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Osun Serving Judge Berates Aregbesola Over Unpaid Salaries

…Describes It As Fallout of Corruption, Incompetent Leadership

By Ayo Balogun – Osun, South Western Nigeria has been endorsed to be rich enough and capable of independently discharge and sustain her financial obligations, while the ongoing serving public servant salaries and retirees pension crises has been considered “inhuman treatment, unjust, unfair, repugnant to equity and good conscience” which cannot be justified under any excuse.

The raging crises has also been declared as a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of oaths of Office taken by the State’s Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his Deputy, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, as the as well as liable to their removal, in pursuant to Sections 188 and 189 of the Constitution.

A serving Jurist in the State of Osun, Justice Olamide Oloyede made these assertions, in a petition, (dated June 19, 2015)  on Aregbesola and his Deputy, to the Speaker of the State House Assembly, Rt. Hon. Najeem Salaam.

Consequently, Justice Oloyede established that the withholding or none payment of salaries and pensions for periods ranging from six to eleven months by Mr. Governor and his Deputy, it is inhuman treatment, unjust, unfair, repugnant to equity and good conscience cannot be justified under any excuse, (for even in war Government still give rations and Osun State is not known to be fighting any War) it amounts to a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of their oaths of Office and as such, they are liable to removal pursuant to Sections 188 and 189 of the Constitution.

The petitioner who gave background to his many unsuccessful attempts to meet with Governor Aregbesola, before writing contended that the excuse being offered that the wage bill of Osun rose from N1.4 billion (One Billion Four hundred thousand Naira) in November, 2010 to become N4Billion (Four Billion Naira by 2015), was not tenable as the Governor was voted to ensure workers were paid accordingly.

“If on Mr. Governor’s own admission, Prince Oyinlola handed over to him a wage bill of N1.4 Billion which it is presumed includes the salaries of Political Office holders at the relevant time, and the incumbent within a period of less than five (5) years, he allows the wage bill to escalate to the tune of N4 Billion without at the same ensuring the generation of commensurate revenue, then he is simply giving evidence of his incompetence and inability to discharge the functions of the office and should either resign or be removed.

“I do not see how the Civil servants or the Pensioners can be held responsible for that?

Had Mr. Governor increased salaries by a hundred percent, simple arithmetic shows that the wage bill would still not have gone beyond Two Billion Eight hundred Thousand Naira (N1.4Billion multiplied by 2 = N2.8 Billion only), and not N4 Billion as is being claimed by Mr. Governor and he most definitely did not increase salaries by 100% not even by 5% across the board” Justice Oloyede challenged.

Consequently, the petitioner argued that the guilt for the excessive wage bill must be placed squarely at the doorstep of Governors Arebgesola and his Deputy’s, maladministration over generosity with other people’s money, insisting that only the Governor deserved to take the blame for being “profligate” with the State’s money, entrusted to him to be administered and distributed as best as possible; to serve a common good and not for “pursuing selfish expansionist and hegemonistic ideas”.

Oloyede urged the embattled Governor to disclose to the people of Osun the actual and authentic number of Civil servants in the State prior to and post November 26, 2010 and their emoluments as opposed to the figures used for what he described as “political shenanigans”, in the same vein with the demand to know the number and wage bill of the Political Office holders as at the 25th day of November, 2010.

He further: “We are also demand the number of Civil servants and Political office holders directly recruited by Mr. Governor himself, to join ‘the bloated’ work force of Osun and their emoluments to and post November, 26, 2010.

“As this would apart from showing that Mr. Governor’s refusal to pay salaries and Pensions, is due to deep rooted resentment of civil servants and not just because of paucity of funds, (because Mr. Governor is fixated on the notion that the Civil servants and pensioners in the State did not contribute to his electoral victory,) the authentic figures will also show the monumental fraud being perpetrated on the State and will reveal the fact that Mr. Governor himself and no one else should be held responsible for any bloating that might have occurred in the States’ Civil Service.

“It will show that it is Mr. Governors, indiscriminate penchant for pacifying his political associates and cronies with juicy appointments and employments at the expense of Osun, is to be held responsible for the bloated wage bill. and that any attempt to blame the civil servants for this is simply passing the bulk, and is not related to or connected with any appreciable improvement in the wage bill or standard of living of the Civil servants”.

In the petition which all the State’s political office holders were copied, Justice Oloyede recalled that Aregbesola admitted the fact that over 5000 civil servants had retired since he took over the reins of affairs, and joined the Pensions wage bill, noting that he lacked the knowledge of why should be a problem for him, since pensions were always only a fraction of the pensioners salary whilst in office.

“Methinks it should have been just a question of taking what is left over from the salary and adding it to the pension’s bill. I bet he will still have surplus funds from what ought to have been paid as salary.

“Nor can he blame it on the institution of the “biggest welfare programme” in the Country, since his predecessor in office, equally ran a welfare scheme albeit on a more modest scale, provided Free Basic Education, and fed primary school pupils, kept the Schools opened, maintained Hospitals, built a Multi Campus University, built and maintained roads, and did managed to pay salaries and pensions! That particular scheme was known as welfare scheme was known as ‘Oyin Corp’ if my memory has not failed me” the Jurist berated the Governor.

Justice Oloyede also called on the State Governor to provide the actual number of the ‘O’Yes Corps and total their bill, adding that contrary to the initial given figure of 20,000 (twenty thousand) it was doubtful if not more than a handful of them remained in the scheme due to the slave wages that they were being paid and the meager allowance was never paid as at when due but in a staccato manner, whenever their services were required “to help win election!”

He recalled his earlier warning to the Governor that paying a Nigerian citizen any wage less than a reasonable minimum living wage as stated in Section 16 (2) was not merely unkind but also a breach of the directive contained in that paragraph of the Section that: “the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring, suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens”.

“Paying any Nigerian citizen below the national minimum wage which in any case is not a living wage (for how many persons can indeed live on #18,000) in today’s Nigeria) is really nothing to be proud of, and we should therefore stop celebrating mediocrity!

“Nor can Mr. Governor blame anyone for his moribund ‘O’ Uniform Scheme, which was roundly criticized by all the citizens but which Mr. Governor insisted on, due to an agenda which he is yet to disclose but which is clear to every person of an average intelligence” the Jurist held.

He asserted he was yet to make any sense in giving primary school pupils free meals especially when Government could not afford teacher’s pay, teacher’s development or simple chalks not to mention Instructional materials, asking that what should be the role of parents, just to contribute to the population without taking any responsibility?

He attacked it was palpable evidence of inertia in thinking, as the policy he offered breed indolence and parental indiscipline, while it would not augur well for the society, as well as another example of poor judgment just as he stated “was the ‘O’ Uniform and the Opon Imo” which he declared amounted to waste of our scarce and modest resources!

Similarly, Oloyede argued the policy to build a Cargo airport in Ido Osun be considered justified, not in the light of the fact that even the one sited in Ibadan, Oyo State a much bigger economy and commercial were currently underutilized and unviable, observing that both capitals (Oyo and Osun) were not distant from one another and in view of their historical antecedents.

He maintained that the Cargo Airport remains a heap ‘fenced laterite’, and only crows land in it, in spite of the huge sums expended on it, which he lamented could have been more sensibly applied towards dualizing the Gbongan/Ibadan road or the Osogbo/Ikirun/Ila-odo Kwara Boundry Road.

This he added, would make life easier for residents of Osun and eased transportation of goods as well as services.

Justice Oloyede accused that the Governor’s admittedly lofty promise of building befitting good network of roads to connect the State as well as connecting the States with other State capitals have remained pipe dreams.

“Only on bill-boards and on the internet have the roads been attractively but deceptively made available to residents and travelers. The expansion of the Gbongan/Osogbo Road which was commenced two years into the life of this administration remains in an unfinished and deplorable State, ditto the Ikirun/ Ila-Odo Kwara boundary road.

“The bridges on its Gbongan end, as well as its Osogbo end remains stumps” the petitioner exposed.

He also revealed that the much celebrated east/west Ring Road was also abandoned and if care is not taken, the gulley erosion appearing on its surface would soon become an ecological problem.

On health, Justice Oloyede alleged that the State’s hospitals have been closed for months, due to none payments of salaries of doctors and medical personnel in the States’ employment, despite the provisions of Section 17(3) (c) that: the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment are to be safeguarded and not endangered or abuse, regretting that instead of Obama-care, there is ‘O’ Death in the State.

While accusing the Governor of wasting the State’s money on the electioneering campaign, the petitioner urged the State’s Assembly to call on Governor Aregbesola to disclose his health care bill and those of his deputy and their family members.

Said Oloyede: “I declare without fear of any serious contradiction that Mr. Governors, act of literally ruling the State from Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Lagos is disloyal, neglectful and un-patriotic and is the direct cause of most of Osun’s problem”.

He accused that, Governor Aregbesola did not grow up in Osun, therefore, could not understand its people and their challenges as well as their hope and aspirations.

The petition indicated that the Governor chose to spend his time globetrotting, and was ruling and has continued to rule the State and its People at a distance like an emperor, like an army of occupation.

“Little wonder then, that most of his ideas were like buildings, carefully constructed in a far of place, but to be installed for use in a different land, where the land is uneven and cannot be brought in harmony with the constructed buildings. Though admittedly idealistic, they almost invariable proved unrealistic and unfeasible, when put into practice in Osun, though they would most likely have worked in Lagos. But Osun is not Lagos, a facts which he would long since have discovered for himself if he had only bothered to stay in the State long enough and that, the aspiration of the average Lagosians is not the aspiration of a typical Osun man.

“He has by his failure or willful refusal to understand the aspiration of Osun and her people exhibited a lack of concern for those he fought to rule over, and a lack of allegiance to Osun. His attitude shows a lack of concern for her and her people, hence his indifference to her fallen status” alleged the petition.

The petition demanded to know the figure expended by the Governor on behalf of the State, on advertisement and publicity of his ‘O scams’.

It also accused that Aregbesola willfully refused and failed to conduct local government elections and that gave him the opportunity to waste Local Government fund without let or hindrance.

All these acts Justice Oloyede were done in perverse disregard for the fact that Osun is a democracy and under Constitutional Rule, establishing that this was in defiance to Section (7) subsection (1) that states:”The system of local government by democratically elected Local Government Councils is under this Constitution guaranteed, and accordingly, the Government of every State shall subject to section 8 of this Constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structures composition, finance and functions of Such Councils.”

Justice Oloyede alleged the Governor’s deliberate stifling of the State’s Judiciary of funds, coupled with his refusal to pay the meager ‘Running Cost’ or and to pay Judges and Magistrates their Housing and Medical allowance or to give them serviceable official vehicles which has resulted in the closure of the States Courts in the last six (6) months amounted to the greatest betrayal and treachery of the ideals of democracy and consequently of the Rule of Law of which he is one of the greatest beneficiaries.

“This deliberate strangulation of the Judiciary, the third Arm of Government and the bastion of Democracy and strong hold and defender of The Rule of Law remains the most grievous is a violation of the voluntary obligation undertaken by Mr. Governor to secure and maintain “the independence, impartiality and integrity of courts of law and easy accessibility thereto” pursuant to Section 17 (1) (e).

“Mr. Governor’s treats his security allowance as a first line charge whereas there is no law that makes it so, yet neglects to satisfy the very ones that are declared as first line charges. What an anomaly!” the petition lamented.

He asserted that this were done in a clear disregard as contained Section 84: which provided that there shall be paid to the holders of the offices mentioned in this section such remunerations, salaries and allowances as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, but not exceeding the amount as shall have been determined by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission; the remuneration, salaries and allowances payable to the holders of the offices so mentioned shall be a charge upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation and the remuneration and salaries payable to the holders of the said offices and their conditions of service, other than allowances, shall not be altered to their disadvantage after their appointment.

The petition noted the Governors disdain for democratic ideals was terribly shocking as well as his contemptuous treatment of the Judicial Arm of Government, was unpardonably condemnable, and an attempt to truncate our nascent democracy or to ridicule it as a farce, contending had the former President Goodluck Jontahn ruled without embracing democratic principles, he would not have re-claimed his mandate and risen to his present position.

The petitioner urged the Conference of Chief Judges and Judges in the Federation to rise up and assert their Independence and defend the integrity of the Courts and of the Rule of law!

Justice Oloyede accused Aregbesola of corruption despite being in the lead of advocacy against it.

“Mr. Governor is guilty of unjustified assassination of the character of a sitting President and of moral murder” the petitioner accused.

“Failing which the good people of Osun will be have no choice, other than to exercise the Sovereign power vested in them, in Section 14 (2): and  to pass a vote of no confidence in this Assembly and to commence the process of ‘the Recall’ of her members as provided for in Section 69 of the Constitution which provides:”There is presented to the Chairman of the Independent Nation Electoral Commission, a petition in that behalf signed by more than one-half of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency alleging their loss of confidence in that member and the petition is thereafter, in a referendum conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within ninety days of the date of the receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency”.

Oloyede charged all sons and daughters as well as residents of Osun not to be timid, as well as refute and denounce, any hint, slur insinuation that “Osun is a failed State!”, hence to declare that it is Governor, Aregbesola’s and his array of greedy and incompetent Commissioners, Consultants and their idiosyncratic policies springing from intellectual sophistry and an overtly sagacious intellect, that has failed Osun.

The petitioner called on all eminent citizens of Osun to unite against oppression and remove the yoke of spiritual wickedness in high places so as to be freed from what he called “demonstration of craziness being masqueraded as democracy!”




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