Aregbesola Commended On Social Welfare Programme

Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been commended for creating an enabling environment for vulnerables in the State of Osun through the Cash Transfer Unit of the Federal Government initiative.

The Commissioner Ministry of Women, Children and Social Affairs, Alhaja Latifat Giwa gave the commendation at a four-day training workshop organised by the State Cash Transfer Unit of the ministry for facilitators in the state.

Giwa, who was represented by the Director, Women Affairs, Mrs. Ruth Omoloye emphasized that the organised training programme came at the appropriate time, when vulnerables and majority at the grassroot are yearning for dividends of democracy.

In his goodwill message the Coordinator for Youth Empowerment and Social Support Operation (YESSO), Mr Femi Ifaturoti stated that the training is designed to equip Local Government facilitators for the vulnerables, with requisite tools to enable them conduct a further step down training for care givers involved in Cash Transfer.

He therefore affirmed that the programme, which is a Federal Government initiative, aimed at ensuring that poverty and all forms of vulnerabilities become a thing of the past in the state of and Nigeria as a whole.

In the same vein, the State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Olugbenga Martins charged the facilitators to see themselves as the eyes of both the federal and the state government at their various locations and that they should ensure effective service delivery to the vulnerables.

He then advised the vulnerables to cultivate a consistent savings habit that will help them during and after the cash transfer beneficiary might have been concluded.

In her vote of thanks, the Head of Cash Transfer Unit in the state, Mrs. Adeola Oyebamiji appreciated the invitees and wished the facilitators a successful deliberation.

Also present at the program is the Director of Administration and Finance in the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Mrs Kehinde Odediran and other officials.

 

Osun 2018: PDP Plots Hate Campaign Against Aregbesola, APC

To launch itself back into the heart of the people of the State of Osun ahead of the 2018 governorship election, some characters in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were alleged to have decided to launch hate campaign against Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

A source within the PDP in one of the faction said the party has concluded arrangement to whip up community sentiments against Aregbesola and his party with a view to getting towns and cities to reject them in 2018 at a meeting held with leadership of the newly inaugurated Caretaker Committee.

PDP sources who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER on condition of anonymity confessed that the newly elected Senator Ademola Adeleke and two wealthy Nigerians in Lagos have been contacted to bankroll the project.

According to the PDP sources, the PDP has also set up a committee to work on aggrieved members of the APC, particularly the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuff and Alhaji Fatai Diekola with a plan to get them to continue undermining the leaders of the APC and causing crisis.

The PDP sources disclosed that the party could not win election in the state with fair campaign, hence it has resolve to recruit people and engaged them to smear Aregbesola’s image and discredit his achievements in the state.

The hate campaign is said to be centred on ongoing projects, religious and community crisis, among others.

According to the PDP sources at the meeting, the PDP concluded to set discontent for the APC by selling messages of hate, peculiar to a locality, to the people with a view to getting members of the public in such locations to hate Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the APC.

Specifically, the hateful messages are to be designed to stress a problem in a locality is meant to whip up community sentiment against Aregbesola and the APC in towns and cities.

For instance, Governor Aregbesola is to be held responsible and made the scapegoat of any wrong in any town or city using uncompleted projects in such place as a deliberate wish of the governor and the APC.

According to the sources, the PDP is working seriously to ensure that Aregbesola and the APC lose the strong base it has in Osogbo, the state capital by watering down his love in the heart of Osogbo residents.

To achieve that, the PDP allegedly resolved to sell a story that Osogbo is being marginalised in the Aregbesola’s administration with too little number of appointments and that the governor is victimising prominent Osogbo indigenes who are members and supporters of the APC.

The PDP also resolved to discredit the Aregbesola’s achievement in Osogbo by watering down their essence and dissuading indigenes of the city from commending him on the ground that Osogbo deserved more infrastructural development than what it is on ground, compared to the votes given to the governor.

The medium learnt that the PDP has been recruiting people to carry out the hatchet job.

For Iwo Federal constituency, the PDP sources disclosed that the dilapidated Osogbo/Iwo road was chosen to launch the hate campaign against Aregbesola and the party.

The story to tell the people of the Federal Constituency, according to the sources, was that Aregbesola deliberately refused to reconstruct the road as a mark of lack of concern for the plight of the people of Iwoland.

It was also gathered that the PDP members resolved to play devil’s advocate by telling the people of Iwoland that Aregbesola did not treat the Secretary of the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti well and attempted to frustrate him out of office.

“They wanted to paint a picture that Aregbesola does not like Iwoland and that is why the SSG is being marginalised by his administration”, said the sources.

The sources also said that the PDP allegedly concluded on embarking on campaign of calumny with the ongoing Gbongan/Osogbo road dualisation which has gone on for more than two years which was initially earmarked for it.

“At the meeting, the party concluded to poison the mind of the people of Gbongan, Ode-Omu and other communities that the Gbongan/Osogbo road is serving. The people engaged for the job will be telling the people that Aregbesola has bastardised the economy of the area with the non-completion of the road”, the source disclosed.

It was gathered that the PDP has begun move to source for fund to implement these strategies.

Senator Ademola Adeleke, who is representing Osun West Senatorial District at the Senate, two other people in Lagos and one of the recently inaugurated caretaker committee members have been penciled down as financiers of the project.

“State of Osun” Not An Aberration To 1999 Constitution – Osun AG

Dr Ajibola Basiru, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the State of Osun, on Wednesday told an Osun State High Court that the use of “State of Osun” instead of Osun State by the Rauf Aregbesola’s government did not contravene the 1999 Constitution.

The state Chief Law officer was in court to defend Governor Aregbesola in a case instituted by a human rights activist, Bar. Kanmi Ajibola on the recently signed law tagged “State of Osun Land Use Charge Law 2016” in which he urged the court to declare the said law illegal, null and void.

Ajibola has contended among other things in his suit No. HIL/14/2016 that the law made by the state House of Assembly and signed by Governor Aregbesola under the name “State of Osun” was unconstitutional.

While citing many constitutional provisions and other relevant authorities to buttress his position, the plaintiff explained that “State of Osun” and Osun State did not mean the same thing and that “State of Osun” is strange and unknown to the 1999 constitution.

He averred that based on the seventh schedule of the constitution, both the governor and the lawmakers were administered into the office as officials of Osun State and not “State of Osun”.

He urged the court to nullify the Land Use Law Charge 2016 and to declare as illegal all other decisions and actions taken so far by the Aregbesola’s administration with the use of the name and reference “State of Osun”.

But the AG who led the state legal team from the Ministry of Justice faulted Ajibola’s arguments when he contended that the plaintiff erred in law, saying Aregbesola’s administration has done nothing wrong against the spirit of the 1999 constitution.

He took all the issues raised by the plaintiff one after the other by citing sections of the constitutional provisions and concluded that “by describing itself as, “State of Osun House of Assembly”, as it rightly did, the House of Assembly has not contravened any provisions of the 1999 constitution and the court is urged to hold so”.

“Therefore, it is submitted that reference to either itself or the law it made with the phrase ‘State of Osun’ has not in any way rendered the constitutional powers of the House of Assembly to make law unconstitutionally.

“The House of Assembly can add any prefix to its name as it wishes and desires and the same thing goes with the law it made so far the key words “Osun” and “State” are there no prejudice is done to the constitution, the Federal Government and the co-federating states”, the AG submitted.

The Director of Legal Services of the state House of Assembly, Bar. Rachael Ojinmi represented the state’s 26 lawmakers as the second defendants in the suit.

After the adoption of addresses by the plaintiff and the respondents, the presiding judge, Justice Yinka Afolabi fixed the final judgment of the matter to November 14, 2017.

It would be recalled that Justice Afolabi had shifted the judgment date twice by formulating further questions on the suit to be addressed by the plaintiff and the defendants.

Osun Is Now Economically Viable – Baderinwa

State of Osun Commissioner for Information, Mr Adelani Baderinwa has left the status of a civil service state which she used to be before the advent of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration and is now an economically viable state.

He stated this on Wednesday while addressing members of the Mandate Women Group who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

According to Baderinwa, Osun economy has improved, saying that the economic development of the state is evident with the establishment of companies and revival of industries and opening of bank branches across the state.

Baderinwa said it would amount to mischief for anybody to continue referring to Osun as a civil service state, maintaining that small and medium scale business, companies and industries are growing steadily in the state.

He stated that the state government through the Osun Micro Finance Agency and the Ministry of Commerce, Corporative and Investment were providing soft loans to traders and business owners in the state to strengthen their trades and businesses.

The commissioner disclosed that the state owned investment, the Osun Investment Company Limited (OSICOL) has recorded over 700% turn over in the last six years, saying that its fortune has grown from about 300million in 2011 to about 2.6billion in 2017.

Baderinwa added that the 15-year-old moribund Cocoa Processing Industry in Ede has been revived by the Aregbesola’s administration, disclosing that a Chinese company, Shanghai Golden Monkey Group was ready to invest N10billion into the economy of Osun state through cocoa processing and production.

The company, according to Baderinwa would have the capacity to provide 1,000 jobs for the unemployed youths in the state in the next two years when it begins full production.

It should also be stated, the Commissioner said that a computer manufacturing company, the Adulawo/RLG in Ilesa just won a $3.2million dollars contract from the NTA/NBC to produce the digital switch over boxes aside its production of telephones and other computer accessories which has positively rubbed on the state economy.

It is also on record that the volume of trade in the state has increased geometrically and the positive ripple effect will soon be felt by all indigenes and residents of the state.

He maintained that in spite of the economic hardship that crippled the finances of the state, agro-industries, small and medium scale enterprises survived and are booming in the state due to the friendly environment and encouraging economic policy of Aregbesola’s administration.

Aregbesola’s Education Reforms: Private Schools Losing Students To Public Schools In Osun – Proprietors

‎Things seemed to have been hard for private schools in Osun as some of the schools proprietors and proprietress lamented over the sharp decline in the ‎enrollment intake into the private schools in the state.
The decline which was described as artificial was said to have been the positive effects of education revolution of the present government in the state.
As it is, facts have emerged that the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola had not only taken the bull by the horn at revamping education sector, but only refocusing the people’s attention and interest to quality, qualitative and functional education through his various interventions that have attracted residents particularly parents to resolve taking their children to public schools.
The Osun public school sector that had almost collapsed and failed prior Aregbesola’s government are now at the central point of reference in enrollment strength, leaving private schools at enrollment low ebb.
It was gathered that private schools in the state are gradually loosing students to public schools due to facilities which Aregbesola’s administration had put in place to advance public education.
Some members of the National Association of Private School Proprietors of Nigeria, Osun state chapter, confirmed that the decline in the rate of pupils and students enrollment into private schools in the state had been on increase in the last few years.
The affected school proprietors stated this as part of reasons for their inability to meet up with the agreed tax ought to be paid to state government.
The officials of the Osun state Internal Revenue Service (OIRS) had few weeks ago went on standard enforcement visit to some of the private organizations including private schools, banks, hotels, companies, and industries in order to ascertain the level of their compliance to taxation, operational rules and standards.
The decision of the agency according to its chairman, Mr. Bicci Alli, was to complement government’s efforts towards the actualization of an improved and robust revenue capable of upsurging the state’s Internally Generated Revenue.
It was gathered that the action of the agency led to the seal of some private investments on the account that the affected companies violated some operational rules and that they were also found wanting of regular tax payment to the state.
However, the private school proprietors and proprietresses who could not hide their feelings on the development, attributed their failure to meet up with the agreed tax as sharp decline in the volume of students being enrolled to their schools per session.
They said the pupils and students enrollment to private schools in the state had reduced drastically to the extent that parents seemed to have been seeing public schools as better in their quest choice on the quality education.
Two of the proprietors whose names and identities withheld to avoid being discredited, described the huge investment made in education sector particularly the education infrastructure being put in place by Governor Aregbesola led government as major cause of their travails.
The duo who claimed to have been in the private education system over 18 years ago, noted that prior to the present administration, they had not for once found it difficult to pay their taxes as they have enough students and earned enough money to pay all the necessary bills including their taxes.
According to one of them, “what we are facing right now is hinged on what could be best described as total discouragement to private schools’ enrollment.
“We are facing serious decline in the pupils and students enrollment to private schools. But when this began to hit us on the face, we sat down to know what would have gone wrong, and we came with the fact that parents in the state have begun taking their children to public schools due to relative facilities.
“Unlike years past where public education was nothing to write home about. But now people have begun to see public education as a strong competitor to private education, thus making private schools losing enrollment strength and this is a bad omen to over investment.
“For instance, before, everybody wants to have his or her child being enrolled to private schools at least to have quality basic education through solid foundation, but now, reverse seems to be the case.
“Then, hardly one would pray to send his child to public school not because it is a taboo but because there were no facilities to bring out the best in the pupils, but when those necessary things were put in place, definitely attention would be shifted.
“Though this is painful to us as owners and proprietors of these schools because in a situation where one finds it extremely difficult to pay his staff, you know what it means”, he stressed.
Confirming the development, the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Wasiu Omotunde-young, said the efforts made by the Aregbesola’s administration not only to revive education but to build a virtuous man that will be productive for himself and the society has come to fruition as enrollment to public schools are annually on the increase.
Omotunde-young said the present administration in the state has demonstrated to the whole world through its various interventions that education remains the foundation for national development and a key instrument for socio-economic progress.
He said ‎Aregbesola has not only revived the already lost glory of public education but also embarked on radical, overhauling, pragmatic and far-reaching education reforms aimed at creating a functional, quality and qualitative education that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with private counterparts.
According to him, the state of education prior Aregbesola’s administration was in no doubt nothing to write home about as public education was in total shambles where schools were enveloped in decrepit structures and ‎deplorable state not even conducive for pigs not to talk of human beings.
“The standard of education which Aregbesola met on ground was an eyesore and apart from the infrastructural collapse, there was a rot in the system; the students’ performance was abysmal, and the learning environment was not conducive for teaching and learning.
“The teachers were not motivated, the students were equally not encouraged to be in schools and there was nothing to entice the pupils and students to come to school, so it was only the poor parents that sent their children to public schools in Osun before Aregbesola’s emergence.
“But beyond individual’s financial status and economic buoyancy that had been the major barrier and gap to access quality and functional education in Nigeria, the present administration in the state of Osun had not only broken the yokes but also restored the already lost hopes and confidence in education sector taking it back to dreams meant to be achieved by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo”, Omotunde-young stressed.
‎The Osun Education Commissioner, however, said the emergence of Governor Aregbesola in 2010 having inherited a comatose education sector where teachers lacked motivation and where students were less interested in learning occasioned by the poor academic environment gave birth to education reforms with which its positive results are being achieved today.
“‎Our reforms have had tremendous impacts on the Osun educational competitiveness. To justify the claims, it is on record that out of 37, 428 candidates that sat for West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in 2006, 4, 085 passed with 5 credits including English and Mathematics equivalent to 10.91 percent.
“In 2007, out of 36, 171 candidates, 2,483 passed equates 6.86 percent. In 2008, out of 37, 715 candidates, 3,813 passed with five credits passes including English and Mathematics making 10.11 percent. In 2009, out of 39, 676 candidates that wrote the exams, only 5, 545 passed with five credits passes equating 13.98 percent.
“In 2010, out of 43, 216 candidates, 6, 777 passed with five credits passes including English and Mathematics equivalent to 15.68 percent. In 2011, out of 53, 293 candidates that sat for the exams, 11, 431 passed with five credits passes including English and Mathematics making 21.9 percent.
“Also, in 2012, out of 51, 463 candidates that wrote WAEC, 11, 431 passed equating 22.21 percent. In 2013, out of 47, 009 candidates, 9, 654 passed equating 20.54 percent. In 2014, out of 47, 686 candidates, 8,844 passed making 18.55 percent. In 2015, out of 48, 845 candidates that sat for the exams, 10, 590 passed, while in 2016, 16, 983 passed with five credits including English and Mathematics out of 36, 679 that sat for the exams equivalent to 46.3 percent.
“The analysis shows that the performance of the students in Osun has been on astronomical increase in WAEC compared with the abysmal performance prior to Aregbesola’s government.
‎”The reasons for this are not far fetched as it could be attributed to overhaul modality and systematic approach taken by the Aregbesola led administration to revamp education and make public education the best in line with international best standards.
‎”On assumption of office, a six-point integral action was put in place by the Aregbesola led government as the guiding principle and policy framework to achieve an overall growth and development of the state where education was put on the front burner.
“The initiative saw the need to address teachers’ welfare and that of other non-teaching staff through timely teachers’ career advancement, regular training and retraining, provision of teaching incentives, regular teachers’ promotion and prompt payment of salaries and allowances”, he added.
Omotunde-young emphasized that the introduction of education reforms through schools reclassification into elementary, middle and high schools coupled with education infrastructures have culminated into an improved enrollment into public schools since Aregbesola’s emergence.
Echoing similar gestures, the Permanent Secretary, State Universal Basic Education in Osun (SUBEB), Mr. Fatai Kolawole described the school infrastructural facilities put in place by the state as major reason for the current students enrollment.
He said the rate of enrollment at elementary school was encouraging to the extent that no term or session that the public schools in the state are not making improvement on the enrollment.
Kolawole added, “I am not surprised by this development because such are expected to happen in a situation where government does the necessity on education sector.
“The huge investment made in education by our governor is enough to get one tempted into striving very hard to benefit from the facilities there-in as all the model schools are not only equipped but serving as cynosure to parents to get their children enrolled into those schools.
“The conducive environments and serene atmospheric weather condition designed for teaching and learning in all the newly built model schools had not only become a pivotal instrument to enhance teaching and learning, but also had a captivating impact in breaking the palpable inferiority complexity and dichotomy between public and private school students.
‎”Is it the uniforms to talk about? Or the success of Osun Elementary School Feeding Programme known as (O’Meals) where thousands of pupils are fed on every school day or tablets of knowledge freely distributed to students at final classes? All‎ these remain the contributory factors to improved enrollment in public schools because parents have begun to see these interventions as point of reference to enroll their children in public schools since the accessibility of these facilties costs nothing”.

Sallah: Fun Seekers Besiege Nelson Mandela Freedom Park In Osogbo, Lauds Aregbesola’s Social Protection Initiatives‎

The social protection projects of the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has once again been commended by the residents of the state particularly the Eid-El-Kabir holiday makers who besieged popular Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo for Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
The ‎residents also extolled Governor Aregbesola for being aggressive towards rejuvenating the economy of the state through his social protection initiatives.
The Park has in the last few days witnessing an impressive influx of people who have come for one or two recreation, refreshment and relaxation from across the state
It is not an hyperbole to say that the 2017 Eid-el-Kabir was enveloped in funfare and celebration galore with mass participants at the park.
While eulogizing the state government under the leadership of Governor Aregbesola for putting in place such recreation centre, those at the park described the centre as first of its kind in the state.
Speaking intermittently to express their delights on the centre, Comrade Ibrahim Muslihudeen Olayinka; Miss Mufliat Adeniyi, Mr Jooda Nurudeen Olaniyi, Dr. Olawale Sulaimon, Mrs. Romoke Anjonrin, Mr. Salaudeen Sakiru and Engineer Nureni Adebiyi said with the construction of the Park, the state has opened a new ‎opportunity for tourism sector to thrive.
In his words, Dr Sulaimon said the emergence of the  Park in the state capital will in no measure have a great impact in the economy of the state.
According to him, “I am highly impressed to be here with my family. This is impressive and it has to be commended because since the creation of this state, nothing as such was done.
“Despite the fact that this park is still under construction, the facilities therein are in no doubt suitable for refreshment.
“As you can see, we have had a lot of nice times here. We have taken pictures at different locations and my family are in no doubt feeling fully at home.
“Though I don’t stay at home but each time I come home for one thing or the other, I am always impressed with pace of development especially in the area of infrastructure”, Dr Sulaimon added.‎
In the same vein, Comrade Olayinka an indigene of Ilobu in Irepodun Local Government Area of the state, described the Park as unprecedented in the history of the state.
He hailed Governor Aregbesola for turning Osogbo to a real state capital through the provision of physical infrastructures, saying the construction of the Park at a conspicuous location has given Osogbo another face-lift of development.
Olayinka added, “to me the successful construction of this Park has justified the genuine intention of the present government in the state to transform the state capital into mega city.
“Aside massive roads construction that cut across the nooks and crannies of the state particularly Osogbo which is the state capital, this Nelson Mandela Freedom Park is another giant stride that deserves commendation.
“My visit to this Park has opened my eyes to reality that our governor and his government meant well for us because if a government could nurture such a lofty ideology of turning a sawmill to this marvelous garden, then such administration deserves kudos.
“I have been coming here for the last five days I have been in the state, but today I felt like bringing my family here to catch fun, and as I am talking to you, we have all enjoyed our stay at this Park.
“Since it costs no dime, we have freely moved round the facilities especially at the fountain pools that are not only exciting but significant.
“I am a citizen of Osun and I have lived in this state for so many years before I traveled to the North where I am currently working, but through out the times I was at home, no government thought of this.
“So, I really appreciate the political sagacity of Governor Aregbesola that yielded this, it shows that we have a visionary leader at the helm of affairs because if not, many of these initiatives would have been aborted half way”.‎
Corroborating similar gestures, Mrs Anjounrin said the construction of the Park has added another accolade to Aregbesola’s profile, nothing that the history will continue to remember his good works
Mrs Anjounrin, a retired Immigration Officer, said she was very happy to be at the Park where liberty and freedom is prioritized.‎
She said her visit to the Park has made her to further interact with masses most especially the hawkers and streets petty traders that brought their goods to the Park for sale.
“Since this place is free for all, then it is good to be at an amusement park like this where one will meet people from different backgrounds.
“I have come; I have seen and I have benefited from some of the facilities in this garden. Though it is not yet completed and commissioned, but the little facilities here are worthwhile for recreation and refreshment.
“I came from Ikirun though not really because of this park, but when I got to this area, I found a lot of interesting things that hooked my attention.
“I have toured round the Park and I am impressed with the goal which the state is dreamed to actualise on this project, because when it is completed, it will be the best centre to be by all,”Mrs Anjounrin stressed.‎
While appealing to the people in the state to support the state government in its effort to rebuild Osun, a groundnut hawker, Mrs Silifat Kasali, said the influx of the people to the Park has increased her sales.
According to Mrs. Kasali, sales had improved greatly since the volume of the people to the Park began to increase particularly about three days ago.
She attributed the development to a huge investment made by the Aregbesola led government to turn around the Park for the betterment of the citizenry.
“Though Salah celebration is still fresh and people are still coming to this Park in large number,  but how I wish that this Salah continues so that large people could be visiting this place, thus increases sales.
“Over three days ago, my sales has been on the increase and I am happy that my state has such a big and attractive Park like this”, she submitted.‎

Govt To Review LAUTECH Tuition Fees – Ajimobi

In a bid to make Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, self-sustaining, government will review tuition fees being paid in the institution, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, has announced.

The governor made the announcement on Saturday in Ibadan, while featuring on a programme tagged “Saturday Special’ aired on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS).

LAUTECH is co-owned by both Oyo and Osun state governments.

The institution had in recent times been enmeshed in crisis over the default of the owners to pay subvention and staff salaries.

Ajimobi said his administration had since assumption of office in 2011, paid N22 billion to the institution.

He described the amount being paid as tuition fees in LAUTECH as `abysmal,’ adding that it would be reviewed for the institution to be self-sustaining.

“The default in the payment of subvention and salaries was as a result of economic downturn. When we came on board, we reduced the tuition fees to N65, 000.

“There are secondary schools that charges from N150,000 to N200,000, while some universities charge from N500,000 to two million naira.

“Till date, we have subsidized LAUTECH heavily and we are still giving them.

“Imagine, the institution has 99 accounts and some could not be traced,’’ he said.

The governor said that government had taken steps to resolve the crisis in the university, among which was the auditing of its account to determine its viability to be self-sustaining like other institutions.

He said that staff of the institution had initially refused the auditing firm access but had promised to allow them recently.

Ajimobi said that government had constituted the institution’s governing council which was expected to submit its report after the current holiday.

He promised that the crisis in the university would soon be over and the institution would be given take-off grant for three months.

Commenting on Oyo State Technical University, Ajimobi said that the institution, which would take-off in October, was a specialized institution, adding it was not a university for all.

He said that his administration had evolved several initiatives to reform education in the state, particularly public schools.

He added that the efforts had started to yield the desired fruits.

Social Security: Understudying Osun Social Protection Model

Since 2010 when the current administration was enthroned in the State of Osun, it has been a mix of commendations and condemnations, particularly on the social protection programmes of the administration. It is condemnations for those who have made up their minds to play politics with impactful initiatives of the government and commendations for the majority who appreciate the goods that the policy has brought. KEHINDE AYANTUNJI writes on the global attentions that have been shifted to the state due to its Social Protection Model

 

Since the return of democracy in 1999, Social Protection Programmes have attracted less attention on the part of the federal government and the 36 states of the federation, despite the clarity of the chapter 2 of the 1999 constitution, that it shall be the fundamental obligation of the government. Perhaps, there are more reasons the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) of the constitution introduced unenforceable clauses to those provisions. It has been held severally by the competent courts of jurisdiction that Section 13 to 24 that specified very essence of government in Nigeria constitution is not enforceable.

The implication is that government at all levels in the country are at liberty to choose which part of the sections of the chapter to comply to or even has capacity to implement; such contradictions will definitely compel someone to question the wisdom of the drafting committee that if a particular section that imposed economy and social prosperity burden of Nigeria on government at all levels are not enforceable, then, what is the basis of that law that has failed to tie power with responsibility.

Funny enough, since 1999, the said chapter occupies the centre stage in the manifesto of political aspirants with promises to initiate social protection programmes that will alleviate poverty and bring economic prosperities to the people at all levels. Two major aspect that aspirants and their parties periodically dwell so much on are wealth and job creation which they identified as main challenges to an average Nigerian, but after attaining power, there would be little or no commitment to those promises of theirs.

Social protection, as defined by the United Nations Research Institute For Social Development, is concerned with preventing, managing, and overcoming situations that adversely affect people’s wellbeing. It consists of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labour markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to manage economic and social risks, such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability and old age.

Global good governance and social protection index rating in order of prominence are; youth employment, poverty and malnutrition, and old age protection. These three categories of developmental index are major challenges in Nigeria and it appears governments at all levels are not paying much attention to them. Apart from unemployment that some states in Nigeria are minimally addressing through skill acquisitions and agricultural development, less attention have been given to malnutrition and old age protection.

Analysts believed that the psychology of governments at all levels in Nigeria is that investments in the area of malnutrition and old age protection is expensive and not so visible for political consideration, therefore it is of less priority to many states. Averagely, state governments in Nigeria believe to build bridge where there is no river for people to see for political consideration and commendations than investing on elderly people who are vulnerable and incapacitated by nature to earn for their living.  The unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 14.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2016  from 10.4 per cent in 2015 while malnutrition contributes to the deaths of about a half-million Nigerian children each year.

But despite the good, bad and the ugly, global attention is shifting to Osun state western part of Nigeria. It appeared that the state is fast becoming the standard of social protection services in Nigeria with its 6 years sustainable social protection policies. In the history of the state or any other state in Nigeria, such quantum of resources has never been concentrated on social protection services which include youth employments, children nutrition and old age welfarism protection.  Since 2010 up till date, the state has committed N200million on Youths Empowerment Scheme (OYES) and about N240million on School Feeding, popularly called O’MEAL. The youths that were considered for the OYES were trained and gainfully engaged in community services, neighbourhood security, paramedics, traffic marshals and environmental monitors amongst others. A huge sum of money is also being committed to the payment of monthly stipend to selected vulnerable elderly citizens, under the Agba Osun (Osun Elders) programme.

Besides, the state government has been committing resources to the treatment of destitute, particularly the mentally challenged citizens and rehabilitating them through its O’REHAB programme before integrating them back to the society and with their family.

As at December, 2016, the state government has served 200,000,000 plates of food for the school children in elementary school between primary 1- 4, the Governor, Rauf Aregbesola has revealed at a programme recently. At the heat of economic recession since 2014 which badly hit the state to the extent of resulting to payment of modulated salary structures to workers, the government never considered scrapping the school feeding programme for over 250,000 children daily and employment scheme that was gulping N200million monthly despite glaring overwhelming cash crunch.

Such courage is scarce according to Dr Ida Ibraheem, who was part of the United Nation International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) study tour to the state recently. He said social protection policies generally denotes the full range of organised activities of voluntary and governmental agencies that seek to prevent, alleviate, or contribute to the solution of recognised social problems, or to improve the wellbeing of individuals, groups, or communities.

He said the economic interconnectivity of such social protection policies could not be quantified in any way with revolving cash involved. “That is one of the courage Governor Rauf Aregbesola has demonstrated in governance, for not sacrificing such key indices to economic survival; the cash and other resources involved are revolving within the economy and that is the secret of economic stability of the state despite recession. If other states in Nigeria are investing as huge as that in the economy, Nigeria may not substantially feel the impact of the economic recession.

According to Ibraheem, a social worker “in many ways, measures which benefit individuals are important for society: societies are, after all, made up of people. But there is an aim which also can be seen as more of a benefit to the whole society than for any person within it. The social protection policies can, for example, reinforce economic policy, they can be seen as a way to achieve equality or social justice, and they may be an instrument of social change, they can also, conversely, be a means of maintaining social order.”

Apart from the fact that the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led government at the national level in 2016 modeled its youths empowerment scheme called N-POWER, and school feeding initiatives using Osun’s templates. In 2013, Osun recorded least unemployment rate and least poverty index in Nigeria, despite its meagre resources. The report was published in 2013 by the National Bureau of Statistics.  Five states in the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria  as at then was Abia 11 per cent, Oyo Nine per cent, Lagos Eight per cent, Kwara Seven per cent and Osun Three per cent.

On the poverty index, Osun was rated second only to Niger State in 2013 and marrying the state  performance on unemployment with its connections on poverty index,  the cpnclusion that Osun has become a model in linking social protection with alleviation of poverty and economic prosperity and has fought poverty passionately through its interventions is not far-fetched.

The state giant strides was also acknowledged and commended recently by the United State Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington who described the social protection programmes of Governor Aregbesola as a clear testimony of democracy and good governance in operation. The American envoy lauded the state government for running an impactful people-oriented social protection programmes in spite of the economic challenges facing Nigeria.

Symington  who applauded the infrastructural development in the state said, amongst the best of the administration were various social intervention programmes,  especially job and wealth creation, saying, that was the more reason envoys and development partners are always interested in coming to the state to learn.

He said, “The state is on a steady growth, I so much appreciate good roads. This state is investing so much in roads infrastructure and it’s very good for the future and overall development, but beyond this, among the very best of this administration are your various social intervention programmes; you are helping in creating jobs and wealth, no wonder people always come to your state to learn”.

Also, the succeeding social protection programme of the governor also recently attracted the convergence of leadership of United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) and 15 states across Nigeria on social protection study tour on issues bothering on the survival of the ordinary man, particularly the rising wave of unemployment and the widening gap between the rich and the poor to further shape the development interventions in Nigeria.

At a dinner marking the end of the tour which held in Osogbo, the state capital, UNICEF described Governor Aregbesola, as a symbol of service to the course of human development with his commitment to human and infrastructure development since he assumed office in 2010.

Field Services Chief of UNICEF Nigeria, Dr. Annefrida Kisessa said Osun is an example of good governance with its social protection programmes adjudged to be the best in the country  and has been assessed to be one of the most impactful, beneficial and rewarding.

According to her, “I have visited about 15 to 20 states in Nigeria and since I have been visiting, I have not seen a leader like Aregbesola with rare passion for people’s welfare. I have seen your passion to banish poverty, banish hunger, restore healthy living, promote functional and quality education for your people among others. I have seen your passion to develop your people and your state. I am really proud of your achievements because I have seen your indelible legacies in all sectors.

Stressing further, “With what I have seen, it is clear that Osun has shown that education is the key to development. Your programmes are no doubt centred on the people, as your social protection projects are designed to better the lives of your people, especially the less privileged, vulnerable and downtrodden.

“The reflections of your initiatives like O’MEAL, O’YES, O’HUB, O’REAP, O’AMBULANCE, among others have direct impact on the lives of the people as we can all attested to during the course of this visit. I am also happy because all the achievements of this state are properly and accurately documented. I have seen that Osun has genuine statistics and data base for all its programmes.

“Osun is a place I will like to be. I am very impressed with the quality of Osun Social Protection Programme. This shows the quality of Aregbesola’s leadership. It shows that Aregbesola is a very good leader and a symbol of service to humanity. I have come, I have seen and I have many memories to talk about.”

Director General, Office of Economic Development and Partnership, Dr. Charles Diji Akinola, said the social protection programmes of Osun has indeed helped to ameliorate poverty and improved the wellbeing of the citizenry since Aregbesola became governor.

He said the state had been further encouraged by the supports from agencies locally and internationally, saying the contribution of UNICEF in consolidating and solidifying the initiatives of Osun government on its life-long human and capital development projects remains commendable.

“About two years ago, Osun Government had collaborated with the UNICEF on the need to strengthen the state’s social protection programme. Today, the visit of the leadership of the UNICEF to Osun is a demonstration of the robust relationship, between the organisation and the state.

“The idea behind this partnership is to consolidate on the Osun’s social protection programmes, which has been the central concern of this administration. 13 of these projects would be discussed and shared with the visiting team. We have been encouraged with what UNICEF had done in ensuring a mutually-beneficial partnership,” he said.

Zamfara State Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Moukhtar Luga said that Aregbesola is one of the successful Nigerian politicians that have made the country proud. He noted that the governor has changed the face of governance in such a way that old beliefs and practices have been remodeled.

Sokoto State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sheu Balarabe, said he was elated to see the achievements of the state in all sectors. He described as heart-warming all he saw on his tour of some of the facilities, saying all the governor’s intervention programmes are highly conscious of the people.

The Lagos State Director of Economic Partnership, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Adejola Bankole, noted that with what he has seen in Osun, it is clear that all negative reporting in the newspapers are being concocted by some people to discredit Aregbesola’s administration.

He said that all he had seen contradicted adverse things that people have been reading on the pages of the newspapers.

EDITORIAL: 26 Years On

Tremendous progress has been made since the creation of the State of Osun, twenty six years ago. In its own way, the edifying development strides indicate that in spite of the defects linkable to quasi-federalism, a well thought out road map can still make a difference.

We must salute the courage and foresight of those who have governed the state since its creation. There will always be great discourses about dotting the i’s and the crossings of t’s. Nevertheless, if a holistic comparative analysis is made, we cannot but give their endeavours a solid pass mark.

The issue is how to sustain the momentum. It won’t be unfair to look at the current flow of development in the state as being pre and post-Aregbesola as his interregnum is decisive. His administration has its nexus built on the foundations for sustainable development goals which are conspicuously noticeable and commended far and wide.

Sustainability is key. The absence of it is at the heart of our perennial boom to bust cycles. What the Aregbesola intervention has sensibly achieved is the construction of the building blocks for sustainability in development. A clear counter-mechanism to the boom to bust cycle, is to build a buffer, this mechanism can be seen in the physical and social infrastructures that are being put in place. Inevitably, developing this shock absorber is a long-term objective. Inevitably, it comes with setbacks as well as misconceptions in the short-term.

This is understandable. To balance the immediate needs with a long term perspective and strategy will always be difficult in a democratic system based on relatively short-term electoral cycles. From contemporary history, we know that the Action Group government led by the avatar Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the 1950’s also suffered short-term electoral reverses. Nevertheless, by sticking to his position, he has been vindicated by history.

To protect the tremendous gains made, there must be continuity. Posterity will be unforgiven. This has worked for Lagos state where there has been a seamless transition of progressive, developmental focused governments without break since 1999. It will work for Osun as well. We therefore urge that all hands must be on deck as we move to change the baton of governance next year.

Everything must be done to ensure that the tremendous progress achieved is sustained with the installation of a progressive minded post-Aregbesola government. Otherwise, we might be saying congratulations a bit too early.

Eid: Holidaymakers Shower Encomium On Osun Govt For Free Train Ride

Holiday makers for the 2017 Eid-il-Kabir festival have continued to shower encomium on the government of the State of Osun for the provision of free train ride from Lagos to Osogbo.

It would be recalled that it is a policy of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration to provide free train service from Lagos to Osogbo, during festive period of all faith.

However, for the 2017 Eid-il-Kabir festival, the first train, on Wednesday August 30, left Iddo Terminus, Lagos enroute Ikeja, through Ogun and Oyo State to end the journey in Osogbo, while the second batch left on Thursday August 31, 2017 through the same route down to Osogbo.

After the Eil-il-kabir celebration, the train is expected to leave Osogbo on Sunday September 3rd, 2017 for Lagos.

Some of the beneficiaries of the gesture said, the government had provided succor to the less-privileged who are interested but did not have the financial wherewithal to return to their families for the celebration.

One Rashidi Sunmonu, an indigene of Osogbo who joined the train service with his wife and four kids said the service had eased the tension of transport fare back home, commending the government for his concern for the less-privilege in the society.

He then appealed that the policy should be institutionalised to ensure that anyone who will take over from the administration continues it.

The Commissioner for Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives, Ismail Jayeoba-Alagbada had in a statement said, the gesture was in furtherance of Aregbesola administration’s commitment to the welfare of the ordinary people who deserve the support from the government.

He was optimistic that the free train provided by the government would give Osun indigenes in particular the opportunities to return home in order to savor the joy of the festival with their relatives.

“This is one of the social protection projects of the Aregbesola administration and since we commenced this more than six years ago, we have not looked back. Even in the face of very harsh financial constraints, we have strived to keep this offer going, convinced that it has offered great opportunities for our people and helped their finances as well,” Jayeoba-Alagbada stressed.

EDITORIAL: 26 Years On

Tremendous progress has been made since the creation of the State of Osun, twenty six years ago. In its own way, the edifying development strides indicate that in spite of the defects linkable to quasi-federalism, a well thought out road map can still make a difference.

We must salute the courage and foresight of those who have governed the state since its creation. There will always be great discourses about dotting the i’s and the crossings of t’s. Nevertheless, if a holistic comparative analysis is made, we cannot but give their endeavours a solid pass mark.

The issue is how to sustain the momentum. It won’t be unfair to look at the current flow of development in the state as being pre and post-Aregbesola as his interregnum is decisive. His administration has its nexus built on the foundations for sustainable development goals which are conspicuously noticeable and commended far and wide.

Sustainability is key. The absence of it is at the heart of our perennial boom to bust cycles. What the Aregbesola intervention has sensibly achieved is the construction of the building blocks for sustainability in development. A clear counter-mechanism to the boom to bust cycle, is to build a buffer, this mechanism can be seen in the physical and social infrastructures that are being put in place. Inevitably, developing this shock absorber is a long-term objective. Inevitably, it comes with setbacks as well as misconceptions in the short-term.

This is understandable. To balance the immediate needs with a long term perspective and strategy will always be difficult in a democratic system based on relatively short-term electoral cycles. From contemporary history, we know that the Action Group government led by the avatar Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the 1950’s also suffered short-term electoral reverses. Nevertheless, by sticking to his position, he has been vindicated by history.

To protect the tremendous gains made, there must be continuity. Posterity will be unforgiven. This has worked for Lagos state where there has been a seamless transition of progressive, developmental focused governments without break since 1999. It will work for Osun as well. We therefore urge that all hands must be on deck as we move to change the baton of governance next year.

Everything must be done to ensure that the tremendous progress achieved is sustained with the installation of a progressive minded post-Aregbesola government. Otherwise, we might be saying congratulations a bit too early.