Editor's note: The administration of Governor Oyetola in Osun state is reportedly a unique one, given the fact that it created its own template, strategically deviating from the Rauf Aregbesola's tenure.
In this opinion, Adebayo Adedeji, a social commentator pointed out some key areas that defined the current All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the state.
This writer recently stumbled on a political explainer of a former commissioner in the state of Osun. The piece, a part two of the commissioner's initial defence of a poorly managed Osun finance under Rauf Aregbesola, was suffused with arrogant assertions, known trademark of empty professionals.
One begs: what could be the reason for a part two of an article written two months ago? Why the long wait . . .? Obsession? Why is the author obsessed with the current government which every patriot eulogises for its commitment to welfare and plight of the people that brought it fore? Is he jealous that some decent hands, without expectation for gratification, is doing what he failed to do under his stewardship? Like many of his former colleagues in the administration of Aregbesola, the author has never shrouded his resentment to the financial managers of the Oyetola government.
Meanwhile, no one in this administration would have the luxury of churning out long seminal paper to react to vituperation circulated by jealous rabble rousers who fancy only members of their clique have the education, experience, exposure and connection to drive the state to economic prosperity. The government, I have since realised, is too passionate and is in a hurry to ameliorate the plight of the people than devoting its time joining issues with those who made fortunes out of misfortunes of our people during their commissioner-ship.
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The Adegboyega Oyetola Administration is running a realistic government. Through financial prudence and effective human resource management, the government is doing more with little, to the satisfaction of our people. Whereas the old brigades on the payroll of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola would expect the current government to pattern its administration along the bogus and attention-seeking government they ran, Oyetola has remained focused and pedantic to his policy thrust. He does things based on the Citizens' Needs Assessment, a scientific document created by an international development agency, DFID.
Oyetola administration is ambitious and wants to replicate in the state most good things found elsewhere. But because it understands our peculiarity, it wants to cut its coat according to its size. The state is not in competition with any state.
Governor Oyetola understands what the people want and he is working assiduously to be amenable to their request. For instance when the government of Oyo State chose to renovate the iconic Adamasingba Stadium in Ibadan with N5.4 billion, Oyetola-led government chose to invest its N5.2bn for the reconstruction of 58km dilapidated roads in Osun state.
The concerned roads are those in Ede, Ada, Ede-Ejigbo, Ada-Igbajo, Ilesha, Osogbo and the entire stretch of five major towns in Ife North local government. Ife road project has been described as the biggest road construction in the area since 1976. Priorities differ. Needs differ. Different strokes for different folks.
Again, unlike in the days of Aregbesola when the government built 11 secondary schools with N16.5 billion shopped from commercial banks at almost 20% interest rate, Oyetola has chosen it simple; and yet is delivering quality education to our children. Akintade Abdullahi Akanbi of Osogbo government high school, Osun state, is one of the success stories of this administration in the education sector.
Akintade emerged top in the competition tagged 774 Young Nigerian Scientists Presidential Award ( 884 YONSPA) held in 2020. The student attributed his performance to the effort and contribution of his teachers. Since November 2018, when this administration berthed, prompt payment of teachers salary has been institutionalised. So the teachers are now better motivated to transfer knowledge than before.
Meanwhile, some of the mega schools upon which the previous government ran the state into perpetual debt have remained sparsely utilised. In their effort to be like Lagos by all means and created fortunes for "the boys," Aregbesola and his men built schools our people never needed. Today, some of the schools are now items for ridicule because they have been found to be structurally defective on the account of substandard materials they used in building them.
As at 2018 when the government of Aregbesola exited the state, the Lagos yearly IGR was N398 billion. The same Lagos Aregbesola's men are counselling the current government to copy simplistically. Whereas, their best IGR in 2018 was barely N10 billion.
Since inauguration of Oyetola administration, the IGR has leaped to an enviable height. What their adminstration made in the whole of 2018, the current government made far above it in 6 months.
The latest IGR report, covering 36 states, indicates Osun made N13.6 billion from Jan-Jun 2021. This is in spite of challenges associated with COVID-19. And graciously, the figures emanating from relevant government agencies suggest Osun IGR for this year will be about N30 billion. This feat is being achieved without noise, an idiosyncratic feature of the immediate last government in the state.
The improved IGR of the state is a testament to the claim that Governor Oyetola is repositioning the state for financial prosperity. The state government, owing partly to its commendable sweeping governance reforms and partly to financial expertise of the policy drivers, is rewriting the story of Osun for good.
Nowadays, the government of Osun experiences industrial harmony because salary and pension issues are being deftly managed. Workers and pensioners receive their emoluments as and when due. Where there are handful of disputations, the government is interfacing with leadership of the workers and pensioners to ensure a lasting peace.
Unfortunately, the commitment of this government to welfare of workers and pensioners is inadequately reported by the media. This gives room to cynics and those behind the failure of last government to manipulate data and instigate a trickle of dissatisfied pensioners to be froward with the government.
In the last 36 months of Oyetola, the government has released over N150 billion to settle salary and pension payment. Of the sum, over N40 billion alone went into offsetting pension and gratuity. The government, on many occasions, has challenged cynics and political prevaricators bent on its destruction, to name a state in the country that can beat its achievement in pension management.
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As of July 2021, the total pension payments of PDP government in Oyo State under Seyi Makinde, according to Jide Ajani, the governor's media adviser, were barely N13 billion. Similarly, the payment of N12 billion by Babagana Zulum of Borno in December 2020, which recently gained media traction, is no match to pension payments that have taken place in Osun State under this administration. Zulum whose government has not committed up to N20 billion to pension and gratuity payment, and is still indebted to pensioners, contrary to the misinformation in the media, is idolised.
Unlike Zulum who obtained a N12 billion commercial loan to settle pension, Governor Oyetola has not borrowed a dime, still has paid over N40 billion to resolve pension and gratuity issues. But strangely, he is always in the face of the storm created by political tartuffes who, during their tenure, failed to remit 7.5% pension deductions to the pension fund managers for four years.
Undeniably, those who failed repeatedly in their time to deliver on their promises can not turn around to lecture a promise-keeping government a model it should adopt. In eight years of Aregbesola governorship, many important Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed but did not see the light of the day. Some of the failed MoU include those signed by the state government with London Borough of South, IITA, American Green Environmental Global Solution, Growth and Employment in States 4th Scheme, Asa Palmilk Malaysia, Vergnet France, International Breweries, Andalusian Mining Industry, Australia and All Works of Life ( AWOL).
In fact, after signing an MoU with the International Breweries Ilesha, a company founded by an Ijesha man, Lawrence Omole, Rauf Aregbesola's government unfavourable policies, excessive demands and inability to provide the company with required space, as agreed, for its expansion, made the company look elsewhere to drive its expansion policy.
The company moved straight away to Sagamu, Ogun State, where expanse of land was readily available to it, to begin its new factory project there. The $250 million factory was commissioned by President Buhari in August 2018. Since that time, the Ogun State people have experienced a turn around, particularly in the areas of IGR and Corporate Social Responsibility. What was due to Osun was lost as a result of Aregbesola's greed and indiscretion. But today, those whose irresponsible actions caused us immeasurable financial adversity are the ones currently serialising articles in the national newspapers, theorising and postulating how a Range Rover can be bought by mere chest-beating.
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