Herculean Tasks Before Aregbesola’s Successor
Nigeria News takes a look at the tasks before whosoever will take over from Rauf Aregbesola as Osun State Governor.
No doubt, Osun is one of the poor states in Nigeria. It depends mainly on taxes and agriculture to generate revenue. Since the death of the Steel Rolling Mill and the Nigeria Machine Tools in Oshogbo, the state capital, no industry has been established to address the growing rate of unemployment in the state.
Of course, more tertiary institutions have been established to complement the educational resources of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the state government spends more of its income on these institutions than the income it gets from taxes.
In Osun, there is the Federal Polytechnic Ede; the Osun State Polytechnics Iree, the Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke; the Osun State College of Education, Ilesa, the Osun State College of Education, Ila Orangun; the Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu; the Polytechnic Ile-Ife; Bowen University, Iwo and the Redeemers University, Ede just to mention but a few.
Osun is one of the states with the highest numbers of tertiary institutions but with its Internally Generated Revenue as low as N1 billion monthly.
Its IGR was about N300 million in 2010 but was increased to about N700 million within two years. As at today, following the diversification of its economy to telecommunication, solid minerals exploration and energy generation, the state is generating over N1 billion monthly as IGR.
Yet the state government could not pay workers’ salaries. For about three years, the civil servants were put on half salary by Governor Rauf Aregbesola who also claimed to have put himself and aides on half salaries.
However, the government was able to build some infrastructures despite the low income. The administration builds new secondary schools and rehabilitated many of the old ones.
Aregbesola has done well in building some quality structures for secondary schools across the state, irrespective of the low income. The state got as low as N800 million federal allocation two years ago because it had taken an external loan that the Federal Government had to deduct.
However, the future does not look rosy for Osun after the administration of Aregbesola because of the mountain of local and foreign debts.
Osun is in about N143.6 billion debt, greater than the annual budgets of some states in the country. There is another N11.4 billion Sukuk interest-free loan that the state is expected to pay. The state Governor, Aregbesola said that these debts would be defrayed in 2019.
It is obvious that Aregbesola’s administration will not pay these debts but his successor. The governor once said that he does not receive salary and that Permanent Secretary in the state receives a bigger salary than the deputy governor.
This is what Aregbesola’s successor will battle with; the welfare of the workers, the payment of debts, which will definitely extend to 2019 if at all the next administration has a good plan to erase the debts.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the state Accountant General Mr Alaba Kolawole resigned his appointment when another N16 billion was secretly released by the Federal Government to the state as it prepares to hold a governorship election on September 22.