The Politicisation Of Pension In Osun By Abiodun Komolafe

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” 

The quote above, by W.B. Yeats,  perfectly  echoed my own sentiments  on  reading a report in the Punch, August 16, 2017  edition in which Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun was alleged by the ‘Forum of 2011/2012 Pensioners  to have “paid political office holders who served between November 2010 and November 2014 the sum of N50 million each as severance allowance.”

Before all else, that “a motley crowd” has simply allowed worldly cares to obliterate its sense of the beautiful is what an observer like yours sincerely finds difficult to comprehend. For instance, findings have shown that the protesting pensioners acted against wise counsel by  opting to retire from the state service at the end of 2012 because they did not want to join the new contributory pension regime, a situation that ended up  unleashing  an  accumulated debt burden of N5b on the state.  Essentially, while it is a statement of fact that a labourer should be  worthy of his hire, the tragic truth is that the socio-economic needs of the society are so huge that no government can accomplish them in a day. Osun  is  not   an exception!

Of course, Osun is currently funds-challenged. But Nigeria is similarly deprived! Thanks to the immediate past drivers of Nigeria’s economy who practically turned Nigeria into a pauperized, debtor enclave  where borrowing money to pay money, all in the name of debt rescheduling conversion,  or servicing, was fashionable. People’s Democratic Party (PDP) summarily reduced Nigerians to a wounded people in an impossible bus and it was as if the gods were angry. The outcome  of  the  putridity of its inanity, the extremity of its frivolity, its consolation in vainglorious fatality and the competition for space of its blind ambition for power without purpose is now staring us in the face and only a God can help us!

But, is Aregbesola anti-workers, be they active or passive? In my considered opinion, a governor that has accorded governance a new name and given us hope of a better Osun and  a  greater  Nigeria cannot be said to be anti-workers. His inspirational, passionate and record-breaking contributions to the transformation of Osun into “a developed, cleaner, safer and more beautiful state” is so huge that, in another 30 years, Osun will no doubt be a reference point in infrastructure development to other states of the federation. Little wonder the governor is one of the most outstanding and credible personalities the Nigerian nation has ever known. The interesting part of his initiatives and interventions is that they are practically free from political interference, unlike what obtains in some other states.

The falseness and baselessness of Forum of 2011/2012  Pensioners’  allegation could also be traced to the fact that Osun ranks next to Lagos in terms of payment of workers’ salary and pension allowances.  For instance, how many people remember that?, until the arrival of the second tranche of the Paris Club refund, Ayo Fayose could only manage to pay workers’ salary up until January 2017? As we speak, Ekiti State civil servants are being owed 6 months; primary school teachers: 9 months; secondary school teachers: 7 months; Local Government workers: 7 months; and, pensioners: 9 months. Yet, the governor continues  to  mortgage  the  state’s  future  on ‘ponmo’  cow hide)  and  okada   (motorcycle)  as if that’s one sure fiendish way of keeping an unsuspecting people perpetually under his feet.

In Benue  State, two months’ salaries are used to pay for one month. Impliedly, workers are paid half salaries across board in that state. Kwara,   Kogi  and Enugu States are not faring  any better.  As at May 2017, Edo State government was sitting, comfortably, on arrears of pension ranging from  10  to  42  months owed its senior citizens. Not only that, state pensioners were also being owed “gratuities from 2012 till date and the local government pensioners from 2008 till date.” Coincidentally, the man who just left the state as governor was a veteran labour leader. So, when will Aregbesola’s traducers  be sincere enough to admit that the salary challenge is national in outlook? On the other hand, isn’t it curious that a certain section of the fourth branch of government  has  turned itself into an “insidious political opposition …,  hiding under the plight of pensioners to make outrageous claims with a view to inciting the people against the government”?

From investigations, how much did Osun receive as 2nd tranche of the refund? N6,314,106,340.62!  How much was spent on  payment of parts of salary arrears, leave bonuses and pensions to civil servants and pensioners in the state, of course, including those in the local government service? N5,131,680,567.59! On the issue of severance package, did Aregbesola breach any law guiding the payment of such to public or political  office holders in the state? Not to my knowledge!

All said, here comes the issue of media and its roles as the political conscience of the electorate, For God’s sake, how  can  a media outfit that has compromised ethical standards hold those who are in government accountable, make informed decisions or stay away from undoctored views? When “a newspaper recklessly subjects its platform to be used for propagating falsehood and deception”, then Nigeria is in for a long haul. It is the same reason this   ‘section of the media’ will go to town with reports  of  Osun being in the 29th position in the 2017 West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) rating without investigating the reasons its  year-on-year  steady progress in that sector;  or verifying when WAEC Board met to review the state of the states in the last Senior School Certificate Examination  (SSCE).

2018 is around the corner! As such, the gladiators are already positioning. The political lions, the economic bears,  and  the  political  mischief makers are already lurking around. All the same, this is the opportune time for the electorate to make an informed choice between turning the page and closing the book. The earlier  Nigeria’s  five thousand people fed with two loaves and five fishes  rise to the occasion, the better their  chances are of getting it right!

May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, scatter!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

020, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

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Aregbesola And The Storm Within By Adewale Adeoye

At the entrance of the governor’s office on a windy Tuesday morning, I saw a motley crowd of men and women cheering the convoy of the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as he snaked through the highway into his office. On the other side of the divide, a group of pensioners jeered. Many had thought he would be intimidated by the rowdy scene. On the other side of the divide, another set of people raised their clench fists in revolutionary salute to the governor, paving the way for him to wade through.
For one thing, for the past few months, the governor has been under severe criticisms from his political foes. Given the circumstances of how he won his reelection two years ago, the opposition seems to wait constantly on the edge, exploring every dissent voice for electoral prospect. The governor is accused of not paying salaries for months and of not lifting the state significantly beyond how he met it. This is just one shred of a complex story.
His critics have an equal camp of fanatical supporters. At Ikire on a Saturday afternoon, I met a little girl, lurch green, innocent and raw. She is barely 9. The girl in her little age sees Aregbesola as some sort of god. “He is my hero,” he told me point blank. His senior siblings speak with the same irreversible conviction. The parents of the children have a rich political background, their own parents having been active members of the defunct Action Group, (AG) led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Two portraits of the State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola that hung on the wall of the pony apartment of this family speaks a lot. They are some of the fanatical supporters of the state governor, and they are many, with fury and passion.
“I won’t deceive you. We have never had it so good in Osun. Forget about the propaganda. Visit the local governments in the state. You will have a completely different story,” Akanni, the father told me as we settled for dinner that day.
He said propaganda and outright lies have become major tools in Nigerian politics. “When falsehood becomes a recurring decimal, it becomes the odd truth”, he enthused. Perhaps, only a tour of Osun can tell the full story, which I had the opportunity of embarking upon, courtesy of a regional professional body. Akanni’s little child, the girl, said she was ashamed of going to her former school until the government brought honour by building a school of world class.
For me, and from what I saw in Osun, the schools built by the State governor amazed me. I have travelled to virtually all the states in Nigeria. I do not know of any state government that has built such schools of European standards. Prior these initiatives, some of the pupils I met in rural communities told me, as it is the standard across Nigeria, the public primary schools were left open. Rodents and reptiles had a field day and on weekends, the schools were converted to high society parties or in some astonishing cases, armed robbers used the classrooms as hotbeds of nefarious activities. The effort has seen Osun state building no fewer than 25 secondary and primary schools with enrolment of new pupils hitting a landmark.
To many keen observers, his intervention is world-shattering. Osun has built scores of such model schools across the state accommodating between 900 to 1000 students. 50 middle schools were being built for primary 5-6 and junior secondary school (JSS 1 – 111) in the age bracket of 10 – 14 years. O’meals reaches 254,000 pupils representing about 10 times the number of pupils in some states across the country. This has also provided succor to 3,000 caterers in local communities.
The project has been endorsed by international organizations like the UK-based partnership for child development (PCD). The daily allowance of school pupil is N250. Comparatively, in Bornu state, it is five naira. Interestingly, the school enrolment increased by 25 percent due to the fresh initiatives.
But apart from the standard educational infrastructure, no one can dismiss the uniqueness of the tablet of knowledge-Opon Imon, distributed to the pupils, the first of its kind in the history of the state. But critics appear to deliberately ignore the green light. The tablet of knowledge is a learning tool that has revolutionalised education in the state. There are three major content categories: Textbooks, tutorials and practice questions. The State has committed 150,000 tablets to senior secondary students across state schools, the highest in any community of the same population size in West Africa. The tablets have Android 4.0pc Tablet, a dictionary, Bible, Koran and tips on health. Though the impact is being felt now, the real consequences will be in the years to come, as the pupils go to higher schools.
It is either Osun has not done enough to trumpet her flute or the voices are simply drowned by deaf ears. It appears the state has seen an orchestrated propaganda being unleashed on it first by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on one hand and internal rivals on the other. One cannot deny the impact of dissidents within the All Progressives Congress, (APC). To me, I think the mistake of this group of people is their failure to realize that you cannot pull down a house under which you live just because of the assumption that you dislike a co-tenant.
A top official of the state civil service told me the state has trained and employed 3,007 food vendors each with a uniform provided by the state. This drew the financial support from banks to the tune of N124.5million given to 123 cooperative groups of food vendors.
The state also partnered with the World Bank, French Development Agency and the Federal Project Management unit to build 500km of rural roads. Osun is one of the four states that qualified for the project based on standard assessment by the international group. The efforts in the area of roads to me are commendable, considering the milestones recorded with the Gbongan-Akoda Road apart from the 500 kilometers of roads across the state.
Nothing is as puzzling as the figure-made available by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Baderinwa debunking the claim that Osun is owing workers in the range of six months or above.
Osun has come under severe criticisms on the alleged non-payment of workers’ salaries.
The fact is that the state receives 2.536 billion for instance, from January to May this year, yet it has a profile of 1.7 billion as workers’ salary every month.
How does the state cope with these meager resources? Yet, out of this allocation, the state government has paid till date 65 percent of the workforce, that is, workers on levels 7 downwards. This means that all workers on levels seven and below have been paid till date. Levels 8 to 10 constantly receive 75 percent of gross payment, constituting another 25% of the workforce being paid regularly and as at when due. These figures were corroborated by the state Commissioner for Information.
Those that have been receiving 50 percent are workers on level 12 and above. On the average, there are fewer states in Nigeria that have performed better than Osun in terms of workers’ salaries. That is the truth. But there is a major technical challenge, which all the state governors have lived with including Osun.
For instance, 25 percent of the workers in Osun State gulp 52% of the resources available. It is natural to expect the state to have hurdles difficult to surmount. If Osun wishes to remove this burden, the best solution is to redeploy many of the civil servants to the Ministry of Agric. Unfortunately, good policies may raise the stake of electoral threats, which pose immense danger to the system, the reason why many state governments continue to retain parasitic clay-footed public servants.
But how did Osun lose the last Senatorial election to the PDP? Did that indicate a decline of Aregbesola’e profile? His critics say the defeat marked a bitter turning point in this downward slide. But a single election may not be enough to draw final conclusion.
There are many factors that led to Senator Ademola Adeleke’s victory. First is his family’s political tree. His father was a Unity Party of Nigeria, (UPN) federal lawmaker in1979. His sibling, the late Isiaka Adeleke was a governor and a senator. I do not subscribe to the ideal that Ademola Adeleke left the APC because of imposition.
From findings, he was not actually a registered member of APC. I was informed he crossed over to PDP and emerged as a Senator even though he was not a member of PDP until some six hours before the primary that produced him, when he joined the party. It is obvious that Osun people need to redefine their own image. Osun people need to tell their own stories. The people need to counter the gory images being unleashed in the media backed by assumptions rather than facts and sound logic. It is time for the state to break the mirror and perspective of adversaries in a country where propaganda is chief and performance no longer count in electoral contest.
However, it may be futile looking at what states have achieved or not, when the real development of the Nigerian society can only come through a radical restructuring of Nigeria to the extent that the parasitic Federal Government will have its wings cut into pieces and the people and their communities will be free from the agonizing ring of recycled anomie occasioned by the garrison structure of the Nigerian state.
Adeoye is a multiple award-winning journalist and wrote in from Lagos.
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UNIOSUN Medical Students Return From Ukraine, Become Medical Doctors

Thirty-five of 85 medical students of the Osun State University who were sent to Ukraine University for medical studies by Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration have returned to Osun.
The medical doctors checkout at the Arrival post of the Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos few minutes past 9pm on Saturday night and were received by a state government delegation led by the Commissioner for Innovation, Science and Technology, Engr Remi Omowaiye and Special Adviser to the governor on Higher Education, Bursary and Scholarship, Prof Grace Akinola.
They returned home after graduating from the the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Kharkov, Ukraine and certified as medical doctors.
About 15 of the medical students stayed back in Ukraine for future pursuit.
It would be recalled that 50 of the 85 UNIOSUN students recently graduated and were inducted as qualified medical doctors after passing the 2017 KROK 2 Ukraine National Medical Exams June this year.
The UNIOSUN students were sent to Ukraine by the Aregbesola’s administration to complete their medical studies in Ukraine in 2013 as a result of non-availability of teaching hospital for their clinical studies.
One of the medical students, Miss Latifat Abiola Oyeleye was declared the over best medical student of the Karazin Kharkiv National University as well as the 2017 overall best students in the entire Ukraine with an outstanding score of 95.6% in KROK 2 Exams.
Receiving the young doctors at the Government House, Osogbo, Aregbesola welcomed them and urged them to let their skills, knowledge and education speak for them.
Aregbesola explained that sending the students to Ukraine was not about nationalism but about justice and fairness, stating that the students were admitted for medicine and it behoved the university and government to fulfill their obligations.
He said: “We had advertised the medical course and admitted the students, it is the obligation of the government to see the students through the program. Human being will only succeed when he upholds justice and fairness. So, what informed our decision on this students is justice and fairness.
Aregbesola who said education is not about one discipline but about having skills, motivation and knowledge, said he was happy and proud for the success in their academic program.
The governor urged the young doctors to be professional, humane and Godly in discharging their duties in hospitals and everywhere they find themselves.
In their remarks, the students attributed their academic success Aregbesola’s commitment to promoting functional education and concern on their plights when they were stranded in UNIOSUN.
They promised to embark on service to humanity and give back to the community, particular Osun state in appreciation of their free medical studies.
Oyeleye, the overall best students said: “I am one of the beneficiaries of Aregbesola’s gesture, I am one of the 85 medical students sponsored by his administration to one of the best universities in the world.
“We have studied and graduated. We thank God that today, we have been made medical doctors through the support of Osun Government. It is a dream comes true for me and my family.
“Osun Government has made history through this, Governor Aregbesola has done excellently well in our lives to attain this giant feat in academic because if not for him, we might not be celebrated like this today.”
Another beneficiary, Dr. Oluwasayo Motunrayo said, “I will forever be grateful to Aregbesola for making our dreams come to pass. He has done well to ensure that we did not fail in meeting up with our medical carrier in life.”
Ezekoye Maria, an indigene of Anambra state, who is part of the medical students, said: “We had lost hope when there was no teaching hospital to proceed to for out medical studies at UNIOSUN, we were all stranded.
“But Governor Aregbesola restored our hope, he made us realise our dreams by sending us to one of the best universities in Ukraine for medical studies free of charge. Today, we are certified medical doctors. We are all proud of Osun government.
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Death And The Governor’s Mother By Abiodun Komolafe

“Life levels all men. Death reveals the eminent.”

 

– George Bernard Shaw

Rauf Aregbesola must be an extremely sad man, as we speak. This is because, in a spate of two weeks, the governor of the State of Osun has lost two particularly dear friends to the cold fangs of death. First to answer the final call was Olu Abiola, a foremost industrialist, socialite and philanthropist who was not only “an invaluable asset in the business world”, but also “gave his all to the cause of” Aregbesola’s administration. Abiola gave up the ghost on July 16, 2017 and the world mourned the passing of a patriot! Two weeks after, precisely, on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, the matriarch of the Aregbesola family in Ilesa, and the governor’s mother, Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola, also exited this sad, sick and insane world of war and the vagaries of its sinfulness. Rauf lost her beloved mother and a chapter in the history of his events-filled life came to a close.

Though grieving is a natural reaction to a loss, the solace in these two sad events is that both grew relatively old before accessing the hereafter. Like Abiola, Iya Olobi, as she was fondly called, will be sorely missed by the governor. Just recently, the governor informed a stunned audience that he has three homes in Osun State. First is Government House at Oke Fia in Osogbo, his official residence. Second is her mother’s, in Ilaje, Ilesa. And third is Abiola’s house in Oke Omiru, also in Ilesa. Now,  two of  these ‘homes’ are bereaved and one can imagine the  gravity of the governor’s grief.

As we all know, being a governor’s mother, especially, in this part of the world carries along with it a lot of responsibilities. The ‘challenge’ of that office is so threateningly enormous that, once upon a time in Nigeria, a ‘Mother Excellency’ almost seized control of the powers constitutionally vested in her son as governor of a state. But Aregbesola was with a difference! I doubt if she ever interfered in governance issues in Osun. And it’s not recorded anywhere that she ever used her influence to curry favour anywhere. The present state of the road on which her house in Ilesa is situated bears eloquent testimony to this.

But, what is life that its “meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still”? On the other hand, why is death described as “a gift to have more life” and why did Walker Scott see it as “the final awakening”? Of course, that’s why I seriously disagree with Will Rogers that being a hero is more of knowing when to die because “prolonged death has ruined more men than it ever made.”

For instance, were Rauf to have a choice between losing his mother now, when the possibility of the state shutting down to accord her a befitting burial is high, and letting her live longer till say, when “the phones no longer ring”, I’m sure he’d have opted for the latter. That goes to explain the importance of parents in a man’s life!

Iya Olobi’s vision of life was remarkable. She trained her children, sometimes, through the seeming endless valleys of travails, to become responsible citizens in the society. She neither wavered nor faltered in nurturing them, sometimes through the physical thistles and the psychological toughness of a journey of life which, in many instances, attempted to dilute her faith. Despite the winding and the wearisome nature of the journey, she did all that’s worth doing  to give her children’s future a meaning.

“Life”, in Marion Howard’s words, “is like a blanket – too short.”  This  “mutual hostility” is also said to be about wars; you win some, you lose some. Sadly, but with total submission to the will of Allah, Iya Olobi has lost the final struggle of life to death! So, rather than grieve over what’s inevitable, the governor and his siblings should reflect and, with hearts full of praise, appreciate God for having such a wonderful mother who has in no small way added value to their lives.

More importantly, the governor should be thankful to the Allah for letting his mother see him through success,  notably,  as  an  engineer,  a  ‘chattered  politician”,  and  “an  astute  administrator  with a  vision,  one  blessed with the ability to picture into the fortunes, hopes and desires of a future which best is yet to come for dear state.”

Like mother, like son! Japheth Omojuwa describes him as a “seemingly ordinary man with the proven extraordinary abilities” while Joe Igbokwe sees him as “a repository of trust and confidence among his followers.” Aregbesola has helped a great deal in the transformation of Osun from the shameless sensualities of the Ancient Times and the ruthless ferocity of the Dark Ages into “a developed, cleaner, safer and more beautiful state” that, in another 30 years, Osun will no doubt be a reference point to other states in terms of infrastructure development. His promise of a brighter future has been unsurpassable in the history of the state. Little wonder Aregbesola is one of the most outstanding and credible personalities the Nigerian nation has ever known.

In 1890, Crowfoot on his deathbed famously referred to life as the “flash of a firefly in the night“; “the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime“; and “the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Without doubt, Iya Olobi’s life brings to memory All Progressives Party (APC), interestingly, a political party co-founded and nurtured into adulthood by his governor-son. Truth be told, APC is fractured in not less than 10 states. Wolves in sheep’s clothing and politicians with no fixed identity are threatening the survival of the party and it seems as if the Father Christmas of our immediate past has lost the essence of his gift. But I believe that this challenge is not insurmountable if only the leadership can learn some salient lessons from the life, travails and the triumph of Rauf’s mother. Her  inspiring  life and unwavering commitment to excellence have shown that living in questionable submission to the fatal fantasies of life is not always an option.

May Allah grant the soul of the faithful departed Al-Janat!

Ameen!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

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Osun Empowers 5,000 Women In Black Soap Making

The State Government of Osun has engaged 5,000 women in the area of local soap production with a view to empowering them and indirectly connecting them to the international markets.

The programme conceived in partnership with an offtaker, Kasmo Industries, an indigenous soap making company in Osogbo, is supported with financial impetus from an investor organization in the state.

According to facilitator of the programme, Mr. Rufus Idris, the 5,000 women supply black soap which serves as raw material for the local production of over 6 million bar soap, “Dudu Kasmo”, for the first phase in the growing Kasmo Soap business.

He said the state Government of Osun through GEMS4, a DFID-fund programme will link expanding market for unique wholesale and retail products from Osun into larger local and international markets. One of the products selected for the programme is Dudu Kasmo.

It will be recalled that a memorandum of understanding was signed by Governor Rauf Aregbesola and Alhaji Kasali Owolabi, the CEO of Kasmo Industries Limited in October 2016 to create a non-governmental scheme to reduce hunger, poverty and raise the standard of living through wealth creation.

“The benefits attached to the production of Kasmo soap include capacity building for employed staffs, giving the product more credibility as well as improving the quality and quantity of the goods.

“With GEMS4 support, Kasmo Industries Limited is expected to increase its capacity for raw materials intake from rural women, increasing their production which will in turn increase their income,” Mr. Rufus noted.

One of the local soap makers who spoke on behalf of her colleagues, Emilia Abioye said the initiative has empowered them by giving them direct access to produce for Kasmo Company thereby improving their profit.

She expressed her appreciation to the state government and GEMS4 for the programme, a move Mrs Abioye confirmed could banish poverty in the land.

So far, about 10,059 cooperative societies have been registered under several similar schemes in the state. Through partnership with DFID and access to a N2.5bn development fund, 133 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises have been setup, with 800 cooperative societies benefitting in low interest loans which has helped them employ over 10,000 individuals across the state.

The money facilitated through the Central Bank of Nigeria is in collaboration with SMEDAN under the GEMS4 scheme to provide opportunities to itinerant business owners in order to boost their productivity and generate more income for them.

The government, however, reiterated its readiness to track the programme’s impact in the lives of itinerant women local soap makers in Osun State.

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Aregbesola Mourns Mother’s Exit, Says ‘It Is Very Tough To Lose One’s Mother’

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on ?Friday described the death of his mother as a great blow to Aregbesola dynasty and womanhood.

This was as the Kwara State Governor, AbdulFatai Ahmed described Aregbesola’s mother as a complete epitome of womanhood.

Governor Aregbesola stated this while hosting the Kwara state Governor who came to pay a condolence visit to him over the death of his mother, Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola.

Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola died at the age of 84 year on Tuesday and buried on the same day in her residence, Ilesa, Osun state.

Governor Aregbesola said the death of his mother was in no doubt caused him a deep sorrow, describing it as a ‘deep disaster’.

According to him, there is no strict definition of sorrow than a moment of great sadness which he’s personally undergoing over the demise of his mother.

“My mother would have been 85 years in the next few weeks if she had not died, but even at 90 years, I will not wish her dead.

“So it is a deep sorrow that I have to lose my mother as her death was not only shocking but painful to me personally.

“Her death has made me to know further that it is very tough to lose one’s mother, aside looking good on camera, within me, I have a feeling of great loss, but I am consoled with the voluminous condolences and expression of sympathies and love from all quarters.

“This is an attestation to the fact that my mother is very happy in her new station most especially for the expression of concerns and sympathies received across faiths and personalities from all walks of life.

“May God translate all these grieves, condolences to rewards for my mother wherever she is now and grant her soul the best place in the Aljana Fridao (paradise).

“May Allah spare the lives of those she left behind and make us live longer.

While appreciating the condolences from President Muhammadu Buhari and others, Governor Aregbesola beseeched God to reward in good for being concerned over the death of his mother.

In his condolence remarks, the Governor of Kwara State, AbdulFatai Ahmed, thanked Allah for taking late Saratu Aregbesola  at a time her demise is being celebrated globally.

Governor Ahmed who led members of the Kwara state Executive Council, politicians and top government functionaries to Osogbo, described the demise of Mama as ?a painful exit.

He said Alhaja Saratu had lived a fulfilled life that is full of good legacies worthy of emulation, saying Mama would be forever remembered for giving the world a good son personified by Governor Aregbesola.

Governor Ahmed added, “We have come to commiserate with our brother Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Governor of Osun, over the passing on of our dear mother.

“We have to be grateful to Allah for making Mama to see the successes of her children most especially the landmark achievements made by Governor Aregbesola in taking the people of Osun state to greater height.

“We pray God to give you and other members of the family the strength and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. May God continue to stand by you, uphold you, guide you and protect you as you forge ahead to develop the state”.

Advising the bereaved on the need to emulate the good legacies left behind by Aregbesola’s mother, Governor Ahmed said “the essence of life is for one to live and leave good legacies behind.”

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2011/12 Osun Pensioners Protest To Disrupt Prayers For Aregbesola’s Mother

Following the payment of over N5.1billion to workers by the state Government of Osun, pensioners under the aegis of Forum 2011/12 retired public servant in Osun has staged a well-planed protest demanding for more payment from the government.

The protest which coincided with the 3rd day Fidua prayer of Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola, mother of the governor who died on Tuesday, was staged to press home more payment from the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

The pensioners who converged at the entrance of the state’s secretariat, Abere were seeing discussing with no placards to drive home reasons for their protest. 

Recall that the state government of Osun committed N5.1 billion out of the N6.3 billion second tranche Paris club refund received from the federal government for the payment of salaries and pensions.

It was gathered that the workers, pensioners inclusive have since been receiving credit alert of payment of the agreed payment reached with the various unions.

The government reached the sharing formula through the state’s Revenue Allocation Committee, led by Hassan Sunmonu, in conjunction with labour unions in the state.

It was learnt that the unions agreed to the decision to pay the arrears of July and August 2015, the balance of leave bonuses of 2015 to workers in grade level 8-17 who had been receiving modulated salaries, as well as the July 2017 salary and pension entitlements to all workers in the state.

Prince Rotimi Adelugba, the Chairman of the Triangular Group of Pensioners in Osun State described the latest protest embarked upon by a faction of pensioners as ‘sponsored’, describing their conduct as unnecessary and a plot to undermine the good intention of the government.

He said the state government has paid the salary of all workers in the state up to July, 2017 in line with the agreement made between it and the labour union.

According to him, the state government and the labour union met and decided that the state should pay July and August, 2015 balance of the modulated salaries of workers whose pay had been on modulation since 2015.

The Osun Triangular Pensioners Chairman warned those that are preoccupied in sowing seed of discord with aim of heating up the polity and inciting the populace against the government to desist in the collective interest of all in the state.

Prince Adelugba opined that at a time when the whole state is in mourning over the death of the illustrious mother of our governor, it is only fair that they sympathize with him and the government, rather than put up a show of shame, on a day dedicated for the 3rd Fidau Prayer for Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola.

In an interesting twist, one of the protesters, who dressed like an Islamic cleric was spotted with a black goat, for yet to be identified purpose, however, the policemen on ground barred the man from slaughtering the animal.

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Tinubu, Akande, Oyinlola, Others Pay Aregbesola Condolence Visit Over Mother’s Death

Following the death of the mother of Osun state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Adebisi Akande, former Osun state Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on Wednesday stormed Osogbo on condolence visit to the bereaved- Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
This was even as the traditional rulers in the state were also in attendance to express their condolences to Governor Aregbesola and the entire family of the deceased.
Among others who have come to condole with Aregbesola are Senator Musilu Obanikoro, the Southwest Zonal Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Pius Akinyelure.
Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola died on Tuesday at age 84 years at her residence in Ilesa?, Osun state and she was buried on the same day.
In their separate remarks, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, described the deceased as an enigmatic woman whose entire life was dedicated to service ?God and humanity.
He described Late Saratu Aregbesola as a woman who dedicated her life for the education of her children and their well being.
?Tinubu added,  “I know late Saratu Aregbesola just as I know her son- Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Mama was a virtuous woman par excellence. She was a woman indeed whose character could not be faulted for any reason because she dedicated her entire life to service God and humanity.
“She was a good mother not only to her children but to all. She took us very well. She loved us just as sheloved her children.
“Nobody has the control of his or her life except God. He gives and takes, so for the death of Mama Aregbesola, we thank God for taking him graciously.
“Though her death is painful but there can not be a better time for her exit than now because one can not write a biography of a great woman than the success which God had made Mama to accomplished during her life time.
“We give solace in the fact that Mama lived a good life and left a great legacy worthy of emulation. She left a good legacy by giving her children best things of life as been manifested in the life of Governor Aregbesola.
“So, there is nothing certain as death and for this reason, we pray God t give her eternal rest and give Aregbesola and other members of the family the fortitude and courage to bear the irreparable loss.
Corroborating similar gestures, the former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Adebisi Akande and former Osun state Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, described late Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola as a woman that can never be forgotten in the history of humanity.
They described the death of Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola as a colossa loss to her children, family and the entire people of Osun as her legacies made most especially to oversee the victory of Governor Aregbesola will be forever be remembered in the book of histroy.
The duo while consoling Aregbesola to take solace in God for ensuring a gracious exit for Mama, thanked God for making the Governor to live behind his mother.
To Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and an APC chieftain from Borno, Hon. Kazim Imam, described late Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola as \’a rare gem of humanity\’.
According to ?Obanikoro, \’I express my lofty sympathy for the loss of Mama. There is no doubt that Mama has gone to Paradize because her life was dedicated to service God and humanity. She built good legacy and this was reflected in the quality of her children, family and those who her life impacted in one way or the other.
Also, three of the traditional rulers in the state, the Akinrun of Ikirun, Oba AdulRauf Adedeji, Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun and Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola, described late Saratu as a woman of virtues.
In his response, Governor Rauf Aregbesola described her mother as an extra-ordinary woman who had no means of qualification in motherhood.
He said his mother lived all her life to ensure that her children receive best training a good woman can ever give to children in all ramifications.
?While giving thanks to God for giving him a virtuous woman as mother, Aregbesola said his mother\’s love for children can never be undermined as her entire life was passionately lived to service God, for her children and the entire humanity.
Governor Aregbesola expressed profound gratitude to those who participated in the burial ceremony of his mother most especially the islamic clerics.
“The death of my mother caught me unexpected because I had no premonition that such a thing would happen otherwise I may not be where I was when the news of her death was broken.
“But in all, I give thanks to God that my mother lived a worthy life that anyone could pray for. She was a mother indeed. She loved us and she always stand by us in all situations.
“She was a committed, dedicated ?and virtuous woman whose dedicated her life to ensure our collective greatness”, Aregbesola added.
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LAUTECH Crisis: Osun, Oyo Inaugurates New Governing Council

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his Oyo state counterparts, Senator Abiola Ajimobi on Monday evening reaffirmed commitment to turn Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) the best university in Nigeria.

The governors of the two owner states said no iota of distraction from any quarter would prevent them from resuscitating the university and make it the most viable citadel of knowledge in Nigeria and Africa.

This was as even the two Governors inaugurated a 7-man Governing Council for the university to pilot its affairs for the next four years.

The newly inaugurated Governing Council is headed by a retired Head of Service of the Federation, Professor Oladapo Afolabi as Chairman and Pro-Chancellor of the institution.

Other members of the Governing Council include: Professor Lai Olurode, Prof. (Mrs) Olaide Adedokun, Mr. Abiodun AbdulJelil Owonikoko SAN, Mr. Isiaka Olagoke, Mr. Tise Adenipekun and Bade Adesina respectively.

While inaugurating the new Governing Council at the Oyo state Governor’s Office, Ibadan, Oyo state, the Governors of the two owner states called on the new Council to do all humanly possible to rejuvenate, revamp and reposition the institution to the greater heights being aspired by all.

In his remarks, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who described the university as one of the few higher institutions in Nigeria with best products, said the two states would not relent in their efforts to galvanise every opportunity that could help the university to accomplish her aims and objectives.

He said the two states on assumption of offices have been working assiduously to strengthen the joint ownership of the institution, a move which according to him had earned the university several accolades and achievements.

Governor Aregbesola said the two governments of Osun and Oyo have done much in maintaining the good reputation and rank of the institution as been designed by the founding fathers.

While charging the new members of the Governing Council on the need to complement the already established myriads of development and transformation in the citadel of knowledge, Aregbesola said it is time for them (members of the new Governing Council) to do the needful and take great advantage in the current situation to uplift the university in the interest of both states and public at large.

According to him, it is not a doubt that the newly inaugurated Governing Council members are crop of seasoned and eminent personalities that have all it takes to move the university forward at this critical times.

“From your distinctions in various aspects of life to your track records, you are highly distinguished and unique.

” I am highly proud to have you as members of the new Governing Council of our great University.

“I expect extra-ordinary performance from you all. That is not to say your predecessors were not good. To us those you are succeeding did their best to administer and represent us as the supervisors of the university but the uniqueness on your own calling now, is the circumstance that you are beginning your tenure.

“You must be committed to the efforts made by the owner states to sustain the joint ownership of the institution in line with the spirit of the founding fathers and make the university the best of all in the country.

“The present governments of Osun and Oyo have not only brought about huge transformation but also maintained the trends of quality high education as being reflected in the institution’s track records.

“It is for this reason that we want the new Governing Council to within the shortest time possible to rejuvenate the university, reposition it and bring it back not just to enviable position but to make it the best university in Nigeria.

“There is no doubt that LAUTECH was known to be the best university in Nigeria and we want you to maintain this tempo in placing our university above its peers in Nigeria in churning out graduates not only virile in academics but distinguished in character.

“We want you to perform miracle if possible as being done by Jesus christ who turned water to wine according to christiandom so as to ensuring that the university is not only resuscitated but placed to great heights ever known in history.

“We want every member of this Council to perform another miracle that will turn around the fortunes of the university for the betterment of all.

“We want to use your tenure to perform wonders in making the comatose of LAUTECH within the shortest possible time the best university in Nigeria”, Aregbesola tasked the Governing Council.

Also, the Oyo state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi attributed the inauguration of the new Governing Council to the fulfilment of one of the recommendations given by the Visitation Panel set up by the two owner states.

He said the steps were taken towards the  sustainability and achievement of the aims and objectives of the founding fathers in making the University to be the best in Nigeria.

Governor Ajimobi said the two states were through the inauguration of the Governing Council showcasing to the world their absolute commitment to goals and objectives of the founding fathers.

According to Governor Ajimobi, “LAUTECH is an institution owns by the Osun and Oyo governments and we are irrevocably committed to this joint ownership just as we are determined to make the university the best in Nigeria.

“Like all institutions, there are challenges and anyone who claims to be a leader or manager wants results must never be afraid of the challenges.

“Infact, it is because of these challenges that made us to be here because we are ever committed to surmount those challenges as LAUTECH is no exception as we all know the historical perspection of the institution.

“We are carefully selected the members of this Governing Council whose track records can not be faulted and there is no doubt in our minds that all the members of new Council are eminently qualified not only to resurrect LAUTECH but to reposition the institution.

“We assure you that looking at the membership that we have, there is no doubt in our minds that within the next three months, we will start to see first thing to avert the undeserving trends that we have and to begin to reposition LAUTECH accordingly.

“It is based on this that we quickly implement one of the recommendations of the visitation panel to ensure that we inaugurate and put in place a Governing Council.

“We are also working seriously to ensure that LAUTECH remains sustainable and achieve the aims and objectives of the founding fathers in making the University to be the best in Nigeria.

“We are recommitting ourselves to that goals and objectives of the founding fathers as we are sure that by what it will take, we would reposition and reopen the university and LAUTECH must work”, Ajimobi stressed.

While appealing to striking workers of the institution on the need to reason with Government’s stance and support on the new move to reposition the university, Ajimobi said the owner states will do all possible to turn around the institution.   

“We are committed to ensure that we have a forensic audit of the financial of the management, students and programmes of the university just as we are taking this opportunity to appeal to all the stakeholders to please allow sanity to prevail.

“There is no where in the world where employees of an institution will prevent the owners from repositioning the institution. There is no where in the world where workers unions of the institution will prevent the forensic audit of that institution.

“So, we are appealing to either the Union, the Workers or students of LAUTECH to please allow us to promote this university and reposition it according to the dictates of modern day management and institutional development.

“It is on this note that we are saying, that the new Governing Council has now been given all the powers to do whatever necessary to resuscitate, to develop, progress and reposition the university so that it becomes the number one university in Nigeria”, Ajimobi added.

Responding on behalf of other members of the new Governing Council, the Chairman of the Council, Professor Oladapo Afolabi assured the owner states of improved and better performance.

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Osun Performing Well In Spite Of Meagre Resources, Says Ambode

The governor of Lagos,  Mr Akinwumi Ambode, on Thursday said he was amazed at the pace of development taking place in Osun despite its very meagre resources.

He said his administration would do everything possible to support Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun at ensuring the success of his government.

This was even as the two governors renewed the calls for and reaffirmed their commitments towards the actualisation of South-West regional integration.

A statement by the Bureau of Communication and Strategy, signed by its Director, Semiu Okanlawon, quoted the two governors as making the calls when Ambode paid a courtesy call on Aregbesola at the Government House in Osogbo.

Ambode was quoted in the statement as saying it was time for the region to fully exploit its potential by standing by what Aregbesola of Osun has been championing since the beginning of his administration.

He stated that the Lagos state government is fully committed to the regional integration of the South West for its economic potential to be fully harnessed and sustained.

The Lagos State Governor added that the time is right for all well-meaning indigenes of the region to rally round and ensure that the South West begins to rely on its economic endowments as means of being independent.

He said, “We have an historic duty to join Aregbesola in championing what he has been clamouring for, which is the integration of the South west.

“I fully commit myself to the integration of the South-West because I believe it is the only way the region can fully explore its potentials for the benefit of all.

“I can assure you that the South West has all it takes to stand alone and survive without having to depend on any external means of funding”

Ambode highlighted the developmental strides of Aregbesola in Osun, saying the Governor has laid unprecedented marks of development in the state.

He commended the Governor for being steadfast to weather the financial storm and challenges the state is passing through, while assuring the Osun government that Lagos State will support Osun with what it can to the end.

He urged Aregbesola to continue the good work, saying the reward of hard work is more work while also charging the Governor to ensure that the legacies are not destroyed.

“We are in consonance with what Aregbesola is doing in Osun.  I cannot begin to define how Osun has developed under this administration.

“I am particularly amazed by commitment to developing the state despite the tough economic challenges the state is passing through.

“I want to assure you that Lagos State Government will continue to support Osun till the end with all it can. I don’t want the development to stop and he should be reminded that the reward for hard work is more work.” Ambode stated.

Responding, Aregbesola said that any move for development in the South West without regional integration is like a child’s play compared to the kind of development the region will experience if there is full regional integration.

Aregbesola stated that the call for the regional integration of the South West must be taken beyond mere rhetorics, stressing that all the South West governors must work towards actualising it before the end of their current tenures.

The Osun governor said the only state that can survive on its own is Lagos, which he said is not too good because other states in the South West will be over dependent on Lagos if that happens.

He said it is in the interest of Lagos and other states in the South West to clamour for the regional integration in all aspects of life.

“There can be no meaningful development in the South west without the integration of the region.

“It is the only way we can fully take advantage of the comparative competitiveness that exists in our region.  That is why we commend the efforts of the Lagos State Government on the move for regional integration.

“It is time for us as a region to take the issue of regional integration beyond mere rhetoric, we need to actualise it before the end our various tenures.

“I want us to set the shortest period of our tenure as the deadline to actualise the dream because it is the best for this region.”

“We must pursue the clamour for the southwest regional integration to advance  social-economic, political and education relationship for the comparative competitiveness,” Aregbesola said.

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Osun Broilers Outgrowers Scheme Produces 5 Million Birds In 3 Years

The State of Osun Broiler Outgrowers Production Scheme, OBOPS, has produced at least 5 million birds in the last three years, the scheme managers have said.

Revealing this over the weekend, Mr. Kolawole Ogini who is the facilitator of the second phase of the scheme stated that OBOPS has placed Osun among states with relatively high production in poultry business in Nigeria.

He disclosed that Amo Byng Poultry Farm have been saddled with the responsibility of stocking day-old-chicks and appropriate feeds to raise the birds to maturity through a bank loan, after which the anchor farm buys back from the participants.

Mr Ogini stated that the second phase of the scheme is a Public-Private Partnership scheme designed to facilitate poultry farming within the State of Osun.

While reviewing the selection process, Ogini said the scheme is open to poultry farmers in the state with 2,000 capacity pens and bio-security facilities in place which includes perimeter netting and well closed entrance.

Ogini who lauded the state government for its successes recorded in several agricultural intervention programmes, said the first phase of the scheme recorded a huge success as about 768 farmers were engaged, cash profit paid to farmers stood at N785millions as well as making over 120 broilers farmers who keyed into the initiative millionaires.

Aside this, the OBOPS programme has also helped the state government’s course on the elementary school feeding programme, O’Meals of the present administration leading to the gainful employment of about 1,000 farmers and over 3,000 food vendors under the elementary school feeding programme.

“The OBOPS II pilot scheme which initially engaged 15 poultry farmers has now grown into 100 farmers across the 30 local governments and 32 local council development areas with 2,000 day old chicks given to each farmer.”

Ogini further revealed that efforts are on to increase the 3.7 tonnes of feed given to farmers presently as well as the development of more suitable approach to reach the hinterland by engaging more people from the grassroots and turn OBOPS II into a legacy programme which subsequent governments will emulate.

According to him, the programme is a continuum to ensure that development drive of government is met and achieved.

“The first phase was successfully facilitated with capital outlay of about N500 Million from the State Government. Up to 1,500 poultry farmers participated and up to 5 million chicken birds were successfully produced within 3 years.

“Constraint faced by paucity of funds lead to the state’s desire to facilitate same program with Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Loan facility. Up to 30,000 farmers participation evenly spread across the State is anticipated.

Recall that the first phase which made over 120 millionaires was sponsored by the Osun state government and anchored by TUNS farm.

Mr. Ogini further revealed that for interested participants, “2,000 birds capacity pen is required for each farmer. They will be provided with all necessary facilities like drinkers, feeders, and hygienic source of water etc.

“In broiler’s production today Osun is rated second to Oyo state in the country with plans to engage over 30,000 poultry farmers and have the scheme spread to every home in no distant future. 

“The selection is open to all poultry farmers in the state and only requires farmers to provide a 2,000 capacity pens with basic facilities to avoid high mortality rates. The government liaises with loaning banks to fund supplies such as day-old-chicks, vaccines, feeds, technical assistance and above all buy backs the final output.” Mr. Ogini stated.

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Don’t Drag Osun Govt, Osogbo Community into Diekola’s Case – Group Warns

A socio-political group, the Osogbo Progressives Circle (OPC) has warned politicians not to drag the Osun State Government and Osogbo community into the criminal allegations leveled against a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Fatai Diekola.
The group in a press statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Sulaimon Adebayo and Secretary, Bidemi Olaniyi said Diekola is having case with the police authority, not the state government, nor Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
According to the group, the warning became imperative following a move to incite Osogbo indigenes against the Aregbesola’s administration by supporters of Diekola who is an indigene of Osogbo.
The group maintained that it would not allow ‘self-centered politicians’ to draw back the hand of development in the state capital by the attempt to incite the community against the state government on Diekola’s case.
It explained that the APC chieftain was facing a criminal case of gun running, breach of public peace and conspiracy leveled against him by the police.
Explaining that the APC chieftain’s case came up on the heel of confession of two political thugs ‘Dada Lawrence and one other who allegedly told the police that Diekola was the person that gave guns to them, the group said Osogbo community does not support criminality.
The group stated that Diekola contributed to the underdevelopment of Osogbo when he led thugs to disrupt the construction of Government House at Okedio, Osogbo in 2003 after Chief Bisi Akande lost the governorship election to Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We do not want to join issues with politicians on Fatai Diekola’s case before the Osogbo magistrate court, we equally don’t want the politicians to misinform members of the public and incite the indigenes of Osogbo against the state government and Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
“Fatai Diekola is son of Osogbo and we know his antecedence. The truth of the matter is that Diekola is have issues with the police authority. The police had invited him about three weeks ago because of his alleged complicity in gun running as accused by the police.
“Diekola did not show up till Monday when he mobilize people to the police station in a campaign rally form. That made the police to charge him for disturbance of public peace. We wondered why Diekola would mobilize hundreds of people to police station to honour invitation. That is the true story.
“Diekola is not fighting for Osogbo and nobody should see his case as such. We recalled that Diekola had led some thugs to disrupt the construction of Government House at Okedio being constructed by Chief Adebisi Akande in 2003.
“We do not want anybody to disturb the peace we are enjoying in Osogbo. Osogbo indigenes should speak out now so that Diekola would not disrupt the development of our collective heritage as he did in 2003. He should answer the allegations against him, his followers should leave Osogbo community out of the matter.
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