GBOYEGA OYETOLA, Tuesday, was sworn-in as Governor of Osun State, in Oshogbo, the state capital for the next four years. If the election petition tribunal sitting on the controversial results of the September 22, 2018, governorship election, affirms Oyetola’s victory as declared by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, then he will stay on as Governor, and hit the ground-running on Osun State rescue mission.
Osun State governorship election results that produced Oyetola as governor on the ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, is being strongly contested at an governorship election tribunal, by the main opposition party’s governorship candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke — as most irregular governorship, not free and fairly, and below national and international electoral best practices.
Oyetola’s inaugural address, after his swearing-in, highlighted key promises to the people of Osun State. He said he would work on improving the standard of living of the people of the State and run people friendly administration to embody good governance.
Oyetola said: “Ours shall be a government committed to serving the people. We will ensure workers’ salaries are paid promptly based on the financial inflow of the state. We will prioritize workers welfare and pensioners. We will organize the Osun Economic Summit, with the first quarter of our year in office.”
“It is time to create jobs for our youths; we will upgrade our vocational technical institutions to make them more vibrant with the demands of the technology-driven world. We in partnership with private sectors will establish large manufacturing industries in the major sectors of the economy to create at least 30,000 jobs.”
As usual, promises such as these are fine tunes at inauguration. More so, in a State that opposition parties said has been under Aregbesola-led APC government misrule for 8 years. Giving the enormity of reeled-out governance, economic and social systems challenges under Aregbesola’s administration, and the down-turn in the State, challenges before Oyetola as governor of Osun State are huge.
Prelude to Osun governorship election, leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, directed workers in the state civil service to embark on 3-days warning strike due to outstanding salaries arrears and other entitlements. NLC demanded “payment of 34 months salary arrears of 50% for officers on GL.08 and above which is an equivalent of seventeen months full salary, payment of 34 months pension arrears of retired workers in the state, remittances of 34 months contributory pension arrears”.
On Financial Management And Fiscal Responsibility, a10-page document entitled: “A Snap Shot of Governance and Development in Osun State [2010-2018]” released by Social Democratic Party, SDP, before the governorship election, to assess the performance of Aregbesols’s eight-year administration, stated that the state owed well “over N400 billion as loans and advances from a very wide array of lenders”.
The document stated that Osun State’s “Debt to GDP ratio also presents this as both sustainable and ridiculous given its capacity for earning and opportunities for enterprise. There are months the state don’t even get up to NGN100 million after the Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO). It has been a wage bill of N2.6bn and has a meager Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”
National Debit Management Office, DMO, according to the document, puts the “State’s Sukuk loan at NGN11.4bn, and $65m from Islamic Development Bank, another NGN88.6bn bond.” Quoting from a publication from NEITI with facts and data said to be from National Bureau of Statistics, Accountant General of the Federation and Debt Management Office, SDP document stated: “Osun and Lagos are leading the total debt profiles of state governments.” Also that “the debt exceeded revenue by over 480%.”
On Infrastructure, SDP document stated: “Osun-Hub (O-Hub) initiative of the government to see to the development of Infrastructure to establish the state as a commercial in South West has also been a monumental failure. It was a scam ab-initio. There is practically nothing to show for the humongous debt the state has incurred.”
And added: “Over N15bn has been spent on the failed airport in Ido-Osun and the governor now blame the concessionaire. There had been two earlier contracts before the last concession with no result so far. Spending on the airport grew from the initial N4.7bn to N11bn to the current N15bn”.
SDP document on Education in Osun State stated: “from the re-classification of schools [mega schools] to the common uniform and ‘Opon Imo,’ the state has experienced major disasters and set back to educational systems and consequently to educational performance at all levels. Public sector educational institutions at primary and secondary levels are in complete chaos. In this sector more than others, chronic mismanagement has had immediate negative impact.”
“The reversal in educational outcomes in the state comes as little surprise. Since 2010 when the current government came on board, the state has remained in the bottom rudder of performance ranking in external examinations. Recent statistics from WAEC present the performance index in the state out of 36 states as 22nd, 30th, 29th and 24th in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
“In each of these years, Osun state performed worst amongst its peers in South West Nigeria. Results from NECO are even more dismal. The total corruption in the educational system has impacted on students. According to WAEC, the state has the highest record of examination fraud as 10.20% of the students are involved in malpractice; the highest in South West compared to neighbouring Ondo state with 1.57%. Overall it would appear that the only outcome of mega schools is mega failure!”
SDP said on Agriculture: “top on Aregbesola’s manifesto especially during his re-election is that the largely rural state would get a turn around. Aregbesola stated that the turn-around would be anchored mainly on agriculture and he intends to turn the state into the food basket of the region at least. He said Osun intended to meet up with the estimated N3.5 billion worth of food in demand in the Lagos market alone.
“Growers in the state still remain largely subsistence farmers. Aregbesola’s talk about massive food production has remained chiefly a mirage. Now, a state whose turn-around is supposed to be anchored on agriculture and agro-allied industries is in crisis. The state has great untapped agricultural potentials that could make the state viable. Commercial agriculture is still in comatose”.
On Health Care Sector, SDP document stated that limited data in the state hindered detailed analysis of the condition of health care sector. But from general overview of the sector: “Facility utilization is at its lowest ebb and reports from facilities suggest high and rising levels of both ill health and death particularly amongst children, women and the aged.”
“The recently launched Osun health Insurance scheme was not well planned. The state government did not study the insurance scheme as it is obtainable in the developed countries and also nationally. Most of the insurance scheme as practiced everywhere are always liberal and as such give patients a wide range of facilities of choice while patients can change from one to the other if services are not satisfactory.
“The Osun health insurance as planned now will only limit patients to the services of the dilapidated primary health care centers thus patients are already skeptical of this scheme. Health care Maintenance (HMO) is left out of the scheme thus making the scheme not practicable. It is worth of note that 2.5 billion was released for the take off of this destined to fail project.”