The Many Failures of Governor Aregbesola
By Edward Igbayilola and Taofik Alabi
Osun state wore a different look and was full of celebration when the
Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan ousted Prince Olagunsoye
Oyinlola-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government and pronounced
Mr. Rauf Aregbesola of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as the
“authentic winner” of 2007 governorship election in the state on
Friday, November 26, 2010.
Immediately the court decided the fate that day, what the people of
the state witnessed was a celebration of no comparison and as the
supporters of Aregbesola jubilated round the state. Indeed, the
occasion was also used to molest and attack some PDP members perceived
to have worked against the then members of Action Congress of Nigeria.
But no one could talk and correct the illicit activities that lasted
for almost six months because nearly all Osun people wanted a change
of government as at that time, and they also believed that with
Aregbesola, the messiah has finally come and that they will witness 'a
new era' in the state. However, the journey of four years is about to
reach its destination by 2014 but unfortunately, to the disappointment
of most of his supporters, all the promises during Aregbesola's
electioneering campaign and during his swearing-in ceremony on
Saturday, November 27, 2010 have not been fulfilled few months to the
expiration of his tenure.
West Mail looks into how Aregbesola had performed in the last three
years as his regime celebrated 3rd-year anniversary in Office on
Tuesday, November 26, 2013.
In the past three years in Osun state, Transport Sector has received
the largest appropriation in budget, but the people of the state are
still grappling with the existence of huge indebtedness and many
abandoned, cancelled, uncompleted and in most instances, snail speed
projects execution by the administration of Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.
Shortly after coming on board, the stadia projects, initiated by PDP
government in six different towns spread across the major zones in the
state, were cancelled but the one in Osogbo and Ilesa were not
While construction work on the stadia in Ife, Ikirun, Ede and Iwo was
stopped because Mr. Aregbesola stated stadia were not needed, at least
for now, the one in Ilesa was not outrightly cancelled, but it was
observed during the last visit of West Mail to the site of the stadium
project that no serious work was done there in the last two years..
Till date, only Osogbo City Stadium is receiving attention of
government. Although, the contractor handling the project was supposed
to have delivered it by March 2011 being part of terms agreed with the
state government, but the contractor, Techno Katagun failed to meet up
with the deadline because the administration of Mr. Aregbesola, at a
point stopped release of funds for the project and when it eventually
resumed funding it, funds were being released in piecemeal leading to
slow pace of work.
Besides, it was observed that Aregbesola's government completely
changed the original FIFA standard design of Osogbo stadium and with
what was on ground, it can only be qualified as a mere playing field.
Careful examination of projects executed by State Ministry of Works
which is being manned for the State Governor by an indigene of Iwo,
Engr. Oladepo Amuda, revealed that there is no projects currently
being executed that is not tied to one loan or the other.
Osogbo/Ila Odo Kwara Boundary has been the flagship project of this
administration. The governor inaugurated the project over a year ago
shortly after waking up from the slumber that lasted almost a year.
The project been executed by an unknown company, later found to have
folded up, SAMMYA construction is being executed at a cut throat
amount of N17.8 billion. Despite sticking to the initial design of
road done by a PDP government with its cost fixed for about N8
billion, Aregbesola not only changed the contractor, but also raised
the cost to over N17 billion.
The project which is segmented into three parts, over one year since
work commenced on the road, the first segment–Osogbo Old Garage to
Dagbolu– is yet to be completed and the chances of the contractor
completing the project in two years as contained in the contract
papers is clearly unrealistic.
Another bizarre thing about the project is the mode of financing it.
Bank of Infrastructure was said to be the fund arranger, while the
contractor, SAMMYA, as the world is made to believe, entered into
contractor-financing terms with state government. If BoI being headed
an indigene of Ijagbo, same town with Alhaja Serifat Aregbesola, Osun
state first lady is the fund arranger for the project, why entering
into contractor-financing model of funding Osogbo/Kwara boundary road
project with SAMMYA again?
Apart from this contradiction, the terms of repayment of the loan
indicates that the state government will only start paying back funds
expended on the project after its completion and handover.
According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and
Transport, Amuda, the road will be completed by October next year,
meaning that repayment of N17.8 billion loan used to finance the road
will only commence after then. Before October next year, governorship
election must have been held and should Aregbesola fail to make it for
another term, that means the loan will be paid by a new
Similar to this is over-hyped Oba Adesoji Aderemi Ring Road that
commences at Ofatedo junction and terminates at Stadium Area in
Osogbo. The project cost close to N20 billion and the contractor,
Slava Yediteppe is solely responsible for the cost of construction and
government will only repay the contract sum at later date.
Since the project commenced, several buildings said to have been
located on the new road or close to it have been demolished. Schools,
both public and private, hospitals etc are also affected in the
As at the time of filling this report, clearing on the proposed road
is still on-going but number of workers working on the road has
continued to decline, the development attributed to lack of fund.
Also, many of the house owners that lost properties to the road have
not been compensated with the government hiding behind incomplete
papers by them. Those that have received compensation were paid
A key project of APC government in Osun state that has further
enmeshed the three-year old administration of Rauf Aregbesola in bad
water is its Urban Renewal project through which several public and
private buildings have been pulled down.
Not minding the huge public outcry that greeted the exercise being
conducted by Ministries of Works and Lands, the State Government had
turned blind eye and continued with the demolition exercise.
Already, all banks in Olorunda Local Government area have been
demolished and several shops, especially in Oke-fia and MDS were
Speaking on the reason why government embarked on the demolition
exercise, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Sunday
Akere on the State owned radio and television stations had said the
government wanted to use the space created to construct walk-ways and
to plant flowers to beautify the town.
It should be noted that many towns in the state have been penciled
down for the Urban Renewal programme of Aregbesola's administration
but the wanton destruction of properties all in the name of efforts to
beautify the state is making inhabitants of Ede, Ikirun, Ilesa and Ile
Ife to be resisting the plan to commence the programme in their towns.
The demolition which has been on since last year, had be concluded few
months ago, but work is yet to commence on the space created after the
Osogbo, Ilesa and Ife township roads project is another controversial
project being done by the Ministry of Works. Though Aregbesola openly
admitted that he met a design done by a PDP government upon assumption
of office, but a lot of funds were again appropriated for the purpose
of designing road networks for the state capital and the town as
listed as part of the project.
The project, the cost of which is put at close to N1 billion was again
executed with a loan. As synonymous with the present administration,
financial details of the project are confusing to say the least,
because State government had said it was obtaining a loan in
collaboration with the 30 Local Government areas and Modakeke Area
Council to fund road projects in towns across the State.
However, checks by West Mail, revealed while roads chosen for
rehabilitation in Osogbo township have been completed, work has not
commence on roads in most towns across the state.
This is also the case with township roads in Ife and Ilesa, Ile-Ife,
the town clearly regarded as stronghold of opposition Peoples
Democratic Party by Aregbesola had least number of roads rehabilitated
among the towns selected for the project, which has provoked questions
about the rationale for the distribution of the roads rehabilitated
through the project.
Apart from the road projects, the State Ministry of Works which has
the governor as its Commissioner was also involved in the construction
of markets. At present, three markets are under construction but none
of the three is been constructed with the money accrued to state from
the Federation Account.
The location of Ayegbaju International Market used to be there
headquarters of Osogbo Local Government. An indigene of the town,
who is the state PDP chairman, Alhaji Ganiyu Olaoluwa in a chat with
journalists in his office recently said: “where Aregbesola is building
Ayegbaju Market belongs to Osogbo town and upon the creation of the
state when there were no offices for the Military Administrator and
his team, Osogbo Local Government moved out of the place for the
“But to our surprise, Aregbesola just gave the land to one of those
fronting for him as Osun government's contribution towards the
building of the market”.
This is just one out several criticisms the project has received. Some
of the posers people have also raised concerning market include: What
is the relationship between the State Government and its officials and
the contractor handling the project? Why is government opting for
public-partnership for the project? What is the antecedent of the
contractor? Why sitting a market close to a main highway in the state
capital? Why are the prices of these shops not within the reach of
many people in the state, whose business premises have been demolished
by government? In the midst of these controversies, West Mail
authoritatively learnt that the contractor, who was touted by
Aregbesola as having the financial capabilities to construct the
market, has been spending proceeds from the yet-to-be completed shops
paid by people whose shops the state government had demolished across
Osogbo for the project. Aregbesola's administration has also come
under heavy criticism for jettisoning the Free Trade Zone project initiated by previous PDP
administration and embarking on construction of Dagbolu Market, which
experts have opined should have been sited inside the Free Trade Zone
premises located in Abeere.
Commenting on the desirability or otherwise of a regional market in
the state, an economist, Kayode Olanrewaju said “far beyond
establishing markets, consideration should have been more on the
existing ones that can be upgraded. “If those ones already in
existence cannot be improved upon, then the ones to be established
newly can make use of facilities in the existing markets to limit the
cost of building new ones.
“Since Aregbesola did not believe in the idea of Free Trade Zone, what
he should have done was to look into the existing facilities available
at the site of the project and incorporate them into his own regional
market. That would have minimized the cost.
“I was a part of the team that visited the Free Trade zone from
Governor's Forum secretariat under the Peer Review exercise in year
2010 and I know that there are some facilities on ground there. I have
also visited Dagbolu Market. From what I observed, the two projects
have similarities and I am of the opinion that instead of starting all
over a new market, that Free Trade zone can be converted.
“Osun does not belong to the league of highest earners from the
Federation Account and the economy is salary-based. The government
ought to be prudent and not just playing to the gallery by embarking
on unnecessary project and by so doing accumulate debt for the state”.
There is also Aje Market, which the government is building in
conjunction with Oodua Investment in the Trade Fair complex along Iwo
Like every other projects of this administration, this market is being
built through funds that are arranged by a private investor while
terms of the arrangement of how the investor intend to recoup its
investment is still shrouded in mystery.
The O' School projects, the programme designed to blight tremendous
achievements of PDP administration is another controversial project
that has received more knocks than praise from all quarters.
Despite the fact that Osun state is believed to have had best set of
structures in its public schools before the advent of Aregbesola's
administration, the Osun APC government that has often, though
deceitfully pride itself as prudent, with a fury of a scorned
housewife, pulled down many of these buildings.
Mr. Aregbesola, to get fund to replace those buildings demolished,
having exhausted all avenues to raise money through conventional
means, against wise counsel, had to run to issuing houses to raise
A sum of N11.4 billion raised through controversial Islamic Sukuk, the
government said will be spent on the needless O' School projects,
being supervised by Ministry of Work. O' School programme is headed by
a chieftain of APC, Alhaji Lai Oyeduntan and beside being regarded as
a project that is not needed at the moment because buildings in public
schools across the state are still very strong, opinion leaders in the
state have also heavily descended on the state government for using
the commonwealth of Osun people to enrich his party people, who shared
materials savaged from the demolished structures and got contracts
through the programme.
Osogbo/Gbongan road, one of the projects being handled by Ministry of
Works has been more of a decoy than a serious project.
This is because since work started on the road close to five months
ago, the contractor has not shown much seriousness in handling the
project. Lack of enough workforce and apathy to work are few of the
flaws road users plying the road have observed and like other projects
of Aregbesola's administration, the road is been constructed through
funds provided by the contractor.
Apart from the fact that Aregbesola's predecessor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola
actually surpassed the present regime in so many areas, West Mail took
a critical look at some of the projects embarked upon by the APC-led
government in comparism with how the immediate past administration of
the PDP handled the issues.