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The Many Failures of Governor Aregbesola

Source: pointblanknews.com
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 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.
TRANSPORT SECTOR
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

stopped.
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

administration.
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

exercise.
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

peanuts.
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

demolished.
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

removal structures.
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

MILAD.
“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

road, Osogbo.
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

Islamic Bond.
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.