I Don’t Regret Borrowing Money To Develop Osun- Aregbesola
…Says his govt resolved to borrowing because he met the state in a bad physical condition
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has once again cleared the air that he has no iota of regret on his administration’s resolve to borrow money for physical infrastructural development of the state.
Ogbeni Aregbesola stated this while addressing the State Chapter of Association of Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria, AMOHN, at his office, in Osogbo.
The Governor who described the people as the major target of government, said the primary objective of any serious government is to serve the people and place their plights above other considerations or interests.
Aregbesola said it is evident that his government had successfully prioritized the masses and as well taken the needs of the people as its primary responsibility in all sectors of the economy.
He said it is erroneous for anyone to either speculate or reduce government to salary payment institution alone, saying the purpose of government as an institution in the society, is to provide the basic needs of the masses before any other obligations.
Aregbesola lamented the incessant strike of the medical health practitioners in the state that has reached eleven months, noted that it is against the ethics and professional conduct of the practice for any healthcare giver to unjustifiably abandon work as being done by the striking health workers in the state.
Aregbesola described it as being ridiculous a situation whereby a medical expert who sworn to an oath and avowed to protect and save life resolves to strike all in the name of mere agitation for an increased remuneration.
Governor Aregbesola noted that the inimical step taken by a section of the state health workers who are presently on strike was a testimony of insensitivity and carefree to the people’s live whom they pledged to save and protect.
Aregbesola stressed that his government since assumption of office has been taking seriously the general well being of the masses, most especially the standard of living of the state workforce without the exception of health workers.
The Governor revealed that Osun State under his watch was among the states that gives adequate attention to the utmost welfare of the health practitioners in the country, stressing that the state pays the highest allowance to NYSC health practitioners being posted to the state.
Aregbesola who described the agitation of some workers to reduce governance in its entirety to workers’ salary payment to what he regarded as “unrealistic fantasy”, emphasizing that the payment of workers salary is just a secondary responsibility of government.
Governor Aregbesola disclosed further that, it is practically impossible for any serious government to divert all the government’s resources into payment of workers’ salaries, resisting that he would not for whatever reason divert all the state’s treasury to pay the striking health practitioners who have been on industrial action for almost a year.
Aregbesola who bemoaned the strike embarked upon by the state health workers, said in spite the economic downturn in Nigeria and Osun in particular since 2014, his government has never owe the state health workers, just as he revealed that despite the being on strike for eleven (11 months), the state health workers have received 6months full salaries out of 11months they have been on strike.
Aregbesola said his government has been very fair and sincere to workers’ plights even in the face of dwindling allocation to the state, adding that Osun was the only state in Nigeria that opens its book to workers for administrative clarity and topmost accountability.
He explained that his government has financially motivated the workers, saying at the best of time, Osun was the only state that pays workers every 25th of every month, which according to him was championed for four fiscal years before the economic crisis befell the nation.
Aregbesola stressed further that in spite the current economic imbroglio, his administration has been graciously managing the socio-economic and political affairs of the state.
He said, “let me state categorically that our administration in spite all successes we have recorded so far in all aspects of the economy especially on the workers’ welfare would not bow to any pressure or agitation to reduce governance to salary payment at this special economic period.
“Just as we owe workers responsibility to pay their salary arrears and pensions, we equally owe the entire populace the provision of basic infrastructures because the primary responsibility of government is to serve the people.
“We met Osun in a bad physical infrastructural development condition and this led us to seek for available means to restructure the state and give it a new look.
“It is only those who do not understand what development is all about would contradict this fact because to the glory of God, our administration has successfully turned around the economic fortune of the state and as well given Osun a befitting look it deserved.
“Whoever visits our cities and towns across the state would definitely feels the impact of our government as this plethora of developments and transformation had brought investors to the state.
“The rapid development of our state is not by accidental because it took us years to draw a genuine template for our state.
“Though, the frustration we have been receiving from the state health workers is getting worrisome in spite our sensitivity, commitment, dedication and passion to their plights, but irrespective of this, we shall not loose focus or be distorted in waxing stronger to demonstrate our sincerity, openness, transparency and readiness to serve our people.
“It is only a callous administration that would fail to take a cognizance look into the importance of workforce as it remains an important organ of government.
“We are very passionate to our workers plights just as we valued them with high esteem.
“When we came on board, we felt we owe our workers prompt salary payment and we introduced a new dimension into the system by ensuring that every worker gets his or her salary every 25th of the month and we did this for good four years without a vacuum.
“Until 2015 when it appears unbearable for us due to the little or no allocation from the Federation Accounts, Osun continued to meet up with her obligations.
“We increased the salary of our workers just as we paid 13month bonus. To further motivate our workers, we introduced a system whereby every worker would choose either the date being employed or birthday for the annual collection of leap bonus.
“We equally increased the housing loan by 40percent. We paid 100% of basic salary to all workers as End of the Year Allowance, to mention but a few, just to motivate and boost the morale of our workers.
“It is also important to state clearly that we condemn in its entirety the unnecessary industrial action embarked upon by a section of the State medical practitioners because our administration has been a workers-friendly government and no organ of the state workforce has ever been neglected.
“To substantiate this claim, the state has so far paid six months full salary to those health workers who have already being on strike for eleven months”, Aregbesola disclosed.
The state helmsman who attributed the volume of the present development in the state to what he described as “noble quest for all round development”, said nothing could distort his commitment towards revamping economic fortune of Osun.
Analyzing successes recorded by his administration, Governor Aregbesola said the influx of physical infrastructures in every nook and cranny of the state were clear manifestation of his unwavering determination to turn Osun to a mega city.
Aregbesola who described medical health practitioners as the bedrock of healthy living in any society said, the roles of medical experts towards the meaningful transformation and standard of living of the people in the state can never be overemphasized.
Aregbesola commended members of the State Chapter of the Association of Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria, AMOHN for their commitment, determination and passion to human’s life, said their resistance to join their counterpart, (state striking medical practitioners) was an indication of patriotism and diligence to service.
He added, “We must salute the courage of AMOHN for being steadfast even while their colleagues are on strike, this shows that they are genuine medical practitioners whose passion for life is inestimable and unnegotiable.
He therefore called on the striking doctors to resume to work, promising that the state would continuously be committed to their welfare.
It would be recalled that a section of the State Health Workers have been on strike for more than eleven months in agitation for a consolidated statutory salary structure as well as the increment in the monthly remunerations.
Earlier, the AMOHN’s State Chairman, Dr. Fabiyi Oluwole commended Governor Aregbesola for attaching utmost priority to health sector.
Dr. Oluwole assured the state government of the association’s commitment and readiness to improve the healthy living of the people in all nooks and crannies of the state.
According to him, AMOHN is fully ready to continuously partner with the State Government on efficient and effective healthcare delivery.
He disclosed that Osun was rated one of the best in primary healthcare delivery, attributing the accolade to the unflinching support and avowed determination of Governor Aregbesola towards healthy living.
Dr. Oluwole who appealed to Governor Aregbesola to quickly assent to the Primary Healthcare Bill being forwarded to the State House of Assembly, said the approval of the Bill once it becomes a reality, would go a long way in boosting their activities.
Meanwhile, Dr. Oluwole appealed to his striking colleagues to resume back to duty in the interest of the state.