Ismail Omipidan is the Chief Press Secretary to Osun state Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. On this interview, he speaks on the July 16, 2022 Governorship ballot in Osun, insisting Governor Oyetola didn’t lose the election however that he solely misplaced the vote rely. TOPE SUNDAY studies
Three and half years after
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola got here into workplace in November 2018. He got here in at a time when no one actually gave him an opportunity. There have been few points that heralded his election, particularly problems with wage fee, reclassification of faculties, single uniform, amongst others. Owing to the truth that Mr Governor got here on board at a time when the nation was going through financial downturn and when Osun particularly was financially challenged, lots of people feared and felt he wouldn’t carry out and have problem assembly authorities’s obligations like fee of staff’ salaries. However fortunately, three and half years down the lane, and up until this morning, we aren’t owing any employee a dime, we pay salaries as and when due, and we additionally pay pension and gratuities to the retirees on a month-to-month foundation.
Along with that, we’ve got invested closely in infrastructure, regardless of paucity of funds. It’s on report that the Oyetola administration has finished over 500 kilometres of street building and rehabilitation throughout the state. The attention-grabbing half is that among the essential roads we reconstructed are roads that had been uncared for for 20, 30 years.
For example, in Osogbo, there’s the Alekunwodo community of roads that we constructed in lower than two years we got here to workplace. As a matter of reality, we mounted that street in the course of the peak of COVID-19, and you recognize the pandemic additionally got here with its personal challenges; it affected companies, and even our methods of life. Ordinarily, if we have been to be a authorities that isn’t severe and accountable, COVID-19 was sufficient excuse for us to not have finished a whole lot of issues together with fixing the Alekunwodo roads however we did it.
I recall vividly once we have been inaugurating that street, the ‘Ataoja’ of Osogbo who was a particular visitor on the event, rose as much as commend the governor for developing that street, saying that because the creation of Osun in 1991, no authorities had touched that street. He even mentioned he had lived within the space with some notable leaders of a celebration that was in energy for 7 years, they usually nonetheless couldn’t repair the street. “However in lower than two years that Mr Governor got here into workplace, he mounted the street,” the monarch mentioned.
One other main street that we mounted is the Ede/Ara-Ejigbo street. That street is situated in Ede Federal constituency and within the political historical past of Osun, that constituency had produced three audio system of the State Home of Meeting who served for a cumulative of 20 years. We had Adejare Bello who was in workplace for 8 years, Najeem Sallam for 8 years, and Professor Mojeed Alabi for 4 years, making a complete of 20 years. On the day we inaugurated, Hon. Adejare Bello appreciated and praised Governor Oyetola for fixing the street, a growth, he mentioned these of them who had been audio system from that space for 20 years couldn’t affect or facilitate.
We additionally reconstructed the 13.15km Ada-igbajo street which was final touched about 33 years earlier than our intervention, amongst different essential roads.
On well being, training
Within the well being sector, we’ve got mounted 3 common hospitals in every of the senatorial districts, we constructed 120-bed ward and new medical doctors’ quarters inside the State hospital at Asubiaro, Osogbo. The Oyetola administration has additionally revitalized and rehabilitated Major Healthcare Centres, PHCs. From the outset of this administration, we got down to repair 332 PHCs, one per ward throughout the State. As I communicate to you, we’ve got finished over 320 of them, and I want to position it on report that within the historical past of Nigeria, Governor Oyetola is the primary governor that might tackle over 300 PHCs directly, with the intention of fixing them for the good thing about the individuals of the state. The Osun Well being Insurance coverage Scheme is one other success story of our administration.
Within the training sector, we carried out some reforms, we’ve got constructed school rooms, recruited new academics, and likewise skilled and retrained academics in colleges throughout the state. Now we have additionally resolved among the inherited knotty and controversial points inside our training system. To be exact, we resolved problems with single uniform for college kids, reclassification and renaming of faculties, for which, some outdated college students’ associations had dragged the state authorities to court docket and likewise declined partnering with the federal government in bettering normal of training within the state. After addressing the problems, all of the outdated college students’ associations who had vowed to not have something to do with the federal government come again to embrace what we’re doing.
Earlier than we got here on board, Osun was the one State that didn’t undertake the 6:3:3:4 nationwide coverage of training. The early youngster training system which price us assist from UNICEF has additionally been restored and as I communicate, the reforms are yielding constructive outcomes as a result of the college enrollment has elevated tremendously.
Should you take a essential take a look at Osun earlier than 2018 and Osun from 2018 until date, you’ll agree with me that we’ve got finished considerably nicely in all facets of governance together with welfare of staff. Some individuals would argue that fee of wage and pension just isn’t an achievement. However I inform you with all sense of modesty that for me, contemplating the place we’re coming from, it’s an achievement. In 2018, it was a significant marketing campaign concern, as candidates of opposition events, together with PDP and ADP have been promising staff that if elected, they’d pay full salaries. So, the mere undeniable fact that we are actually doing it seamlessly doesn’t imply that it’s straightforward to satisfy up with. That’s the reason I do inform my brothers and sisters within the PDP that for me, it’s an achievement and I’d beat my chest any time any day to commend my principal for dwelling as much as expectations in that regard as a result of if we have been unable to pay salaries, it might develop into a difficulty particularly due to the worldwide financial meltdown.
However with all these, Oyetola was ‘rejected’ on the polls. Why was it so?
I feel there are a mixture of things that led to the end result of that election, and I cannot wish to ascribe to the truth that we misplaced the election. I feel what we misplaced is the vote rely, I wish to put it like that. In 2018 solely about 254,000 or thereabouts voted for Governor Oyetola however in 2022, greater than 375,000 individuals voted for him. Should you do the calculation, he acquired like 50 per cent increment in variety of votes he acquired 4 years earlier. So, would you say such an individual just isn’t beloved by the individuals?
For me, I feel there are different elements which will be attributed to the end result of that election which I’ll like to not point out right here as a result of the case is already in court docket. However I’ll like to position it on report that there have been some irregularities that marred the train. For instance, on the day of the election, whereas completely different media homes have been reporting round 7 pm that voting had led to polling items throughout the State, voting was nonetheless going until round 9 pm in Ede North and South which are strongholds of the PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke. Although the INEC guideline stipulates that voters who’re on the queue by 2:30pm have to be allowed to vote, I’ve it on good authority that those that voted in Ede between 9 and 10pm on Election Day weren’t on the queue by 2:30pm.
I acknowledged this reality a day after the election once I appeared on Channels Tv’s Sunday Politics programme. And in case you take a look at the conduct of the election, you’ll agree with me that the standard rigidity and nervousness and desperation that normally accompany such train have been nowhere close to Osun contest and that’s largely due to the character and the character of my boss, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. Go and examine very nicely, most governors who search reelection are normally very determined, and would do something and every part to win the election. Nevertheless, that was not the case in our personal election as a result of we all know we’ve got carried out very nicely to the admiration of the individuals. We have been too certain that the individuals have been going to vote for us. And so they certainly voted for us. I received’t wish to go into particulars which may be accountable for us shedding the vote rely as a result of the case is already in court docket and I consider we are going to emerge victorious on the finish.
Why is reconciliation tough between your boss and Ogbeni Rauf Aregebesola?
I can solely communicate for my principal and received’t have the ability to communicate for Ogbeni Aregbesola. If you recognize my principal very nicely, you’ll know that he’s a really peaceable man and he loves peace. Should you take a look at the best way he governs the state, you’ll understand that within the historical past of Osun, that is the primary time a governor might be within the saddle and for near 4 years, no strike or protest was staged by both the employees or college students. Other than the nationwide protest just like the ENDSARS, we’ve got by no means had any protest, industrial or labour dispute within the final 3 and half years. That can inform you in regards to the man and his character. He’s peace-loving and can do something to make sure peace reigns. He has finished that within the APC however you recognize you can’t pressure an unwilling spouse to remain when she has most likely made up her thoughts to go.
I will provide you with an occasion. When the APC was conducting its membership revalidation train, the committee began with President Muhammadu Buhari. After that, they got here to Ila to do for Chief Bisi Akande being the primary interim Nationwide Chairman of the get together. After Chief Bisi Akande, as a result of they have been in Osun, they did for Mr. Governor and his spouse. After they have been finished, the governor deemed it match to ask his predecessor, Minister of Inside, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola to come back and do his, the governor proposed two days to him. It was not as if I used to be informed, I used to be there when my principal was speaking to him. Mr. Governor proposed a Monday date and he mentioned he could be touring with the president to both Katsina or Kaduna, I can’t bear in mind now and Mr. Governor proposed the subsequent day which was a Tuesday and he once more mentioned he could be touring with the Minister of Info, Lai Mohammed to Kwara. However he promised that he was going to tell Mr Governor 48 hours earlier, anytime he was going to come back and do his personal. Sadly, we by no means acquired the discover. The one factor we acquired is that one Friday, we heard he was in Ilesha and he was saying they have been making an attempt to dam him from doing his registration. The following query I requested was, “by who?”
This was a person Mr. Governor spoke to personally they usually had an understanding that he was going to provide 48 hours’ discover for us to get ready and obtain him so he may do his personal re-registration. What we acquired from him is that he was in Ilesa and saying it publicly that they have been making an attempt to dam him for revalidating his membership of the get together.
I’m simply providing you with that occasion to permit you and the studying public choose who – between the 2 of them – is prolonging what seems like a disaster. My principal just isn’t quarreling with anybody. There could also be disagreement on model of governance. However past that, my principal has no concern with him or another member of his TOP group.
And all via the APC congress and governorship primaries, my principal mentioned it publicly that the door of reconciliation was broadly open however we have to be real in our intentions. As a result of there’s no level constituting your self into an opposition and you retain saying that you’re in that get together and also you wish to work for the get together. All of us knew the function every considered one of them performed within the final election. However thank God, we didn’t lose the vote rely by 100,000 or extra. The 28,000 margin regardless of the gang up and the conspiracy reveals my Principal remains to be very talked-about within the State.
Averting defeat in the course of the 2023 common elections
Mr. Governor mentioned it from day one which there might be want to hold out some reforms within the get together. However not the restructuring a few of our brothers and sisters are speaking about. A home has been constructed, you intentionally set hearth on it, however by divine windfall, you didn’t reach bringing down the home, and also you mentioned you wish to restructure, which home are you restructuring? The one that you just set on hearth?
In any case, the structure of the get together may be very clear, those that have been elected into management positions within the get together are allowed to run for 4 years. How can somebody who didn’t work for the get together, somebody who didn’t imply nicely for the get together and who continues to represent himself as opposition to the get together be saying he desires to restructure the identical get together? It’s not finished wherever.
If they’re significantly real about remaining within the get together, they need to simply come again house, apologize for his or her wrongdoings, to allow them to be reintegrated again into the get together. However you can’t inflict damage on the get together and declare to be the sufferer on the identical time. It’s not finished wherever.
I can guarantee you that subsequent elections within the State might be received by the get together and don’t neglect that after the 2018 election, no matter what transpired, the subsequent election that was held within the state, the 2019 common election, Governor Oyetola delivered President Muhammadu Buhari. He delivered two out of the three senatorial districts, he delivered six out of the 9 Home of Representatives seats and he delivered majority within the State Home of Meeting. So what are we speaking about?
I say it with all sense of honesty that the fortune of the APC began to say no in 2017 when the get together misplaced Osun West Senatorial by-election to the PDP, the place they misplaced 9 out of 10 native governments within the senatorial district.
It was that decline that prompted what occurred in 2018 however instantly Oyetola was elected governor, we began seeing vital enchancment within the fortunes of the get together.
You could possibly see that within the 2019 common election and you might see that on this 2022 election. It’s an enchancment from what we had prior to now. It’s straightforward to destroy however it’s tough to construct. Oyetola is making an attempt to construct again the fortune of the get together and to make sure that the get together turns into engaging as soon as extra to the individuals of the State. And that was why many of the insurance policies and programmes of his administration have been intentionally finished within the curiosity of the individuals of the State. We addressed all the problems that made the individuals raised eyebrows in regards to the get together and the rapid previous administration.
Individuals say your principal is simply too calm to be a politician. Your tackle that?
In case your definition of a politician is somebody who believes in violence, lies and propaganda, then I inform you that Oyetola just isn’t your type of actual politician. With my affiliation with him within the final three years, I’ve come to understand that you may be a politician and nonetheless be true to your conscience. You could be a politician and nonetheless govern with the worry of God. That’s what has occurred so far as governance is worried below Oyetola. He doesn’t consider in desperation, and all these got here to play not solely in his governance of the state but in addition within the election.
I’m certain lots of people would have anticipated him to militarize the state due to his second time period ambition and unleash violence on the state however he’s not that type of a politician. Sure, he’s calm. A state like Osun wants a relaxed and calculated chief as a result of when you’ve got a frontrunner that’s unnecessarily excited, you run into issues. Governing Osun requires a cool, calm and calculated human being that might assume exterior the field to have the ability to make sure you maintain the state afloat.
That’s the reason we centered primarily on three key sectors of our economic system; Agriculture, Tourism and Mining, which we name it “ATM”. With the investments we’ve got finished within the three sectors, particularly mining within the final one yr plus, we consider that Osun will not depend on the Federal Authorities allocation within the nearest future, and as a part of efforts to assist industrialize the state, we’re partnering with the Nigeria Airforce to repair our airport. This comes with a whole lot of efforts. The Air Drive is constructing an Aviation Metropolis in Osun, the primary of its type in Nigeria and Africa, and you recognize what this implies. We’re doing this with out spending a dime.
I say this with all sense of modesty. Since we got here in, we’ve got not spent ten Kobo on the Osun Airport mission however work is ongoing there and in no distance future, we are going to not journey to Ibadan, Akure, or Ilorin to fly to locations of our alternative within the nation.
It might be very tough to get somebody as prudent as Oyetola. There was a time we had an emergency to journey to Abuja and since it was an emergency, we couldn’t get a business flight that might accommodate us , they usually got here up with the choice of a chattered flight and the least they acquired was 10 million Naira, the Governor shouted that “ha, that is an excessive amount of. Ten Million simply to take us to Abuja?” We ultimately shared ourselves into three, some went via Ibadan, some via Akure and a few via Ilorin.
I’m undecided there are too many governors who would sacrifice their very own private consolation as a result of they need the state to develop. Only a few.