I Would Have Been A Fuji Musician If Not For Education – Aregbesola | Independent Newspapers Limited
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I Would Have Been A Fuji Musician If Not For Education – Aregbesola

Posted: Jul 15, 2016 at 3:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, will clock two years in office in few months time for his second and final term as Governor of Osun State. Aregbesola, who fielded questions from journalists in the state, defended the policies and programmes of his administration. He also speaks on the current economic challenges and others sundry issues. GBENGA FATUROTI brings the excerpts:


Almost two years into your second term in office, you have not constituted your cabinet, what is the reason?

I have not constituted members of my cabinet because I don’t have the means. I use to say it; you people do not believe it. The state provided accommodation for me; the state fuels my vehicle, takes care of the security for me but I have not taken salary from the day I became the governor and I don’t intend to take it. To run executive council members is a major burden that the state cannot bear now. I would rather use my resources for construction of projects and revamping the state economy. If the situation improves and I have enough resources, I will constitute my cabinet but as to this particular time, let us leave that to God. The monthly salaries of 26 lawmakers and the state executive members cost over N100 million and I can’t afford it for now.

Why do you always recite Quran before speaking at every function; are you fundamentalist?

It took me time to be religious. I fought with faith since when I had contact with Maxism. Fortunately for me, I met a lady that succeeded in convincing me to be faithful and have belief in God. Since then, I resolve to be passionate and very committed. Part of my agreement with God is that, as I develop in life and faith, I will not shy away from serving and adoring him by reciting Quran. It doesn’t have to do with extremism, fundamentalism of fanaticism. I hardly encourage anybody to pray with me so as not to infringe in anyway, the right of others.

Why do you always love to sing at campaign and public event?

If I had not gone to school, I would have been a Fuji Musician. What we did in this state is like taking a live cow from outside through the window into the house.

You alleged that some media houses were against your administration, could you explain further?

I am happy that our state continues to survive in spite of the mischievous, desperate and malicious contents in some sections of the media against our government. Unfortunately, media in recent times have portrayed our government as one of the worst in the country whereas the reverse is the case.

Sunday Times in those days sold 500,000 copies per edition in this country up until 1975 and Sunday Times was so popular that whoever was literate in Nigeria will want to read it either by borrowing it, buying it or going to the library. The circulation of all Nigeria newspapers today is less than 300,000, so it should therefore interest us how a nation with increased population generally, have almost ten time of graduates that we had in 1975 now has the circulation figures we now have.  It is therefore important for us to interrogate the decline in readership.

If you ask me, closely watching the economy, the decline is as a result of credibility gap in our media publications. I want to appeal to our media people to support the course of disseminating reliable, accurate, informative and entertaining news. Reports in newspapers have erroneously portrayed us as a famished state. About this time last year, it was as if heaven will fall. It was as if the entire world was collapsing on our state. What churches do normally became an opportunity to portray us as famine-stricken state. One person even went to the extent of donating his wardrobe allowance.

Everything was made to look as if people are dying on the streets here. Recently, I still read in our papers that we are owing mountains of salaries, while the reverse is actually the case. I have decided to ignore such tantrums. Available records have shown that there is no iota of doubt in the fact that some media practitioners have demonstrated their hatred to us through their adamant disposition to falsehood, baseless and unfounded claims against our noble political voyage.

I wonder why they found it difficult to display high sense of commitment to journalistic ethics and media professional code of conduct despite the conspicuous realities. The pertinent question is that whether or not the media assess itself, facts must always be disseminated and reported, and it is on the basis of this we have always advised the media experts to support the dissemination of reliable, accurate, objective, authentic, impersonal, dis-sensational and factual news.

No amount of propaganda and condemnation would dissuade us from attaining economic prosperity just as we are determined to complete all the ongoing projects before the end of our tenure here. I am not quarreling with any paper. I only plead for accurate reporting of events. To those of you who are critical but factual, it is your hard stance that has kept us on our toes. I want to appeal to the media to be factual in their reports.

Some argued that some religion sentiment was attached to the unification of public school uniforms in the state, which has generated crisis, what is your reaction to that?

No religion intention is attached to the same uniform that our school children wear. In Benin Republic, Brazil, Cuba, they wear the same uniform in their primary and secondary schools and this has not generated any noise. Why people now read meanings to it in Osun? Nobody can deny that the industrial sewing of the uniform made is beautiful, cheaper and decent. We decided not to put badge on our school children’s uniform because it is no longer in vogue. If the Identity card projects for schools had succeeded, you would not talk of badge. Badge is analogous and we are in digital world. The I.D card we have designed for our students will contain their Blood group, genotype and every other information about the bearer and we will launch that before the end of this year.

What is your take on the current economic crisis the nation is battling with?


What we experience in Nigeria today is due to the inexplicable theft of 400, 000 barrel of oil everyday during the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP. It is disheartening to know that from June 2013 till when the regime left in May, 2015, that theft amounted to about 19 per cent of the Nigerian common wealth. If we calculate what the nation is losing by 100 dollars, Nigeria loses 40 million dollars daily to oil theft.

Nobody has ever asked us how we are managing to pay salaries since we started getting less than 200 million as allocation since September 2015. A sum of N1.7 billion is spent on workers’ salaries every month. Even the civil war was not as biting as what we are facing in Nigeria now. Because they did not declare economic state of emergency in Nigeria does not mean that Nigeria is not near to that.

What is the government’s plan to remedy the poor performance of Osun students in external examinations?

Our performance is said to be 21 per cent and I want to say that our students will soon be in sensation before getting to SS3. The commitment of teachers has changed in Osun owing to the new state of the art schools that our government has built. Our teachers now say they feel like kings. The appearance of the old schools is changing through renovation. We are ensuring that trees are planted and we are also increasing the landscape.

How has the state been able to mobilise contractors to sites despite the current economic crunch?

I will tell Nigerians how I got money to mobilise contractors to site and how I was able to solve some financial problems in the state when I would be marking the second anniversary of my second tenure in November 27, 2016. Some insinuated that I used local government allocations. The truth is that, there is no tier or arm of government that is getting anything that could pay salaries.

Your relationship with Governor Fayose, how was it?

Fayose has been my friend since 2009 during the election that produced Fayemi. Although we are not in the same political, he remains my friend.

What is the state of work at the proposed construction of airport in the state?

The Airport is part of the projects that will be completed before my tenure expires. We are negotiating with people that want to fund it. By the grace of God, we look forward to completing if before our tenure ends.