By Gbenga Olarinoye
EIGHT months to the September governorship election in Osun State, the leading political parties have upped their preparations for the poll
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are currently engaged in a war of words in readiness for the electoral battle.
Aregbesola pledges worthy successor
The APC was the first to throw its hat into the ring when Governor Rauf Aregbesola, took a look at his two-term administration in the past seven years and concluded that it was a reign of unbroken people-centred government in the history of the state. Aregbesola gave this verdict in his New Year broadcast to the people of the state.
The Governor, in an address entitled: “Home-run with Honour and Dignity”, said his administration in the last seven years, strived to bring people-centred progressive governance to the state, adding that the evidence of this progressive trend in governance are visible in his policies and programmes such as youth empowerment, care for vulnerable senior citizens and women empowerment, agriculture development, industrialisation, infrastructure development, education, job creation, human development, water resources development, and urban renewal among others.
According to him, these programmes have subsequently transformed Osun and projected it positively beyond what was on ground before he assumed power.
He held that Osun has now become the reference point in prudent management of resources and responsible governance, which the electorate must help sustain with their continued support for the APC now and at the forthcoming election.
Assuring that he would give Osun a worthy successor who is capable of continuing from where his government will stop in November, this year, Aregbesola however, sounded a note of warning to the people of the state ahead of the poll. He warned that some political desperado, who were hell bent on precipitating crisis and mayhem will want to aid some misguided individuals to cause chaos and disaffection among the people.
The governor thanked all those who made him succeed in administering the state in the past seven years making particular mention of the state’s civil servants who he said had to “endure 75 per cent and 50 per cent salary regime since July 2015.’’
APC speak in like manner
The leadership of the APC amplified Governor Aregbesola’s claims.
Specifically, the APC in an end of the year message by its Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun, said that the party was proud of the people’s resilience and determination to forge ahead with progressive ideas in spite of the difficulties that 2017 presented.
According to the party, “regardless that the state is one of the least resourced in the Nigerian Federation, it has demonstrated perhaps the most innovative capabilities in effecting the changes and developments necessary for economic growth in unprecedented circumstances.”
His words: “We have seen one of the most destructive opposition yet in Osun over the last seven years and the most evil campaign is in the making to lay to waste all that Aregbesola-led APC government has done since 2010. But you, the people of Osun have seen it all; you have experienced the difference between light and darkness, evil and good and you are in the best position to make a choice.
Aregbesola’s govt worst in the history of Nigeria – Omisore
Hardly had Aregbesola and the APC concluded their statements than their arc rival, former deputy governor of the state, Senator Iyiola Omisore described Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the APC, as the worst government in Nigeria since independence.
Senator Omisore, in a statement in Osogbo by his media aide, Dr Jide Fatokun, said it was sad that Governor Aregbesola and APC, could still accuse the PDP of plunging Nigeria into economic crisis “after squandering and plundering Osun and even generations yet unborn to unprecedented debts and agony of owing salaries and wages for years.
His words: “They should just bury their heads in shame. No single project completed since 2010. They have damaged the psyche and destroyed the present and future of even yet to be born Osun indigenes. They denigrated our core values. Education went from 5th position in 2010 to 29th and 33rd in NECO and WAEC. Health and human services went from the WHO/UNICEF rating of 3rd to 35th in Nigeria. Water supply, rural electrification and sanitation went down to 3% of SSG/MDGs UN rating…Where is the developments in Osun?
“Falsehoods and propaganda have derided their sense of reasoning. Please, let Aregbesola and his team hurry out of Osun in September 2018.
It is on record that Aregbesola never won free and fair election in Osun. They are shameless and unrepentant for bringing Osun backwards of 25 years aggregate in governance and delivery of promises. Osun voters cannot wait to flush out APC and their impostors by September 2018.”
Our achievements speak for us — APC
However, the APC disagreed with Omisore, insisting that the assessment of the state as the second wealthiest after Lagos had proved Omisore and PDP wrong in their criticisms of Governor Aregbesola’s government.
In a press statement, the APC said “Omisore and the PDP leadership in Osun should bury their heads in shame because ‘’the latest assessment of financial expert in the economic hub of Nigeria – Lagos – has shown that as a result of the prudent financial, political and economic management of our leader and government, Osun emerged the second best in 2017, in terms of poverty alleviation and as a consequence, became the second wealthiest among the 36 states of the federation.”
It read in part: “Aregbesola stands elegantly vindicated while the PDP leadership stands condemned for its ignorance about governance, financial and economic management. A people, a state or a country is not considered wealthy because of few billionaires a crooked system creates, but because of the majority of people it lifts from poverty.”
It’s dubious rating — Omisore
In a counter-statement, Omisore pooh-poohed the rating. He accused Aregbesola of arranging a dubious rating and procuring awards from groups, while failing to pay workers’ salaries, thus plunging people of Osun into mysteries of poverty and deprivation.
Speaking through his Media Aide, Fakoredein, he said:
“This wicked government keeps procuring awards worldwide with our meager resources where salaries are unpaid, Projects inflated, abandoned. Pupils and students failing at NECO and WAEC examinations, Hospitals and health centres shut down. N8.6b Opon imo scam, school uniforms fraud, inflated mega schools buildings.
“Capital flight of Osun resources to their Lagos masters, clueless policies while no town can boast of drinkable water in the whole state, 96% of state/grade A and B roads are unmotorable. The phantom airport project, abandoned and uncompleted projects to the tune of N500b, N119b unpaid salaries, pensions, dues and allowances, N416 billion debt overhang to list few of their numerous failures.
Omisore only being mischievous — Aregbesola
In like manner, Aregbesola tackled Omisore, over what he described as derogatory and deprecatory comments. He accused the former deputy governor of being mischievous and incongruous in his inward and outward dispositions, saying it is unfortunate that Omisore has not learned from his self-afflicted political sojourn and travail.
He lambasted Omisore for lying against his government, noting that Omisore and his party, led Nigeria, particularly Osun, to socio-economic and political coma.
He challenged the erstwhile Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation to give account of what he personally did while he was at the helm of affairs.