It is not a dancing matter, as Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke becomes the executive governor of Osun State today after defeating former Governor Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola. His campaign and victory at the polls were spiced with his energetic dancing steps, but as he gets down to governance, there are landmines to clear, analysts opine.
Adeleke had polled a total of 403,371 votes during the July 16 election to emerge the winner at the last off-cycle poll before the 2023 general elections.
Adeleke, who came to political limelight after replacing his brother and former governor of Osun State, Isiaka Adeleke, as the member representing Osun West senatorial district in 2017, had lost the 2018 governorship election to Oyetola but returned four years later to unseat his rival, who garnered 375,027 votes.
However, Adeleke and his supporters have accused Oyetola of planting landmines to disrupt the administration of the incoming government. They lamented that after losing the election, Oyetola embarked on massive recruitment of teachers, doctors and others in order to make it difficult for the state to pay salaries. It was gathered that at least 1,500 teachers have been appointed within the period while the government also promoted civil servants.
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Barrister Kolapo Alimi, a two-term commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state under the administration of Rauf Aregbesola, said it was disheartening that a government that failed to employ teachers since 2018 employed 2,500 in 2022 alone.
He alleged that Oyetola employed 1,000 teachers in the build-up to the July poll and another 1,500 teachers, as well as doctors, after losing the poll.
“After losing the election, he employed 1,500 teachers, even though the job was advertised in 2020. He didn’t employ anybody then until days before the election when he employed 1,000 teachers and after the election, he employed another 1,500. And then, he employed doctors, and nurses.
“He carried out massive employment to make it difficult for the incoming administration to pay salaries. Promotion of civil servants that he had failed to do for long, he now did after losing the election,” he said.
Alimi, who was one of Aregbesola’s loyalists who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following the feud between Oyetola and the Minister of Interior, said it was morally wrong for an outgoing government to appoint 30 permanent secretaries less than 72 hours to the end of the administration.
“How can somebody who has lost an election and has not appointed permanent secretaries for almost four years, now appoint 30 less than 24 hours to his exit?
“In the first place, Osun does not have up to 30 ministries so there was no need to appoint 30 permanent secretaries. At the same time, it is morally wrong to appoint permanent secretaries for the incoming administration,” he added.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that Oyetola on Thursday appointed 30 civil servants as permanent secretaries. The names of those appointed were contained in a statement signed by the Head of Service, Dr Festus Oyebade.
Adeleke, in a statement signed by his spokesman, Olawale Rasheed, warned those appointed against taking up the position.
“We want to put on record that those who accept the appointments should be ready to leave the service whether or not their service tenure has reached statutory age.
“The occupants will be treated as political appointees who will automatically follow the outgoing governor out of public service from November 28,” he said.
He further warned that those who still wanted to remain in the service of the state government, should decline what he termed a ‘Greek gift’ from the outgoing governor.
Oyetola on Thursday night also signed the state’s 2023 Appropriation Bill. The 2023 budget estimate of N138 billion, tagged “Budget of Consolidation,” was passed by the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
The state’s 2022 budget was signed on December 29, 2022.
Alimi, who was the Deputy Director-General of the Adeleke Campaign Organisation, said other landmines planted by the Oyetola government included the last-minute award of contracts, the appointment of traditional rulers, as well as the conduct of local government elections.
“After losing the election, he organised local government election in violation of the electoral act. Thank God the court has nullified it, but the whopping N1.5bn used in conducting it has gone down the drain.
“He also awarded several contracts using the alternative funding approach, where the state has agreements with the contractors to borrow money to do the projects. He has done a lot, creating obstacles, setting landmines.
“He appointed traditional rulers not in line with the law, thereby setting many communities on fire. An example is the appointment of APC chairman, Famodu, as the new Owa of Igbajo in Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State.
“How can a well-known politician who has been partisan be respected as a traditional ruler? He has been APC chairman for almost six years.
He is also promoting so many traditional rulers to the traditional council. Today (Friday), he just announced the promotion of some traditional rulers to the council. So many landmines to ensure the incoming government does not succeed,” he said.
He, however, noted that despite the landmines, the Adeleke government will deliver dividends of democracy to the people as some of the last-minute policies will be reviewed.
“Not minding the landmines set, the incoming administration has promised a holistic review of all these policies. Those done in line with the law can stay, but those done with malice and not in the interest of the people might be reconsidered,” Alimi, who is also a member of the inauguration committee for Adeleke as governor, noted.
We’ve not acted outside the law – Oyetola
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information in Oyetola’s administration, Funke Egbemode, said it was laughable that the incoming administration was complaining instead of getting ready to work.
She maintained that the outgoing government didn’t do anything outside the confines of the law, as the recruitments, appointments and promotions made were for the welfare of the people.
“The government has done nothing outside what it should do. We have not stepped out of the law by providing welfare to the people. How can they be unhappy that we are providing jobs to people, that we are promoting people? They should stop complaining and focus on the task ahead.
“We are not building landmines for them. It is laughable that they think we are planting landmines for them,” she said.
Egbemode said the government employed teachers because some schools in the state were without English and Mathematics teachers, urging the Adeleke administration to continue from where Oyetola’s government stopped.
While noting that the outgoing government could not stop Adeleke’s government from reviewing policies, she advised the incoming governor not to tamper with policies targeted at the welfare of the people.
“Do you know how many completed projects the government can’t commission before the end of the term? They should continue from where we stopped. We didn’t set any landmines for them.
“The civil servants promoted as permanent secretaries are from Osun, they are not from other states. They were promoted in accordance with the civil service rule. Shouldn’t they be promoted?” she queried.
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Rasheed, in an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, said the incoming governor would order a review of all the controversial decisions in line with the public service regulations and applicable laws.
He, however, noted that such reviews would protect the interests of public servants and the citizenry.
He said the government will not allow the policies of the outgoing government to constitute a distraction from the proper governance of the state, noting that Governor Adeleke will hit the ground running without distractions in order to deliver his five-point agenda.
“His excellency has taken judicious note of all the last-minute development under his predecessor. The new governor is a man of due process. So, he is going to use public service regulations and extant laws to address some of the issues.
“The service rules provide for all manner of situations and what to do in cases of perceived infractions or violations of the rules
“Let me just add here that the first item on His Excellency’s agenda is workers’ welfare. Hence his decisions on those inherited issues will flow from the protection of the rights of civil servants, public service integrity and overall public interest.
“Necessary directives will be issued as quickly as possible,” he said.