriyo As Tutor-General for Osun Central

The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has approved
the appointment of Mr. Anthony Okunola Famoriyo as the new Permanent Secretary/ Tutor-General of Osun Central Education District.

Until his appointment, Famoriya was the the Principal, Saint Charles High School, Osogbo.

With this appointment, Aregbesola replaces the incumbent, Mr. Bunmi Obisesan who is due to retire from the public service in less than two weeks- November 14, 2017.

In a press release by the Head of Service, Dr. Festus Olowogboyega Oyebade, the new Tutor-General was selected owing to his experience and dedication to work, in addition to his good performance during the written and oral selection processes earlier carried out.

Osun CSDP: Transforming The Rural Areas

In an attempt to revolutionise the development at the rural areas, the Agency for Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) was set up in some states of the federation. The State of Osun is one of the 27 states in Nigeria that currently participate in the World Bank assisted Community and Social Development Project. The Osun CSDP was set up in 2009 during the administration of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

The administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has since inception upped the ante of support for the CSDP, by paying the counterpart fund of the state as and when due, with a view to ensuring development at the rural areas in line with the six-point integral action plan of the administration. Even in the midst of lean resources, records have shown that the government never reneged on payment.

The project which has the backing of the Federal government is established to assist development in the rural areas as it affects infrastructure like provision of transformer to aid the supply of electricity, road rehabilitation to ease movement of people and goods, provision of potable water and the construction of civic centres among others.

The beauty of the project is that projects that would be executed in any community are undertaken by the people who voluntarily and willingly choose among their pressing needs the one they need most. Whatever project the community overwhelmingly chooses would be the one, they will ask the CSDP to fund. They choose from at least three needs.

The idea behind the CSDP is community participation, as such community which desires the project will pay 10 per cent counterpart fund, while the state government through the CSDP pays the remaining 90 per cent for the cost of the project. The revenue from the government is subsequently sourced from the World Bank and is paid in stages within a certain period of time.

According to an official of the community, the various stages to be followed, include a formal application by a community in which officials from the CSDP would subsequently visit the community to assess whether the demand is real and just or a strategy by some few people to dupe the government and the community.

If the agency is satisfied, the community would have to forward them another letter inviting them for the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) where majority of the residents are expected to be in attendance. At the PRA, election is conducted to choose members of the Community Project Monitoring Committee (CPMC) made up of eight people headed by a Chairman.

It is the apex body, under which there are three other sub-committees – the Procurement, Operation and Maintenance, and the Monitoring and Evaluation.

The CPMC is the body that ensures that the aim of the community is achieved by ensuring that money released is appropriately used for the purpose it is meant. The procurement committee is responsible for the purchase of any material or equipment needed to accomplish the task. The committee responsible for the operation and maintenance of the project is the Operation and Maintenance sub-committee, while the Monitoring and Evaluation committee is to ensure that the project is constantly being monitored and evaluated.

After all these committees might have been put its place, the Field Appraisal takes place where officials of the agency and other professionals from the relevant State ministries visit the community to appraise steps taken.

If satisfied with the steps taken so far, a one-day seminar is conducted where different officials of the agency sensitise and educate community leaders on how best to go about the project. The seminar which takes a whole day is a prelude to the presentation of cheque to the community.

At the seminar, the leaders of the community are warned against the abandonment of the chosen project, as the fund that would be made available would be enough to carry out the project. This is so because the agency would have done its research to ascertain the value of the project before directing the community to embark on it.

Elementary book-keeping and accounts are taught at the seminar which comes in handy to help streamline the spending habit of the community on the project. Women are encouraged to actively participate in the activities of the CSDP while in most cases they are elected treasurers.

Community leaders are encouraged to meet regularly to ensure that decisions are based on consensus and not at the whim and caprices of the chairman. They are however, warned that if they run foul of the regulations of the agency, the law will take its due course.

The total amount to be given is usually divided into three tranches. The first tranche is presented in the community usually by the General Manager, Mrs. Funmi Abokede. The subsequent tranches are released based on the judicious use of the first one and this takes place in their corporate head office at old Governor’s office, Osogbo.

Communities that benefit from such developmental projects are advised to make good use of it, because not every community that applies scale through. The inherent benefit is that such communities that benefit can also enjoy the bounty if the first money is properly utilized.

The local government council area which covers the community is involved because there are certain documents that have to be approved by it.

An account specially opened by the community is also demanded to which the agency’s cheque is paid. The account warehouses the community’s 10 per cent counterpart funding. Cash are not withdrawn anyhow except for purposes specifically meant for.

Commending the Abokede-led agency, the Chairman, Oloruntobi Community Ota-Efun Area, Osogbo, Murtala Agboola, while receiving a cheque of N5 million from the agency for the procurement of transformer last week said the agency has been very active in transforming the rural areas in Osun with the assistance of the state government.

He urged that the tempo should be sustained for more communities across the state to feel the impact of the government.

Aregbesola Calls for True Federalism

As the “restructuring” of Nigeria remains on the front burner of public discourse, Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has noted that the practice of true federalism would accelerate development of the country.

Aregbesola made the remark, while delivering a paper at a one day conference on the second anniversary of South West in National Governance.

Speaking on the theme: “South West to Abuja: A Mid-term Appraisal,” the governor however frowned at the call for local government autonomy, stressing that such is antithetical to federalism, as according to him, under the 1999 constitution, local governments are  appendages of the state government.

World Democracy Day: Aregbesola Charges Nigerian Youths To Be Upright 

Youths across the nation have been charged to be upright and focused on what they could do to be relevant in the society rather than thinking of what the government can do for them. 

The governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola gave the charge in Osogbo while speaking at a program organized by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Adonis Quality Life Initiative to commemorate this year International Democracy Day. 

Aregbesola who was represented by Hon Akintoyese Ademola, Special Adviser to the Governor on Enterprises Wealth Creation, said its high time for youth to develop themselves in the area that they could be useful for their immediate society. 

The organiser of the programme “Adonis Quality Life Initiative AQLI” is a non-governmental organization with core objective of improving the standard of living in developing countries. The Initiative covers health, education, empowerment and gender equality advocacy. 

This year’s International Democracy Day event organised by Adonis Quality Life Initiative was held in three countries: United States, United Arab Emirates and Nigeria.

The governor who was awarded for his exceeding youth development used the medium to reiterate the commitment of his administration towards Youth development. 

Delivering papers, a senior lecturer from the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Mr Babatunde Isamuko and a social commentator, Don Dotun Ojon urged the youth to first change their mindset and increase their level of activism if they really want to take over the reigns of government.

In their separate addresses on the topic titled, “Youth Engagement in True Democracy” the duo urged the youths to become genuine vehicle for societal change. 

Isamuko advised the youths to monitor the affairs of Government and those in power and most importantly, to engage the elders in their activities. 

His words, “The youths should help themselves, they should increase their level of activism, because nobody will give political power to the youths on a platter of gold. They should go beyond being “bread and butter” activists.

“The problem of our country is not the Government not working, the problem is people not taking responsibilities for themselves, if as a youth, you cannot take responsible of your self, then you are likely to graduate to an irresponsible elder.”

Earlier in his open remark, the coordinator of the Initiative, Mr Seunayo Isola, explained that the organization have a lots of initiative geared towards youth development part of which is the Adonis health club which was established recently following the approval from the State ministry of education and that the club now exist in all the high schools in Ilesa, Ijebu Jesha, Esa Oke, Obokun, Imesi Ile ,Otan-Ile and Ibodi.

He however urged organizations and well meaning Nigerians to partner with the organization as it aims to extend the Health club to the rest of the state by 2018.

Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the event who is Patron of Egbe omo  Obokun in Ijeshaland in the United States, Prince Joseph Babalola commended the efforts of the founder of the initiative, Mr Ademiju Omodara Adonis. He noted that the Initiative has impacted the youths of the State in a positive way.

Highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to the Governor of State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and a traffic marshal in transportation ministry, Mrs Toyin Adeleke.