This is a response to an opinion published in This Day newspaper on Saturday 4th of July and written by Dele Momodu. Re: The travails of Aregbesola by Dele Momodu. In Nigeria of today, you get to read or hear some things that you either agree with or not. And as political animals, we all tend to identify with one ideology or the other at any given time. But this does not mean we should try to justify something that is totally wrong, an adage says lie may abound for twenty years but truth will prevail one day. Oga Dele Momodu told us of his ties with Osun state, but unlike him a whole lot of us are Osun state citizens, born and bred here, unlike him a whole lot of us are feeling the pangs of the hardship in Osun state. Oga Momodu described Governor Aregbesola as a "compulsive workaholic" someone who is embarking on massive infrastructural development. Agreed, but I will like to point out that this workaholic has misplaced priorities.
Projects like the Olajokun park is massive and impressive, but misplaced, the park has been under lock and key since the commissioning over 3 years on. Projects like the Ido Osun Airport; should I point out that Ibadan (Oyo State) with a much higher population has a airport that is under utilized, what do we think will happen to Ido-Osun Airport, and after so much noise the only thing we can see of the Airport is fence and more fence. Meanwhile advanced countries build new airports when the existing ones are being choked out. Projects like O' Uniform, and Opon Imo gulped billions of naira, today all the aforementioned "massive" projects are in comatose. Oga Momodu was magnanimous enough by reminding us of the cost of government which is so stupendous. He also told us of a 35,000 workforce in the Osun State Civil Service. Frankly, I do not know where he got this figure from considering he is not from Osun, nor working or living in the state.
According to Oga Momodu, the wages of the 35,000 workforce stands at #3.6B. Ironically as at 2012, the total workforce in the employment of Osun government and her local governments was less than 18,000. All these are verifiable and not mere conjuction. And we should not forget the fact that a sizeable number of workers disengaged from the Civil Service in 2012, most were high ranking workers. Should I state that as a pensioner, there is actually a reduction in what you earn. Even if the State Government employed new hands to fill some vacant posts, it will be at the low cadres and the reduction on the pensioners can comfortably take care of thier salaries. So how Oga Momodu arrived at 35,000 workforce and #3.6B as monthly wages still beats me. Actually I agree with Oga Momodu that the cost of running government is so stupendous. In Osun, the take home pay of a commissioner is around #450,000/month, he is entitled to Personal Assistant(s) who collects around #150,000 per month and a driver who also collects around #100,000 per month on paper. At the end of the month a commissioner takes home between #800,000 to #1m monthly. Our dear governor also appointed "consultants" for each ministry and they earn average of #300,000 monthly.
Advisers to the governor earn between #300,000 to #400,00 a month, then you have boards, the office of the chief of staff and numerous aides accross board. Then you go down to the local governments where an appointed councillor collects around #300,000 a month. Meanwhile a level 17 Civil Servant (most senior director) earns #190,000 per month. It is ironic to note that Oga Momodu heaped the whole salary issue on Civil Servants and conveniently left out political appointees. By the way both State and Local government workers in Osun State earn less than #2.5B a month. While both State and her Local Governments collect a minimum of #6B as allocation per month. Oga Momodu stated that the school feeding program gulps #3.5B per annum and the 'O Yes' scheme employed 40,000 youths at #3B per annum. This will amount to roughly #250M per month on each scheme. The total number of public school pupils is around 150,000, meanwhile it is only pupils in Elementary classes that are being fed. These pupils do not go to school on weekends and on holidays, can someone please do the maths for Oga Momodu? After the first 2 years of the 'O Yes' scheme, the first set of "20,000" was disengaged and another set of 20,000 allegedly employed. #10,000 per month in 20,000 places will be #200M and in 12 months it will be #2.4B a far cry from the #3B mentioned by Oga Momodu. We should not also forget the fact that these people are not up to 20,000 and their pay is also less than #10,000. We are yet to see the physical projects in Osun that are quite ambitious. The school buildings being built were funded mostly from Federal Government and Universal Basic Education funds.
The Osogbo by-pass is financed with borrowed funds. The Osogbo township roads that were commissioned were mainly Local Government roads constructed with Local Government funds by the State Government. The popular Ayegbaju market is being funded by a bank. All these are projects actually, but, if the State Government borrowed to execute these projects and also used Local Government allocations to fund some of these projects, where have the State allocations been going? Oga Momodu also wrote "arbitrary demand for wage increment by Civil Servants..." Seriously. Governor Aregbesola boasted he need not wait for federal allocation before paying salaries in 2010, what has changed? I expected Oga Momodu before writing that piece to have asked what happened to Osun's allocation in the past 8 months, or is it that Osun and her Local Governments did not collect a single kobo in 8 months?
When Goodluck Jonathan was president, government of Osun told us the Federal Government was cutting her allocation, but it was President Buhari who told us the Federal government was not owing any state. If the FG is not owing, what happened to our allocation? Sir, did you bother to find out how much Osun State and her Local Governments collected as allocation and IGR in the last 8 months? Did you bother to find out what the State's debt and servicing are? Did you at any time truthfully try to find out the true state of Osun finances before trying to defend Governor Aregbesola? Asking workers to sacrifice part of their "increased" salaries or suspend receipt of some arrears until the situation improves is an act of wickedness and inhumanity more over when these workers did not at any time contribute to the woes of the state. Governor Aregbesola knew where the money is, I urge you to ask him to tell you the true state of affairs before you start defending him. Also, I agree with Oga Momodu that Osun is not the only culprit, but, we are Osun citizens, so we shouod single Osun out, this is our state and not any of those other states. Finally, my thoughts and prayers are not with Governor Aregbesola but with the Civil Servants and people of Osun state who are at the receiving end . May God Almighty restore the lost glory of the State and may the souls of the dead Civil Servants and pensioners who died due to the irresponsibility of the government rest in perfect peace.
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