By Favour Afolabi
I know that typically, others would write rejoinders with the intro “I would not have done this if not for…” but I be Ijesha boy and agidi runs in my blood – so I can as well do this re-rejoinders for another 10-times back to back and I still won’t be tired of doing so – I will therefore run through the issues Gbenga raised under the 10 following points:
- It was never and is not and should not be the responsibility of the Federal Government of Nigeria [FGN] to teach or advise or suggest to the States/LGA’s on how “to raise Internally Generated Revenue [IGR]” – that should be the minimal responsible thing for any incumbent Governor to do – because when he does so, the funds remains within the coffers of his own government and is used to run the state better and better the lot of the people – suggesting that “States should be advised by FGN to generate IGR is like advising parents to raise their kids well to be responsible citizens of their communities and to the world at large.”
Was the FGN that taught Lagos State Government [LASG] how to raise IGR when Aregbesola was a Commissioner in the state overseeing the most lucrative Ministry of Works there? To the point that it was able to sustain the state for a while as the then civilian dictator President Obasanjo held back allocations due to the state for some months?
- It is further preposterous to suggest that “the FGN failed in diversifying the economy” – first, that is completely vague statement that means nothing – this issue of diversifying the economy has long been rhetoric that our politicians, economist, financial scientists, public commentators, elites and others use from time to time – and to me, it means nothing but nothing!
Every state of Nigeria has resources it can tap into on its own soil – aside the Human Resource available to it – and aside the Minerals mining sector where the Federal Government remains the one issuing licenses to manage, Agriculture remains the biggest untapped resource in most states in Nigeria – of which my own Osun is one [perhaps Mr. Olorunpomi, and his client, Aregbesola do not know that I am from Ile Onigbo of Otan Ayegbaju in Boluwaduro Local Government Area?] What other economy does Osun as a state need to tap into other than Agriculture? Or does Olorunpomi/Aregbesola also want to complain that “The former Agriculture Minister under President Jonathan didn’t provide enough incentives to tap into Agriculture?”
- This also brings to the fore another subject matter – how come the states with a lot of minerals on their soils hardly ever lobby the FGN enough for the sector to be opened up and better liberalized rather always choosing to fight/kill over the Oil Minerals from only a few states? Is Osun state led by Aregbesola not ashamed that rather than also contribute to the national coffers – to a central pool where much can be shared from, it, along with other State/Governors routinely run to Abuja every end of the month with a bowl in its hands like a beggar to beg for resources largely being pulled from the environs of less than a third of all the 36 states? Has Aregbesola for all his fake activism plus Yoruba parapoism led any conversation on fiscal federalism – regarding how the states should generate their own incomes and largely keep such proceeds for the betterment of the states?
- Then it gets worse – it is nothing but lies for Gbenga to suggest that “The Federal Government did not warn the States/LGAs of the exact shape of the nation’s finances” – what does that mean exactly? Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala shouted herself hoarse on this – she used every opportunity possible to advise the Governors to prioritize paying salaries rather than doing other things while some of these Governors – chief of which was Rauf Aregbesola chose to do differently – the same Aregbesola was aware of the falling oil prices as much as any 10 year old boy a High Student was aware of – even as he raised bonds to assuage those lower incomes from the federal coffers – so how then an Gbenga suggest “the State/Governor were not adequately informed of the nation’s dwindling income levels?”
- I have zero interest in the local politics of Osun – because I have never vied for office there in the past neither have I worked for the victory of anyone in the elections there – so Gbenga’s reference to certain political figures means nothing to me – and I am not the one causing disharmony in the state – if Aregbesola was not owing 7 months salaries and 8 months pension payments, Osun would have been what it always was – “a largely peaceful state whose name is hardly ever repeated in the news more than once a week – Gbenga’s Hero – Aregbesola is the one that gave Osun this “bad reputation of being mocked in the public every day” – not me.
- I will also choose not to bother responding to the Copy and Paste sessions sponsored by Olorunpomi in his article – all those numbers/indices suggesting “Osogbo is the next New York” is no relevance here – because if those numbers were real, this embarrassing situation would not have been the case – for example, how do you tell me that “Osun is the 7th largest economy in Nigeria” yet it’s staffers are now being fed by Charities and Churches in the State?
Then you wrote “The state, according to the National Bureau of Statistics index, now holds the lowest poverty index, and highest human development index in the country. Osun also holds one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.”
Remember, how folks like you used phrases like “Growth without Development” and “Voodoo Numbers” to described the advances that were recorded under President Jonathan? Well, this would apparently be a good time to apply such constructions to Osun under Aregbesola – and the evidence for that is the same subject debate we are currently having.
- You also wrote this:
“The conversation in Osun, isn’t that Ogbeni hasn’t tried, but that perhaps he tried too much. This is a man whose generosity to others and frugality to self is an open secret.”
Seriously, can you be more ridiculous? Who are the people who having these debates? Isn’t Osun largely a civil-servant oriented state? Na the same people wey Ogbeni dey owe dey praise am to be the next MKO?
- Then to these never-ending story about “How Osun receives lesser allocations to the monthly allocations it gets” – my questions here are “How come the same state never owed salaries despite this so-called reality under the governments before Aregbesola/ACN/APC?” How come the state didn’t have this problem under the PDP-led government under Oyinlola who interestingly is now a member of the APC? And, please, whose fault is it that the state maintains an unsustainable wage bill? Is it mine or that of Jonathan or Okonjo-Iweala or even Buhari? Who should take the blame for this exactly? Who is the Chief Executive Office of the State of Osun on whose table the buck stops? If you choose as a governor to maintain an over-bloated workforce for political reasons – seeing that the majority of those that would vote for you and your candidates reside in the civil service, who should take the knock when you such unreasonable extravagance becomes unsustainable?
- The real questions you have ran away from in your defense of your lord-master – how exactly did these backlogs get to 7 months salaries and 8 months pensions? And how will Aregbesola be able under any voodoonomics to pay up these outstanding amounts even by the end of this year? Would be praying for Oil to get to $200 per barrel? Or for NLNG to pay a $100bn dividend? Or what exactly? These are the answers you would not be able to provide me If I was on a Live TV Debate with you! The reason being that “there is no end in sight to the plight Aregbesola has placed the people of Osun in” – you know it; he knows; the people of the state know this – and the entire nation know this! You cannot give me a terminal date to the end of these sufferings.
- In closing, your allusion to “Favour and his friends want Osun up in flames” is nothing but crap talk – the people of Osun do not need me to remind them of their ongoing sufferings – and I am not the one that encouraged them to take to the streets to protest these sufferings – leading to Aregbe Boys beating them up – neither am I the one that advised a Judge in the state to seek for the state assembly to impeach your darling governor – and I am not the one that set up the investigative panel to treat this petition [even though we now know that Aregbesola’s associates in the House are the ones on the fake panel] – so don’t bother about me – I am the least of the worries your boss should have – you should worry more about coming up with more creative social media campaigns suggesting “The People of Osun Love Aregbesola even though he owes” – help him create for #MeetAregbesola events – do more articles in more media outlets posting “fake numbers” of what he has achieved in the state – when you are done with all of these, pay the people of Osun the 7 months salaries owed them and the 8 months pension backlog payments due them.
I look forward to reading your re-re-re-rejoinder; and would gladly respond to same – perhaps we can both look to create a Guinness Book of Records milestone in the process?
About Favour Afolabi:
He is a Nigerian who loves to debate political hypocrisies and stereotypes. He frequently shares his thoughts www.fbablogs.com and tweets via @favourafolabi. He makes a living running a real estate brokerage practice in Lagos.
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