Life is short,have fun!!!

Lifestyle, Travel & Photography. If you want a lifetime memory, take a photo.

Archive for the tag “Osun State”

#Nigeria States should not depend on handouts from FG — Aregbesola

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola

Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, in an interview with journalists in Osogbo bares his mind on the style of his administration and other sundry issues.TUNDE ODESOLA was there

What is your reaction to people, who believe that you are arrogant?

Am I really an arrogant person? You can say I am unusual. I am not your conventional governor. I don’t have the attitude of people you traditionally find in this position. If you say I do not behave like a classical public functionary I will say yes. Since 2004, I had prepared what would be my programme in government. I developed a six-point integral action plan. Everything we are doing today is in strict compliance with the provision of that agenda. Three of them are basically agricultural. We say we would banish hunger, poverty, unemployment. All those are based on agriculture. If there is serious food production, hunger will be history, unemployment and poverty will reduce.

Some think that you don’t give the Osun State University the deserved attention?

Education has lost its focus. People are just going to school, especially at the basic level. What is the total population of Uniosun? At best, it will be 5,000. In the basic education phase, we have at least 750,000 pupils without any future who are certainly doomed in terms of the school that they go and the quality of education. I put together an education summit with clear a guideline on how to make education functional and beneficial to the society. We realised that virtually all the public schools in the state were constructed by the late Pa Obafemi Awolowo. The schools were built with mud.

Mud in this part of the world has a lot of iron which gets oxidised and leads to big cracks. The buildings are already collapsing. We have no choice but to clear the debris and weak structures to build functional infrastructure for education. I intend to build within the next 24 months, 20 high schools with each having capacity for 3,000 pupils and 50 middle schools with capacity for 900 pupils each. I will also build elementary schools (100) with 1,000 capacity at urban centres and as low as 50 in the very rural communities.

It is not just infrastructure alone, we also want to assess out teachers and prepare them in terms of giving the students the best guide. We are re-orientating and motivating our teachers. But I have no problem with the university teachers. But, I do not come to terms easily with the philosophy that fund should only be pumped to the university or that school fees be increased. If you have basic education that is in doldrums and you have no provision to improve it while you focus on tertiary education, who will attend the university? The second is the high fee regime.

There was no one living and working in Osun State that could afford to send their wards to that university because of the high fee. If the highest paid worker and business men could not afford to sponsor their wards to the state university whose interest is the university serving? Our university is well supported. But my commitment is on strengthening the basic education though I will not abandon the tertiary education.

You were reported to have promised to capture 80 per cent of Lagos food market in your agricultural programme. What steps have you taken in the last one year to achieve this?

There was never a time we targeted capturing 80 per cent of Lagos food market. One would be extremely selfish and uncaring to take 80 per cent of the entire food exchange value in Lagos. I believe that if states in the South-West states take 10 per cent each, and they are five, outside Lagos itself, that is 50 per cent. The remaining can be left to other states to have their own share. Why must we have such desire? In terms of location, the states are the closest to Lagos. As such, we should take a maximum advantage of that. That was my projection.

Before I set out for the governorship seat, I made it a primary objective to develop the agricultural potential of Osun to capture just 10 per cent of the food market value in Lagos. Immediately we assumed office, we declared to the world that it would be totally wrong for any entity — be it human or geographical — to claim independent existence and still be dependent on others. When a territory depends absolutely on others, it is no longer independent but a possession of that authority that gives it life.

What exists at present is that most of the states are in this sort of derogatory relationship whereby without the handout of another government — whether federal or central — they cannot survive. Our goal is first of all to ensure that we reverse that ugly trend. We want to be like Lagos, which in the worst scenario can still survive on its own. We have looked around and there is no other way we can have independent survival outside agriculture. After all, the majority of our people, aged though, are into subsistence agriculture. Our primary objective is to help subsistence farmers multiply their production through expansion of their farming capacity, improvement on the techniques of farming and assistance to move their goods to railway terminal for upward movement to Lagos free of charge.

Toward this end, we went to the Nigeria Railway Corporation to finalise agreement to ensure free freight of agricultural produce from Osogbo to Lagos. This is not limited to produce of Osun alone. If yours is from Sokoto and it gets here, for as long as it is agricultural produce, we will transport it for you free. Essentially, this is to motivate our farmers. We are clearing land for potential farmers who could come from any part of the world. We produce improved seedling for high yield free of charge and give fertiliser at subsidised rate. As I am talking to you, we have over 300 metric tons of fertiliser in our store.

Agriculture is the primary focus of our administration. We invest most in agriculture and commit more of our time and energy to it. We have cleared 3,000 hectares of land for agriculture, including land for rice cultivation. If you know, it costs a lot of money to clear 1,000 hectares of land. We are equally opening access roads to farms and providing electricity and water. We are being supported by France and World Bank in the rural accessibility programme where we are targeting a total of 500 kilometres of rural roads to service farmers in various locations.

What it means is that we may not tar all the roads but we shall ensure that all the water crossings are with bridges and gutters so that there will be no reason for farmers not to be able to move their goods from the farm to the nearest centre. But farmers have yet to take advantage of the free freight because they are still held down by the old method of transportation. There will be no discrimination on sources of produce. If produce gets to Dagbolu, which is the centre, the Osun State Government will move it free of charge to Lagos.

The railway is not functioning well, how will you ensure transportation of produce when farmers eventually subscribe fully to your programme?

I have moved people free of charge from Lagos to Osun on a daily basis. I want to tell you that I am improving on the Memorandum of Understanding between our government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

The railway has its own challenges and the corporation won’t move beyond its challenges. I don’t worry myself with the problem of the corporation; I only use the railway. I need wagon and locomotive engine and operate at will. If I have enough commodities to move, I can move every hour. You worry about how I do it; that is the creativity. That is why I am different. But the truth is that as of today, my facilities are not fully ready. I have not completed Dagbolu (the food hub) to the level I want and I am still working on Osogbo station.

My Lagos depots are not fully ready. I am looking at having 57 Osun markets in each of the 57 local governments and development centres so that this products on getting to Lagos will be transported straight to the food marts and whoever is interested will get them at Osun prices. The goal is to make farm produce available at farm gate prices in Lagos. What determines the frequency of my rail is the availability of produce.

Source- The Punch

#Nigeria Fayemi: My worries about the Nigerian polity

• Fayemi
• Fayemi

Governor Kayode Fayemi is not just a politician, but also a scholar. In this interaction with journalists in Lagos, the Ekiti State governor addressed controversies surrounding the West’s attempt to integrate the region, the security report on Osun State and the Ondo State political imbroglio. Group Political Editor BOLADE OMONIJO was there.

 

Is regional integration possible with the altercation between ACN and Labour Party in Ondo?

What is wrong, if Aregbesola one of the leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria wants his party to produce the governor of Ondo State? I have already told you about style and language. Is there anything fundamental about Aregbesola’s involvement in politics? Will he be promoting other parties? If we go as far as Adamawa, we sent people to Kogi, we sent people to work with our party in all the states we have potentials to win, what is wrong with that. The people you say people are not harassing, Adams in BRACED, don’t they come to campaign in Edo for PDP, do they get harassed? Has their rally been disrupted? Let us be fair about it. If we have a problem with Aregbesola language or style there is nothing wrong in advising him to moderate his style. I still insist that Ondo believes in regional integration. In regional integration everywhere it happens, you will have leaders who are uncomfortable with one another. Take the European Union, at the beginning, Britain stood out, they said they didn’t want to be part of it, Germany and France pushed on for some time till it became economically unwise for Britain to stay out of it as they realised that the market, that big European market, is there for them. This is an economic and development issue, it is not a political issue. It is not about the governors, it is about the economic necessity. Can we survive on our own? Can we remain in our silo? What happens to us when this handout from Abuja, that we call allocation stops? How do we want to organise our society? It is a futuristic agenda, it is not even an agenda for now.

What is your view on recent development in Osun State and its effect on the image of your party?

Our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, has a manifesto. Our manifesto is not apologetic in any way about how we see the Nigeria state today. We believe in the promotion of equity. We have offered what we consider to be the mechanism for re-ordering state, federal and local government relations. That is properly documented. Whether it is called in some sectors devolution of power or it is called by another decentralisation or it is called true federalism. There are all sorts of names that are used for what we believe in. We all have our styles of governance. It may be easy for me because of my nature to relate with an Ayo Fayose who is my brother, regardless of whatever his political position is or Oni or any of the other people in my state in a manner that Governor Aregbesola may find difficult, if not impossible, to relate with Iyiola Omisore or even his predecessor; Governor Oyinlola. That is personal style but we must not elevate that personal style to the level of fiction because that is exactly what is happening with the so called security report. I come from a security background as many of you know. I know how security reports are put together and when you put together a report that is mishmash of discussion, I don’t want to say beer parlour or pepper soup joint discussion, with no head no tail, I have my worries. Governor Aregbesola is seen as fiery and fearsome, but he is quite soft at heart. It may be difficult for some to believe that is really what he is. Because he is a shy person, his own mental defence mechanism may be to put a wall between himself and those who he doesn’t want to relate to but when you really subject it to logic what is in that report that is worthy of a second look from any serious minded person. As I said in my statement, we had a flag before Osun had a flag. Lagos had a flag 20 years ago. It was the only state that remained when the other states were balkanized. We have an anthem. If you come to Ekiti, we don’t sing just the national anthem, we sing our own Ekiti anthem and if you come across any document from Ekiti State, you will see that it is not the federal government coat of arms that we have in the state. We don’t even have the Federal Government’s coat of arms on our document. That is not to say that we are not a constituent part of the federal state called Nigeria, and we are proud to be, but we believe that we need an identity that speaks to the core value of our state, that our people can relate to and when you see the Ekiti crest, if no name is written on it, if you have 10 crests put together and you see the Ekiti crest you will not be in any doubt. You will actually say this must be Ekiti without being told. I think that is what Governor Aregbesola has done.

What about Omisore’s threat to stop and search the convoy of Aregbesola?

How is it going to be done? Some of the people fighting him, where were they in the politics in their state. You have my brother who claimed to be the South West Chairman of their party.

It will not be news to you that he has no place at home. He couldn’t even go home. He is settling quarrel all over the South West, he could not go home to his party to resolve the conflagration that is there.

Is it feasible for a state to champion secession?

Is Osun State championing secession? One, it is not feasible. We have our own design, our own grand dream about what we want to achieve for our state. I have just come from the opening ceremony of the Lagos Economic Summit. Lagos is still a sub nation in Nigeria but it is the fourth largest economy in Africa. It is not a sovereign state, but many of the things that Lagos wants to do, many sovereign states in Africa cannot do. It is a matter of choice. If Osun has a vision of building a state that is self sufficient, that has food security, that can respond to the needs of the people and you then find that difficult, then it is not secession that you are worried about. You are worried about what the performance level will do to the fortune of your own party, if he was to achieve all of those elements. It is the same old age battle between the reactionaries and the progressives. That is what is happening. Don’t let us kid ourselves. I dare say it has some level of Abuja connection in it. We are not worried. We have no issue with the Federal Government. The issue that we have with the Federal Government, we have put them on the table, the lopsidedness of the relation between the centre and the state. That is open; people know our position on that. We want our regional bloc to serve the people of this region. We are unapologetic about that and nobody can accuse us of going into our siloh because that is a model that is being represented everywhere. As we speak some people are gathered in Asaba called BRACED meeting on South South agenda and working on the South South development. Let us not mix development with politics. They are not meeting on South South sharing of money, they are meeting on how to bring development to the region. Peter Obi, my brother and his colleagues gather time to time to organise in response to the economic challenges in the South East and unless we do that how am I going to access the N3 billion food market in Lagos, if I don’t work within the regional hub and discourage Lagos from even venturing into Agriculture so that I can bring the food here? That, for us, is the issue. The time for governance is for governance. It seems to be in their own views which are being parroted by the media, Aregbesola is the most recalcitrant of the lot. If you can crush him, Fayemi is easy, Amosun used to be with us we can get him back, Ajimobi is a nice man, Fashola is a technocrat. That is their own estimation and that is what is driving what they are doing. Unfortunately for them they are on the wrong track. 

How will you describe what happened at the venue of the botched Adebayo Adefarati Memorial lecture in Ondo?

It is a worrisome development. I hope, it is not yet an ugly event. If it is an ugly event, I hope it is not going to become a process; that it will remain an event. I was surprised by what happened. I want to be as frank as possible. I found it strange because I regard the governor of Ondo State as my brother and I have said this to many of you on many occasions that in my party, I am seen as the closest link to him, even when some of the leaders in my party are not necessarily very cordial in their relationship with the governor. I have always maintained that the relationship that I have with him goes beyond the personal. We have very strong personal bond. We were in the trenches together. We fought together, even though, he was on the other side, (the Labour Party) but were both the underdogs when we went into our elections and necessarily, we exchanged notes. We did many things together, even now, particularly developmentally. He was one of the first people that I spoke to when the Adefarati family came to me that I should come and give a lecture. I told the family when they came that since this was not a partisan matter; it was a memorial of somebody who had been governor of a state, who had been a leader of the progressive movement. I don’t think it should be partisan, and I asked the family pertinent questions: who are the people that are coming? Have you told the governor of the state? What role will it play at the event? The family members made it clear to me that they had informed the governor, even though they had difficulty in seeing him but they handed over the letter to his Chief of Staff.

About two days to the event, I called him and confirmed to him that I would be coming to deliver Baba Adefarati’s 5th Memorial lecture. He said that he didn’t like the way the lecture was being handled, that he felt that there was a political undertone and all that, which is natural. Any of us could come with any impression of this matter and I said to him, well as far as I am concerned, this is an important thing to do. It is the 5th anniversary of a man in whose administration he himself was very much involved as a commissioner, even more than someone like me. I told him that I would come over to him and we would go together to the event which. But, before I left Ado-Ekiti, I received the first warning shot because my advance team was already there, and, they informed me that there was problem, altercation between the Labour Party supporters and those of the Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) at the venue of the event, but at that time they had not attacked Dr. Olaiya Oni. It was the early period of the day.

Did you at that point get in touch with him again?

Again, I called my brother and said this is what I was hearing about the place and I hoped it was proper for me to come and he said that he too had heard that there were problems, they were not allowing members of the Labour Party to come in. that was his own perspective. By the time I got to Akure, I discovered that it was really pointless going to the place because the feedback I was getting was not palatable. I went to the house of our party leader; the former Secretary to the State Government under Chief Adefarati; Omo Ekun, Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire. I was there with our National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and some other chieftains, watching the development whether things would calm down or not. We eventually got a message that the situation was yet to abate. My own security team actually wanted to go, but I felt that it wasn’t proper. If I had gone, those who had been shooting and throwing all sort of things, my own security team would have found it necessary to respond and that would have escalated the entire thing beyond what later transpired. So, I decided that I was leaving town. Again I called my brother that given what had transpired, I couldn’t go to the event, I was returning to Ado-Ekiti and he said that he was in Ile Oluji at the time. We agreed to see subsequently.

Do you think this could foretell what to expect during the campaign?

What I found surprising was that an event of this nature could be turned into a redress rehearsal for the shape of things to come in Ondo State. I really do hope it is not the shape of things. It was also more shocking to me, naturally, when matters like this happen, security people will do their investigation and Ondo and Ekiti are like Siamese twins, there is very little you can do in one angle that will not filter to the other. I was surprised when I discovered from evidence shown to me later that elements close to the party and government in Ondo State were central to everything that happened. I don’t know if my brother was aware of the role they played because it is also possible as governors often find themselves in a situation where their supporters and their key actors may do things that they are not privy to. It is not impossible that he may not even know the activities of some of his men but I have it on very good authority that at least three of the drivers of the fracas are key officials in his party. It was not spontaneous. It was not accidental. It was organised and they had been there since 7am. In fact, some of the people they used had effrontery to go to an event where the governor was presented an award same evening to lodge a complaint that the money they gave to them was not enough and I don’t think that is something I really want to associate with the governor of Ondo State. I feel very strongly as earlier said that I am almost regarded as umbilical cord between my party and himself because we have close relationship. I respect him, I discuss a lot of things with him, particularly in relation to our states because hardly can one do anything without the other.

Beyond the Fayemi/Mimiko personal relationship, what about the two states?

We are closely tied, not just because of our shared history, but also because of the practicality. There are many of my people who live in Akure and come to Ado-Ekiti, including senior functionaries of my government. I wouldn’t want a situation in which Ondo State citizens in Ekiti and Ekiti citizens in Ondo will find themselves in the line of fire which they had not caused which is driven by political machination rather than any objective animosity on the part of both states, particularly, the two of us really have nothing but I also know that in politics, friends easily becomes enemies and I will hate a situation in which that will be the case. I have seen a lot of reports in newspapers, attributing what happened to all sorts of funny things like ACN aspirants fighting among themselves, Labour people not being allowed to come into the venue.

Do you agree with those expressing fear that we may be sowing the seed that could consume the Republic?

What is much more fundamental and which I think should worry us collectively and, as leaders in the media and society I will like all of us to reflect on it together, is the potential that this holds even for the survival of our democracy. The West has a history in this country, and more often than not, the West is always the trigger of crisis. There are those, particularly conservative elements in this country who always find it necessary to arrest development in the West without considering the full implications of that on the country and more often than not when that thrives, it ends up destroying the very fabric of this fragile democracy called Nigeria and I hope we are not going down that route again with Ondo State becoming Achilles heel in our country.

There are those who will even see some of the things that I have jokingly talk about with you on development in Osun. I am an unapologetic advocate of regionalism and many of you have read my interview or comment that I do not necessarily believe that we all must belong to the same political party for regionalism to take root. I used to give example that in our lifetime Chief Kehinde Sofola came from the same community as Chief Obafemi Awolowo and he was Attorney General of the NPN, the party in government in the Second Republic. There is nothing that says that we cannot even belong to the opposing side. Let us market ourselves to the people. Let us sell our idea to the people and it is on the basis of that that we should ask for their votes and for legitimacy. None of us should be indulged in any attempt to force ourselves on our people. Once there is a legitimate product of legitimate process, the ownership comes automatically In my state I make bold to say that some may say Fayemi is a passivist. Governor Ayo Fayose was with me to greet me on my mother’s passage. When former Governor Oni’s mother died, I was one of the first people that went there, in spite of our political differences and I was at her funeral. Politically, many of you may know that Chief Afe Babalola is not exactly on my side of the divide, but at every opportunity because I recognise that he is an icon, we have a state calendar, he is one of the first people on the Ekiti state calendar as a brand ambassador for my state. That is me. I don’t see why I cannot disagree with you politically and still share bread with you. Call it naivety, lack of readiness to play politics the way it is meant to be played in our setting. I think this is an intellectual process and we can have an intellectual approach to disagreement which does not impair my personal relationship with you. That is why I am saddened by what happened in Ondo State. The lecture did not make a single reference to the impending election in Ondo State, neither did it talk about the relationship between my party and the Labour Party. It focused on how we could rebuild this society on the basis of equity, fairness and justice.

Source : The Nation

Beyond Aregbesola’s Treason Trial

Femi-Falana(1).jpg - Femi-Falana(1).jpg

 

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), was elected the governor of Osun State in 2007. But since it was a “do or die” election for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  its candidate, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was falsely returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission. The illegal declaration was fought in a protracted legal battle. Eventually, the Court of Appeal restored Aregbesola’s mandate after three and a half years.

Two months later, the appeal filed by the 30 chairmen elected on the platform of the PDP against the verdict of the Court of Appeal, which had ordered their removal from office, was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Having handled the case for the Osun State chapters of the Action Congress, National Conscience Party and All Nigeria Peoples Party from the High Court to the apex court, Aregbesola asked for my interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Osun State & Ors v Action Congress & 2 Ors (2011) 10. Notwithstanding the pressure mounted on the governor by his party leaders to dissolve the council chairmen and councilors on the basis of the judgment he refused. He directed that they be allowed to remain in office since they had only one month left to complete their tenure.
The governor’s handling of two other issues confirmed his political maturity. The ACN members had vehemently opposed the appointment of a top lawyer in the ministry of justice in the state on the ground that she was used by the ousted regime to prosecute its political opponents including the governor. He made the appointment on the ground that the prosecutor was discharging her duty at the material time. In the same vein, he dismissed the objection of his party leaders on the appointment of a significant number of children and wards of PDP members in the state employment scheme. He made it clear that he is the governor the state and not the chairman of the ACN.

THE TREASON CHARGES
As far as the PDP leaders were concerned the stat Aregbesola of recruited 20,000 thugs under the pretext of job creation. It was also alleged that his decision to rebrand the state of Osun and design a flag, anthem and coat of arms were treasonable. It was, however, intriguing that the Director-General of the State Security Service, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong, who had discharged his duty without fear or favour, decided to team up with the ruling party in justifying the monstrous allegation that the governor had concluded arrangements to dismember the Federal Republic of Nigeria by excising Osun State there from. In a tendentious report  Aregbesola was alleged to be associating with a Muslim group, which is linked with the Boko Haram sect.
Although no one has referred to the specific provisions of any law violated by the governor, it is pertinent to examine the legal implications of the rebranding of Osun state in the context of the relevant laws. It is unfortunate to note that those who compiled the security report on  Aregbesola are not familiar with the constitutional history of Nigeria. Otherwise they would have found that in the First Republic, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria existed side by side with regional constitutions and that there were regional police forces.

Apart from the embassies of the Federal Government the federating units had consulates and properties in some foreign countries.  Even under the defunct military dictatorship when to keep Nigeria one was a task that required absolute loyalty every state had their own coat of arms. At a time that there were 12 states in Nigeria it was only the western state, which established a regional Court of Appeal, which served as an intermediary court between the State High Court and the Supreme Court. But in line with the tenets of federalism the remaining 11 states did not establish any Court of Appeal. Under the current political dispensation the Olagunsoye Oyinlola Administration in Osun State set up the Customary Court of Appeal in 2010. No other state in the south-west has set up such an appellate court even though it is provided for in the Constitution.
Another ridiculous allegation is that   Aregbesola dispatched some Osun State indigenes for training in Cuba. In spite of her economic difficulties aggravated by the economic blockage imposed by the United States over 50 years ago,  Cuba is acknowledged to have excelled in the areas of education, medicine and peace keeping operations. Because of his implicit confidence in the Cuban educational system  Aregbesola sent his first son, Abdul,  to Havana for his first degree in informatics before proceeding to the United Kingdom for post -graduate studies. For over a decade, the Cuban government has awarded scholarships to scores of Nigerian youths to study in Cuba. The federal ministry of education, which administers the scholarship scheme, has always appreciated the generosity and solidarity of the Cuban government. It is curious that the SSS has not accused the Federal Government of engaging in treason by allowing Nigerian youths to acquire education in Cuba!

IN DEFENCE OF AREGBESOLA
A few weeks ago, I attended the convocation ceremony of the Ekiti state university (ESU) at Ado, Ekiti state. Unlike most universities in the country which have commercialised their honorary degrees the ESU conferred doctorate degrees honoris causas on three distinguished Africans  namely Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO and Professor Tekena Tamuno, former vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan.

On that occasion the anthems of Ghana, Nigeria and Ekiti State were played to mark the commencement and conclusion of the ceremony. The state governor, and  the Visitor to the university, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was present at the occasion.  Last week,  Fayemi presented the staff of office to the Oba of my home town, the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi. The anthems of Nigeria, Ekiti and Ilawe were played to the delight of the audience. My wife asked me if the SSS would not accuse  Fayemi of treason for leading the audience to sing the Ekiti anthem. I reminded her that no one has ever been charged with any crime for singing the famous Egba anthem, which was composed by Fela Anikulapo’s grand father several years before Nigeria was born.
In a country where religious bodies, schools, trade unions, political parties, clubs and other friendly societies have their constitutions, anthems, mottos and emblems it is bunkum to accuse a governor of committing treason for causing a state to have a flag, coat of arms and an anthem. Indubitably, section 1(2) of the Constitution prohibits any person or a group from taking over the government of Nigeria or any part of it. Having contested and won the governorship election of Osun State  Aregbesola cannot be said to have taken government by force.

It is also submitted that the 68 items in the exclusive legislative list in the Constitution on which only the National Assembly can legislate does not include flag, coat of arms and anthem. To that extent,  Aregbesola cannot be said to have usurped the legislative powers of the federal government. Neither has his decision to call the state the “State of Osun” violated Section 3 (2) of the Constitution, which states that there shall be ” a Federation consisting of states and a Federal Capital Territory”. In the United States of America from where Nigeria copied her Constitution most of the states have their courts of appeal, supreme courts, flags, coat of arms, police forces etc. Even counties (local governments) and corporate bodies including universities have their own police or quasi military institutions without being accused of courting treason.
The attempt by the SSS to link Aregbesola with the Boko Haram sect is dangerous. It should not be taken lightly as it was deliberately designed to promote religious crisis in a peaceful environment. No doubt, Aregbesola is a devout Muslim  but certainly not a fanatic. On the day of his inauguration he led the huge crowd at Osogbo to sing many Christian songs while thanking God for restoring his mandate. Last year, I attended a public function at Osogbo presided over by the governor. Before the commencement of the event he invited a pastor, an imam and an Ifa priest to pray for Osun state and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To the embarrassment of the Christian and Muslim members in the hall there was a prolonged ovation when the Ifa priest said prayers in undiluted Yoruba language. At the end of the programme a born again Christian friend walked up to the governor and questioned his blasphemous policy of promoting idolatry. To which Aregbesola replied “you saw the reaction of the audience. The people were not clapping for the Ifa priest. They were applauding our decision to recognise and promoting traditional religion. That is in line with section 10 of the Constitution which states that the State shall not adopt any particular religion”.
It is germane to draw the attention of security forces to section 37 of the Criminal Code Act which defines treason as the act of levying war  against the State, in order to intimidate or overawe the President or the Governor of a State, and any person involved in the offence is liable to the punishment of death. In Dokubo-Asari v Federal Republic of Nigeria (2007) 30 WRN 1 at 75 the Supreme Court held that “a charge of treasonable felony is a very serious offence and is prejudicial to national security”. The late jurist, Dr. Akinola Aguda was of the view that a person accused of treason  “must be shown to have had the intention to intimidate or overawe the President or any state governor by any physical or unlawful means”. On intimidating or overawing the President the learned author opined that it “involves creating a situation where the government feels compelled to choose between yielding to force or exposing its members or the public to a very serious danger”.
From the foregoing a charge of treason or treasonable felony cannot be sustained against Aregbesola for having a state flag, coat of arms and anthem. So far no scintilla of evidence has been adduced to show that the governor has planned to levy war against the State with a view to intimidating or overawing the President. Instead of demonising the governor he should be commended for embarking on massive job creation in a country where mass unemployment has led to unprecedented wave of armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and other violent crimes.

However, it is ironical that while the state security service was reading treason into the Osun State Aregbesola of treason the World Bank led officials of the federal government and 15 states to Osogbo to understand the employment generation programme of his administration.

•Falana is a lawyer and member of THISDAY Editorial Board.

-Thisday

However, it is ironical that while the state security service was reading treason into the  activities of  Aregbesola of Osun State, the World Bank led officials of the federal government and 15 states to Osogbo to understand the employment generation programme of his administration. -Femi Falana

Prove your denial, cousin tells Omisore

Omisore

A former Executive Secretary of Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State and a cousin to the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Iyiola Omisore, Mr Abayomi Omisore, has the former seantor  to apologise to the people of Osun State over his purpoted threat to attack the convoy of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

The former senator has denied the report.

Addressing reporters at the weekend at the secretariat of the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Iwo Road, Osogbo, the state capital, the former council scribe advised his cousin to respect the office of the governor.

Abayomi, who insisted that the former senator’s denial was not enough, urged him to show proofs that he never  vowed to attack the governor’s convoy.

According to him, the ideal thing for senator to do is to prove the denial beyond doubt in the interest of the Omisore family.

He said: “I cannot deny the fact that we are cousins, but I am distancing myself from that reckless statement. The Omisore family is noble, peaceful and dependable. So, the reckless utterance cannot be seen as the voice of our family. Our father was a great educationist, who built the Oranmiyan Grammar School in Ile-Ife in 1958 and another great school in Jos in 1967. I am sure if he does prove his denial now the Omisore family will soon come out with a position on the matter.”

The former council secretary said Aregbesola made himself a mentor to many young politicians in and outside Lagos, because of his visionary leadership and selfless service.

Abayomi said the governor’s safety is important because of his contributions to the polity.

 

by Adesoji Adeniyi- The Nation

The Siege on Aregbesola Sunday, 29 April 2012 – Thisday Editorial

For some time now, the South West leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been telling some interesting tales, all against the Osun State Governor, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola. From an attempt to “Islamise” Osun State to his plan for “secession” from Nigeria, there is no political crime in the book that Aregbesola has not been accused of. And to “prove” their damaging allegations, the PDP leaders have been quoting copiously from the contents of a “special security report” of very dubious value.

Aregbesola’s accusers have for instance alleged that the governor has “links” with Islamic extremists in North Africa, just as they referred to his trip to Cuba; introduction of a separate “coat of arms” and a flag for Osun State etc. The governor’s other “crime” is that he changed the official nomenclature of the state from “Osun State” to “the State of Osun”. All these, Aregbesola’s traducers allege, make the governor a threat to the corporate existence of our country.

While we understand that most of these allegations border on politics and may have been made in such light, we feel worried by the threat from a PDP chieftain in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, to the effect that his “team” would henceforth “stop and search” Aregbesola’s convoy because the governor was using touts as security guards instead of the official State Security Service (SSS) details assigned to him. Quite expectedly, Aregbesola’s party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has picked the gauntlet by raising the stakes in what has become a game of threats and counter threats which could snowball into something more sinister if not quickly nipped in the bud.

There is no doubt that political rivalry especially between a ruling party and parties in opposition is a welcome development in every democratic setting. If anything, such rivalry helps to put the party in power in check while promoting democratic consolidation. However, it becomes absurd and certainly dangerous when an opposition party embarks on scaremongering, spreading hate message and blackmail, all in the name of politics. The charges against Aregbesola are not only laughable and ridiculous, we believe the PDP leaders are making a political mountain out of a patently irresponsible report whose origin and authorship we still consider very doubtful.

It is on record that we have had reasons in the past to take umbrage at Aregbesola’s comportment as governor, especially when he was disrespectful of the president at a public function in Osogbo and also when he delayed the appointment of commissioners. But on the current allegations against him, we believe the South-west PDP is overreaching itself and we enjoin the newly-elected national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to intervene on the side of reason and common sense. Hounding Governor Aregbesola, as is the case now, on the basis of a spurious “security report” is uncalled for. And those behind this political machination should be held accountable in the event of a breakdown of law and order in that state, which may ultimately snowball into a major crisis in all of the South West.

We shudder to imagine what could result from a situation, where Omisore and his group actually attempt to stop the convoy of a serving governor to search for “illegal” weapon. That can only be an open invitation to violence and a prelude to anarchy. But in all these, we are more worried about the authorship of the “security report” being brandished by the PDP. At a time when there are serious national security issues that should engage their attention, we do not believe that the State Security Service (SSS) leadership would be writing fiction and making such the basis for demonising a serving governor. It would be tragic if they were indeed involved in this sordid matter. If the PDP wants to win future elections in the South West, it is a legitimate aspiration but using intrigues and blackmail as weapons is definitely beyond the pale and clearly unacceptable. Governor Aregbesola deserves some peace to work.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: