How Aregbesola-led APC govt misruled Osun State in 8 years —Omisore
THE governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, has bemoaned the eight years of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by Governor Rauf Aregbesola in the state, regretting that, “Osun State has become publicly acknowledged as the worst governed state in Nigeria.”
Omisore, reacting on Saturday, in Osogbo, to a 10-page document entitled, “A Snap Shot of Governance and Development in Osun State (2010 – 2018),” released by the SDP, to assess the performance of the eight-year of Aregbesola administration, said, the party had, in 2014, released a similar document, covering a period of 201-2014, but with findings now indicating that things have grown worse than how it was four years ago.
The party said the release provided “a credible and verifiable benchmark against which governance, economic and social investment in the state can be assessed, while it also presented a shadow report on governance and accountability, as it evaluated the Rauf Aregbesola’s APC-led government against its own published manifesto.”
Omisore, who regretted that “an ineptitude in governance has persisted till today,” said that the “current snap shot presents the 2014 report as a baseline and takes it further to provide a scorecard of the second term of the administration of Rauf Aregbesola and the APC in Osun State, a period extending from 2014-2018.
The SDP 2018 snap shot, as presented, addresses financial management and fiscal responsibility, public transparency, public administration and procurement, infrastructure, education, health, youth development in addition to citizen’s neglect and a betrayal of trust.
Financial Management and Fiscal Responsibility
The party in its score card of Aregbesola’s government between 2010 and 2014, presented “a red alert report on public financial management and fiscal responsibility, which it said it arrived at in “comparative analysis of debts and revenue across states in the south west, where it “highlighted the financial impropriety in the comparison between Lagos and Osun State, submitting that there was “fundamental recklessness in fiscal management in Osun State.
“At this time, the state owes well over N400 billion as loans and advances from a very wide array of lenders. Its debt to GDP ratio also presents this as both sustainable and ridiculous given its capacity for earning and opportunities for enterprise,” the score card said.
The party quoting from a publication from NEITI with facts and data it said it got from National Bureau of Statistics, the Accountant General of the Federation and Debt Management Office reports, it said, “Osun and Lagos are leading the total debt profiles of state governments,” and it said, “The debt exceeded revenue by over 480%.”
According to the report, “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 meagre Internally Generated Revenue (IGR),” yet, referring to the National Debit Management Office (DMO), which it said puts the state’s Sukuk loan at NGN11.4bn, and $65m from Islamic Development Bank, another NGN88.6bn bond.”
Consequently, The SDP put the debt profile of Osun State under the current government at around N350bn, which it called “a far cry from the N171.4bn the governor claimed the state owed and will be paid before 2020.”
It said the government’s “alarming debt profile needs to be placed in context of revenue from statutory allocations and internally generated revenue, likewise, “the accountability and transparent initiative BudgIT reports growth of 32.6% IGR in Osun state against an external debt burden of 32.6% an indication that the growth in the debt stock of the state far exceeds its capacity for IGR.”
In addition, the SDP said “based on current debt burden, NGN7.22bn is deducted monthly from the state allocations from the Federal coffers, leaving NGN1.19bn per month to support the state budget,” adding that, “the 2018 proposed budget of Osun state estimates an annual expenditure of NGN 172,9billion, a amount in excess of its combined volume of statutory allocation and IGR,”
As a result of the state’s “huge debt profile,” the party said, financial experts had suggested “an urgent and proactive action to manage the finances of the state, and project that even with all frugality, it might be a challenge to wriggle out of the debt burden by 2040. This is a fiscal emergency that must be permitted to continue.”
The report also faulted Aregbesola on public transparency, saying his government did not up live up to the standard set in a recent review of transparency, which it said was published by BudgIT on its website, where it said all states, including the Federal Government were assessed for transparency in its budget processes as well as the domestication of the Freedom of Information Act.
Based on BudgIT’s submission, the SDP said, “It is hardly surprising that Osun state counted among those that have neither domesticated the FOI bill, not published its budget on the website and has refused to submit this for public analysis and scrutiny.”
Public Administration and Procurement
On public administration and procurement, the SDP said “fear, intimidation, coercion and patronage appear to be firmly established as the principle of public administration and management in Osun State, alleging that, “not only has the state failed to pay wages, one of the worst forms of worker intimination and coercion, it has also failed in timely appointment of commissioners and to other key accountability and inclusion primitive offices in the state.
“Consequently, it said, “the administration is a one-man show of the governor and his kitchen cabinet which includes his deputy and a few frequently recycled aides from Lagos, an action, which the party said, was “driven by lack of both accountability and transparency.
It regretted that, “procurement systems in the state have been largely driven by instructions by distant paymasters thus denying indigenes of the state the opportunities for inclusion and benefit from their own affairs. In the face of this, staff training and professionalism have dwindled.”
“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.
“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,” the SDP alleged in its report.
On education, SDP said, “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.”
It referred the “common uniform” in the state as “a colossal disaster,” saying, “schools identity which hitherto was one of pride were confused, and the Omoluabi Garment Factory, which it said “was established with public financing to produce school uniforms,” had denied a hitherto vibrant independent private school uniform producers income,” faulting the action of Governor Aregbesola and his deputy parading themselves in these uniforms from school to school, “only to be ridiculed by the students and citizens,” SDP said.
The report further said on education: “Early days of the administration witness a very confusing re-classification of schools into middle and high schools in conflict with the nationally approved and implemented 6-3-3-4 system of education. Schools were merged, students and teachers relocated.
“The massive outcry from Alumni and citizens were again ignored by an arrogant and stiff necked government. The result is where we are today. Mega schools with mega failure. Newly constructed schools built with the shared heritage of citizens collapsed under the leadership of the Governor who served as the Commissioner for Works and his Deputy who was the Commissioner for Education.
“Perhaps the most disastrous educational policy is the ‘Opon Imo’ which literally translates as the ‘Tablet of Knowledge’. This tablet which was designed to hold all text books and instructional materials for students was managed by the Governor’s son and cost the state a whooping NGN 8.4billion! Announced to be provided for 150,000 students, well below 10, 000 tablets were delivered.
“Many errors were found in almost every subject in the tablet. In chapter one which is titled “Number base System”, out of 5 questions provided, 4 are either wrongly stated or the answers supplied are equally wrong. Neither the schools, nor the teachers and students were provided with the required infrastructure to use them. By 2018, Opon Imo does not exist in any school. More distressing, year on year, students in the state have descended in the league tables for all external examinations, to an all time low in the most recent examinations
“This situation is further challenged by the incessant industrial action in tertiary institutions in the state, which have over the past 8 years experienced more months when they have been closed than have offered educational services and support to the teeming population of young people in the state. Teacher motivation is at its lowest ebb as dismissals are arbitrary, salaries have been unpaid and there is been a near absence of investment in both learning and teaching infrastructure.
“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!”
On agriculture, SDP said, “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.”
However, the party, in its report, faulted the government’s plan, saying, “it was to edge out the northern states supplying the bulk of the food stuff in Lagos, by exploiting the proximity of Osun State to Lagos, alleging that, “five years down the line, many are yet to see the impact of the huge money the Aregbesola government claimed to have invested in agriculture so as to actualize this dream.
“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,” SDP said.
It said on youth empowerment, “With support from a major multilateral lending bank, the Osun state youth empowerment programme (O’YES) was packed to be flagship and impactful. In its design, it was to provide employment opportunities to its large youthful population, who comprise an estimated 67% of the population of the state.
“The 2014 scorecard reported widespread frustration and disappointment with the O’YES programme. Young graduates were directed to sweeping streets and sewers for a pittance which was paid to them infrequently. Payment was also driven by politics and patronage. Neither skills nor competence was passed on to these young people. By 2018, O’Yes and the multiplicity of other O’Gbese programmes of Rauf Aregbesola and his team have all become O’dead!”
On health, the SDP said though, the limited state level data prevent a detailed analysis of the status of the health sector in Osun State, but a picture tells a million stories, while it contended that, “facility utilisation 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.”
It alleged that, “public finance has been invested in the purchase of a state of the art ambulance for a primary care facility that has neither driver nor patients! Inputs provided by major national initiatives to save lives are presented mainly as posters in a poorly managed facility. Maternal and safe motherhood kits are shown as poorly deployed and managed. Health worker staff has been incessant, and it would appear that the cumulative strike period is well over 6 years. It is reported that facility utilisation is at its lowest ebb.
“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 centres thus patients are already sceptical 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.”
Citizens’ neglect and trust betrayal
“The sorry state of payment of dues and remuneration extends well beyond those currently in service. Pensioners and retirees who have diligently and meritoriously over many years gave the best of their prime to the state have been unpaid their dues and allowances. They dot corners, streets and homes appealing for support and help.
“Their repeated calls to the state for social justice and the payment of their pensions have fallen on deaf ears. It is not therefore surprising that after many months of hunger, inability to support medical bills attendant on old age in addition to the acceptance that their children who are also civil servants in the state are also unpaid, the old, frail and weary have also joined the public outcry in public demonstration and demand for justice.
“But the ‘skelewu’ dancing governor would have none of this. His personal life style was one wealth and comfort. In an attempt to avoid violent reaction of citizens and indigenes in the state, Rauf Aregbesola exported the wedding of his daughter to Lagos, in pretty much the same way he has exported jobs, enterprise opportunities and major procurement away from the indigenes and citizen’s he took an oath to provide for and protect.
“The grand and lavish ceremony took place in Lagos, supported by his APC paymasters and colleagues, the reckless governor and his family danced all night, while the people of Osun state continued in lack, want and hunger of unimaginable proportion. Without doubt, this betrayal of the electorate, and the trust they have in democratic governance can only be identified as bad governance at its topmost height.
“In spite of the distress signals in the economic fortunes of the state, its leadership continued implementation of an unsustainable plethora of initiatives and programmes. As of these recorded higher levels of monumental failure year on year, wise investors took to their heels. This has left the state in a more tenuous state, not because it lacks the human capital and human resources to attract and retain investors, but on account of a loss of investor confidence in the leadership capacity of the state, transparency in procurement procedures and adherence to standard practices of both fiscal and debt management.
“It would sadly appear that an additional four years of the judicial governor of the state of Osun, and his imported APC team, not much has changed since 2014 when the last scorecard was published. On the contrary, situations of worsened across all sectors. The Rauf Aregbesola-led APC government in the state has not only displayed the highest level of criminal corruption of governance and procurement but has gone much further to neglect citizens, betray their trust and ultimately lost their confidence.
“Rather than banish hunger and poverty as stated in the manifesto presented to the state in 2014, the visionless leadership in the state has recklessly and with gross insensitivity exacerbated both, with resultant deepening of vulnerabilities and loss of human dignity. It is this dismal and sorry state that citizens of Osun state find themselves as they face the 2018 elections. Committed and transparent leadership is the key contributor to good governance, ad good governance the driver for development,” the SDP said.
Consequent upon the “low performance” of the government, according to SDP’s score card, the party said, “the urgency to restore good governance to Osun State cannot be more emphasised at this time, adding that “the pain and suffering of eight years can no longer be borne by innocent women and children.
As a result, the party said, “the clarion call to restore human dignity and peace is strident. This is the focus of the Social Democratic Party in Osun state as it presents its Agenda for the Restoration of Good Governance and Human Dignity and the experienced of Senator Iyiola Omisore, to take on the mantle of leadership for progress and positive impact.”