Pensioners in Osun State on Wednesday staged a protest over the non-payment of their entitlements.
During the protest in Osogbo, the state capital, the protesters called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to beam its searchlight on the financial activities of the outgoing Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The Leader of the Forum of 2011/2012 Retired Public Servants of Osun State, Yemi Lawal, claimed that the state government is not spending funds appropriately.
“Aregbesola is still owing us 15 months of pension arrears and December 2008 to 2012 gratuity. He has not paid our entitlements.
“Then the contributory pensioners who had contributed while in service ought to collect the bulk of their money six months after retirement. About four years back, Aregbesola did not remit the money contributed while in service and that is why the pension administration did not pay them,” he said.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has defended the performance of the outgoing governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola.
Mr Oshiomhole rallied support for the party’s governorship candidate Gboyega Oyetola, thereby calling on residents of the state to vote for him.
He (Oshiomhole) made the call on Thursday during a mega rally which was held at the state capital Osogbo, ahead of the forthcoming governorship election on September 22, 2018.
Oshiomhole commended governor Aregbesola on the development he said has been brought to the state, with the support of his Chief of Staff, who is the APC governorship candidate.
He noted that teamwork has brought development to the state compared to how it was about eight years ago.
He referred to the APC candidate as a ‘loyal man’ who has been tested and trusted.
“We are presenting to you a tested and trusted human being who has shown total commitment to the development of this great state.”
Mr Oyetola will battle Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Deputy Governor Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party(SDP), as well as the former Secretary to the State Government and Action Democratic Party (ADP) candidate, Adeoti Olalekan, among others for the governorship seat of the state.
Osun State High Court sitting in Ilesa has declared the change of the name of the state to the “State of Osun” as illegal, null and void.
The ruling followed a case instituted by a human rights activist, Kanmi Ajibola, challenging the legality of the “State of Osun Land Use Charge Law”.
In his judgment which lasted more than one hour on Thursday, Justice Yinka Afolabi ruled that the law and its makers were unknown to the 1999 constitution.
He also chided the state governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, for deliberately and singlehandedly renaming the state illegally contrary to the known norms and the Nigerian Constitution.
The judge also declared that the makers of the law, who are currently serving as members of the State House of Assembly, were not sworn in as members of the “State of Osun House of Assembly”, but as members of Osun State House of Assembly going by the seventh schedule of the constitution.
Going through the history of state creations in Nigeria since 1962, Justice Afolabi held that since the creation of the state in 1991, previous governments used the constitutional envisaged name, Osun State while all the 35 states of the Federation have not deviated from the constitutional names given to them.
“The executive governor of the state changed the name in 2011. The renaming of a state goes further and deeper for anyone to singlehandedly do. To re-order the name of Osun State as “State of Osun” is hereby declare as illegal, null and void”.
“On the oath of allegiance, I want to state that the seventh schedule is part of the law; it is not a mere draft or mere oath. It does not give room for any alteration. After deposing to an oath of office, you cannot turn around to do otherwise”, the Justice Afolabi stated.
Earlier, Ajibola canvassed that all businesses done in the name of “State of Osun” be declared null and void, saying they were done contrary to the constitution.
He had approached the court in 2016, asking for certain reliefs after being served a notice by a private company and christened as “State of Osun Land use Charge Annual Demand Notice” in the name of “State of Osun”, and signed by one Mrs A. Ogunlumade, Permanent Secretary, Osun State Ministry of Finance.
According to him, the notice was addressed to him as the property owner of No. 42, Onigbogi Street off Ibala, Ilesa West and was served on him on August 15, 2016.
Some of the reliefs sought by the lawyer included a declaration that the “State of Osun Land Use Charge Law 2016”, having been enacted by the legislative body that is not known to the constitution, and for the state not known to the 1999 constitution, as such illegal and unconstitutional.
He also sought an order setting aside the “State of Osun Land use charge Law, 2016” having been enacted by the legislative body that is not known to the constitution and for the state not known to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), not enforceable in the state.
Among other reliefs sought by the plaintiff included, “a declaration that Osun State Government having been delegated with the power to collect Land use charge revenue by the provisions of section 2(2) and (3) of the “State of Osun Land use charge Law, 2016”, Sections 4(1), 8(2), 10(1) & (5), 16(c)(i) & (ii), 17, 18, 21(3) and 22 of the “State of Osun Land use charge Law, 2016” are not operable without appointing the Commissioner of finance in Osun State.”
Justice Afolabi further threw out all the arguments by the State Attorney-General, Dr Basiru Ajibola, who stood in as counsel for the state governor and the state government.
He also quashed the arguments by the Director of Legal Services, Mrs Rachel Ojinni, and granted all the seven prayers of the plaintiff.
The judge also berated the governor for his refusal to appoint his commissioners who should perform their statutory duties, saying the tax law itself envisaged that it must be tax matters and must be endorsed by the Commissioner for Finance and not any other person.
In his reaction, the Attorney-General of the State said that they would appeal the judgment.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has said that the extracurricular activities in schools across the state would help in adding value to the education sector and also ensure good standards and discipline among students.
The governor said callisthenics was first introduced into the state in 2012 to ensure character and competency in the education sector but due to some political reasons, it was scrapped and later reintroduced.
Aregbesola said this on Saturday at the Osogbo township stadium during the middle school callisthenics competition organised to commemorate his seventh years anniversary of the state.
“Extracurricular activities in schools to include callisthenics would help to bring discipline, the unity of purpose and sense of responsibility among students.
“We introduced callisthenics display sometimes in October 2012 in order to raise the educational consciousness of our students. It was misrepresented by some political gladiators for a private security outfit due to the exercises involved but we thank God, it was later reintroduced,” Aregbesola said.
Aregbesola praised the winner of the calisthenics display which emerged from Osun Central Senatorial District among the 21 middle schools within the nine constituencies in the state.
The finale of the calisthenics display witnessed three participants from Osun East senatorial districts, Osun West Senatorial districts and Osun central senatorial districts.
The governor presented a sum of N2 million to the winner while the second and third runners up went home with N1 million and N750,000 respectively.
He said the cash awards would be used to developed sporting facilities in schools across the senatorial districts.
Osun State Government has called on students in the state-owned higher institutions to handle their reservations on what they called an increase in school fees with a sense of responsibility.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, in a statement on Monday, faulted the reports of tuition fees increment, saying there was nothing of such.
“Government puts it on record that it has not authorised any increment in the tuition fees in any of the state-owned tertiary institutions.
“As at today, the tuition fees of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, and the College of Technology, Esa-Oke, remain N25,000 while that of Osun State College of Education, Ilesa and Ila-Orangun are still N20,000.
“For new students who have just applied to the institutions, some ancillary charges for some services, some of which are optional, were introduced and do not apply at all to current students,” Mr Baderinwa said.
He, however, said it was pertinent to remind the people that the Rauf Aregbesola administration had reduced the tuition fees of all the state-owned tertiary institutions in 2011 without being persuaded.
“Since the reduction in 2011, the government has not put a penny on the tuition fees,” the commissioner maintained.
The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuff on Sunday faulted the position of the Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola on Local Government autonomy.
The two leaders have been in a disagreement over the independence of the govt at the grass root.
While Aregbesola have come up to condemn and reject the idea of making local governments in Nigeria autonomous, Yusuf said the only panacea to development is to ensure the self-sufficiency of the LGs.
He said, “Democracy is incomplete and inchoate if local government administration is tied to the apron string of the state, and remain subservient.
“My position is clear on the local government autonomy, and that is what I have displayed as the Co-chairman of the constitution amendment committee of the National Assembly, where autonomy for local governments was unanimously passed.
“I am of the opinion that there is no local government in Nigeria, the way state governors are running that third tier of government.”
But the state’s Chief Executive, on the contrary, described those calling for local government autonomy as confusionists with divisive tendencies.
Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has said that not all the civil servants in the state are being paid half salaries.
Governor Aregbesola stated this over the weekend in Osogbo while addressing a Federal Government delegation on digital switchover.
“Contrary to the lies you are being fed, it is not all our workers that receive half salaries,” he said. “Workers on level 1-7, being the most vulnerable and the largest chunk of the workforce, are being paid full salaries.”
“Workers on level 8-11 showed understanding with the government to accept 75% of their salary. It is only workers on grade level 12 upward that receive 50% of their salary. The workers have shown maturity, support, and understanding. We acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifice and support of the workers,” he added.
The governor, however, said he is unhappy with the inability of the state government to pay full salary to workers and political appointees.
According to him, economic downturn induced by the brazen corruption, wanton theft of crude oil and mismanagement of the Nigeria’s resources by some elements forced the state to what it is witnessing.
He said, “We are not happy paying modulated salary to our workers in the civil service and political appointees, we are compelled by the financial reality; we are constrained.”
Aregbesola said the financial burden on the government was incurred to provide massive infrastructure to transform the state and develop it economically, noting that Osogbo desired infrastructure development to have a look of a state capital.
“Before our government, Osogbo roads were very narrow and since there was no development, there was no heavy traffic and the roads accommodated the users. However, there was an influx of people to the state since our administration came on board. There was heavy traffic on the Osogbo roads and they could not accommodate the traffic anymore.
“We started construction of new roads and rehabilitation of some existing ones to ease traffic. As a visionary government, we know that by the time our economic plan begins to grow, the Osogbo roads would become busier, so we came up with the construction of Osogbo East Bypass road.
“We constructed the road for economic purposes, people that are narrow in thinking do not know that. We know that things are hard and the state is passing through financial difficulty but we are undeterred by the challenges; our credo is to see that our people explore their freedom for economic prosperity,” he told the team.
Residents of Osun State have commended the state government for launching a citizen identification initiative in the state.
This comes a day after Governor Rauf Aregbesola inaugurated the scheme that requires residents to register with the state for an identification card and which is aimed at enabling the state government to gather data on its population and plan accordingly.
The governor had launched the residency card on Tuesday amid fanfare in Ilesa, explaining that it the card would be integrated into the National Identity Card Scheme for efficiency.
Adenrele Tiamiyu, an artisan who has lived in Osun State for more than a decade, hailed the initiative saying it will further foster security in the state. “This omoluabi card is long overdue as this will help security agents to identify criminal elements in the state. Since all residents can be identified through the personal information on the card, they can be easily traced,” Tiamiyu said.
Olajide Munirat, a trader is only concerned with the commercial benefits of the card.
For her, having opportunity to get loans with the card is good enough.
“Before now, I have continued to meet brick walls from commercial institutions when seeking loans but going by what Governor Aregbesola said at the commissioning, this is a good thing for us,” she said.
For those who have yet to embrace the initiative, the state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Corporative, Mr Jayeoba Alagbada, said efforts have been intensified to enlighten more residents about the initiative and the benefits of having the resident card.
Governor Aregbesola, who had inaugurated the scheme along with the Ilesa Government High School on Tuesday, urged parents to embrace it.
In inaugurating the school, the governor stressed that it was important to for parents to ensure that their children get a good education.
He said, “I am happy and fulfilled that we have public schools that can compete with the best in the world and indeed, our new schools are the ones to beat around here.
“All these are in fulfilment of our promise to provide functional basic education. This stems from our conviction that every child is owed basic education. It is a fundamental and inalienable right of every child. We have gone to this length and committed such huge amount on education because we are preparing for the future.”
The governor added, “As a government, we have played our own part very well and we will do more if the need should arise. It is now left for parents and teachers to do their own part.
“Parents should provide the right examples to their children at home. They should let them realise the importance of education and that there is no reliable future outside of it.”
Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, has launched the citizens’ identification card initiative and inaugurated another high school in Osun State.
The governor launched the identification initiative tagged “Kaadi Omoluabi” and inaugurated the Ilesa Government High School, which he said cost N1.3bn to build on Tuesday.
According to him, the initiative will enable the state government to better manage the state and plan for needed infrastructure.
On his part, the Osun State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Corporative, Mr Jayeoba Alagbada, explained that the resident card initiative would enable the government to collate data about the population.
He gave the assurances that the necessary measures were in place to enable people register ahead of the December deadline.
Meanwhile, the opening of the Illesha Government High School brings to five the number of schools inaugurated by the governor in the state.
At the inauguration, Governor Aregbesola promised that the remaining six high schools would be commissioned before the end of the year, with the Fakunle-Unity School, Osogbo and Oduduwa high school, Ile-Ife, expected to be inaugurated next. Also, the governor promised that Ila-Orangun, Iwo, Ikirun and Ikire high schools which are under construction, would be completed before the end of the year. Overall, he told those at the event that his administration has built 25 middle schools and 20 elementary schools in the state. “The school we are commissioning today is state-of-the-art. Many people when they see the picture, because it is so good, they argue it is computer generated graphics in 3D,” he said in a speech titled, “The Making of the Educated Person”. “Actually, it is a 3,000 capacity three-in-one school. Each school has its principal with an overall senior principal. The school cost N1.3 billion which includes the cost of furnishing, landscape and electronic boards.” The governor believes the construction of the schools represents the fulfilment of one of his campaign promises and indicate that students in the state can now compete globally. He said, “I am happy and fulfilled that we have public schools that can compete with the best in the world and indeed, our new schools are the ones to beat around here. “All these are in fulfilment of our promise to provide functional basic education. This stems from our conviction that every child is owed basic education. It is a fundamental and inalienable right of every child. We have gone to this length and committed such huge amount on education because we are preparing for the future.” He added that each of the 11 high schools would graduate 11,000 students every year. “In 10 years, they would have turned out 110,000 first rate students. In 50 years, that would be 550,000 world beaters, occupying strategic positions nationally and globally. This is our vision,” he said. “As a government, we have played our own part very well and we will do more if the need should arise. It is now left for parents and teachers to do their own part. Parents should provide the right examples to their children at home. They should let them realise the importance of education and that there is no reliable future outside of it. In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Education, Mr Kolawole Wasiu Young, noted that promotion of education system is one of the six-point integral action plan of the governor.
The All Progressives’ Congress (APC) has opened a public hearing on proposals for true federalism in Nigeria.
The consultative meeting held on Monday in Benin, the Edo state capital and featured presentations on restructuring from stakeholders in the south-south zone 1, which comprises Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states.
The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki opened the event with a brief presentation with other governors at the event include Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State.