By Wole Tokede
Come September 22, 2018, the good people of Osun State will have to decide on rescuing the state from its parlous situation imposed on it by the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as they are expected to rise above the lure of the enticing aroma of money politics by voting in the people who have the love of the state at heart.
To put it mildly, Osun State has gone through indescribable trauma in this past eight-year rule of All Progressive Alliance (APC) in the state. This goes beyond contestation and disputation. The eight years that the party has been in the saddle can best be described as the eight years locust, cankerworm, caterpillar and the palmerworm had eaten. But the Almighty God has sent His rescuing army in form of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) as led by Alhaji Fatai Akinade Akinbade as the human leader of the host.
APC’s Eight Years of Locust, Cankerworm, Caterpillar and Palmerworm
From all fronts, APC is a mistake that must not happen in Osun again. It would be recalled that two years into the second term of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, he ran an administration without commissioners. He advanced lame excuses by particularly ascribing the delay to paucity of funds allegedly caused by reduction of allocation to the state.
It is also on record that the last government polls held in the state were conducted in 2007 under the PDP-led administration headed by Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Since then, billions have gone into statutory monthly allocations with no tangible evidence of development in local governments. Aregbesola has failed to reveal the total debt accumulated by the local government administration that he ran through executive secretaries for years.
Before the *Opon Imo*(Tablet of Knowledge) was scrapped, students who downloaded films on the freely distributed *Opon Imo* were sent to Ilesa Prison. This could have been avoided if the government did their research well before implementing such. Despite colossal sum of money wasted on it, Osun now records poor results examinations. For instance, the state recorded 29th position out the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FTC) in the last West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). It could only perform better than Sokoto, Bauchi, Kebbi, Katsina, Gombe, Jigawa, Zamfara and Yobe states! Could it have been better with teachers being owed years of arrears of salaries?
It is no longer news that Aregbesola’s administration demolished and merged post-primary schools in the state. This act is against the interest of the teachers, students, and related stakeholders. Final year students whose examination centers were demolished, weren’t left out .This policy brought a lot of hardship on the students whose identities were erased from affected schools.
Also, Aregbesola demolished many houses and shops in the state with just few of the affected victims, compensated. Yes, for developmental purposes, houses could be demolished, but it is fair if adequate compensation is given all involved regardless of political affiliation. It was not like that in the case of Osun’s Aregbesola
A school uniform is the fastest means of identification of students vis-à-vis their school. However, the adoption of general school uniform for both primary and secondary schools in the state as introduced by Aregbesola administration has defeated that purpose. If there are clashes between schools, it will almost be impossible to identify culprits and bring them to book accordingly.
The free school feeding programme has not been in any way productive. It wasn’t sustainable because it resulted in huge debt for the state and even the food vendors. The economic capacity of the state wasn’t considered before venturing into such. Headlong today, the policy has embarrassingly fell over the heels.
It is also on record that the state received a paltry sum from the nation’s treasury due to a heavy debts burden brought about by the incumbent itself. Osun now relies solely on the allocation given to LGs to survive. Yet, Aregbesola wants to build a N19 billion airport before leaving government. Also, the N8.6 billion *Opon Imo* project which is no more in existence were few of the self-imposed problem of the APC government in Osun State.
Despite various interventions by the Federal Government through bailout funds, Osun State has one of the worst backlog of salary arrears. It is pure wickedness to be paid half salaries for 35 months. We, should ask ourselves why he decided to pay full salary this month, it is a way to cajole the people into his trap again for election purpose. The same trick was tried in 2014 and it worked. But this time around, this has failed because people are now wiser.
It is alleged that Omoluabi Garment Factory belongs to a crony with the monopoly to sell and sew school uniforms in the state. This deprived local tailors means of livelihood, which is believed to have affected thousands of material sellers and tailors in the state.
These and many more prove that APC administration in Osun State has gotten to its wits end and there is the need for the state to be rescued from its grips.
Akinbade: A Cut above Other Contenders
There are many positive attributes that make Akinbade tower above other aspirants wishing to rule the state of the living spring. These qualities equally singled Akinbade out to be considered as the flag bearer of African Democratic Congress (ADC) for the September 22 gubernatorial election Osun State.
According to the National Chairman of the party, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu when announcing the choice of Akinbade as the flag bearer of the party in the state described him as a grassroot politician with satisfactory knowledge of local politics and outstanding leadership qualities. He explained further that the flag bearer is loved by the people of the state due to “his masses-oriented philosophy, which includes volunteerism, integrity, and endearing humanity,” which in his words corresponded with ADC’s ideology.
“Judging from the candidates being paraded by other parties in the coming election in the state, we can readily beat our chest that we shall coast home to victory at the Osun gubernatorial polls because Akinbade stands a shoulder above all of them.
“He has served the state in different capacities as SSG, Commissioner, and the Chairman that led PDP to victory in 2003. Well loved by the state’s civil servants and teachers. He has the needed clout to win the coming election and re-engineer the state to a lofty heights”, Nwosu said.
Akinbade has always said that his administration would be an inclusive one. The unity of purpose and unparalleled bonding between him and his deputy gives credence to this. This makes many observers hold the view that Akinbade/Oloyede combination is the best the state can hope for in a period like this.
Akinbade is of the view that the tripod of good governance is: accountability, transparency and due process; and he promised that these will be the pivot on which his administration will rest and operate. “I have what it takes. I had been a Secretary to the state government, a civil engineer, a contractor, a works commissioner and a consultant, among many.”
Akinbade stressed that his sterling qualities which stood him out among his peers made former president Olusegun Obasanjo and his ex boss, former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to give him the platform of ADC to contest the September 22 election.
“I have what it takes. I had been a Secretary to the state government, a civil engineer, a contractor, a works commissioner and a consultant among many.”
He is a graduate of The Polythecnic of Ibadan in Civil Engineering and post graduate of FUTA, he is a registered Engineer with COREN.
He is from Ogbagba in Ola-Oluwa Local Government (former Iwo North local government), Iwoland, Osun West senatorial area, Osun state.
Oloyede: Incorruptible Judge as a Fitting Deputy
Retired Justice Olamide Oloyede, the deputy governorship candidate of ADC in the September 22 gubernatorial poll in Osun State is the most credible among them all, she is a human rights fighter, which every sane Osun people should vouch for.
Oloyede was the serving Judge in Osun State who in 2015 written a letter to the Osun State House of Assembly and criticised Governor Rauf Aregbesola for not paying workers’ salaries, pensions and for his alleged failure to discharge some of his constitutional duties.
As a result of this, Oloyede was eased out of the bench following her eventual recommendation for a compulsory retirement by the National Judicial Council over the petition.
The party announced her selection thus:” The African Democratic Congress has picked a retired judge of the Osun State Judiciary, Justice Folahanmi Olamide Oloyede, as the running mate to Alhaji Fatai Akinbade in the coming governorship election.
“Oloyede is seen in many quarters as a courageous and incorruptible individual whose candidature will go a long way in making the people have trust in her combination with Akinbade.”
The 52-year-old retired judge is from Ilesa East Local Government area of Osun State.
Akinbade and His Rescue Agenda
Akinbade is abreast of the enormity of the task ahead of his government if ADC wins September 22, governorship election Osun State, and he is fully prepared to tackle them head on.
Unlike some people who would not want to do anything with the uncompleted projects of the preceding administration, Osun State governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Alhaji Fatai Akinbade has promised not to abandon any of the ongoing projects embarked upon by the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. In addition, Akinbade assured that an ADC led administration in the state would work round the clock to further transform Osogbo, with a view to enhancing its status as the state capital.
The former Secretary to the State Government gave these assurances at a meeting with the Osogbo Community led by Alhaji Tunde Badmus and Chief Gabriel Oparanti, the Ajagunna of Osogbo on Monday.
“I want to assure you that the ADC administration under my leadership, will not abandon any ongoing project embarked upon by the incumbent APC-led administration. As a thoroughbred Civil Engineer, I know the cost of completing abandoned projects can be very prohibitive”
“As far as I am concerned, it is a retrogressive kind of politics which has been holding down this nation as manifested in unimaginable infrastructural decay that today dot our national life. This must stop if we must move out of the woods. By whatever definition or inclination, government is a continuum. Government projects belong to the people and not the governor or his cabinet. Interestingly, the people outlive any administration”
In addition, he promised to industrialise the state using the China model at the Free Trade Zone located at Osogbo which he said would have multiplier effect on the state economy.”This will help to open up Osogbo and the state in general because there will be influx of investors which will ultimately lead to infrastructural developments with improved sustainable employment generation”, he stressed
Akinbade who answered various questions from the people of the town, equally promised that his administration would fix all sectors to better the lives of the people, urging them to shun money politics “Money politics will continue to deprive the nation of the best who genuinely wants to serve as against the mercantilists who see politics as cash-and-carry game”
Akinbade has promised to put an end to the lingering financial challenge of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) if elected in the September 22, 2018 poll.
It will be recalled that LAUTECH, which is jointly owned by Osun and Oyo states has, for years, been battling with financial challenge which forced the academic staff to embark on industrial action that lasted several months. He wonders why two states could not finance a single university, whereas a single state does sponsor many institutions.
“It is still unfathomable to me that two states of Osun and Oyo cannot sustain the first state university of technology in Nigeria. After all, Osun and Oyo have about five or more higher institutions and are able to sustain them financially.
Akinbade is of the firm belief that governance is for serious minded people and wondered how civil servants in the state could manage to survive on half salary. He promised that he would not only put a halt to the payment of half salaries and pensions but would ensure their full restoration.
Workers and retirees in the state have been on half salaries and pensions since September 2015, a development that has generated much heat within and outside the state. This, Akinbade is of the strong view, is not acceptable.
Akinbade however assured that all the outstanding pensions and gratuities owed retirees would be cleared within a year of assumption of office as governor of the state. Speaking with the party delegates in their various council areas, Akinbade assured that within one year of assumption of office as governor of the state, he would ensure the payment of outstanding financial obligations owed both serving and retired workers in the state.
In a recent interview, Oloyede who spoke on why she is running with Akinbade and gave further insight in to the rescue agenda of her party in the state.
Speaking on the petition she wrote against Aregbesoal, she said: “My assertions have been established beyond any iota of doubt. Governor Aregbesola’s administration has consistently done me justice by proving that everything I wrote about his administration is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.
With the present debt profile of Osun in the region of about N170 billion, she took time to explain how ADC would cope if it win the election.
“Part of development we are bringing is to bring self-consciousness to solve problems, even when the problem is not directly created by you. My principal, Alhaji Abdulfatai Akinade Akinbade, the gubernatorial candidate of ADC and I have accepted Osun’s debt burden as a challenge that we must innovate in other to solve. Besides, my principal is not an uninitiate when it comes to such matters. Osun State’s immediate past governor Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola makes it abundantly clear that part of the success of his administration is due to the experience and expertise of Alhaji Akinbade who was the Secretary to Osun State Government (SSG) and the power house at the relevant time. That administration also successfully cleared the debt hangover that Osun inherited from the Chief Bola Ige’s defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) administration. I am positive that he can repeat the feat.
“Our development plans also includes a versatility of empowering and skills acquisition programmes for women and youth. These will include scholarships both within and overseas for both academic and skills development programmes. Osun is largely an agrarian community; as such we intend to partner with the IITA to develop our agricultural resources, as part of our revenue generation drive. We also intend to move from manual subsistence to large scale mechanised farming. We shall also invest in small scale and cottage industries that engage in food processing. Our solid minerals will also be explored and exploited. We shall also complete and press into active use our abandoned export processing zone.
“Another area of priority for us is the rejuvenation of our almost comatose educational system. We shall restore the individuality of our elementary and secondary schools, pay attention to the welfare of all categories of educational staff and as such put an end to incessant strikes and industrial actions. We shall upgrade our schools facilities and support our children in their quest for globally acceptable standard quality education. We shall facilitate the training and retraining of all categories of workers and support entrepreneurs to ensure the return of prosperity to our languishing State.
“Affordable health care for all is also on menu. Our inter-city roads will also be given due attention, the Iwo/ Oshogbo Road, the Sekona/Ile-Ife Road, Gbongan/ Ile-Ife, Orile-Owu/ Gbogan, Idominasi/ Ilase/Ibokun, Osogbo/ Ilesa, and the Eti-Oni axis roads are all begging for attention. Last but not the least is our plan to put up affordable dignifying houses in all the communities, so that we may no longer be derided as living in huts. These are some of the activities we have promised in our manifesto and given the opportunity and God helping us, we shall keep faith with the people of Osun.
Akinbade: Any Lesson from Sir Michael Otedola Emergence in Lagos?
The case of Fatai Akinbade will come out like that of the former Lagos State governor, late Sir Michael Otedola who was the governor of Lagos from January 1992 to November 1993, in the botched Third Republic.
The story of emergence of Otedola as the governor of Lagos State gives credence to concept of destiny or fate. In Africa, destiny, often used interchangeably with fate, connotes what happens or will happen to man in life that cannot be changed, irrespective of any human effort. This is also in agreement the biblical asserts that the Almighty God has a say in the affairs of men.
Nobody, not even Sir Otedola himself nor his followers could have even dreamt of the possibility of his emerging victorious in the political contest. He contested under the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) against the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). SPD was the party to beat in the state. Victory was sure for any candidate SDP fielded in the election.
However, in a twist of fate, the popular SDP became seriously engulfed in a bitter rivalry within its fold with Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, LKJ, the first civilian executive governor of Lagos State who was then a cult figure in Lagos politics and a prominent leader of the SDP was a central figure in the intra-party struggle. LKJ backed the candidacy of the late Professor Femi Agbalajobi. Given Jakande’s legendary status in Lagos politics, Agbalajobi, in a matter of months, was going to be governor.
But, another SDP faction led by Dapo Sarumi, Yomi Edu and Ademola Adeniji-Adele battled LKJ and his anointed candidate to a standstill. Through their efforts the party primary ended in controversy and the SDP became more divided and it soon became obvious that trouble was looming for the party.
It was eventually the bitter rivalry within the SDP fold that paved the way for the NRC candidate, Sir Otedola, to coast home to victory in the gubernatorial election. The then 65 years old politician from the Epe division of the state was a dark horse as far at the election was concerned, yet he emerged victorious in the election. That Otedola eventually became the governor of Lagos state could be linked to the supremacy of fate.
Let those who have concluded on the outcome of the coming Osun State governorship election take lesson from history. The God Almighty who did it for Sir Michael Otedola, a dark horse then, is still alive and on His throne, He will do it for Fatai Akinbade of ADC as He will enthrone Him the human head of His Rescue Army for Osun State come September 22, 2018.