Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun on Monday in Irojo area of Ilesa flagged off the construction of Ilesa Water Project.
The project which costs $65m Dollars is funded by the Islamic Development Bank.
Here are photos from the ceremony as captured by Dolapo Julius.
The Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola says Nigeria will move beyond the challenges of economic recession in 2017 to fast track a better standard of living for Nigerians.
Governor, Aregbesola made this known in Osogbo, the Osun State capital during his new year message at the Freedom Park while celebrating the new year with some residents.
The Governor Rauf Aregbesola and some other notable sons and daughters of the state chieftains in the state, joined others to usher in with great musical performances, comedy and fireworks display the year 2017.
The governor said the government at all levels, particularly the Federal Government must engineer a financial plan to return the country back to economic winning ways.
The Osun state governor also embraced Nigerians not to lose sight of the change they voted for few months back by rallying round the government of the day and perform their civic responsibilities.
“We are on the path of re overt. We are moving away from recession into the phase of recovery. This recovery will lead to growth and growth will lead to consolidation. And all this will happen this year.
But what remains for all of us? Those who are employed must be efficient to increase their productivity.”
He further stated that those without work must go back to the land, cultivate it for food production most especially, and cash crops.
“We must earn more money generally. All of us must earn more money and we must reduce our consumption of imported goods. When we do this individually, it will result to the conservation of our resources, effective use of those resources and creation of wealth for all. ” the governor explained.
On September 1, all roads led to Osogbo, the Osun State capital. The occasion was part of the state’s celebration of the Silver Anniversary of its creation by the military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, on August 27, 1991, along with 11 other states, namely, Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Taraba and Yobe. The significance of Osun State’s celebration lied, in part, in the fact that it was the only one President Muhammadu Buhari participated in.
The president’s participation was by way of visiting a couple of the state’s newly built primary and secondary schools before finally inaugurating the Osogbo Government High School. The school must be one of the largest, most beautiful and most well equipped secondary schools in the country.
Actually the school, as the governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, explained in his welcoming address, is three-in-one, each with a student population of 1,000, its own principal and staff but with an overall supervising principal and sharing academic and sports facilities.
The high school may be top of the line, but it is only one of a dozen or so high schools that Governor Aregbesola has built or rebuilt as part of his comprehensive restructuring – today’s buzz word for every politician seeking relevance! – of primary and secondary school education in the state to give its students the quality education they need to transform their state from Third World status to First in one generation. (It reminds you, doesn’t it, of the famous title of the autobiography of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s late prime minister, who lifted his country from Third World to First in one generation).
When Aregbesola first became the governor in November 2010, he inherited a public school system typical of public state system all over Nigeria – dilapidated, over populated, under staffed, under equipped, and badly managed schools. As a man who apparently believed the key to human progress is education, the governor resolved to end the rot.
As the man himself told it in his welcome speech on Thursday, the first step he took in ending the rot was to convene an education summit for the state chaired by no less an icon of the virtue of knowledge than Wole Soyinka, black Africa’s first Literature Nobel laureate.
Out of the summit emerged four elements for the transformation of the state’s public schools: their feeding and health programme, reclassification of the schools into elementary, middle and high schools, infrastructural development and the provision of what Americans call edtech (the use of technology to drive education), but which the state called Opon-Imo (Yoruba for tablet of knowledge) for all students.
The building of the high school President Buhari inaugurated last Thursday fell into the third category in which so far the Aregbesola administration has constructed or reconstructed 28 elementary schools, 22 middle schools and four high schools, with another 14 virtually completed.
Aregbesola was, of course, not the first to convene an educational summit. Long before him, the Northern Governors’ Forum did so in Kaduna. Individually the governors also made the right noises about ending their region’s notorious educational backwardness. To date their actions have not matched their noises. Instead, the region has dropped even further behind than it was during the First Republic.
Educationally backward as the North was back then, its leaders, with its premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello, in the forefront, walked their talk about bridging the gap between the region and the rest of the country. Meaning, they invested heavily in primary and secondary schools so that the region could produce quality materials qualified for admission into any tertiary institution anywhere in the world.
With all due humility, I can boast that I am one of those materials. I and my cousin, retired Major-General Mohammed Garba, and a childhood friend, Professor Mustapha Zubairu of Federal University of Technology, Minna, attended Native Authority primary schools in Kano, first in Tudun Wada for the first four years from 1957 and finished at Kuka Primary School after another four, having had to repeat my final year because I failed to gain entrance into a secondary school in my third year in 1963.
Kuka was located between Sabon Gari where we lived and Fagge. It was a walking distance from our home on Niger Road. All around us were Igbo and Yoruba most of whose children attended private and mission schools. In the evenings of weekdays all of us attended private lessons to improve on our chances of doing well in school. I remember we used to beat the children who went to private and mission schools in the evening classes, especially in English.
I am always amused each time people talk about the magic Chief Obafemi Awolowo performed with free education in Western Region. Of course, it was a great achievement which showed Awo’s foresight. Even then I am always amused because while the great premier of the West gave free education, in the North we were paid to go to school and we did so in hundreds of thousands, if not in millions.
The problem, I think, was that the next generation of the region’s politicians chose to pay only lip service to investment in education, especially primary and secondary education, without which invariably we could only send garbage into our tertiary schools. And as they say of computers: garbage in, garbage out.
I know this for sure because of the experience I had teaching in my alma mater, Ahmadu Bello University’s Mass Communication Department for six years until I left two years ago. During the last three of those six years, I made it a habit to test the English language of all my students, both under- and post-graduates, at the beginning of each semester.
The test was a simple one of correcting 10 sentences with errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. The average failure rate for all the students was a dismal 70 per cent! The highest score was 8 and you could count those on your fingertips.
The conclusion is obvious; our universities have generally been taking in barely literate materials because our primary and secondary schools have suffered criminal neglect.
In giving primary and secondary education top priority to the extent of even borrowing to reform Osun State’s public education system, Aregbesola has demonstrated that he has his heart and mind in the right place. As a mutual friend, Chief Ikechi Emenike, who also witnessed Buhari’s inauguration of the Osogbo Government High School said, the governor’s educational intervention “reflected an abiding love for his people and a deep appreciation of history and his legacy.”
President Buhari summed it even better when he said in his speech the governor was only keeping the promise of the ruling party to provide free and qualitative basic education by implementing the Basic Education Act.
“What we are witnessing here today,” he said, “is the formal fulfilment of that promise in Osun by the state government. The cost effectiveness of this project can only be seen when we consider that this school will graduate an average 1,000 pupils in a year and in 50 years it would have produced 50,000 well trained and well equipped pupils, many of who will go to higher institutions and will form the backbone of the administration of our country.
Over six years ago, an award-winning columnist of the New York Times, Thomas Friedman, wrote an article which underscored the importance of quality basic education and which I have had cause to refer to on these pages and elsewhere. He titled it “ Pass the Books. Hold the Oil.”
It was published in the Times of March 10, 2012. Every politician concerned about the dismal state of our education at all levels should read that short – roughly 1,070 words – article. In it Friedman narrated how a study by rich-country club, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (O.E.C.D.), established a negative linkage between natural resource dependent countries and knowledge.
The club looked at the bi-annual test of 15-year olds in Mathematics, Science and reading comprehension in 65 countries and the total earnings of each of them as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product. The test was called PISA, Programme for International Student Assessment.
The study, Friedman said, showed that the bigger a country’s revenue from natural resources as a percentage of its GDP, the poorer the knowledge and skills of its pupils. For example, participating Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran and Syria that were natural resource rich performed poorly compared to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, also in the Middle East, which were natural resource poor. So, Friedman concluded, “Oil and PISA don’t mix.”
As always there were exceptions to his thesis. Canada, Australia and Norway, also countries with high levels of natural resources, he pointed out, still scored well on PISA, in large part because all three countries had established deliberate policies of saving and investing these resource rents, and not just consuming them.
The three countries provide great lessons for us as a natural resource dependent country by showing that oil and PISA can indeed mix.
As a country we may have so far blown away our oil fortune, but clearly Aregbesola has shown as governor of one of the poorest states in the country that you don’t have to be rich to plan for the future of your children.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu on Thursday evening eulogized Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun for breathing life into the economy of the state through the promotion of science, technology and innovation.
The Minister said the state has contributed greatly towards enhancing and mobilizing the energies and potentials of the people for general advancement.
Dr. Onu stated this while addressing the people at the 14th conference of the National Council on Science and Technology, at Atlantis Civic Centre, Osogbo, Osun state.
Onu who described Governor Aregbesola as an unusual Governor, running unusual government, said his great interest in science and technology has placed the state above its counterparts.
Onu said the nation was aware that the state government of Osun led by Governor Aregbesola has succeeded in bringing innovation to governance as being reflected in the countless number of his policies and programmes.
He attributed his successes to the great interest he has in the well being and welfare of his people irrespective of socio-economic, political and religious affiliation.
Onu added, “I appreciate you on your irrevocable commitment to innovate the state through your consistent application of science, technology and innovation.
“I am not only appreciating you on giant strides recorded over the years as the Governor of this state, but most importantly, your undaunting determination in creating a knowledge based society for the citizenry.
“We are aware of your immense contributions to science and technology as we are consciously aware that your government brought science, technology and innovation into governance through the promotion of quality and functional education, infact, this is the right state in the right direction.
“Your administration’s determination to e-learning devices provided for public school students and home-grown feeding scheme have been a paradigm of innovation in governance as these laudable feats had encouraged millions of pupils to education.
“I can say this over and over again that Osun through Mr. Governor’s innovative ideologies has revived the lost glory, rot and decadence in education system of this country as his administration widely opened doors of the schools to all children without being influenced by any socioeconomic, political and religious tendency.
“He (Aregbesola) believes that every child is entitled as enshrined in our constitution to benefit from quality, functional and qualitative education just as his administrative philosophy is based on the need to ensure that every child is educated, knowledgeable, literate and westernised in order to contribute meaningfully to national growth and development.
“We know you, and we knew that within six years of your administration, Osun has reenergized both human and capital potentials in building an ideal society greatly conscious of science, technology and innovation.
The minister disclosed that Osun state social intervention programmes have taken priorities in the agenda of the Federal Government just as many of these intervention programmes have been implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
“Your social intervention projects are now being implemented by Federal Government. This include; School feeding programmes, youth empowerment programmes, among others.
“So, when we talk of moving our nation from a resource based economy to a knowledge based economy, we can’t achieve this until we eliminate illiteracy, and this is what Governor Aregbesola has been doing in Osun as he has been banishing the scourge of illiteracy and mediocrity by promoting science and technology”, the Minister stressed.
He commended Governor Aregbesola for assigning science and technology to his Deputy, saying the move was a clear manifestation of the Governor’s appreciation of the importance of education, science and technology to nation building.
“Though Aregbesola is an Engineer but there are so many Engineers who cannot do what he has done. He has proven to the world that no country, state, local or society moves forward without being grounded in science and technology”, Onu buttressed.
Speaking on the theme of this year conference: “Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Diversification of the Economy”, the Minister said the theme was symbolic especially at this time of economic doldrums.
He said the economic challenges facing the nation requires urgent action to diversify the nation’s economy in a sustainable and competitive manner by deploying science and technology as an instrument for national rebirth.
The Visitor to the Osun State University and Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has approved the appointment of Prof Labode Popoola as the new Vice Chancellor of the University.
The appointment follows the recommendation by the Council of the institution which was signed and forwarded to the Visitor by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council, Yusuf Ali (SAN) after considering the report of the Selection Board.
The Appointment takes effect immediately.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun has explained that the need to produce the total man who is useful to his society remains the rationale behind his administration’s huge investment in education in the state.
The governor said whatever is invested in education is for the future adding that his government has embarked on massive construction of classrooms, reforms of the schools system, provision of other modern learning tools and others for the good of the state’s future.
Speaking at the public presentation of a book titled: The Heritage of Islam in Nigeria: Essays in Memory of Dr. Dawood Adekilekun Tijani on Saturday in Ede, Aregbesola said scholarship does not die as he noted that the huge investment in education in the defunct Western region by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo culminated in the Western part of Nigeria having the edge it had over other parts of the country.
Aregbesola, who was represented by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said, “Scholarship does not die. Erudition does not perish and handwork does not fade away.”
The governor said the late scholar, Dawood Adekilekun Tijani, who was being honored with the book of essays on Saturday had invested energy on education, adding that this is why he is still being celebrated many years after he had departed.
“Through scholarship, the late Dr. Adekilekun Tijani was able to touch lives. Those whose lives were touched by his investment in education are today touching other lives. The lesson here for us today is that we should all endeavour to touch lives and education remains the best way to do this,” Aregbesola said
The governor said that a man taken out of ignorance has been given his weapon against poverty adding that this is the reason for his government’s heavy investment in education.
He said, “ I must state that this is the major reason functional education remains our biggest investment. A man that is knowledgeable is a man that is wealthy. And in a knowledge-based society and economy that we are advocating, functional education is the only way to be relevant and be in position to play a role.
Others present at the public presentation include the Timi of Ede, Oba Muniru Adesola Laval, former Governor of the state and senator representing Osun West senatorial district, Isiaka Adeleke, who was represented by Alhaji Olumide Laval, Speaker House of Assembly, Najeem Salam, who was represented by his media aide, Goke Butika, National Commissioner Public Complaints Commission, Prof Aderemi Abubakre, Vice Chancellor Ladoke Akintola University of Science and Technology, Prof Adenine Gbadegesin, former Commissioner for Special Duties and Regional Integration, Dr. Bashir Ajibola and others.
The Osun State Christian Association of Nigeria, OSCAN, has commended the Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, for his commitment to the development and transformation of the state in the face of present economic recession.
The Association also lauded the state government for being consistent in championing equity, balance and harmony among the adherents of the three major faiths in the state.
The Chairman of the Association, Michael Okodua, who led the newly constituted executive members of the association gave the commendation during a courtesy visit to the governor in his office in Osogbo.
He held that the present administration under the leadership of Mr. Aregbesola has really done well in fostering peace, love and unity among the different religious faithful in the state.
He commended Mr. Aregbesola’s sagacity for continuously piloting the affairs of the state even in the face of huge condemnation and attacks from various quarters.
According to him, “It is expedient for us to commend and congratulate you on the success of your mission to transform Osun despite the glaring economic recession affecting the state and the country at large.”
The cleric stated that the purpose of the visit was to officially inform the state government on the new nomenclature of the Osun State Christian Association of Nigeria (OSCAN).
He said, “OSCAN now has a new team of executive to pilot the affairs of the Association in the state for the period of next three years.
“On our assumption of office in August this year, we deemed it fit to start our work by paying your good self a courtesy visit as a father to us, and to every association in Osun state; to introduce ourselves to you and to interact with you no matter how short the time”.
He said Osun State Christian Association of Nigeria remains a critical stakeholder in the development of the state, stressing that, “It is therefore incumbent on the Association to liaise and work with the Governor on critical issues bothering on state and religion, among others that would further enhance the general well being of the people of the state.
“Our goal, therefore, is to promote peaceful coexistence and religious harmony, as basis for rapid socio-economic development of the state. It is on this basis that the Osun State Christian Association of Nigeria wishes to assure the government of our loyalty, cooperation and unflinching support towards meeting the needs and aspiration of the people of the state.
“We also look unto your excellency for support in our efforts towards meeting the aspirations and desires for the growth and development of the church in the state.
“We wish to assure your excellency that the church will continue to support you and your administration with prayers and goodwill at all times.
In his remarks, the Governor of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, charged the people of the state on the need to continuously champion religious tolerance as being demonstrated by his administration.
He thanked God for the opportunity given to his administration to renew its relationship with the newly constituted leadership of OSCAN, just as he expressed hope that the visit would put an end to possible misunderstanding among religious faithful.
According to him, it will be a grand mistake for us to deny the fact that his administration and Osun State Christian Association of Nigeria have had a tumultuous relationship.
He added, “but the question to ask is why must a government who in all honesty wants to have harmonious relationship with all faiths to the extent of even given them recognition in their own specific rights have conflict with one of the faiths.
“We must bear it in mind that it takes two to tango just as it takes two to be harmonious. It is not possible for two people either individuals, organisations or institutions to get along without a huge sense of maturity, forbearance and understanding.
“However, immediately those two people who must coexist and get along appreciate the need for forbearance by tolerating one another, maturity takes place. Listening to the chairman’s speech, l want to believe that we are in a new season. New season has just begun”.
He argued that the basis of participation in religion in this part of the world is based on the religion people met their parents with and not mostly as a matter of choice or conviction.
“Our profession of faith is largely huge on how we came into the world. It is on the accident of birth. Therefore there is need for us to champion love, tolerance and understanding in relating to one another as human beings.
“Why must we quarrel on situation and circumstance that we cannot change? We must come to understand ourselves as possibly as we can as our forebear did. No race on earth rivals Yoruba people in term of exhibiting understanding, tolerance, love and unity in religious practices”
Ogbeni Aregbesola, who lamented he poor management of religious affairs by the former leadership of the association, implored the new executives to always prioritise dialogue above other considerations.
“And should there be any reason whatsoever for you to have challenge, seek for clarification. Should there be any ground whatsoever for annoyance, pain, bitterness or misunderstanding, please don’t hesitate to embrace dialogue and seek for clarification”.
He called on the new executives to let dialogue be the foundation of their relationship with government and other faiths.
He enjoined them to see dialogue as a veritable ingredient to enhance peaceful co-habitation among the residents, warning them against the use of media to cause religious unrest.
“As partners in the process of building a just society targeted on growth and development, we can’t afford to be fighting one another. If development of the state and her people remained our goal, we can’t afford to be enemies and antagonists of one another.”
The Governor, State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Wednesday applauded the efforts of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC),on the fight against fake and counterfeit drugs.
The governor made the commendation while playing host to the Acting Director-General of the Agency, Mrs Yetunde Oni, at the Government House, Osogbo.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, the governor urged the agency not to relent in its sensitisation of the public to the evils of fake drugs.
He noted that the agency was set up to rid the country of fake drugs and save the people from drug-related diseases and untimely deaths.
Responding, Oni said she was on an advocacy visit to Osun as well as to further enhance the existing relationship between the agency and the state government.
She expressed NAFDAC’s commitment toward preventing the proliferation of counterfeit drugs, unwholesome foods and substandard products.
Oni identified some of the challenges facing the agency as shortage of operational vehicles and constant harassment of its personnel.
She, however, said farmers in the state needed to be sensitised to the appropriate use of pesticides to avert soil toxicity.
Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun says his administration will continue to adopt new approaches to meet the yearning and aspirations of the people.
Aregbesola made the commitment in a statement issued by his media aide, Mr Semiu Okanlawon in Osogbo on Tuesday.
The governor said the administration would continue to pursue policies and programmes that would enhance people’s welfare and good governance in the state.
“I have reasons to tell the people of the state and others who care to listen at the inception of my administration that I will run an unusual government.
“We knew that for us to deliver on governance which we promised our people, we must be ready to break the rules.
“We consciously designed our programmes and policies to be different from the norms.
“We were convinced that many of the existing approaches to governance had left our people in poverty, ignorance, diseases and hopelessness.
“But no one wanted to rock the boat for fear of what the people would say.
“But we were convinced that, though the decisions might be painful to take, we needed to be courageous to take them if they would in turn bring our people out of their predicaments.”
According to the governor, the approach is now paying off, six years after it was adopted.
“We have proved through our strategic approach that though painful, the courage with which we have taken the decisions and driven our development agenda have been embraced by our people.
“Some of our actions have been portrayed in the negatives by a section of the populace that are not yet in tune with the unusual ways.
“But the media have a lot to do to educate and not to be swayed by mere emotions.
“The question should be: Are the people who are at the centre of it all having their hopes restored and having meanings for their lives.
“The answer lies with our people and we know they are with us on this journey to total redemption,” the governor said.
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has described the flood that wreaked havoc in Osogbo, the state capital after the Eid-El-Kabir Sallah as devastating and advised people of the state to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the water ways.
Speaking during his visit to affected areas including Oke-Onitea, Rasco, Fiwasaye and Gbomi, the governor commiserated with the relatives of the person who loss his life in the flood and also sympathised with those who lost properties.
The Governor said the flood occurrence took the state by surprise given the heavy investments of his administration on flood prevention since 2011.
“Considering our efforts in the past, we never expected this kind of flood. Our government deeply regret the flooding that has affected our people,” he said.
After the tour which took him to all the areas affected Aregbesola said, “We have been quite committed to ensuring absence of this calamity since the advent of our administration as we have been regularly dredging the waterways on annual basis and as a matter of fact, we are still very much indebted to those who normally work with us to ensure cleaning of our waterways.”
The governor attributed the development to what he called the negative impact of people’s activities on the environment, adding that a huge accumulation of wastes remains a major invitation to flood.
But the opposition party in the state blamed governor Aregbesola for the loss of lives and properties insisting that the governor must explain what he did with the ecological funds given to the state.