YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD WATCH OUT AND VOTE FOR IDEAS AT THE SEPTEMBER 22 GOVERNORSHIP POLLS IN OSUN
Quoting one of Rauf Aregbesola’s unsound reasons for mismanaging Osun finances and bringing many households to economic disgrace, Sun Newspaper of 13th May, 2018 wrote: “The reason we borrowed for infrastructural development and not for investment is simple. In a liberal economy like ours, government has no business doing business. The responsibility is to provide an enabling environment for business to thrive.” In the same publication, the government has admitted that the debt of the state stood at a staggering N143.6 billion. It is estimated that the state government could continue paying this debt till 2040. And the immediate consequence of this indebtedness to local and international financial institutions is the non payment of workers the full value of their labour, which government’s spin-doctors want us to forget.
In the first place, infrastructural development is a form of investment. But in the hands of a corrupt and elitist regime like Aregbesola’s, it becomes a source of sorrow and tears for the masses. Constructing schools and roads should boost a local economy if much of the funds employed to construct them are retained within such local economy. Under Aregbesola’s government, it went into the pockets of the Lagos “contractors”, some of whom became qualified because of their financial contributions towards Aregbesola’s campaign and election petition litigations. Most of the road projects at the average cost of N1 billion per kilometre were over-inflated by at least times three of their actual costs – the World Bank had estimated that a kilometre of road project anywhere in Africa should cost N238 million! It is this brazen corruption and breach of public trust that created the brutish situation, where the state spends billions on this and that, and the common man could hardly feed himself and his family.
Secondly taking money out of the accounts of a state to construct roads or build schools are business transactions. For Aregbesola to around and declare that government has no business with business is a deep contradiction that borders on deceit – which is what the APC government does best, side by side with buck-shifting and not taking responsibility. By nature, politics is closely tied to economics that both actualise each other. Therefore any government that has no business with business does not have any business being in government in the first instance.
Meanwhile the Osun State ministry of works laid redundant, reduced to consultancy firm, while Aregbesola was busy incurring huge debts to finance his Lagos benefactors in the name of bogus road or airport projects. If his government has embraced a people centred politics, it would have equipped the Osun ministry of works, fully employ more skilled and unskilled workers (not the O-yes slave-labourers whose poverty were exploited and placed on miserable wages by a government that should be upholding the minimum wage law) and consequently retain a chunk of the state’s resources in the hands of Osun people.
Some of these projects too were carried out in order to create a source of profit for Lagos’s contractors, and not to actually edify the human beings that would use them in Osun. This is why we today have colorful schools dotting Osogbo and other strategic cities in Osun while the teachers that would teach in such schools are owed arrears of salaries going back to several months. What do you expect them to teach under such traumatic experience of not knowing what your family would eat the next day? And it should be added that they were designed as propaganda materials to draw attention away from the human suffering and historic corruption being perpetrated by the Aregbesola’s government. Tune to OSBC and you would be shocked the desperate attempt of APC to hoodwink the Osun electorate.
On September 22, we have an opportunity in Osun to unite as a people and vote in a candidate with ideas and programmes of prosperity for the households in Osun, as against the other candidates who are complicit in the ruination of Osun since 1999. This is among the reasons why the Socialist Party of Nigeria is contesting in the Osun 2018 election. We shall abolish the contract system of implementing government’s programmes, and employ the workers in the state (fully paid for their labour) to carry out infrastructural development, which we believe is an investment that must be made to improve the lives of people and for the future. The implication of this would be that more people shall be employed fully into the state’s civil service, while the cost of these projects would have been drastically reduced. The other opposition parties for example are saying that they would replace the contractors from Lagos with Osun contractors. This is actually changing the name of a problem without removing it. The fact that a contractor is an indigene of Osun does not stop them from colluding with government officials to inflate the cost of projects, or even stack profits away in tax Haven abroad.
Alfred Adegoke, the governorship candidate of the Socialist Party of Nigeria in the Osun 2018 election has sworn to a court affidavit that he shall draw the same salary as average professionals in the Osun State civil service. These principles of governance are not just coming from out of nowhere as with our colleagues in the other opposition parties that promise heaven on Earth only every four years. Alfred Adegoke has been a foremost activist from his Station Road Osogbo Chambers, campaigning for payment of workers and pensioners, while representing victimised activists in court without charging for his services. In June 2015, he was arrested and humiliated by DSS operatives for issuing press statements on behalf of workers; but that did not cow him. He is now seeking to be the Governor of Osun State in order to make development of the state people-driven and people-centred. We know what we don’t want, we only need to get straight the policies we want as a united people!