BY GBENGA OLARINOYE, OSOGBO
Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s failure to appoint commissioners seven months after he assumed office has now taken a comical turn.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in an unprecedented act of generosity last week suggested names of what the party described as qualified persons the party said were qualified to serve as commissioners in the State. The seeming sincerity of the gesture was underlined by the fact that all the names suggested by the PDP for the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN government were indeed members of the ACN.
Chief Sunday Ojo Williams the acting chairman of the PDP in Osun who proposed the list of nominees on June 12, 2011 in a statement said his party sympathized with Aregbesola over what he described as his dilemma in choosing people into his cabinet since November last year.
In proposing the names, Williams said the offer to give him names of competent, home based people in the ACN was to avoid the unnecessary confusion of importing people from Lagos.
“From his own party, we suggest Mr Sunday Akere or Prince Gboyega Famodun both of them from Igbajo in Boluwaduro local government, Gbola Oguntoye a reknown educationist from Obokun Local Government, Caleb Ojo, a grassroots mobiliser, former local government chairman and a committed ACN member from Ori Ade Local Government. We also suggest Hon. Oguntola Togun, from Iwo, a former House of Representatives member who would have fared better as the Secretary to the State Government and Alhaji Liadi Gbadamosi, another grassroots leader and former Osogbo local government chairman.
“Also, he can consider from Ikirun, Hon Wale Afolabi, pioneer Speaker of Osun state House of Assembly who has stood with the party through thick and thin; there is also Mr Femi Oyedokun, eldest son of Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun from Odo-Otin who will be a great asset to the ACN government having trained very hard in the PDP before decamping to the ACN.
There are also Alhaji Ayoola Rasheed Oyedele, two time chairman of Orolu Local Government and Mr Kola Olabisi, editor of Osun Defender newspaper from Modakeke who is experienced enough to handle the information ministry. He could also consider gender balancing by appointing Alhaja Tayo Adebisi, who was in AD, PDP and now back to ACN and Madam Temilade, ACN women leader in Osogbo Local Government. Other ACN leaders in the state can be asked to nominate their literate wives where there are shortcomings, “ the PDP stated.
In a seeming rebuke the PDP also advised Aregbesola against relying on spiritual powers on the choice of commissioners saying that “it is always better and safe to trust in God and rely on Him when one is in dire straits as Aregbesola is now.”
The PDP said the progress of the state informed its interest in and incessant prayers for Aregbesola over the lack of the Executive Council in Osun state since last year November and noted that the offence of Alhaji Balarabe Musa for which he was impeached as governor of Kaduna state in the second republic was that he did not appoint commissioners five months after assuming office.
“We do not want any political crisis in Osun State that is why we call for prayers for Aregbesola to constitute his cabinet now. We are also concerned by reports that Bola Tinubu wants Aregbesola to appoint 80 percent of his commissioners from Lagos. We advise that he must not take that directive because there are highly qualified home based members of the ACN in Osun state who can perform better than Lagosians.
He should realize that the people are suffering, the economy is comatose and even the contractors recently pre-qualified for jobs in Osun state all came from Lagos. This is why we suggest the names of his supporters whose competence is known to all in our state,” the PDP the boss said.
In his response, the State Acting Chairman of ACN, Elder Adelowo Adebiyi advised Chief Sunday Ojo-Williams to humbly forward his credentials to his office for consideration as a Commissioner in the cabinet of Governor Rauf Aregbesola. In an interview, Adelowo expressed deep understanding over the passion and ploy demonstrated by Ojo-Williams on the constitution of the new cabinet in Osun State.
Recalling that the PDP chairman had openly called for prayers over the commissioner issue, Adebiyi stated that “Ojo-Williams prayer over the issue is understandable. We shall be ready to consider his application purely on the basis of merit without political conditionality since it appears he has become obsessed about it all.”
The ACN chairman added that the seeming desperation so far exhibited by the PDP boss underscored a desire to be part of the historic team that was installed last year under the leadership of Governor Aregbesola.
Adelowo however stated that for him to be qualified for consideration, Ojo-Williams must be ready to “answer tough questions on his past public experiences and curious association with people who bled the state dry and feasted on her patrimony like termites among other related inquisitions”.
The state ACN boss stressed that Mr. Aregbesola, upon assuming office as Governor, had been demonstrating statesmanship without bitterness to anyone including his opponents even in the face of abhorrent situation he inherited from his predecessor coupled with an aborted impeachment plan by the former House of Assembly. He described the roof top noise made by Ojo-Williams on the non-appointment of commissioners as a desperate gambit to divert public attention away from the reckless mismanagement of the resources of Osun State by the PDP administration for close to eight years.
According to him, the “no-commissioner” noise made by Ojo-Williams began as soon as the Contract Review Committee empaneled by Governor Aregbesola submitted a damning report which indicted the PDP administration.
His words: “Ojo-Williams did not talk when the Contract Review Committee (CRC) had not turned in their report. No sooner the committee submitted its damning report exposing the rot in the Oyinlola administration than Ojo-Williams embarked on his trip to the palace of fallacy.
Within seven months of his coming to power, Adebiyi recalled that Governor Aregbesola achieved the near impossible feat of employing 20,000 youths into the volunteer corps through the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES). The ACN chairman also listed the free eye surgery, eye glasses and screening for close to 20,000 indigent patients across the state, the payment of 13th month salary to public service workers, and prompt intervention through welfare of indigenes of Osun State who were marooned in the internal conflict of Cote D’Ivoire as evidence of the populist credentials of Aregbesola.
Beyound the explanation given by the ACN chairman other party sources say that the refusal of Aregbesola to name his cabinet was essentially strategic. It was learnt that the governor’s initial hesitance was borne out of the alleged demand of the PDP members in the last State House of Assembly to impose their members in the local government caretaker committees that was constituted by the governor after he came to office.
One ACN chieftain disclosed that the governor wanted to avert a situation whereby the then House of Assembly would want to frustrate his efforts by either stalling the approval or imposing its members on him as commissioners.
Besides, Aregbesola it was learnt, took the strategic decision ahead of the last general elections to avoid the unnecessary bickering that would have been provoked within his own party by picking commissioners.
“You know as a master political strategist, the governor wanted to unify the party ahead of the last elections so that the party’s energy would not be divided by internal bickering after naming commissioners. So, you see that is why Osun delivered 100% for ACN in the last election,” the Lagos based party chieftain told Vanguard.
With the House of Assembly now completely dominated by the ACN eyes are now on Aregbesola.