Osun’s debt profile and Justice Oloyede
Shortly after World Bank granted Osun State $20 million loan for health sector, Justice Oloyede granted interview to Punch Newspaper ignorantly on Osun debt. Justice Oloyede was wrong and purblind to the reality when she made an ignorant statement on pages 32-33 of Punch Newspaper of December 22, 2018 because she has poor understanding of Osun debt profile, Nigeria debt to GDP and its threshold. Justice Oloyede claimed that Osun is facing huge debt burden and World Bank has found Osun worthy to be granted loan. I have observed with concern the negative statements from Oloyede and out of her insanity she wrote an illegal petition to impeach former Governor Aregbesola. Out of her insanity she joined some pensioners to erect IDP Camp in Osogbo. Out of her insanity she granted interview blindly on Osun debt profile and out of frustration she joined Osun 2018 governorship race.
Justice Olamide Falahanmi Oloyede should direct Osun debt to relevant government agency rather than co-opting the instrumentality of the media to conduct a media trial that relies on pedestrian, half-baked and inaccurate allegations devoid of factual evidence on Osun debt profile under the former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola. I trust that in this era of fake news, our media houses like Punch Newspaper and journalists would continue to uphold the standards of their profession by verifying publications at all times with authentic and reliable sources of Osun debt before publication.
Oloyede lacks credibility and morality to discuss Osun’s debt profile because she is not sane in all ramifications and she was indicted and convicted by National Judicial Council. She lacks morality and credibility because NJC dismissed her but later converted it to compulsory retirement to save her from public disgrace. By blackmailing the governor in 2015 she was sanctioned for her impeachment petition that sacked her as a judge. Under Justice Oloyede, personal agenda seem to have outplayed the constitutional scheme.
Constructive criticism took a back seat to criticism with an agenda. The judiciary, which is armed with the power of judicial review of the actions of the Legislature and Executive, was under tremendous stress. And this stress was drastically affecting the independence of the judiciary in Osun. Justice Oloyede today has a documented history of writing hypocritical petition and she is intellectually dishonest against the rule of law when she wrote an impeachment petition against Aregbesola. She wrote a petition out of ignorance and hatred for the governor. As a running mate to one of the governorship candidates in 2018, she has used the judiciary to censor the opposition while she was a judge. As a judge she lost sight of her judicial obligations and used her position to promote the hatred of the governor among the people of Osun State. The former High Court Judge wanted to use backdoor plan to insult the personality of the former governor.
The petition to impeach Aregbesola reflected how Oloyede had become tools to serve opposition interests. It is difficult to see how any proceedings can be seen as independent of vested interests. The atmosphere of intimidation by Osun High Court judge had already sparked national and international alarm, how will Justice Oloyede comments objectively on Osun debt since she was disgraced out of office? The Punch Newspaper has made a mistake by granting interview to the retired judge of the Osun State Judiciary because she is ignorant and has a poor knowledge of Osun debt profile. Osun debt to GDP ratio is at 21 percent, which is “conservative, by global standards.”
Aregbesola’s administration in Osun has been vindicated on the correct position of the state’s debt profile in 2017 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Debt Management Office (DMO), which put the state’s total debt at N143bn, as against the over N450bn peddled by Justice Oloyede, opposition elements, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Oloyede was eased out of the bench following her eventual recommendation for a compulsory retirement by the National Judicial Council over the petition. Oloyede is seen in many quarters as a puppet and corruptible individual whose candidature will be questioned by the people of Osun State.
Justice Oloyede is ignorant of the fact that on the heels of concluding two terms as Aregbesola got accolades not from Nigerian institutions or from social media, but from reputable international organisations which includes the World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF and African Development Bank. The African Development Bank (AfDB) hailed the Aregbesola administration in Osun State for economically developing the state through the implementation of its people-oriented policies and programmes and scored the state high on its social investment programmes. He was said to have shown creativity, flexibility in human-centric vision of the future of work that recognises people’s knowledge, talents, creativity and skills as key drivers of a prosperous and inclusive economy.
UNICEF had led top government officials drawn from 17 states in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria to Osun for a four-day learning tour of its various social investment programmes and building human capital. Consequently, Osun developmental programmes have also impacted on the socio-economic profile of the state as reported by reputable institutions. In 2015, The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) rated Osun second highest in Human Development Index among the 36 states in the country. Policies by the government of the State of Osun to revamp the economy and banish poverty, in line with its six point integral action plan, is yielding fruits with the latest report of the United Nations Development Programme. UNDP, with verifiable facts from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), placing Osun as the state with lowest poverty rate.
The World Bank also commended his government over the execution of projects of Osun Rural Access & Mobility Project which are World Bank and French Development Agency assisted Projects. It is therefore a cause for great embarrassment and shame that a Judge of the High Court is ignorant of the fact that she cannot initiate impeachment proceedings against the governor. This raises a question whether she is fit to comment on Osun debt. From what has been stated above, it is quite obvious that the Osun State House of Assembly acted in gross error in entertaining Justice Oloyede’s petition. That petition was an illegal document which should have been disregarded with contempt by the House.
Even more fundamental is the question whether a judicial officer should be publicly engaged in a bitter public confrontation with any other Arm of Government, particularly the Executive Arm of Government headed by the target of her tirade, the governor, who appointed her into office. Specifically, is a Judge permitted to make public political comments and engage in public diatribes against the government and the governor of the state in which he or she is serving? The code of conduct for Judicial Officers is replete with provisions requiring a Judicial Officer to act with dignity, decorum and a high standard of conduct. The preamble of the code, for example, provides that a Judicial Officer should actively participate in establishing, maintaining, enforcing and himself observing a high standard of conduct so that the integrity and respect for the independence of the Judiciary may be preserved.
Donald wrote from Osogbo.