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AREGBESOLA LIED: JONATHAN HAS NO HAND IN HIS FAILED ADMINISTRATION

By Ikechukwu Eze
My attention has just been drawn to a news item in which Osun State
Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, was quoted to have blamed his
underperformance in office on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
In the story published in some newspapers last Sunday, Aregbesola was
said to have blamed his failure as a Governor merely on the fact that
his administration coincided with that of the Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) Government at the centre, between the year 2010 and 2015, which
according to him “was the most traumatised era in the history of
Nigeria.”
I see this as the Governor’s attempt to rewrite history by
disingenuously seeking an accomplice for his dreadful failure in
office. This should be prevented from entering public records, as he
wished.
Ordinarily, it is considered a courageous act in governance to admit
utter failure, as the Governor attempted doing. Unfortunately, in this
instance, Governor Aregbesola’s confession bordered on treachery,
since he was neither sincere nor commonsensical. Rather than be the
hero he sought to be, Aregbosola ended up as an anti-hero whose
admittance of failure became mired in cowardice and deception, once he
ventured lamely to seek an accomplice or a fall guy in the past PDP
administration. His attempt to pass the buck failed woefully, as the
public has seen it for what it is: a spineless act of dishonesty and
contrived rectitude wearing a mask of false alibi and specious
altruism.
In the first place, Aregbesola’s premise was wrong. Didn’t he realize
that as semi-autonomous sub-national entities that control own
revenues, States cannot reasonably yoke their fortunes with that of
the Federal Government? Aregbesola should ask himself why his
performance is far below the standards set by his counterparts in such
states as Gombe, Ekiti, Ebonyi and Enugu. Like Aregbesola’s Osun, they
are neither oil-producing nor high revenue earning States.
It would have been more honourable, and perhaps worthy of exculpation,
if the Governor had been man enough to take absolute responsibility
for his monumental failure, without the futile effort to clutch at
straws.
That Aregbesola failed as a Governor is a fact known to not only the
good people of Osun State but in indeed, all Nigerians. That he is
also the architect of his disappointing performance is also
incontrovertible.
In the first place, an elected Governor who waited for over two years
before appointing commissioners or aides courted nothing but failure.
Rather than apply discretion in policy choices, Aregbesola choose to
lavish the State’s resources on grandiose white elephant projects that
at best served as avenue for personal aggrandizement, to the detriment
of workers’ welfare and the good of the people.
One of such extravagant project was the Opon-Imo, an e-learning
‘tablet of knowledge’ meant to ‘solve all’ secondary education needs
of the state, which sadly became one of the biggest scams in the
history of the state, with many close to him allegedly complicit in a
contract scandal worth billions of Naira.  It is instructive that
while he was fiddling with his tacky Opon-Imo project, the state which
used to lead others in learning slipped into 29th position out of 36
on the scale of educational performance in Nigeria.
Another was the ill-advised school uniform policy which generated the
kind of crisis that almost crippled the education system in the State.
If Aregbesola had not been clueless and bereft of productive ideas, he
would have taken a cue from the Governors of other states with a
similar mix in the religions of their population. Those hard working
Governors knew better than waste state time and resources in enforcing
a controversial dressing code for school kids.
Nobody was then surprised when Aregbesola failed to pay the salaries
of all civil servants and public sector workers for upwards of 12
months, a development that sparked unprecedented labour protests, and
strident calls for his resignation. His failure in this regard was so
glaring, that the predicament of Osun workers continues to elicit
empathy and concern from across the country. Their situation was so
desperate that philanthropists from outside the state were sending
donations to the workers. One of such was from Ben Murray-Bruce, the
Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, who offered,
out of pity, to donate his N506, 600 wardrobe allowance to Osun
workers.
To be fair to him, Aregbesola once confessed that the state of affairs
in Osun was beyond him, especially when it became obvious that he had
practically brought the state on its knees, a situation that earned
him the unattractive label as “Nigeria’s worst performing Governor
since 1999”, according to a recent survey conducted by Daily Post news
medium.
It is instructive that various stakeholders, prominent individuals and
organizations, have continued to call for his resignation, since 2015.
One of such bodies, the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation
of Osun state (CSCEOS), had last year advised the state governor, to
resign from office with immediate effect following his incompetence
and the poor performance of students of the state public schools
arising from his bad policies. The group said: “We however seized this
opportunity to advise Mr Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola to honourably tender
his resignation from office as governor of Osun state because the
present administration has become a disaster to the good people of
Osun state in all human endavours which has seriously retarded the
educational sector of the State.
“This development has shown the world that Aregbesola lacks capability
to run the state again and he should be relieved of his position in
order to help the state to record the undiluted development and growth
in all ramifications across the length and breadth of the State.”
It is this sordid state of affairs that pushed Justice Olamide
Folahanmi Oloyede then of the Osun State Judiciary to take unusual
step, by moving against the Governor. Apparently unable to bear the
Governor’s missteps and unending blunder any longer, Justice Oloyede
had in 2015 petitioned the State House of Assembly over what she
termed Aregbesola’s financial recklessness.
It is therefore worrying that a man with this kind of odious public
record would seek to compare himself with the administration of
Goodluck Jonathan famed for its feat in reinvigorating education,
reviving agriculture, strengthening democracy, and growing the economy
to become not only Africa’s biggest, but the number one destination
for foreign direct investment on the continent.
It is shocking that leaders like Aregbesola are allowed to blow their
trumpet as probable messiahs in this dispensation. Little wonder then
that the administration in which he is a key player, inherited a
robust economy that was rated as one of the world’s best performing in
2015, but within a year brought it to a state where it now serves as a
reference point for poor performance.
Ikechukwu Eze is Media Adviser to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2010-2015)
AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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