By Ola Ajayi
The year 2016 will no doubt be an interesting year in the Pacesetter State with the array of events lined up. Residents in the state will likely face some challenges in the supply of the premium motor spirit as a result of the slight reduction in the pump fuel price from N87 to N86. The marketers of the product both major and independent have been giving motorists in the state serious nightmares as they hoard the product to create the impression that it is scarce.
Except for one major marketer, Conoil at Celestial Church bus stop, Mokola and an independent marketer, BOVAS, who sell at the official pump price, people in the state have been lamenting about the excesses of the marketers. Expectedly, the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi which has been seemingly docile since May will certainly spring surprises. The governor has just presented a budget of N165. 1 billion to the state House of Assembly for the year.
To prove its resolve to bring out the state from the economic doldrums, the All Progressives Congress ruling government has increased its IGR from N1.2b in 2015 to N5b representing a 400 per cent increase. This will no doubt take its toll on the people of the state. When compared with that of the 2015 budget which was N77.16 billion, there is an increase of N87.94 billion and this is still subject to upward review after the legislative arm must have worked on it.
The breakdown of the budget shows that capital expenditure will gulp N72.73b representing 44.10 per cent and a total recurrent expenditure of N92.37b representing 35.88%. To boost food production in the state, Ajimobi said that preference will be given to the Agriculture sector and Agro allied industry and that government will try in its efforts to reduce the cost of doing business.
The governor also promised that the 2016 budget will lay emphasis on physical infrastructure and improvement in education in which all on-going projects such as construction and furnishing of classrooms and model schools will be completed in 2016. The governor will certainly resume his urban renewal programmes which residents of the state complained bitterly about.
Given the irregular way by which salaries of workers are paid, they should be prepared to face the harsh economic realities as the selective payment of salaries which the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the representatives of the government agreed to, will continue until the economy of the state improves.
Political activities which are at the lowest ebb in the state will also shape events in the new year as some political juggernauts will dump their parties and seek greener pastures elsewhere. It is no longer news that a former governor in the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala who had called the APC various names like ‘panadol, ‘aspirin’ in the heat of his political campaign will now use the same ‘drug’, APC to ease his political pains and use the broom-symbol of APC to sweep all ‘dirts’ and remnants of his former parties, PDP and Labour Party away.
Senator Rashidi Ladoja, also a former governor in the state who contested on the platform of the Accord Party , is yet to hand over the baton to other political subordinates. Also, the Social Democratic Party in the state is about to experience shake up as a faction in the party has finalised plans to suspend the benefactor of the party. The chieftain is numerous to be defecting to the APC.
With the rate at which fire disasters happen towards the end of the year, there may be few others, especially in markets within Ibadan metropolis. It is recurring decimal for markets to catch fire easily and this which has prompted Governor Ajimobi to set up a probe panel to look into it. Some traders have alleged sabotage in the recent fire occurrences in the city.
Members of the panel, according to a statement from the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, are the state’s Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Mr Wasiu Gbadegesin, who is the Chairman of the panel; while the Director, Administration and Supplies in the Governor’s Office, Mr. Paul Oyekunle, will serve as secretary.
Other members are the Permanent Secretary, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Lekan Busari; Permanent Secretary, Land, Housing & Survey, Mr. Babatunde Ladipo; Acting Perm Secretary, Environment and Habitat, Mr. M. J. Akinlabi; and Director, Fire Services, Mr. Kareem Oyekunle.
The panel has been mandated to examine the immediate and remote causes of the fire incidents, assess the extent of damage and loss to the traders and to recommend appropriate action (s) to stem a recurrence.