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Season of reversals in Osun as Adetola tampers with predecessor’s blueprint

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Governor Oyetola. Photo: TWITTER/GBOYEGAOYETOLA

Top on the reasons that Governor Gboyega Oyetola adduced while contesting for Osun State’s governorship seat was to sustain the legacies of his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, who is now the Minister of Interior. Oyetola, who was the Chief of Staff to Aregbesola throughout his two terms in office, said during governorship campaigns in 2018 that he joined the race because he wouldn’t want the “good works” of Aregbesola, his former boss, to be destroyed by the opposition party.

Oyetola, while playing host to forum of senior special assistants to former Governor Aregbesola at his campaign office, Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo, few weeks before the September 2018 election, had claimed that Aregbesola’s administration recorded huge successes in every aspect of life that he would not allow the opposition to bastardise.

After Oyetola was sworn in as Osun governor on November 27, 2018, he adopted the no-commissioner governance style of his predecessor. Like Aregbesola, Oyetola only appointed some supervisors for ministries he considered very important. Not until after ten months, Oyetola refused to appoint commissioners as the Constitution provides. Aregbesola had also during his second term in office refused to appoint commissioners for more than a year due to what he tagged financial constraints.

Oyetola also fulfilled his pledge of building on Aregbesola’s legacies by mobilising contactors back to sites of some abandoned road construction projects. Current Commissioner for Works and Transport in the state, Hon Remi Omowaiye recently disclosed that Oyetola’s administration paid contractors N3b for them to return to sites to finish the road construction Aregbesola embarked upon.

But checks by The Guardian have revealed that Oyetola has found some other policies, programmes, administrative styles and “good works” of his predecessor distasteful, hence their changes and abolition.

Recently, the Governor abolished a good number of policies instituted by his predecessor in the education sector. Oyetola reversed the extant 4-5-3-4 policy to the original 6-3-3-4 system and obliterated a single uniform regime. The state government also asked every school to return to its old established and recognised ways of operation.

The State Executive Council observed that the Omoluabi Education Services Limited, established by Aregbesola’s administration, was not performing the duties, roles and obligations expected and it was approved that its operations be terminated since it has not been fulfilling the mandates for which it was established. 

Other decisions reached by the Council were the reversal of schools to their former status, whereby only single-sex identified with those school names should be admitted while students already affected by the name change should be issued letter of attestation by the Ministry of Education and male students who are currently in SS1 and SS2 in schools established for female learners only should be relocated immediately and vice-versa.

The change of school names was also reversed, among other policies in the education sector. Meanwhile, only Opon-Imo, otherwise known as tablet of knowledge was retained with a promise that it would be restructured to serve the purpose it was meant for.

Although, Oyetola had attributed the reversal of these policies to yearnings of Osun residents and recommendations by the Education Panel set up by the Governor to review some of the practices and policies, there are other styles and policies that Oyetola has changed without popular demand.

Governor Oyetola had since stopped patronising political thugs, under the name: “State Boys” that Aregbesola openly paraded at public functions during his administration. It was gathered that these thugs got disgruntled upon Oyetola’s resumption of office because he failed to recognise nor spend money on them.

Oyetola also changed Aregbesola’s policy of half salary payment. This policy stopped upon inception of Oyetola’s administration. Oyetola has been paying workers full salaries. Also, Oyetola has discarded the O’ Calisthenics programme that Aregbesola’s administration implemented for students. Since he resumed office in 2018, no such programme had been held in the state.

Investigation revealed that Oyetola, unlike before, has been cutting cost of governance. Aregbesola would often spend heavily to publicise most of his programmes and projects but Oyetola has not toed same step. Also, the amount that Oyetola has spent to construct roads is less than what obtained during the administration of Aregbesola.

Oyetola also changed the weekly State Executive Council meeting from Wednesday to Monday and an insider within his cabinet, who did not want to be named, informed The Guardian that Oyetola also cut down the refreshment cost for each cabinet member at every meeting to N2, 800 from N10, 000 that was obtainable. In the same vein, Oyetola slashed the largesse for party leaders and members. It was gathered that during Aregbesola’s administration, party leaders and members received some stipends and allowances whenever they met from the state level down to ward level but since the inception of Oyetola, members now share biscuits during meeting.

Meanwhile, there have been insinuations in some quarters that Oyetola was abolishing Aregbesola’s policies because of an alleged frosty relationship over the control of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the state. Both Oyetola and his predecessor had severally denied any love lost between them. Corroborating this claim, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Ismail Omipidan, noted that speculations about reversals and abolition of Aregbesola’s policies being a jab at the former administration were not correct. 

Omipidan, while speaking at a press conference recently argued that the new policies are the Oyetola-led government’s responses to the yearnings of the people. More so, Governor Oyetola while speaking at a Civic Engagement Programme tagged “Apero” in Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state, recently, said that he avoids wastefulness to be able to end regime of half salary payment in the state.

Osun APC is now being viewed as an unserious party – Aregbesola’s loyalist
SPEAKING through a statement, a diehard Aregbesola loyalist and strong member of the APC, Adeboye Adebayo expressed displeasure at the reversal of Aregbesola’s policies by Oyetola and described Oyetola’s actions as shooting his party in the leg.

He said, “this singular action (reversal of education policies) of our current administration for whatever reasons, the political watchers and elites will be viewing our party, APC, as an unserious party, an inconsistent party, an uncoordinated party and indeed a party that was not ready for governance and it is very sad, that such great polarisation of our party is happening under our government led by a seasoned and experienced administrator of repute (Oyetola).

“Despite rancour that happened between former governors Fashola and Ambode, the latter did not reverse any of their former’s pronounced policies. Also with unceremonious ousting of Ambode, Babajide Sanwoolu did not deem it fit to overturn any of its known policies, because all policies & programmes are seeing as the party’s. The waste management, you may want to mention was not overturned as policy, rather, players implementing it were changed and not for the yearnings of the people of Lagos State but also the party stakeholders.

“When I see APC members arguing for or against the Education policies and programmes of the government of All Progressives Congress in public, I weep bitterly inside of me that our party, the party that we all suffered for has been shot in the leg.”

Aregbesola Engaged In Policy Summersault – PDP
Reacting, the major opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party has said the decision of Governor Oyetola to abolish some policies did not elicit cheer because it was already overdue.

In a telephone chat with The Guardian, PDP’s State Secretary, Prince Bola Ajao described Aregbesola’s policies as characterized by summersaults, which the PDP condemned at various fora.

Ajao claimed that Aregbesola and Oyetola, the then Chief of Staff turned deaf ears to the condemnations from different quarters and stakeholders and proceeded with the policies.

He said since the state government had finally “harkened to the voice of reason and wisdom of the PDP, “education in the state may be returned to its past glory in Osun.

“We (PDP) have always maintained our position that this is a case of policy summersault. But since they have harkened to the voice of reason and wisdom, education may now be salvaged in the state because nothing has been moving in this sector since these unthinkable policies were made by Aregbesola,” Ajao said.


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