We run an unusual govt in Osun -SSG
Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, is the Secretary to the Government of Osun State. Last week, the technocrat who clocks 60 years on Thursday granted an interview with some newsmen on his life, the state and the fundamental changes the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration has actualised in Osun. TAIWO ADISA brings the excerpts:
How would you score the two years of Governor Aregbesola’s administration in Osun?
I have found it extremely interesting; interesting in the sense that this is not my first encounter with Aregbesola. If you could recollect, I was the chairman of the Alliance for Democracy [AD] between 2003 and 2006 when it transformed into the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). During this period, I knew the governor as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure then in Lagos State. As an indigene of Osun, we came together during the search for a credible person to fly the flag of our party in the state. My association with him revealed to me that he is a man of many parts.
Aside from being a workaholic, he is a very transparent person. Before we retrieved our mandate from Oyinlola, I did many things with him during which time I realised that Aregbesola is a dependable man, a person you can put your trust in.
By the time we came in, I got to know him more. My appointment as the Secretary to the Government came as a surprise in the first place. I thought I would continue as the party chairman anyway. Since my appointment as the SSG, I made up my mind to put in everything that the administration would require to success.
Aregbesola, being the man he his, has related with us with openness. We are glad to be associated with him and what God has given him the power to achieve in the State of Osun.
Some people would say two years may not be enough to judge a government’s performance, but would you say Aregbesola’s administration has really performed well?
In all facets and department of government, you cannot compare Aregbesola’s two years with the seven and half years of his predecessor. If you go to the state of Osun and visit any local government, you will see one project or the other ongoing.
There are innovations he brought to governance when he came in. One of these is the monthly exercise tagged Walk to Live whereby the governor walks about six kilometres with the people. This simply is a test of popularity and acceptance. If the generality of the people in a local government do not accept a leader, how can he walk in their midst? This, Aregbesola is doing every month. This month’s would have come as well but was postponed until March 2nd because the governor travelled.
Another innovative programme is that called Agba Osun (Osun Elderly) where people above 65 are given monthly cash reward of N10, 000 and others have their medical bills defrayed in addition to their N10, 000 monthly payment by Aregbesola’s government.
Besides, when he came on board, within the first hundred days in office, he employed 20, 000 youths under the OYES Scheme. The pioneer set just passed out last month after two years while another 20, 000 have been employed and are undergoing training.
Again, there is government’s intervention in agriculture such as in arable crops like cocoyam, cassava, plantain, in fishery, honey, poultry. Above all, there is government intervention in education, to remove it from the abyss and take it up to an enviable standard that other states are now emulating.
The schools have been redesigned into elementary, middle and high schools. Government is also feeding the primary school pupils up to primary four
Ours is a government that is interested in the advancement of education in the state. Before this government, the state was in 28th position in the rank of WAEC. With the efforts of government in the last two years, the state is now in 18th position.
Government also distributed uniform, free of charge to the students in Osun. There are three categories of uniforms for the three divisions of elementary, middle and high school.
On transportation, the indigenes of the state in Abuja benefitted, for instance, when government bought 120 cars for them in replacement of the rickety ones they were using.
On road construction, massive projects are going on as I’m speaking with you. There is the Osogbo/Ila-Odo Kwara boundary expressway, Osogbo/Gbongan/Akoda/Ede Road. This is not to talk of numerous roads being constructed in Osogbo to give the capital a facelift. We have rehabilitated the East Bypass to ease congestion at Okefia and to give commuters ease of passage to West Bypass to link other states in the South-West.
There are other ongoing constructions of roads like the 218km roads across the 30 local governments and one area office. So, there is no way you can compare Aregbesola’s eventful two years with seven and half years of Oyinlola.Nobody needs to be told when he gets to Osun that the difference is clear.
Which programmes would you say stand the government out?
The first novel achievement is the engagement of 20, 000 youths within hundred days of Aregbesola’s administration. This programme is now being copied by the Federal Government. The programme has also won the approval of the World Bank.
The second one is our intervention in education. At present, the governor is in the US to introduce to his audience a novel gadget called Opon Imo, an iPad-like device invented for the students of the state. This device contains all the 17 subjects being taken in the external examinations like WAEC and NECO. It also contains all the necessary text books and 10 years’ past questions. This device would soon be distributed to about 375, 000 students from SS1 to SS3 across the public schools in the state. So, the most unique programmes are the interventions in education and unemployment.
How would you say the achievements came about in two years?
Unequivocally, I can tell you it is security. Adequate security engenders peace and in turn growth, development and progress.The level we are now is even elevated because Aregbesola has introduced a new dimension. I can tell you that now, we have more than 150 security vehicles for patrol by our Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) for the monitoring of security situation in the state.Recently, government purchased a helicopter for SARS for security surveillance so as to make the state a safe haven for the people. Now people can sleep and close their two eyes. Before now, people used to sleep with one eye opened. The security situation now is far better than what operated during the years of Oyinlola’s government. Then, safety of lives and properties was not guaranteed. The situation has changed now. People can go about their normal activities without any let or hindrance. Kudos should go to Aregbesola for the enthronement of peace, security and stability in the state.
Most times, there are reports of religious tension in the state. This is strange for a South West state. What really is the government doing to stem the tide?
There are no religious crises in the state. I have just told you about the peace being enjoyed in the state. If there is any religious crisis, will there be this much-talked about peace? The administration of Aregbesola is relating with all the religious groups perfectly well. Not only that, we also added the traditional religion, giving equal platform to all people of all faiths in the state. Since he came to power, he has made it a point of duty that at every function, all the three religions open and close the gathering with prayers.
Inter-religious body, called NIREC which comprises leaders of CAN and the Muslim community meets regularly where they discuss what is paramount to the peaceful co-existence of their adherents.
So. disregard whatever you heard or read on the pages of newspapers. They are the handiwork of some disgruntled politicians and detractors of the government of Aregbesola.
If you come to Osun, you will see how people of all faiths live harmoniously with one another. You will discover how perfectly the leaders of these religions and government relate. I can tell you categorically that there is no crisis of any form, not to talk of religious crisis, in Osun.
What do we expect from the government as it coasts towards the last quarter?
The people should expect a lot. Before the end of this year, some of the massive projects going on across the state will be completed. The projects are indeed massive. For instance, in Osogbo and Ilesha alone, we have over 60km of roads being constructed. This not to mention the 218km ten kilometre road per local government in all council areas in the state. By the end of this year, all these roads must have being completed. By the end of third year, the state would witness a lot of development. We believe that these programmes and performances are what the people will use to judge whether we are entitled to another term in office. I promise you that people haven’t seen anything yet. There are new things in the pipeline.
Some of them I cannot divulge now. We like to catch our followers and detractors by surprise.
What are the challenges this government has faced and ersonally what are the challenges you have faced as government scribe?
On getting to office, what we met on ground was nothing to write home about. We had many programmes to execute but the money wasn’t there. That was the first challenge. Few months before we came to office, the last administration took a loan of N18.4bn and government started paying interest the first day it drew the loan.
That was the challenge we met. For the first three months we were sourcing money to pay workers’ salaries until we refinanced the loan through the First Bank. That was when we heaved a sigh of relief.The second challenge was how to fix numerous party members up with the limited offices. The constitution of cabinet so as to get the best hand, which took few months before we got what we are now working with. At the end of the day, merit counted and the result of the achievements are what we a reeling out.
On my personal level, the challenge I had was that I was a party chairman for seven years, there was no local government I did not touch before 2007 election. There is no local government I don’t know our true members.
Everyone expected one thing or the other from us now. I pray God will provide the wherewithal to satisfy all of them. But I must add that just as Mr. Governor would always say, providing good governance that touch the lives of all is a direct and indirect compensation for all that worked for the realization of this government. We are working hard to ensure we do not disappoint them.
People have different view about your boss. But in your view, who is Aregbesola?
Ogbeni is many things to many people. To me, he is an embodiment of knowledge, a workaholic, an actualiser, a man of God. To cap it, he is my role model to me personally and to numerous others within and outside the state.
Culled from Tribune
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