Gboyega Oyetola Sworn In As 5th Governor Of Osun State

Mr. Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola, on Tuesday took oath of office as the 5th executive governor of Osun state, for a four year term.

His predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the newly sworn-in governor, are members of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Party (APC).

The swearing in ceremony which took place at the Osogbo Township Stadium, had in attendance former Governor and national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, and other dignitaries.

Recall that Governor Oyetola was declared governor-elect after winning with the smallest margin ever in Nigeria’s governorship elections, defeating the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, in a run-off with 482 votes.

Oyetola’s early years, Education and Career
Oyetola was born in Iragbiji in Boripe LGA of Osun State on 29 September 1954. He went to Ifeoluwa Grammar School in Osogbo for his secondary education which he completed in 1972.
He was a graduate of University of Lagos and had a B.Sc (Hons) Insurance in 1978 and MBA in Finance in 1990. He is also an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute, London and Nigeria and a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management.
He started his Insurance Career with Leadway Assurance Company after his NYSC in Maiduguri in 1980 as an Assistant Manager and rose to the position of Area Manager, Control Office, Lagos. He worked at Crusader Insurance as Underwriting Manager, Corporate Alliance Insurance as Controller Technical before he left to set up Silvertrust Insurance Brokers in 1990.
He was on the Board of many companies. He was the Executive Vice Chairman of Paragon Group of Companies with interest in Oil and Gas, Real Estate, Stock Broking etc. until his appointment as the Chief of Staff to the Governor of the State of Osun.
He is happily married and has children.
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Osun: Election As Theatre, By Reuben Abati

What is going on in Osun state right now is nothing short of political theatre. It is keeping us all entertained, but it has also turned so many observers into emergency lawyers. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the Osun Gubernatorial election of September 22 inconclusive and has ordered a supplementary election at seven polling centres in four local councils on September 27.

Many Nigerians are taking a keen interest in the Osun election. This should not be surprising. Every election season in Nigeria, what the law says or does not say is the concern of all kinds of experts who suddenly discover the country’s Constitution and call it out into action as they deem fit. In the last 48 hours, the Nigerian public space has been suffused with relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution on elections, with the more popular references being Sections 1(2), 69 and 179 (2) of the Constitution and Sections 68 (c), 69 and 153 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). Many interested parties have also been dredging up decided cases from the past.

It is really entertaining to see both lawyers and non-lawyers alike referring to precedents from previous elections in Kogi, Bauchi, Edo, Katsina states, and court rulings in Osunbor vs Oshiomhole, Nwobasi vs  Ogbaga and 2 ors.,  and Faleke vs INEC.

What are the issues? Issue 1: whether INEC has acted rightly within the purview of the law by declaring the Osun Gubernatorial election inconclusive? Issue 2: whether a candidate who won a simple majority and one-quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the local councils in the state as required under Section 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution, can be denied a prompt declaration on the grounds that the margin of his victory is lower than the number of cancelled votes? Issue 3: whether the guidelines provided for in the Electoral Act 2010, and the INEC Manual for Election officials, can override the Constitution? Issue 4: whether INEC has the powers to declare an election inconclusive? Issue 5: whether Senator Ademola Adeleke having been the first to go past the post in the Osun Gubernatorial election of September 22 should have been declared winner of the election?

Opinions on the matter are divided; even lawyers are offering contradictory opinions. Those who do not know what the Constitution looks like have also been busy quoting it. It is partly for this reason that I have argued elsewhere that the wise option before the People’s Democratic party (PDP) and its Osun Gubernatorial candidate, Ademola Adeleke, would be to go to court and seek an interlocutory injunction to stop INEC from going ahead with the proposed re-run until the more substantive issues in the case have been determined. They may also seek an order of mandamus from the court asking INEC to declare the results of the Osun State Gubernatorial election held on September 22. As at the time of this writing, neither the PDP nor Senator Ademola Adeleke has taken this course of action. They probably have taken the decision to participate in the rerun election.

Once they do so, they may no longer be in a position to raise any a posterioriprotest about the election of September 22, as the principle of estoppel by conduct could automatically kick in, and be held against them, and that election would be validly inchoate as INEC has declared. Is it not better to put something on record?  I am all for testing the law on the issues outlined above, more so as there has been a repeated tendency on the part of INEC, under President Muhammadu Buhari to use the tool of “inconclusive elections” mostly in elections where the ruling party seems to find it difficult to have its way. But why would the PDP and its candidate be reluctant to attempt a legal response at this point?  Over-confidence that they will win? Or hope that they could still resort to the Election Petitions Tribunal later, if the need arises?

Adeleke and the PDP are probably aware of the declaration by Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court at the commencement of the new Legal Year 2018/2019 last week. His Lordship disclosed that High Court Judges have been directed not to grant any stay or interlocutory injunctions in political cases. I don’t think anyone who needs the protection of the courts should be deterred by this. While it is advisable to protect the courts from the antics of political gladiators, I find His Lordship’s directive strange, for it would appear that what he has done is to ask the High Court to divest itself of its own jurisdiction. How can a court divest itself of its own jurisdiction through administrative fiat? Would it not be better to take every case on its own merit, expeditiously of course, and to ensure that the end of justice is served?

And perhaps, Adeleke and the PDP are also intimidated by the reference, in the last two days, to the Supreme Court decision in Faleke vs INEC and anor. (SC. 648/2016) NGSC 84 which is being relied upon by a few to justify INEC’s decision on the September 22 Osun election. It must be noted to start with that the material facts in that case are different, even if there are clear and unambiguous pronouncements in that ruling on the value of election guidelines, the powers of INEC to declare an election inchoate and the effect of Section 179 (2) (a) (b) of the Constitution. My suspicion is that the jurisprudence in Faleke’s case is now being exploited for political reasons. The Supreme Court in that case, may have unwittingly created an argument that it did not originally anticipate.  There are unanswered questions: Can we use the Electoral Act or any other subsidiary legislation to vary the provisions of the Constitution? Can we use a subsidiary legislation to write into the Constitution what is not in it?  I raise these questions for reflection.

This space not being a court of law, I shall proceed no further on this score. It is entirely up to Senator Ademola Adeleke and his party, to decide whether to go to court or not. But with Adeleke having led the Osun Gubernatorial polls with 254, 698 votes to Gboyega Oyetola (APC)’s 254, 345, leaving a margin of 353, and the former fulfilling the conditions in Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, it can be said that the sentiments of the people of Osun state are with Senator Ademola Adeleke and the PDP.

The incumbent Governor of Osun State, Raufu Aregbesola and other APC leaders who before Sept. 22 had thought that they would win the election easily must have been  shocked that the PDP candidate could put up such a strong performance. What they will also not easily admit is that Adeleke’s performance is from all indications, a vote against Aregbesola and the APC. It is a comment on the prevailing order in that state: a vote against non-payment of salaries, and pensions, and a comment on the arrogance of the APC elite. It has taken a dancing Senator to remind Governor Aregbesola of the extent of his party’s popularity in Osun state. That popularity contest will be determined this week.

My sympathy is with Ademola Adeleke, and not necessarily because he has the best credentials for the job, but if he is the choice of the people of Osun State, the people should be allowed to make their choice and no deliberate obstacles should be placed in their way.  There is probably nothing his opponents have not done to stop him. He was accused of not having the requisite educational qualification for the office: secondary education – and was taken to court. The Court summoned the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and asked for clarification via a sworn  affidavit.  Adeleke was vindicated when the Examinations Council confirmed that he indeed sat for the School Certificate Examination in 1980/81. His critics didn’t give up.

They made big capital out of the fact that the Senator, as a secondary school student got an F9 in English language. They turned this into a butt of jokes, except that the law does not require Nigerian politicians to have anything more than fail grades for them to be eligible for office. With his F9 in English, Adeleke can in fact sometime in the future emerge as president or Vice President of Nigeria! His critics still wouldn’t give up. Three days to the election, the Police Headquarters in Abuja disclosed that Ademola Adeleke and one Sikiru Adeleke are the subject of an investigation involving an alleged fraudulent procurement of NECO certificates. They wanted him to report in Abuja. The president had to intervene and ask the Inspector-General of Police to back off. Adeleke was further cast in the image of a bumbler without brains who only knows how to dance all over the place.

I think the fellow himself has not helped matters in this regard, though, but that is certainly not the focus of this commentary. What is certain is that every ad-hominem attack on Senator Adeleke has totally failed. He remains popular with the people of Osun state.

This is the same man the people of Osun State gave majority votes on Saturday, September 22 in a Gubernatorial election that paraded 48 political parties and candidates, and they will probably do so again on Thursday. By hounding Ademola Adeleke with everything at their disposal, the Osun APC and their allies elsewhere, have turned him into the ordinary people’s hero. Public sentiment is in his favour, either in Osun or anywhere else in Nigeria, because of the perceived desperation of the APC. The declaration of the September 22 election merely fuels existing suspicions and the public’s sentiments. This is the more reason why INEC’s integrity and credibility is at stake. It must do everything to demonstrate that it is indeed an independent and unbiased umpire and not an agent of the ruling party. Both INEC and the ruling party must be seen to be consolidating our democracy and do nothing to undermine the country’s jurisprudence.

I don’t know whether the INEC Chairman and the Returning Officer for Osun watched the recent US Open Grand Slam final match between Serena Williams and the young Japanese tennis player, Naomi Osaka. There was a lot at stake in that match. If Serena Williams won, she would have matched the record 24 Grand Slam titles won by Australian player, Margaret Court. If Naomi Osaka won, she would be the first Japanese to win the US Open Grand Slam singles championship.  But at the end of the match, both players were not the issue, even if Osaka won, but the chair umpire of the match who was accused of harsh calls against Serena Williams. Serena received a code violation warning for smashing her racket, she was accused of cheating, she was penalized a game for “verbal abuse.” The drama took the sweetness out of Naomi Osaka’s victory. INEC as umpire in the Osun election should avoid the temptation to turn itself into an issue.

Senator Ademola Adeleke and his party may be ahead with 353 votes so far, but having chosen to participate in the rerun, they must be aware that the two-horse race they have signed up for on Thursday can go in either direction. They must not smash their rackets. They must eschew verbal abuse. They should keep their eyes on the ball. They must appeal to the people of Osun state to be vigilant and the voters in the local councils where the rerun will be held should come out en masse as they did last Saturday. One more piece of advice for Adeleke: to win that election, he must cultivate the friendship of other opposition leaders in the State.

Other PDP leaders, including Senate President Bukola Saraki and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, have been helping him to talk to Senator Iyiola Omisore, who has now emerged as the “beautiful bride” of the supplementary election, since most of the votes at stake on Thursday are concentrated in his political strongholds – Ife North and Ife South. Adeleke should reach out to him personally, and encourage him to mobilise his supporters to back the PDP- a party he defected from just before this same election.

The APC are also talking to Omisore and he has set up a technical team to weigh the options before the Osun State Social Democratic Party (SDP). Omisore faces a critical moment in his political career.  He must make a wise choice. Victory for Adeleke will shore up INEC’s credibility, allay all fears of manipulation, and create opportunity for the emergence of an inclusive government in Osun State, with implications for subsequent elections in 2019. But of course, the APC is not going to drop the ball either on account of public sentiments. Governor Raufu Aregbesola will seek to protect his legacy and future, and also seek to avoid the “Ekiti outcome. “ Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola will also want victory for himself. May the people’s will prevail.

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How Buhari, APC Leaders Led Ambode To Beg Tinubu, Aregbesola

Indications that the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, may possibly secure his second term ticket on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is coming true as leadership of the party, on Tuesday, appealed to the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to let go of the incumbent’s political sin.

Recall that the National Leader and the Governor has been at loggerheads, with Tinubu supporting a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, ahead of the September 29 primary to select the party’s flag-bearer.

At a meeting attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and some APC governors on Tuesday after the mega rally for Gboyega Oyetola, APC’s aspirant in Saturday’s Osun State gubernatorial election, the Guardian reported that the party’s leadership pleaded with Tinubu to let go of his grievances and allow Ambode return for a second term.

It was learnt that former governors of Osun and Ogun States, Chief Bisi Akande and Aremo Segun Osoba, started the peace overture, as they led Ambode to entreat the national leader.

The move might have been pre-planned, as Ambode rarely attends such occasions. His appearance in Osogbo, alongside his wife Bolanle, therefore gave rise to this suspicion. Sources said Tinubu, out of respect for Akande and Osoba, promised to let pass his grouse. But with a condition: his political loyalists in Lagos, who have made up their minds that Ambode must go, must be consulted.

The two advocates then led the incumbent to Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who is perhaps the closest loyalist of Tinubu. On the advice of the former governors, Ambode was said to have prostrated pleadingly, while the Osun governor expressed his grudges and those of Lagos party members. He also explained why the members insisted they wanted Ambode out.

One of the sins Aregbesola noted was Ambode’s alleged moves to destroy his (Aregbesola’s) political structure in Lagos West, especially in Alimosho. He said Ambode kept him waiting for several hours when he visited the Lagos government house. He further accused Ambode of vindictiveness towards party members that aided his emergence as governor in 2015. Aregbesola however reportedly promised Akande and Osoba that he would look into the matter.

At the meeting with Buhari and the APC governors, sources said Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu led the plea with Tinubu. “It is not in the culture of Hausa people to prostrate. What we normally do is express respect to our elders or leaders by saying Ranka Dade. But today, I am going to break that protocol,” he reportedly said, and prostrated.

Unable to hold his emotions, the national leader burst into tears, at which point, Buhari stood up, moved closer to Tinubu, and implored him to give Ambode a second chance.

Consequently, Tinubu called for a meeting of the Governors Advisory Council (GAC) to hold yesterday, the outcome of which would determine the incumbent’s fate.

 

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Osun: Picturing Into The Future! By Abiodun Komolafe

It is a matter of days before the electorate in Osun goes to the polls to elect a successor toRauf Aregbesola, the outgoing state governor. 

 

Nature, they say, abhors vacuum. As Aregbesola’s administration is gradually but furiously winding down, it is incumbent on the people to access where they are coming from, with a view to picturing into what the future holds in stock. 

 

Flipping back to the last 8 years with the benefit of hindsight, Aregbesola had met a state at its developmental nadir. The governor met a rudderless state, where every facet of government was comatose. Worse hit were social infrastructure, education, health and commerce. The preceding government, overseen by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was profligate with the state resources owing to its misplaced priorities and astounding banality. Then enter Aregbesola who worked assiduously to change the state’s narrative. With a landscape littered with infrastructural edifices, ranging from landmark road networks to social amenities, the economy and commercial activities of the state jumpstarted from their dying ashes. This story of success may be a harrowing one but the fact remains that Aregbesola has done what ought to be done to rescue an ailing state.

 

With few days to Aregbesola’s handing over the flag to his successor therefore, where is the state headed in a way as to avoid a reversal of the gains of the last 8 years and who does the cap fit? Well, a peep into the profile of some of the contenders to the throne will suffice.

 

First is Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Born on September 29, 1954, Oyetola holds a Bachelors degree (B.Sc.) in Insurance and Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance. He has served as Area Manager at Leadway Assurance Company Limited; Underwriting Manager at Crusader Insurance and Technical Controller at Alliance and General Insurance.

 

In 1991, Oyetola founded Silvertrust Insurance Brokers Limited, a firm he has successfully managed until he was appointed as Chief of Staff in 2011. He was also Chairman, Ebony Properties Limited; Executive Vice-Chairman, Paragon Group of Companies; and Director, Pyramid Securities Limited.

 

Oyetola served as Aregbesola’s Chief of Staff until his election as APC governorship candidate. A certified Insurance Broker by training, the quiet, modest and witty APC flag-bearer is said to be among the founders of the now-rested Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 1998 and has since then remained a notable figure in Osun’s political scene so much that when the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, birthed, he was one of the party’s notable chieftains.

 

He is a loyal, pronounced technocrat, result-oriented progressive and philanthropist par excellence whose capacity for generosity remains endless. As a matter of fact, no fewer than 400 students have benefitted from his scholarship grants in the last 25 years. He is married with children who are doing fantastically well in their chosen fields of endeavour.

 

As fate would have it, his deputy, Benedict Olugboyega Alabi, also holds a Masters degree in Economics which makes the team a perfect combination. 

 

Next is Ademola Adeleke of the PDP. Reports have it that he is a secondary school dropout, whose candidacy has been dogged by controversies. As we speak, many court cases, bordering, principally, on certificate forgery, are hanging on his neck, all which are making the coast unclear for his candidature. 

 

With the benefit of hindsight, Adeleke is an accidental politician who was shot into limelight following the sudden death of Isiaka, his elder brother. The concern in some quarters is how the son of a former senator missed the golden opportunity of acquiring the best education that money could provide. Unfortunately, the PDP standard-bearer seemed to have learned nothing from the rise and fall of Salisu Buhari, Nigeria’s former Speaker of the House of Representatives. As he now parades “badly-damaged” credentials, the candidate is seen more as a spoilt brat who is being pushed by his immediate brother’s humongous wealth. In any case, it is yet to be seen if he will survive the allegations against him in a court of competent jurisdiction. In my considered opinion, a vote for the Ede, State of Osun-born candidate, popularly referred to as Ajobiewe, will be a vote for emptiness and untoward setback as the 58 year-old candidate has shown himself as having nothing to offer.

 

Moshood Adeoti is the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP). Adeoti is the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the State of Osun (SSG). Born on February 27, 1953, Adeoti defected from the ruling party and resigned his appointment as SSG to protest the choice of Oyetola as the candidate of the party in an election that was adjudged free, fair and credible. 

 

A Bachelor’s degree (B.Sc) holder in Business Administration, the ADP candidate was at various times the Councillor, Secretary and Chairman of Iwo Local Government before becoming the Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which eventually metamorphosed into APC. Aside from his appointment as SSG, the only known place the Iwo-born politician seemed to have had a ‘cognate’ experience was in the Sawmilling industry where he served as Manager.

Last but not the least is Iyiola Omisore. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) holder in Infrastructure Finance, the veteran governorship candidate has at one time or another served the state as Deputy Governor and Senator representing Osun East Senatorial District. However, despite Omisore’s claim to sound academic acquisition, he is perceived more as a man of slothful pastimes and unstable whims whose dangerous schemes cannot do the state any good. It is believed that his desperation may not be for the genuine interest of the masses after all. As such, his victory at the polls may translate into converting our collective patrimony into personal use. Remember: the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate still owes Nigeria a huge sum of money, part of which he has been struggling to refund through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

 

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

 

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

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Osun 2018: The Streets Are Watching! By Abiodun Komolafe

Once upon an administration in the State of Osun, a people groaned in the rough of aches and moaned in the tumble of pains. Then, hunger begat hunger, poverty took the place of affluence and it was as if the gods were angry! Under the criminal grip of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), governance became a satanic blend of “dumb horse-traders” and “perpetual complainants who do nothing about their complaints apart from moaning and moping.”

Eight years ago, Osun reclaimed its destiny from a rapacious, visionless and pretentious clique. Thanks to Rauf Aregbesola for rescuing the state from the PDP’s singularity of purpose and complete insensitivity to the people’s plight. As Osun prepares to elect Aregbesola’s successor, hopes are high that the state’s democratic destiny would never again be left in the hands of misfits and pretenders whose previous outings was an eloquent reflection of how deep we had sunk as a country and a people.

I have long argued that September 22, 2018 would be a battle between the “Oligarchy of Intellect” and the “Oligarchies of the Purse”; between the ‘power of performance’ and the ‘forces of politics.’ At a time good governance is being misconstrued for a Dead Virtue by enemies of progress, this date in the life of Osun will be a fine specimen of political liberty over commercial prosperity; between national integrity and national cake. Against this backdrop, those who wish Osun well should pick themselves up more so as the exercise shouldn’t be about dwelling in the past which in my considered opinion has become a bucket of ashes.

Pretensions aside, we must all “come together”, “think together”, “speak together” and “act together” in order to prevent a relapse into the political violence, ethnic competitions and economic barrenness that once defined dear state. Let all men of goodwill go out there with a view to replacing those lies being peddled by “desperate political parties”, “dullards” and men of scant consolation acting the sycophancy script with the true position of things. At a crucial time like this, lovers of democracy must endeavour to understand and work in agreement with the changing dynamics of the electorate. After all, individual success is a combination of individual efforts.

But what then does Osun want? Where is the state headed and who fits the bill? Fact remains that Aregbesola’s government has set the pace for a knowledge-driven economy. It has helped a great deal in shaping values through morals. Its ‘O’ Series and Social Protection initiatives, among other laudable programmes and policies, have positively impacted lives. Without doubt, its interventions in the Agriculture sector have not only repositioned the state as the food hub of the Southwest, they have also gone a long way in cushioning the bitter, biting effects of the economic recession that was recently unleashed on Nigeria.

With a loyal and competent successor like Gboyega Oyetola therefore, Osun has no reason to fear! Unlike candidates who either paint the pictures of men of fancy speculations and unstable whims or politic for individualistic innuendos, Oyetola as an advocate of Due Process will deploy his vast experience in finance management, business and public administration as the needed balm to permanently heal the state’s economic wounds. Fiercely loyal to his principles, the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag-bearer is a pious technocrat and an astute politician whose political vivacity has continued to uplift many Nigerians in all facets of their endeavours. His character, his courage, and, above all, his desire to serve a cause greater than himself are a demonstration of his resolute commitment to greater good above personal interests.

The APC standard bearer is the best among the candidates, the best for the job; and the best pill for Osun’s ailments. Following in the footsteps of Aregbesola, the witty, disciplined, teachable, dependable, responsive and skilfully-artful Oyetola will continue in the tradition of changing the face of Osun into a state looking ahead to the future. His unblemished accomplishments, passion for functional education, accessible healthcare and radical approach to urban renewal projects is awesomely thorough. The interesting part of his life is that he is unshaken in courage and undimmed in vision.

Oscar Wilde captured the mood of the moment when he defined democracy as “the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people.” For many years, civilized Romans left politics in the hands of their kings and Chiefs. Greeks once destroyed its own democracy. In Prussia, it was the people who willingly subscribed to autocracy. Ditto for Louis Napoleon’s France! Even, America, world’s acclaimed symbol of democracy never had it smooth. But since they value popular participation, they have since learnt relevant lessons from their past. Again, how come Rwanda suddenly became the epicenter for everything chaotic, tribalistic and genocidal?

How did she gravitate into a metaphor for the sad, the bad, the ugly and a habour for hatred? Expanding the horizon, how did the “substantial” violence which characterized the fall of the House of Hohenzollern come to be and what was responsible for the rise of the Weimar Republic through the German Revolution of 1918–1919? Coming back to Osun, what could have prompted a major opposition party into relishing in a silly, reckless theatrical charade of insulting our collective intelligence in an election as important as governorship, unless some extraterrestrial forces have so counseled? If they ever did, what are the presumed intentions and likely implications?

Evil prevails when good people do nothing! Basically, it is the unrepentant rebelliousness and the fanatical gluttony on the part of Nigeria’s leaders that has led us into this petty, pitiable pass. Greed makes a man think only of himself without thinking of what becomes the lot of others. It is greed which makes Nigeria’s leaders work against the interest of Nigerians that has absurdly malformed Nigeria’s elite into a blend of opportunists looking for ways to further impoverish the populace.

Threateningly, greed has even turned our traditional rulers into traditional riggers and our religious leaders into prayer contractors. Isn’t it laughable that a political party which claims to be working in the interest of the people will be working towards turning Bola Ige House into a ‘Dance Hall’?

The streets are surely watching!

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

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

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

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Osun Govt Disburses N19.8bn For Salary Arrears, Leave Bonuses

Osun State Government has disbursed a sum of N19,8 billion for payment of four months arrears of salary and 2016 leave bonus to all categories of the state workers.

The information was contained in a statement signed by Mr Bola Oyebamiji, the Commissioner for Finance in the state.

The release said the decision was taken at the meeting of the Fund Apportionment Committee led by Mr Hassan Sumonu with labour and government representatives in attendance.

It explains:“In line with labour unions’ demands and current financial position of the state, government of the State of Osun led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has authorised payment of four (4) months salary arrears and 2016 leave bonus to its workers.

“In line with its agenda and fulfillment of its promise to the State workers regarding prioritisation of their welfare above others, the government of the State of Osun has commenced payment of full salary and arrears in line with available resources.”

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Defections Won’t Affect APC’s Victory At Osun Gov Poll, Says Aregbesola

Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has said that the recent defections of some party members to opposition parties in Osun State will not affect the victory of the governing All Progressives Congress in the September 22 governorship election.

The Governor stated this while speaking at a rally, organised by the Speaker, State House of Assembly, Mr Najeem Salaam, in his Ejigbo town.

In a statement by the media aid to the Governor, Mr Sola Fasure, Aregbesola said party members were committed and united, regardless of gale of defections from the party.

“This defection has made us to know those that are genuinely with us and those that are not with us.?

“We have known friends, enemies and cunning individuals among us by this defection but we are not afraid of their antics as we remain united, strong and committed.

“We are confident of victory. We know God is on our side and we believe in Him; we believe He will lead us to victory,” he said.

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Osun 2018: Adegboyega Oyetola Emerges APC Governorship Candidate

Ahead of the Osun State governorship election in September, Adegboyega Oyetola, has emerged as the governorship candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Oyetola is the Chief of Staff to incumbent Governor of the State, Rauf Aregbesola.

He was one of 17 aspirants who participated in the exercise which took place in the 332 wards across all the Local Government Areas of the state.

Some of the other aspirants included the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuff, and Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Dr Najeem Salam.

Others in the race included Ezekiel Oyemomi, Saka Layonu, Abdulgafar Amere, and Kunle Adegoke, among others.

 

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Osun Security: Another First In Rating Indices, By Abiodun Komolafe

State of Osun is Nigeria’s most peaceful state. This impressive feat, according to a report on Nigeria Peace Index (NPI), couldn’t have come at a more auspicious time than now in the sense that Nigeria is bogged down by serious internal security challenge on all fronts: provable Boko Haram and ‘ISIS in West Africa’ terrorism in the North East; violent herdsmen/farmers clashes in the North West and North Central; armed banditry and kidnappings and in the South East, militancy and piracy in the South South; and violent crimes and ethno-religious upheavals in parts of the South West geo-political zones of the country.

Gratifyingly, the ranking, based on the research findings of the Foundation for Peace Professionals (FPP), came less than a month after the Joint Tax Board (JTB) commended the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration for spearheading a process that has consistently led to a year-on-year improvement in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and tax remittances to the state, the latest being the N11.9 billion generated as actual full year IGR for 2017, representing more than 30% increase over the previous year’s N8,884,756,040.35.

The award could also be described as a soothing balm for a country that has just been treated one of the cruelest forms of armed robbery attacks in its recent history. The incident, which took place in Offa in a neighboring state, left no fewer than 17 persons dead and a large amount of money carted away by the bandits.

Yes! This is not the first time the state will be so honoured! Remember: Osun ranked Nigeria’s13th crime-free state in 2016, a height attained “through various interventions by the government in beefing up the security of the state.” It is even more than that! Osun is, as we speak, Nigeria’s 2nd richest state. Currently, it is 2nd on the Human Capital Index and has maintained the 2nd position in four years in a roll in the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). In Agriculture and Food Security, dear state is now 2nd only to Oyo State in broiler production and its forestry sub-sector ranks 5th in the country.

Osun is now Nigeria’s 5th largest economy with its GDP growing at 7.3% per annum. Its position (between 1st and 3rd, since 2013) in the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) matriculable students in Nigeria has not only rubbished the premise that “WAEC rankings” of states should be the only yardstick for measuring states’ performance in education, it has also gone a long way in demonstrating that government’s transformational investments in the education sector have not been in vain. In Sports, the state also came 9th in the recently-concluded National Youth Games, a feat that has for a long while eluded the state.

For the sake of clarity so as not to be left in the ambience of ambiguity, this government is reputed to be the first in the country to have led a new understanding in parliamentary Local Government administration in Nigeria. It is also the first in the country to replace books with computer tablets called ‘Tablet of Knowledge’ aka ‘Opon Imo’ to further stimulate the interest of students to learning as well as completely turn learning into play in schools.

While other states were wallowing in the cesspool of salary conundrum, courtesy of the national economic dislocation, Aregbesola’s government became the first in the country to creatively adopt a robustly-designed salary apportionment model which “makes workers from grade level 08 and above collect between 75 and 50 per cent of their salaries.”

However, while its ranking as the state with the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria, courtesy of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), demands the attention of all, facts are that Aregbesola’s parliamentary gift to Osun will in no small way help in expanding the potentials for accountability, transparency and societal capacity building.

Though by no means a great feat, Aregbesola’s administration’s latest cap did not come as a surprise. Certainly, it is one of the expected results of his administration’s renewed efforts at fostering, especially, a secured, virtuous state. Prior to his assumption of office on November 27, 2010, Osun was home to all kinds of security challenges which no doubt compromised the people’s lives and diminished their influence. Though sitting on a sea of possibilities, the state was broke, with its IGR at the time standing at a paltry N300 million monthly average. Put in strict terms, Aregbesola took over the reins of power when the state was in an economic dilemma as a result of structural deficiency, gross misrule and mismanagement of resources.

Aregbesola became governor and the narrative changed! Without being sycophantic, Ogbeni’s commitment to security of lives and property remains unimpeachable as he has consistently maintained that no state, not even country, can reach its full potentials in an atmosphere of violence and insecurity. It was against this backdrop that government set up the Swift Action Squad (SAS) as a dedicated a crime response team to compliment the efforts of the regular police in securing the state.

It also procured and distributed 125 security patrol vehicles and 25 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), in addition to provision of other logistics, to security agencies in the state for the purpose of ensuring peace and communal harmony in the state. Vigilance and neighborhood watch groups were also encouraged to provide support for the regular security agencies.

Another area that demands commendation was the administration’s fostering a “co-existence blueprint” in resolving herders/farmers crises in Osun, a situation the Sale Bayari-led Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) said has been responsible for a “silent and peaceful” state.

Talking about Aregbesola’s administration in the eye of history, this, again, is why Nigeria’s tribe of Pharisees who always hunger for the wrong reason needs to wake up from its hatred-infused slumber. Rather than engage in needless spleen-venting or muscle-flexing wiles that take nobody nowhere, present challenges should unite actors in the Osun political landscape to look beyond political sentiments and needless emotions in the choice of Aregbesola’s successor.

Jokes apart, one pathetic paradox of what Kingsley Moghalu referred to as ‘politics of vested interests’ in this clime is that, in spite of all that Nigeria has been blessed with as a country, she’s still rated as the poverty capital of the world, with more than 80 million Nigerians now live below poverty level and over-3.7 million currently faced with food insecurity which, if care is not taken, may increase to 5.2 million by August 2018. Nigeria, interestingly, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is now world’s 125th poorest country. The sad side of it is that, of the world’s poorest countries, 18 of them are in Africa; and, Mauritius, which currently serves as Africa’s best, is world’s 45th.

Less than 3 years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, Nigeria’s external debt, already considered as the biggest in all of sub-Saharan Africa, now stands at over-$18.91 billion (over-N5.787 trillion). And, as if difficulties are gender-sensitive, Nigeria currently ranks worst in women’s participation in politics, courtesy of Nigeria’s unhealthy political environment. On the World Happiness Index, she is 91st. In Industrial Gross Domestic Product (GDP), she has the lowest on the continent, beaten by less-endowed countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Ghana. In

Budget transparency, she is world’s 90th; and 23rd in Africa behind Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Liberia. Even, the best university in Nigeria can only fit into 1099th position globally. To make a bad situation worse, Nigerians, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF), are now poorer than they were three years ago!

Without being immodest, Nigeria is in troubled times and Osun as an integral part of the country is not immune from her many predicaments. According to information, 34 states can’t pay workers’ salaries without running, cap-in-hand, to Abuja for monthly handouts. The trials being faced by Nigeria’s crude oil in the international market are yet to abate even as dear country is yet to smart out of its mono-economy status.

It’s in the midst of these threats that the incoming governor will be expected consolidate on Aregbesola’s achievements, win the confidence of his people, improve on the payment of workers’ salaries and perform wonders along the line of infrastructure development.

Looking at Nigeria’s current political and socio-economic dynamics therefore, those who truly love Osun will have to do more than debating, counter-debating and panting with polluted affinity on the colour or size of the next governor’s ethno-religious garb. In my considered opinion, Aregbesola’s successor must be a personality who has all along been partaking of the many surgical operations aimed at healing the wounds created by the enormity of its challenges. Failure to incorporate this into the DNA of our choice process may be likened to deliberately preparing dear state for doom. God forbid!

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in the State of Osun!

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

 

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

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Aregbesola’s Bid To Restore Healthy Living Saves 12,000 Lives

The Restoration of Healthy Living part of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s Six-Point Integral Action Plan in the State of Osun has since 2010 saved over 12,000 lives.

The initiative which revolved round all strata of improvement, development and upgrade of the health sector of the state has its legacies in all segments.

Efforts to restructure the health sector of the state started with the upgrade of 18 health facilities across the state with the three of the state General Hospitals in Asubiaro Osogbo, Ile-Ife and Ijebu-Ijesa being upgraded to the state-of-the-art Specialist Hospitals.

Aside this, 50 ambulances were procured to provide emergency services to residents of the state in distress during accidents or other emergency needs with 404 paramedics employed, trained and allocated dedicated phone lines to aid their operations in every nook and cranny of the state.

Also, about 53 health projects ranging from Primary Health Care centres to important health initiatives were initiated and completed during the time frame with support from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The government in the last seven and a half years has also spent over 290 million naira on the procurement of equipment and basic amenities with half a billion naira expended on drugs that are provided free for patients across the state.

A patient who spoke to newsmen at the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo expressed her gratitude to the State Government of Osun for its support towards catering for the health conditions of its citizenry.

She said with the mechanisms put in place, adequate care and attention is given to patients for their quick recovery and wellness which she is also a beneficiary.

Her words “I want to thank the government for taking care of me despite how critical my condition was. I am also grateful to them for the grant they have given me to take care of myself when I leave here. If not for their efforts, I may not have been alive today but I’m grateful to God that through their support, I am alive today.”

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Needless Controversy Over Osun IGR, By Abiodun Komolafe

Lies, when told too often, unchallenged, have the capacity to be mistaken for the truth. As an indigene of the State of Osun, a key stakeholder in the Osun project; and as a living witness to Rauf Aregbesola’s judicious use of the taxpayers’ money for the development of the state, surprise was a better word to describe the recently-released Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) status of Osun for 2017 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In the report, NBS stated that internally generated revenues for Osun declined from N8,884,756,040.35 in 2016 to N6,486,524,226.45 in 2017, representing a -26.99% drop. But, in what could be considered a swift reaction, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenues Service (FIRS) and Chairman, Joint Tax Board (JTB), Babatunde Fowler, disclosed that the Aregbesola-led administration raised the state’s IGR by over-30% in 2017. Contrary to the Bureau’s misleading position, facts at the disposal of yours sincerely did reveal that the state’s actual full year IGR for 2017 was N11.9 billion.

Of course, it could have been much more, but for the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies’ tax audit outstanding, totaling N4 billion, to the state.

Established by Section 86 (1) of the Personal Income Tax Act cap. P8 LFN 2004, findings also revealed that JTB is the body statutorily mandated to contribute to the advancement of the tax administration in Nigeria”, especially “in the area of harmonization of Personal Income Tax administration throughout Nigeria.” Well, one can only hope that appropriate quarters would use the circumstances in Osun to resolve needless conflicts in job descriptions between NBS and JTB.

As Aregbesola remarked while declaring open the Board’s 140th Quarterly Meeting in Osogbo, tax payment is about the most important component of any civilized and forward-looking society; because, “without taxes, there’s no government.” Essentially therefore, sustaining any government involves active participation of the people; and the way to it is taxation!

Well, though Osun is at the moment not there in terms of IGR and tax remittances, it bears repeating that the present administration has done well in growing the state’s IGR base from a miserable N300 million monthly average in 2010 to where it currently stands. It is therefore believed that, if the taxable population is mobilized to pay its dues “adequately and sufficiently”, the state will no doubt be better for it.

Let’s come back to the Bureau and its inaccurate information! When Benjamin Disraeli wittily painted “lies, damned lies and statistics” as three kinds of lies troubling our world, he probably might have had our NBS in mind. This is because inaccurate information distorts facts and misleads the people. It exaggerates accomplishments and stigmatizes performance in subsequent tasks. It impinges on the evaluation of the government in power and habitually sets the led against their leaders.

Though endowed with human and natural resources, Osun had never come close to fulfilling its potentials until Aregbesola assumed office as governor. A classical example of impressive performance and impactful governance in times of an unstable economic situation, it is interesting to note that, right from his days in the Bola Tinubu-led administration in Lagos State, Aregbesola has been a passionate advocate of efficient taxation in Nigeria. That he has conspicuously and consistently deployed his unwavering resilience, unmistakable commitment, innovative ideology, administrative ingenuity, political prowess and determined efforts towards making Osun a good example to showcase to the world that taxpayers’ money can be used to develop a society for good did not come as a surprise.

Information feeds democracy! Beyond NBS inaccuracy and cynics’ duplicity, one can easily see that Osun taxpayers’ money is working! For instance, no fewer than 13,000 persons have accessed the Free AMBULANCE services and no fewer than 250,000 students in 1,382 public primary schools across the state have been covered in its one-free-meal-per-day policy since its inception.

So far, so impressive: primary and secondary healthcare services at public facilities, including anti-retroviral medication, are being rendered free-of-charge. This is in addition to free laboratory services and surgery for pregnant women, children under the age of 5, and elderly persons in 876 Primary Healthcare facilities and 51 Secondary Health facilities across the 67 Local Government Areas, Local Council Development Areas, Area Councils and Area Offices in the state.

Between 2010 and 2017, more than 50,000 qualified youth have been employed and empowered under the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) and no fewer than 100,000 smallholder farmers have so far benefitted from the state’s ‘Agric Land Bank’ programme. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 7,000 farmers from 500 cooperative societies have benefited from the state’s low interest loans under the Quick Intervention Programme (QUIP).

Besides, Osun Rehabilitation Programme (O’REHAB) has succeeded in treating no fewer than 100 persons with mental disabilities, particularly those who had been living on the streets while 1,602 elderly persons of age 65 and above, who met poverty criteria, have been receiving N10,000,00 monthly for their upkeep, in addition to medical care, under the ‘Agba Osun’ scheme.

While Aregbesola’s unprecedented revolution in infrastructure development and massive road construction are visible to the naked eye, I had probably underestimated the differences between the education system in Osun and elsewhere in the country until Abiola, my 8-year old boy, had a taste of its carefully-planned academic programme. At a stage, I was close to confronting his headmaster when I learnt of the ‘hurdles’ my little boy would have to cross on his way to qualifying for the Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination.

With these tip-of-the-iceberg achievements, one would have expected a data-dependent organization and statistical information provider of NBS status to be without blemish in the discharge of its responsibilities to the public.

However, obviously imprecise information like the one on hand cannot but compel one to ask if Osun is a state against itself in terms of timely release of facts and figures to relevant agencies for processing. Or is it a case of some prodigals and prostitutes, somewhere, mightily profiting from making dear state a systematic target of slippery, sloppy rumours and conspiracy theories?

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in the State of Osun!

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

 

Abiodun Komolafe,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

 

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Osun 2018: Is It About Aregbesola? By Abiodun Komolafe

‘Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.’ – William Faulkner

Reactions have continued to trail the publication of my article, entitled, ‘2018: the governor Osun needs’ (See ‘The Sun’, March 2, 2018): some satisfyingly soothing; some, not too good; others troublingly disappointing!

While some commentators saluted my courage for putting together such “a brilliant and balanced piece at such a critical time in the history of dear state”, others accused me of acting so pusillanimous that I failed to insist that it’s the turn of a particular zone of the state to produce the next governor. Some even went as far as condemning me for “selling” my “conscience to a particular All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain”, who, on my honour, I can’t even recognize in a crowd of three. But let those who do not know me well enough be informed that my interest as a key stakeholder in ‘Project Osun’ does not go beyond my concern for its future. After all, I have no other state I can call home than this ‘Land of Virtue.’

That said, let me sympathize with those who are accusing Governor Rauf Aregbesola of playing games with the issue of succession because they have forgotten that governance is chiefly about finding a need and fulfilling it.

On the other hand, those hawks who once made the state ungovernable for commonsense but who have suddenly transmuted into apostles of mischief need to realize that these are trying times for Nigeria and that Osun is a constitutive constituent of a country trying to find its feet after many years of despoliation, depravity and despondency.

Irrespective of whatever anybody may think or say therefore, the salient truth is that Aregbesola has done well for the State of Osun. The rest is left in the hands of posterity to judge him as appropriate. Also, whatever may be the opinions of naysayers, what cannot be taken away from this man of incredible resilience is that he has passion for this state and that he has always acted swiftly to confront the challenges which sometime attempted to damage its tranquillity and coexistence.

Aregbesola’s government has succeeded to a large extent in inculcating in the people a national and moral rebirth that will inspire them to do things that will be beneficial to the people. His approach to wide-ranging infrastructure development programmes and economic growth has been pleasingly massive; his delivery style, hugely impressive; and his method of tackling accumulated failings of the past, terrifically decisive. Talking of material things, his coming to be governor was no doubt a loss to him. The comforting truth resides in the fact that, what he lost in terms of material things, he has gained it by writing his name in gold.

‘Ogbeni’, as he is fondly called, has added world-class buildings to existing school structures in Osun and constructed more than 1000 kilometers of both intra- and inter-city roads across the state.  He has fed pupils and provided job opportunities for those who, ordinarily, would have been roaming our streets, unfed and unkempt. The issue of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has been resolved to a certain level and the story of Osun social protection, adjudged to be the first of its kind in Africa, has been one of tremendous success. It is gratifying to note that most of these robustly designed and perfectly implemented intervention programmes have been adopted nationally and internationally.

His administration’s vision of getting at least 10% of the N3.3 billion daily food exchange bill in Lagos has largely been accomplished and expansion of the state’s economic base through diversification and increase in production has been awesomely realized. By so doing, this symbol of courage has shamed those who, for obvious reasons, have refused to purge themselves of all their presumptions that governance is all about doling out free money to the people.

While other states were wallowing in the cesspool of salary conundrum, courtesy of national economic crunch, Aregbesola’s government creatively adopted the salary apportionment model which “makes workers from grade level 08 and above collect between 75 and 50 per cent of their salaries.” He also purchased Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and several patrol vehicles, in addition to provision of other logistics, for the use of our security agencies.

I doubt if those 87 medical students from Osun State University who were sponsored by this administration in 2013 to study Medicine at Karazin V.N Kharkiv National University in Ukraine will forget the governor’s gesture in many years to come! The beauty of this entire story is that the governor has broken barriers and set new records which will be difficult even for cruel foes to beat.

But then, the reality of our circumstances is that Osun has gone too far to be relegated to a state reeling or sleeping in pains. So, is September 22, 2018 about Aregbesola or should the governor give an indifferent shrug in a matter as sensitive and as important as electing his successor?

Well, while the impression that post-Isiaka Adeleke controversies have weakened Aregbesola’s political machine is puny, pallid and castrated, the funny side of our Nigerianness is that those who once rejected Obafemi Awolowo as their leader have not only suddenly become madly in love with ‘Awo cap’ as a stamp of ‘ideological solidarity’, they have also surrendered their surnames for the late sage’s as the preferred passport to power and patronage.

In this part of the globalized village where risks like social exclusion, stigmatization and marginalization are commonplace scandals, Osun needs a man of intelligence, integrity and industry; a man of purpose whose humility is legendary and a governor who can sincerely key into this administration’s Six Integral Action Plan. Personally, I have a dream that Aregbesola’s successor will detest handouts-from-Abuja-compliance. Instead, he will appreciate personal sagacity and political shrewdness in seeking solutions to political logjams and socio-economic upheavals.

Above all, he will be loaded upstairs, ready to put more boots on the ground in the interest of the state, the people and humanity as a whole.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in the State of Osun!

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

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

 

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