Tuesday 5 December 2023

PDP has no important strategy for governance in Osun --- Ex-commissioner

Mr Remi Omowaiye served as the Commissioner for Works and Transportation in the administration of former Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola. In this interview with BOLA BAMIGBOLA, the All Progressives Congress chieftain says Governor Ademola Adeleke’s one year in office was uneventful

 What have you been doing after your tenure as commissioner?

I am an Executive Director in a company and I went back to my business after leaving the government.

I am not a full-time politician. I studied Electrical Engineering and I underwent training in more than 10 foreign countries. So, I simply went back to my job. I am a professional. I practice politics by the side.

 What is the situation in Osun APC currently regarding plans to re-organize the party?

You will recall that the leader of the party, Adegboyega Oyetola, and other leaders set up Prof Isaac Adewole-led committee to look into how to restructure the party.

The committee has submitted its report and another committee has also been inaugurated to come up with a white paper. That committee is headed by former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye.

So, we are at the point of rejigging the party. We have come up with different strategies to bring more people into the party and carry out reconciliation at various levels. We are prepared to take back the state come 2026. We are making all efforts to make sure we are in a good position to take up the leadership of the state in 2026.

 Has Governor  Ademola Adeleke-led Peoples Democratic Party administration met your expectations so far ?

It’s one year now since he has been in office and it is quite unfortunate we found ourselves in this situation. This is the worst governor we have ever had since the creation of the state.

 Is this position of yours not based on political differences?

Without being political, people can see he is the worst governor. He has failed in all his promises. He has been lucky to have access to more resources and what has he done with those resources?

 So, the question is, what has he done? One year in office has been a year of waste, mismanagement backwardness, and unfortunate situation, insecurity.

 Osun used to be among the most peaceful states in the country, before but since he assumed office, the reverse is the case. There may be issues of insecurity across the country, but when Oyetola was there, he managed the issue of insecurity reasonably.

 Apart from Amotekun, we had a strong synergy with the hunters and the conventional security operatives and we were getting results but today, the reverse is the case.

 If you look at the allocation coming to Osun, the Sure-P fund, and other resources, what has accrued to Osun in one year is over N100 bn. What has been done with the money?

 He promised to pay the arrears of salaries within his first six months in office. During the governorship debate, Oyetola told him not to deceive the people because he wanted power. One year down the lane, what has he done?

The pensioners are crying. The President of the country removed the fuel subsidy. State governments were to come up with palliative for their citizens. Osun is the only state in the South West that is not giving workers palliative.

To make matters worse, he took the buses purchased by the APC administration in 2013, repainted them, and said, ‘This is your palliative’ when states like Ogun came up with CNG buses, Lagos and Oyo came up with buses and they also ensured that they gave their workers additional money.

Instead, in three months he spent N2bn naira on entertainment at the governor’s office, while neighbouring Kwara State has used N88m for nine months. This is a man who claims to be from a rich family. So, if you are from a rich family, why are you mismanaging our resources? Look at the health indices, when Oyetola came in, Osun used to have the highest maternal death rate.

But when we were leaving, Osun had become one of the best states in terms of health care indices in Nigeria. This is because we painstakingly built and revitalised 332 health centres in the state.

Not only that, we renovated and also provided basic equipment needed for those primary health care centres according to World Health Organisation standards. We also ensured that those primary health care centres were funded through basic provisions fund and the people who delivered at the primary health care centres increased annually from over 20,000 to over 50,000.

In terms of infrastructure, we did a lot of roads and what we did was to conduct a citizen needs assessment. We didn’t just wake up and say we wanted to do something.

So, we picked projects based on the needs of the citizens. For example, we are having cases of incessant accidents in Olaiya junction because that was the busiest area in Osun and we realized that what we needed was a flyover. Immediately after the project, the Road Safety Corps wrote us and said the flyover had reduced accidents in the area.

But Adeleke came and said he wanted to do flyovers without doing the necessary analysis. The government is not run like that. It is about checking if the things are needed and carrying out proper steps. For them, they do not even understand governance. It is quite unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation. It is our state and we really want a state to be proud of but at the moment, we are not proud of our state.

 Compare Oyetola’s achievements during his first year in office with those accomplished by Adeleke within the same period.?

 Oyetola achieved more than Adeleke in his first year. Don’t forget that when Oyetola came in, Business Day reported that Osun was insolvent. Osun was using about 95 per cent of our revenue to pay back debt when Oyetola came in. Yet, we were able to put in place a lot of things.

 We were able to do a lot of infrastructure without borrowing a Kobo. As of the day Oyetola was leaving, he paid back N97bn, and don’t forget that when Oyetola came in, the state owed the civil servants and for his four years, he did not owe them a Kobo.

He ensured that he was paying salaries promptly. The last time civil servants got promoted was in 2012 but when Oyetola came in, he lifted the ban on the promotion, brought in teachers, and employed health workers.

During our first year, we did a lot. We set the ball rolling for massive infrastructural development and under our first year, there were lots of massive infrastructural projects.

During our first year, we finished some health centres, renovated a lot of general hospitals, and did some roads although we were insolvent financially.

Look at those people, Oyetola left N14bn and apart from that, a lot of resources came in between November and February to the tune of about N50b, what did they do with it? They claimed they’ve done Tech-Ups, at the junction of the Osun House of Assembly, you will see heaps of fibre cables. The Governor went with fanfare to flag it up in December, the place was overgrown by weeds now. That is what they are calling an achievement.

Everywhere in the state is dark. There are potholes everywhere. When we were in government, there were a lot of things we didn’t have the resources to do, but we were consistently in touch to ensure that the Federal roads were maintained regularly. Osogbo/Gbongan to Akoda Road is in a terrible situation. We were maintaining it regularly when we were in the office. The roads they know they don’t have the capacity to fix, so why not have a proper synergy with the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA to do it?

So, for our first year, we were able to do a lot far more than them, I knew they would not be able to do anything because a governor came in and said he had set up a committee to look at what they could do for the first 100 days, is that a serious government? A government that was setting up a committee after it got into power. The governor never had a plan. Nothing has shown that they are serious as people.

For a government that gets over N50b, tarring a less than a one-kilometre road in Okinni, and celebrating a road that should have been done by the local government is a shame on them.

But the government completed Dagbolu to Alamisi Junction on Osogbo/Kwara boundary road. Is that not a big project?

The Osogbo/Ikirun to Ila-Odo road is a 17-kilometre road started by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s administration. The road was to be dualised.

When we came in (Oyetola administration), we also continued from where Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola stopped. As a matter of fact, we met it at less than 50 percent completion and we took it to a good percentage.

How would the current government have completed the dualisation of 10 kilometres within three months?

Don’t forget that Adeleke commissioned it three months into office. So, would he have commissioned a virgin 10-kilometre road that was dualised in three months?

That tells you he only came to commission. Ogbeni commissioned from Old Garage to Steel Rolling corridor and we took it from there to Ikirun. We have done almost 80 per cent from the place we took over to Ikirun when he (Adeleke) came in.

Engineering is practical. You need to do certain things when you are constructing a road. So, there is no way he could have finished a 10-kilometre dualised road in three months which is not overlaying.

For us, we have no issue with him because the government is continuous. We took it from Ogbeni and we continued it. He has also done it and he completed it to the Ikirun portion but the road is going to Ila-Odo. Since he had done little to complete it and roll out the drum as he went back to the road? He still has to continue from Ikirun to Ila-Odo. The question is within three months, he got over N50bn, what did he do with it?

He did what a local government would have done. Will I celebrate a government that got over N50 bn and did a one-kilometre road?

 What is your advice for Adeleke’s administration?

For every forward movement Oyetola had taken the state to, Adeleke is taking us backward. Even if he can not improve on what we have done and we have been able to manage the state, he should not reduce the standard.

I know Oyetola has set a governing administration standard beyond Adeleke’s capacity but we beg him not to reduce the standard too much.

We know he cannot meet the standard but we are begging him not to reduce it too much. He is the Governor by God’s grace and we expect him to do some of these basic things.

For instance, he said nobody should go on foreign trips, suddenly, we did not see him and we kept on asking questions and we got information that he travelled to Thailand and we made it known to the world but his spokesperson came out to say he has gone for a business meeting with investors but when the Governor was speaking on a radio station, he said he was in Thailand to rest because of his health.

There is no coordination in their government. Look at the purported sack of the Chief Judge. His spokesperson wrote that they have appointed an acting Chief Judge, the Commissioner For Information came out to deny sacking the Chief Judge and they are both in the same government.

We are not going to continue like this. The embarrassment is getting too much.

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