Osun Govt, Osun Defender and their gang of jesters, by Ismail Omipidan

About two years ago, precisely July 5, 2022, an Economic Historian, Lawyer and a Public Affairs Analyst, Dr Tunji Ogunyemi, while featuring on a current affairs discussion on radio, Frank Talk, on the popular Rave 91.7 FM, Osogbo , argued among other things that Osun needed a level-headed and serious-minded person as Governor and not a jester.

He proceeded to say that such a person must practise budget discipline and must reduce what he termed “political jobbery.” He went further to say that such a level-headed person as Governor must invest in three critical sectors of the Osun economy vis: Tourism, Agriculture and Mining.

Three issues prompted my intervention this morning. I will try to thrash them in a few words for easy digestion and better understanding. As usual, I will be willing to engage only serious-minded Osun Government officials and their army of sympathisers with regard to this conversation. For those in the habit of throwing insults and abuses around without substance, you will never get my attention.

Now let’s return to the issues. The first is the debate over budget performance of the current Osun State Government. The first report I read indicated that Osun Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, like most of his counterparts across the country, spent more money on meals and entertainments than they did on other critical aspects of governance. Specifically, for Osun, report indicated that apart from the office of the Governor which got bountiful release, all others underperformed.

But the government believed that the report was untrue. In a statement by its spokesman, Hon. Kolapo Alimi, although government did not deny that the budget for the Office of the Governor performed excellently well, it claimed that to get the actual budget performance, the budget needed to be pro-rated.

Unfortunately, when it is pro-rated (see attached picture), the situation does not change despite attempts by government to bamboozle us with rhetorics.

True, there has been no serious attempt on the part of government to grow the Osun economy. For instance, in the 2023 budget signed by the former Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, in Nov. 2022, N5bn went to the Agriculture sector while N6.2bn went to the Office of the Governor.

But by August 2023, Senator Adeleke presented a supplementary budget to the state House of Assembly where he slashed the budget for Agriculture to N2.7billion, while raising that of the Office of the Governor to a whooping N16.4billion.

Ironically, by the end of 2023 , in terms of budget performance, the Office of the Governor recorded 96.1% implementation, following the release of N15.7billion of the supplementary budget. Yet, this was a government that promised us huge investment in Agriculture for the purpose of food security.

Again, in the 2024 budget, N13billion was allocated to the Office of the Governor while N3.7bn was allocated to the Agriculture sector.

By the end of first quarter of 2024 ( Jan-March),  N5.2billion, representing 161.2% of the pro-rated figure for Q1 2024, had been released for food and entertainment, while Agriculture, which the governor noted during the campaigns, was what Osun is known for, got a paltry N164m, within the same period under review, representing 17 percent of the pro-rated figure. Only jesters would prioritise mudane issues over serious business of governance like food security and the like.

The second issue is about the claim by the governor himself, that he inherited 80 percent infrastructure deficit from former Governor Oyetola. Interestingly, this claim got a banal banner headline from Osun Defender newsletter, a medium, promoted by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, another former Osun Governor. As an intellectual, I believe a claim such as this should and must be supported by empirical evidence. If we can excuse the governor for saying so, for obvious reasons, Osun Defender and those who manage the governor’s public and political communications cannot be excused. I, therefore, challenge them to provide statistics to support this bogus claim. While waiting for them, let me hasten to add that in nearly two years of this administration, the only thing the governor has done well to the admiration of all is dancing. This explains why, rather than giving speeches to inspire hope and show the direction of where the government is headed, the governor would take to the dancing floor. Despite this, his handlers would gleefully share such videos. Here, three instances came to mind. I attended a wedding in Abuja, where the governor was also a guest. When he was handed the mic to speak, he only sang, prayed and danced. In the end, the Compere described him as not only a dancing governor but a singing governor. They clapped for him. He felt excited while my friends laughed at me on the table where I was seated. During the inauguration of the current Soun of Ogbomoso, he got to the venue, sang and danced erotically to the admiration of the spectators. But when it was time to make his remark, I saw the governor practically struggling to deliver his speech. I felt ashamed and my 11 year old daughter, who only turned 12 last month, asked me how Osun people allowed such a character to be our governor. I told her it was the mum, my wife, and her people who did it. My wife was livid. She did not like the fact that I presented her before my daughter, a very critical mind, as a supporter of the governor, whereas I was only joking, knowing full well that like me, my wife is a lover of excellence. She is among the reasonable Ede people who believe in quality education, not one who rationalises earning degree certificate under two weeks. Anyway, the third instance happened about two weeks ago or so, where rather than giving a verbal reaction to a discourse, the governor took to the dancing floor like a video vixen.

The third and final issue, is another fraudulent claim that former Governor Oyetola abandoned ‘Aregbesola’s free train service.’ This lie, again, got a space in the Osun Defender. Well, I am not surprised that every lie told against Oyetola by Governor Adeleke excites Aregbesola and his gang. But there are certain lies that are embarrassing to the ears. It is on record that Oyetola sustained every programmes and project of Aregbesola that had positive impact on the lives of the common man in Osun. As a matter of fact, it was this current administration that attempted to abandon the Free Train Service until the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) forced it to rescind its decision. When they came in, in November 2022, by December they failed the people of the state in that regard. But by Easter, after drawing funds for the programme, they claimed that their free train ride brought to the state 650 holidaymakers. This is the most bizarre of all their fraudulent claims as they went a step further to clone a story content published in the Guardian of May 16, 2021 about how beneficiaries of the Oyetola’s free train ride felt after being transported home free to celebrate with their loved ones and passed same as the report from their “Imole Free Train Ride.” The only video they posted to show a train arrived Freedom Park on Thursday, April 6, 2023, after I burst their lies, only had some government officials and aides of the governor granting interviews as the purported passengers on the so called train. In all, the arranged ‘passengers’ in that video were less than 20. Yet, they went to town with the infantile falsehood that they brought in 650 holidaymakers.

I came this far to show that Osun citizens are today dealing with people who have no respect for human dignity, no respect for truth, transparency in governance and who lie shamelessly to cover their tracks. So far, they have collected about N300billion as Federal Allocation, Grant and IGR, an amount that was never available to former Governor Oyetola in his entire four years. Yet, they have only been able to pay a handful of the arrears of salaries owed by Aregbesola, which they initially claimed they were going to clear in six months.

The Perfume and Entertainment Industry the governor promised Osun people are yet to kick off. Maybe, they may begin them next year. Even the digital economy for which they littered the whole of Osun with yellow and blue pipes is today jinxed. From Estate to Dele Yesir, on both sides, have become hell for motorists, ditto Ogooluwa area in Osogbo metropolis. This is why I consider them and their collaborators as jesters each time they come after a man of Grace, a level-headed person, who is also serious-minded person, Oyetola, who as governor demystified governance and proved that the job of a governor is too serious to be left in the hands of a layabout and an intellectual weakling.

Omipidan, a journalist and a Political Communications specialist, writes from Ile Olorisa Compound, Eyindi, Ila Orangun

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