Certainly, this is an uneasy time for members of the Osun State House of Assembly (OSHA), as all eyes appear to be on them to see how they would deal with Justice Folahanmi Oloyede’s petition calling for the impeachment of the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, reports Peterclaver Egbochue.
Although, the Speaker, Najeem Salaam, has disclosed that the House had acknowledged the petition and had sent a letter to the governor to defend himself, there are fears that the house may be compromised. “Yes, we received the petition and we acknowledged it. But there is nothing we can do now because of the strike.
Workers’ strike is affecting our sittings. We will send a copy of the petition to the governor for his defence. We will deliberate on it by the time the strike is over,” the speaker stated. According to reports, the governor has responded to Justice Oloyede’s petition but the content of which was not made public fueling speculations that the house may not do justice to the petition.
Against the speculations, a human rights group, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ), has urged Osun lawmakers to handle the petition with diligence and a high sense of responsibility. The group in a statement in Osogbo, Osun state said the State House of Assembly had become a centre of attraction over the petition saying that the lawmakers owe the people of the state responsibility not to bring partisan politics to affect their decision.
The Executive Secretary of the group, Comrade Alimi Adeniyi Sulaiman, also advised the Speaker against turning himself to solicitor for the governor over the petition. Apparently reacting to a statement issued by the media aide of the speaker, Goke Butika, describing some opposition and pressure groups as impeachment hawkers, the CHRSJ said the House of Assembly should treat Justice Oloyede’s petition with fairness and justice.
He noted that the petition is a litmus test for the lawmakers, adding that the outcome of the petition would be a yardstick by which the society would measure their performance. “The lawmakers have an opportunity now more than ever before to revamp their image of being perceived as Aregbesola’s rubber stamp.
The way they handle the petition will go a long way in determining this’’, he said. According to him, labeling opposition as impeachment hawkers ‘’shows the level of rubber stamp of the fifth and sixth Assembly under Salaam’s speakership where Aregbesola committed the said impeachable offences “It is terrible that to speak the truth to Aregbesola by the members of the State House of Assembly has posed serious challenge to the acclaimed independent lawmakers”, he said Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused Senator Iyiola Omisore, and his party, the PDP of being responsible for any breach of the peace in the state.
The party, in a statement by the Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy on Wednesday said it was aware of plans by a group of profiteers being sponsored by Omisore and his party to unleash violence on the state, using the issue of workers’ salaries as camouflage. The statement read, “Specifically we must alert the whole world to a threat issued by Omisore on June 14 this year at the secretariat of the PDP in Osogbo where he promised members of his party that he was prepared to make this state ungovernable for Governor Rauf Aregesola.
“We are therefore certain that the crisis being orchestrated in the state is to get what the people of Osun denied him through a democratic process on August 9, 2014. This was his resolution after the Supreme Court decision, which finally sealed his ambition through a pronouncement on May 27, this year.
We are using this medium to inform the public and the media to be wary of activities of this set of opportunists who are the real profiteers behind the undeserved focus on Osun among the more than 20 states that are currently facing salary challenges. “The APC government under Aregbesola in Osun has been having very fruitful negotiations with the labour and we can therefore say without any contradiction that the labour has no hand in this proposed protest.’’
But in a swift reaction, the PDP said, “PDP observe with disillusion the allegation by Aregbesola and his paid agents that Otunba Iyiola Omisore, and PDP are sponsoring workers to protest unpaid salaries.’’ A statement by the PDP spokesperson in Osun state, Prince Diran Odeyemi added, “It is unfortunate that the sinking government still be engaging in buck passing when he should be busy looking for money to settle unpaid salaries and allowances of workers.
“In the last one week, we have not issued any statement because we observe workers are rising to the occasion to fight for their rights. We are not involved as a party, Omisore is not involved and will never be party to any act of lawlessness but we demand from the governor to explain if he has paid these workers.
“Have they been paid their salaries? If no, whatever the steps they take inasmuch as such is within the ambit of the law, nothing can stop workers from demanding for their rights.” For Justice Oleyede Folahanmi, the plight of the civil servants in Osun State who are being owed over seven months salaries by the Aregbesola-led government cannot be wished away. As a way to show her concern, Justice Folahanmi had petitioned the Osun State House of Assembly to impeach the governor for what she described as the failure of the state on the account of the governor’s wasteful spending of the resources of the state.
Below is the abridged copy of the petitions: “This “Petition” is presented with a deep sense of responsibility and sincerity of purpose, due to my conviction in the sanctity of ‘Truth’ and in ‘The Rule of Law” as the bases for promoting the ideals and the attainment of “good governance and the welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of, Freedom, Equality and Justice as enunciated at the Stockholm Conference (1942), a principle which finds expression in the preamble to our Constitution, and which I believe is a fundamental pre-condition to the establishment and sustenance of our collective dream of an “egalitarian society” as promised by Osun State’s anthem, as well as the bases for harmony, “universal brotherhood and World peace.”
“I declare that in presenting this petition, am not in any way motivated by malice, spite, pecuniary interest or promise thereof, nor am I propelled by a desire for higher office, since it has always been my conviction that all good things come from above, only from above. “My objective is to ensure that human beings are treated justly, and thus ensure the Reign of Peace, since peace and justice can never be separated; they are two sides of the same coin! I want it to be on record that I had previously sought for, but failed to secure an appointment with Mr. Governor, first through his aides and then directly when fate brought us across each other’s path, a few weeks ago, for I do not believe in chance.
Although, Mr. Governor, had initially agreed to grant me audience, after I impressed upon him the urgency of my mission, regrettably later, he reneged on his promise, thereby making the publication of my Petition, without first bringing it to his notice privately unavoidable.
“Mr. Governor’s policies are geared and are being pursued, solely for the purpose of enriching himself; his godfathers, immediate families and his cronies, whilst impoverishing the generality of the people of Osun who look up to him for their welfare. I am propelled by the desire to see the pains of my fellow human beings ameliorated and to possibly, help take away the reproach of our State as “a bankrupt” and “a failed State”, as announced on Channels TV, by Mr. Tunji Onigbinde, and the desire to join hands with other of like minds to help salvage the sinking ship of Osun State!
“It is my sincere opinion that if this stigma is not to become permanent, if Osun is to stand any chance of recovery from the deadly blows dealt her, by those to who have sworn to protect her and her interest, and in to whom she had extended the hand of benevolence, then all loving hands must be on deck to rescue her from the clutches of her betrayer and tormentors! I declare that in addition to the media- hype of Osun’s parlous financial condition, I have firsthand experience which constitutes evidence, of the unfortunate situation in which Osun currently finds herself, shall be shown hereunder, for I am not one to act on rumour or hastily. “Even Mr. Governor has admitted publicly, the fact that Osun is in financial quagmire and that he is clueless on how to pull her out of the doldrums into which she has been pushed.
Nor is it in dispute that the State has been unable to discharge its financial obligations to, its Pensioners, Civil Service, the Judicial Arm and Contractors alike. “Let me begin by reminding all without fear of contradiction, that the platform and the premise on which Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola and his deputy, Otunba Titi Laoye Tomori came into office, was that the modest Revenue of Osun State as it stood in the year 2006, when they began their campaign was more than adequate and sufficient to meet her developmental yearnings and aspirations, without recourse being made to any unnecessary burdensome loan.
“It is therefore not only bewildering but shocking to hear and later discover that Osun under Aregbesola’s watch has accumulated a mind bugling debt profile, rumoured to be in the region of four hundred (#400) to five hundred Billion Naira (#500 Billion) sum as loan, under the guise that he wanted to “ raise the ‘infrastructural level’ of the state.
Debt, which the state services with almost 80% of her income to the extent that Mr. Tunji Onigbinde had to declare on air (Channels TV, 10 O’ Clock news) to the hearing of the whole world, that, “Osun is a failed state,” a statement which till date neither Mr. Governor (who’s direct responsibility it is to protect the integrity of the State), nor any of his numerous and usually very voluble aides have come out to deny this excruciatingly humiliating statement!
“How could the self-acclaimed Oranmiyan, the redeemer of Osun and their savior from ‘lack luster and un-inspiring administration, the shining Star, the one reputed as possessing powers to literarily transform stones into bread let his followers who adored, look up to, idolized and literally worshipped, subject her to such a harrowing experience, to so much ignominy and ridicule?
“And empirical research and public records (courtesy budgIT, oagf and fmf.) proves that the average monthly earnings of the State between the years 2007 and November 2010 was (N1,960,622,514.25), whilst the average income of the state between the years 2011 to 2014 stands at (#3,050,074,327.25). And these figures represents Osun’s earnings from the Federation Account alone, and does not include those of the Excess Crude Account put at over N61.7 billion (for the period 2011- 2014), SURE-P #14.4 billion (for the period 2011-2014), Internally Generated Revenue #43.6 billion (for the period 2011-2014).
“Figures for VAT, Ecological Funds and Millenium Development Goals are not readily available. (I have been reliable informed that the revenues accruing to the Local Government within the period under review were equivalent to that accruing to the State and that both were controlled, managed and disbursed by Mr. Governor personally.)“It is therefore baffling that; in spite of the consistent well over #1,089,451,813 .00 improvement in allocation between 2011 and mid2013, and the admitted retirement of over 5000 officers from the States’ Civil Service, the State could still not provide Infrastructures without recourse being made to bonds and loans, nor has she been able to maintain her Civil Service, Local Government Service or pay her Pensioners for periods ranging from seven (8) to eleven (11) months now.888 And maintenance goes far beyond the payment of salary and includes but is not limited to Running Costs, capacity building amongst other things.
“How, when it is widely acclaimed that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) (figure or 2014 only is #8.3 billion), has been so tremendously improved that it almost quadruples what it used to be due to the expertise and ingenuity of Mr. Governor’sprofessional team of financial gurus, the private Tax Collectors and ghost worker routers like Chams? “A cursory perusal of the information placed by the Federal Ministry of Finance; the Agency saddled with the responsibility of collecting and distributing from the pool all revenues and monies received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under the Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for a specific purpose) in line with Section 80 of the Constitution, reveals that from its inception in November,2010 up until December, 2014,(2015 figures are yet to be published on the site), Aregbesola”s administration has received from the Federation account revenues substantially above the sum of #164.4 Billion.
“Added to this, is the sum of #43.6 representing the State’s IGR,during the period under review, with an equivalent sum accruing to the Local Government and also under the control of Mr. Governor by virtue of the Joint State and Local Government Account, added to which is the #61.441.711451.32 declared to have been allotted to the Osun States between 2011 and 2014 as contained in the publication sponsored in the Guardian Newspaper of Monday, May 25, 2015 at the instance of the Federal Ministry of Finance, in response to the demands by the Governors Forum that the then Minister of Finance and the Coordinator of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala render account for her management of the Excess Crude Account within the stated period, would then mean that Mr. Governor had received well over#269,485,705,758 on behalf of the state and an equivalent sum on behalf of the Local Governments within the period under review.
“Therefore, Mr. Governor is deemed to have received on behalf of the State, and Local Governments, revenues well in excess of #538 Billion within the period under reference, therefore, the figures being currently being touted by Mr. Governor are cooked, manipulated, fallacious and fraudulent. They are undeniable evidence of corruption!
“Instead of fulfilling his promise of attracting direct investments into the state, all he did was to keep whining “Jonathan is owing me, Jonathan is stealing my oil”in order to divert attention from the fact that he was failing in all his promises and duties to the State, while all the time perpetrating fraud on the gullible and naïve ara-oke in Osun.
“And I hereby urge your honours to compel Mr. Governor to disclose to the good people of Osun the actual and authentic number of Civil servants in the State prior to and post November 26, 2010 and their emoluments as opposed to the figures used for his political shenanigans. Just as we demand to know the number and wage bill of the Political Office holders as at the 25th day of November, 2010.
“We also demand the number of Civil servants and Political office holders directly recruited by Mr. Governor himself, to join ‘the bloated’ work force of Osun and their emoluments to and post November, 26, 2010. “Mr. Governor is hereby called upon to give the actual number of the ‘O’Yes Corp and total their bill. Contrary to the initial given figure of 20,000 (twenty thousand) am sure that not more than a handful of them remains in the scheme due to the slave wages that they are being paid and the fact that even the meager allowance is never paid as at when due but in a staccato manner, whenever their services are required to help win election! In the 30-page petition, she urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Amnesty International, Transparency International among others, that Aregbesola acted in defiance of some sections of the constitution which bordered on the welfare of Osun indigenes.