PDP Borrowed To Pay Salaries – Semiu Okanlawon

By Nofisat Marindoti

The Special Adviser to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Information Strategy, Hon. Semiu Okanlawon, has revealed that the past administration by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, borrowed money to pay workers salaries.

This is in response to the criticism against Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s administration borrowing money to sponsor some developmental projects.

During a radio programme monitored by Osun Defender, Okanlawon said that the Oyinlola Olagunsoye’s administration borrowed 1bn every month to pay salary.

The Legal Adviser to the PDP who was also on the programme however, said the present administration has not completed any road project including the proposed airport among others in the state.

In a swift response, Okanlawon stated that the projects are ongoing, adding that while some has been completed, others are under construction.

“The projects are going on, construction work is taking place, most of the roads are completed while the Gbongan bridge is under construction. An aircraft can actually land in the present condition of the airport and those who know it worth has came to sign an MOU with the state government. It is just that PDP and its loyalists are gifted not to see good things, Aregbesola deserves kudos because he has used unprecedented means to catalyse Osun economy.”

“We inherited all loans granted Osun since its creation and even at that, Osun didn’t owe such mischievous loan as being accused by the opposition neither is it embarking on grandeurs projects.

“If PDP is accusing us of grandeurs projects, ask its members what they do while in Government for 16 years in Nigeria with 7 and a half years in Osun.”

“Osun people now knows better. We didn’t borrow such gargantuan funds as being alleged, the State Government is only borrowing as occasion demanded for the welfare of the people. PDP can never fool the collective psyches of Osun people.” Okanlawon added.

Oluwo Eulogises SOK At 50

Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale has congratulated the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to Osun governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon on his 50th birthday.

The congratulatory message of the monarch was conveyed through a release signed by his press secretary, Mr. Alli Ibrahim on Sunday.

The monarch described Okanlawon as an asset to propelling progressive governance and media institution in Nigeria.

He noted his administrative experience is a certificate for excellence performance as one of the very active Senior Special Advisers to Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

Oluwo urged Okanlawon to prepared himself for higher political offices, for, a serious government, irrespective of political affiliation needs his service for effective media deliverance

Aregbesola Appoints SA, Media Adviser

The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has appointed Mr Semiu Okanlawon as a Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, and Mr Sola Fasure a Media Adviser.

In a statement issued by the commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa said the appointments of the duo takes effect immediately.

The statement read: “Mr Semiu Okanlawon, a former employee of the PUNCH Newspaper, was until his appointment, the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, and was the spokesperson of the governor.

“Mr Sola Fasure who was on the Editorial Board of The Nation newspaper was in Charge of writing the Governor’s Speech before his new appointment.

“The appointment takes immediate effect.

EDITORIAL: Kudos To Transparency

We must acknowledge the openness of the government of the State of Osun for its excellent communication on the received receipt of the Paris Club refunds.

A statement signed by Semiu Okanlawon, Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor laid it bare in stating that  “The Government of Osun wishes to announce that it has received the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds.

The refunds, totaling N6.314bn, was paid into the state coffers on Monday, July 17, 2017.

In line with our government’s promise to utilise the resources of this state in the best interest of our people, we hereby restate our commitment to this promise as we begin shortly transparent deployment on our commitments to the concerned stakeholders”.

The transparency is commendable and worthy of emulation by those states who have inadvertently given the unfortunate misconception that there might have been no refund. The openness also brilliantly checkmate those who are forever seeking opportunities to fish in contrived muddy waters.

A good example here is those being used by self-seeking professional political miscreants and opportunists under the cloak of being ‘pensioners’. Their so called protest was politically sponsored.

It is interesting to note that about a month ago, this same set of pensioners accused Governor Rauf Aregbesola of collecting and diverting the second tranche of Paris loan refund, which they claimed had been released to Osun State by the Federal government.

The transparency of the government has now proved that this was all politically induced, frankly an unreserved apology to the government as well as the people of the state, is very much in order.

Transparency helps and we urge the state government of Osun to continue in this way in the transparent deployment of its commitment to the people of the state.

Osun Releases N797m To New LGs, LCDAs

The Governor of the State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, has approved the release of a sum of N797 million as take-off grant to the newly created Local Council Developments Areas, Area Councils, and Administrative Offices in the state.

The funds approved by the governor also included the Stabilisation Funds to the existing Local Government Areas of the state.

A statement by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor, Semiu Okanlawon, gave the breakdown of the funds released to each of the administrative units as follows: N15 million to each of the 31LCDAs; N9 million to each of the 3 Area Councils; N5 million to each of the 2 Administrative Offices; and N10million to each of the 30 LGs.

According to the release, the governor urged the leadership at each of these strata of local government administration in the state to ensure the realisation of the main objectives of the creation of the various administrative units, the most paramount of which is the rapid development of the state.

He reminded the leadership to be conscious of the main targets which include pursuit of revenue generation, market development, control and supervision, environmental sanitation, primary health care delivery and elementary education superintendence.

There Can Be No Good Governance Without Innovation – Aregbesola

*Bags Most Innovative Governor award

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has said that being innovative is the only route towards delivering good governance and meeting the yearnings of the people.
This was Aregbesola’s response Sunday night after being presented with an award Most Innovative Governor of the Year by the organisers of the Media Nite Out Award, in Ikeja, Lagos.
Aregbesola, who was represented by his Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said it was not without reason that he told his people in Osun and others who cared to listen at the inception of his administration that he would run an unusual government.
“We knew that for us to deliver on governance which we promised our people, we must be ready to break the rules,” Aregbesola said while delivering the acceptance speech.
The governor’s nomination, according to the citation read at the event, came through after carefully following his many innovations in the course of his tenures as governor of Osun.
“He is a thinker, ardent performer, a visionary leader, an agent of strategic change” the organizers stated in the citation.
Aregbesola told the gathering, “We consciously designed our programs and policies to be different from the norms. We were convinced that many of the existing approaches to governance had left our people in poverty, ignorance, diseases and hopelessness. But no one wanted to rock the boat for fear of what the people would say.
“But we were convinced that though the decisions might be painful to take, we needed to be courageous to take them if they would in turn bring our people out of their predicament.”
The Governor said that almost six years after, it is gratifying that the painful but courageous decisions are paying off.
“We have proved through our strategic approach that though painful, the courage with which we have taken the decisions and driven on on our development agenda have been embraced by our people.
“We are conscious our state has been in the news all the time and some of our actions have been portrayed in the negatives by a section of the populace that is not yet in tune with the our unusual ways. But the media have a lot to do to educate and not be swayed by mere emotions. The question should be: Are the people -who are at the centre of it all- having their hopes restored and having meanings for their lives? The answer lies with our people and we know they are with us on this journey to total redemption,” the governor said.

Osun Did Not Receive Ecological Fund For Five Years – Osun Govt

The Government of Osun on Thursday described as fallacious, demand by the State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party to justify how the state spent ecological funds in the wake of the flood that affected some parts of the state capital.
The government said it smacks of total ignorance and mischief for the PDP not to recall how funds such as ecological funds were used to play dirty politics and victimized states under the control of the opposition party.
The Government, through a statement by the Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor, said Osun did not get any ecological funds to execute its massive projects which prevented flood since 2011.
“Osun did not receive any ecological fund from the disastrous PDP Federal Government from November 27, 2010 to May 29, 2015. We have depended on our legitimate revenues from all sources to annually dredge our waterways up till 2015 when revenue decline hindered our efforts,” the Bureau’s statement, signed by its Director, Semiu Okanlawon, explained.
The Bureau said despite the dirty politics played by the PDP government at the centre, Osun remained one of the few states that had never experienced any flooding since 2010/2011 till the unfortunate incident of Tuesday, September 13, 2016.
It said the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, left no part of the state untouched in its proactive massive projects to save the environment.
The government asked the PDP to go back to its records to remind itself of the wickedness it perpetrated against states under opposition parties throughout its 16 years of clueless rule.
“We are concerned with the agony of our citizens and shall do all in our power to limit the pains and prevent a re- occurrence, as we are committed to eliminating all hindrances to free flow of water in the canals, drainage systems and waterways in the state. All obstructions to free flow of water in these channels will be removed, while property blocking easy access to the drainage channels thus preventing adequate management of them will be separated,” the statement added
Calling on the people to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse and waste into the canals, the government reminded residents of the need to patronize registered waste collectors and the authorized dump sites.
The statement also advised those seeing the unfortunate incident as avenue to jubilate to search their conscience adding that the people of Osun are quite aware of the massive projects executed to prevent flooding in the state since the inception of the administration.

Aregbesola Attacks Ignorant Opposition Members Demanding His Resignation Over Osun’s WAEC Results

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the state of Osun has attacked critics demanding his resignation for the state’s woeful performance in the last Senior Secondary WAEC examinations results.

The governor’s spokesperson, Semiu Okanlawon, said Wednesday that those calling for Mr. Aregbesola’s resignation were “naive and ignorant of statistics”.

Mr. Okanlawon said the call stemmed from the “usual lack of knowledge of performance charts and attention to details that the opposition elements are notorious for”.

He said records and statistics of students put forward by the government in the past years have shown that there is improvement in percentage of overall results.

“Those who say Osun is declining are not being honest. The following data will show their claims to be totally unfounded. The performance of pupils has not gone down under the watch of Aregbesola.

“In 2007, the state government put forward 36,171 candidates for WAEC examination out of which 2,483 representing 6.86 per cent had credit pass in five subjects, including English and Mathematics.

“In 2008, it was 37,715 candidates with 3,813 pass, representing 10.11 per cent. In 2009 it was 39,676 candidates, with 5,545 pass, representing 13.98 per cent. In 2010 it was 43,216 candidates, with 6,777 pass, representing 15.68 per cent. If you put these four years together, you will get an average of 15.68 per cent.

“Put side by side, when Aregbesola’s administration started sponsoring candidates for WAEC in 2011. That year, it fielded 53,293 candidates, had 11672 pass, representing 21.98 per cent. In 2012, it fielded 51,463 out of which 11,431 passed, representing 22.21 per cent. In 2013, it also fielded 47,013 candidates, recorded 9,301 pass, representing 19.78 per cent.

“In 2014, government sponsored 47,672 candidates, 9,316 of them passed, representing 19.54 per cent. The average performance for Aregbesola’s first four years was 20.88 per cent. Compared with the average performance (13.26 per cent) of the three years that preceded it, the percentage improvement in performance during Aregbesola’s tenure is a huge 57.46 per cent,” Mr. Okanlawon said in a statement.

He said the improvement was result of strategic planning by the administration.

“The first task of his administration was to convene an education summit which was chaired by Prof Wole Soyinka. Since then, all the interventions in the education sector have been the outcome of that summit,” the statement added.
The statement said the Aregbesola administration was constructing 100 elementary schools, 50 middle schools and 20 high schools out which 14 elementary schools, 15 middle schools and 11 high schools have been completed in addition to rehabilitating the existing ones.

Osun’s Emergence As State With Least Crime Rate Not Incidental – State Government

The Government of Osun on Sunday said the commendably low crime rate in the state as confirmed by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, is the direct result of the several initiatives of the Rauf Aregbesola administration since inception in 2010.

The government said the Aregbesola government did not just secure the state through procurement of security hardwares, it achieved the feat through a dint of well-thought out welfare packages that are disincentive to criminal activities.

The Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the office of the Governor, said the declaration by the Inspector General of Nigeria Police that the state is the most secured and peaceful in the country as one that has justified the huge investment of Governor Rauf Aregbesola led administration on security.

The Bureau’s statement signed by its Director, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, stated that the commendation has shown that‎ the commitment of the governor to security of lives of it citizens has not gone without notice.

The Inspector General of Police had commended the State government and the indigenes for making Osun the safest state in the country at‎ an interactive forum of the Association of Veteran Journalists in Osun State where the IGP was also given an Award of Excellence.

The IGP who was represented at the occasion by the Commissioner of Police, Osun Command, Mr. Femi Oyeleye, said the achievement was not without the cooperation of the patriotic citizens and varying vigilante groups that have had excellent relationships with the police.‎

The Bureau said ‎apart from the huge investments in security, the government of Aregbesola had prevented crime through its numerous programmes such as youths employments, infrastructure, social welfare schemes and others.

According to the Bureau, “Apart from the regular police manning the state, government had at inception, set up a dedicated crime response team code-named Swift Action Squad (SAS), which is visible in strategic areas in the state as well as identified troubled spots.”

The statement said rather than concentrate on the provision of security hardwares as the only way to solve crime, the government, through its various intervention programmes, had made crimes unattractive.

“A huge army of unemployed youths could be a veritable recruitment ground for criminal activities. Our intervention in the area of youths employment was targeted at ensuring that this army of unemployed youths was depleted. With 40,000 direct employment of youths through this strategy, we succeeded in preventing what could have been the insecurity implications of such huge population of jobless people,” the statement added.

The Bureau added that apart from youths employment, the state government’s massive infrastructure programme such as new roads, schools construction, introduction of modern agricultural extension and practices, and other infrastructure projects, several thousands of indirect jobs have been created to reduce the problem of unemployment.

The Bureau added that the government is very conscious of problems that insecurity poses to direct investment both local and foreign, adding that no investor would risk investing in an atmosphere of violence and insecurity.

‎It added that the fact that Osun is impregnable to criminals could easily be attributed to the foresight of Governor Aregbesola in considering security most paramount in his heavy‎ investments in security equipment.

It added that criminals who had tested the will of the state in recent times have found out that the state is not a haven for crime.

The Bureau listed incidents such as the Ikirun bank robbery, the kidnap of prominent business woman and Iyaloja (Head of Market Women) of Kajola-Ijesa market in Atakumosa East Loca Council, Mrs. Adunni Adegbokun, and her rescue as instances that buttress the IGP’s commendation.

It assured residents that the government would continue to make the state safe for residents, tourists and investors adding that this is the only way through which the state could develop.

Osun Welcomes EFCC Invitation Of Fake Crusaders In Move To Curb Frivolous Petitions

The Government of Osun on Monday said invitations to fake petitioners and paid agents of destabilization will put an end to frivolous petitions in Nigeria.

Citing Friday’s invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun over its petition alleging diversion of funds belonging to the Local Governments in the state by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor in a statement signed by its Director, Semiu Okanlawon, said the self-appointed civil society group is a group that had been making bogus claims against Governor Aregbesola and his government without producing evidence to substantiate any of the allegations.

For instance, this was the group that accused Governor Aregbesola of embezzling the N34.988bn bailout loan obtained last year as part of the Federal Government’s intervention to assist states meet their salary obligations.

The same group had accused Governor Aregbesola of borrowing over N750 billion, which, according to it, has not impacted on the socio-economic lives of the people of Osun.
The government had also been accused of planning a mass sack of civil servants in the state especially in the wake of the challenges to meet salary obligations by the state.

“It is instructive that none of these allegations and others from this same group has been proved to be true,” the Bureau stated.

The Bureau described the CSCEO as dubious two-man contraption put together and masquerading as a pro-people organization.

“We must remind Nigerians lest they take this group serious at all that Mr. Sulaiman Adeniyi who claims to be the leader of the group and Seun Adeoye, have been no more than two hired hands of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun and its allied opposition elements.

“It is pertinent to state that the so-called civil society group is a contraption hurriedly put together by Adeniyi and Adeoye to push the dubious agenda of their sponsors, the humiliated governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Senator Iyiola Omisore and Mr. Segun Akinwusi respectively to blackmail Governor Aregbesola and his government.

“When all their antics against the Aregbesola government failed, Nigerians must recall how these characters procured the services of a High Court Judge to write a petition with all forms of spurious allegations which she equally failed to defend.

“It is on record that when the EFCC and the Osun State House of Assembly invited Justice Folahanmi Oloyede to defend the claims in her petition, she developed cold feet.”the Bureau stated.

The statement added that all the allegations leveled against Aregbesola are the same as those allegations made by Omisore, Akinwusi and Justice Oloyede, noting that it is clear that the motive of these is to set the state on fire by misinforming the people.

Describing the step taken by the EFCC as a welcome development, the Bureau stated that “this is a welcome development as perhaps this will put an end to frivolous activities of the likes of hired groups like this and their cohorts in the trade of making allegations that they cannot substantiate.

“The Osun example in local government funds administration is a study in transparency and accountability. Perhaps, it is only in Osun that the governor introduced Heads of Local Government Administrations, HLAs, to the monthly allocation meetings. The HLAs have full knowledge of how much is received and other allied information. A governor with a plan to divert council funds would not bring such a novel addition to the way funds are administered.”

The statement also urged the petitioners to check out Osun’s record of payment of council salaries and pensions and compare those with what obtains in many other states of the federation.

Burden Of Proof: EFCC Invites CSO To Substantiate Claims Of Fund Diversion In Osun

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has invited a Civil Societies Organisation based in Osogbo, the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State (CSCEOS) to appear before it and substantiate its allegation of diversion of local governments funds by the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

In the invitation letter seen by OsunDefender, and dated 13th May, 2016, titled: “Investigation Activities: Acknowledgement/Invitation Letter” and signed by EFCC’s Zonal Head, Akaninyene Ezima, the EFCC said that the organization should report to EFCC Zonal Office at No.16 Rev’d Oyebode Crescent, Iyaganku Ibadan G.R.A., Ibadan for an interview with the undersigned through the Head Team B, on the 17th May, 2016, at 10am prompt.

However, in a bid to get the reaction of the Governor to the latest investigation, a highly placed source at the Government House in Osogbo said “many news outlets only followed Punch Newspaper’s headline which erroneously claimed the Governor of the State of Osun is under investigation”.

Speaking with our correspondent on Monday morning, the source who did not want his name in print because he was not authorized to speak to the media told this paper “ there is nothing to worry about.”

Asked to clarify his statement, the highly placed source said, “we have nothing to worry about, in fact, we welcome any investigation by any law enforcement agency. We are certain at the end of this, we would be given a clean bill of health.”

Continuing, he said “the EFCC only asked the CSCEOS – which is a two-man organization by the way- to come and clarify its spurious allegation, so how that equates to the EFCC investigating Mr. Governor for Punch newspaper is a wonder to us.”

“The Punch headline is so mis-leading, I have seen the letter written by the EFCC and even have a copy of it. Nothing in it claims the agency was investigating Mr. Governor.”
We recall that Punch newspaper had also reported recently that Governor Aregbesola was under investigation by the ICPC for diverting bailout funds, a claim that was immediately refuted by the ICPC in a letter to the Governor.

However, a short interim statement by the governor’s spokesman Mr. Semiu Okanlawon stated thus, “My attention has been drawn to invitation purportedly sent to Suleiman Adeniyi by the EFCC to come forward over his group’s allegation of diversion of local government funds in Osun.”

“This is a welcome development as perhaps this will put an end to frivolous activities of the likes of this group and their cohorts in the trade of making allegations that they can not substantiate.”

“The Osun example in local government funds administration is a study in transparency and accountability. Perhaps, it is only in Osun that the governor introduced Heads of Local Government Administrations, HLAs, to the monthly allocation meeting. The HLAs have full knowledge of how much is received and other allied information. A governor with a plan to divert funds would not bring such a novel addition to the way funds are administered.”

“Have these petitioners checked out Osun’s record of payment of council salaries and pensions and compared it with what obtains in many other states of the federation?”, the spokesman asked.