Senator Ademola Adeleke, on Sunday, took the oath of office and assumed power as the sixth democratically elected governor of Osun State.
Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Adepele Ojo, administered the oath of allegiance and oath of office to Adeleke and his deputy, Kola Adewusi, at the Osogbo township stadium.
In his first official acts as governor, Adeleke, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), announced changes on a broad range of policies and issues. He abolished the “State of Osun” appellation, which was promulgated by one of his predecessors, Rauf Aregbesola, froze all state accounts, reversed all appointments made by his predecessor, Adegboyega Oyetola, from July 17, when he was declared governor-elect, and promised to correct past injustices, corrupt acts, and bad policies of the immediate past administration.
PDP Governors’ Forum (PGF), on Sunday, congratulated Adeleke, on his inauguration as governor of Osun State and welcomed him to the forum.
Adeleke had beaten then incumbent governor, Oyetola of All Progressives Congress (APC), to win the July 16 governorship election in Osun State.
Oyetola, at the weekend, disclosed that his administration left behind for the new government a total of N14 billion cash in the state’s coffers. He also revealed that his government had successfully paid out some N97 billion from the total debt inherited in 2018, when he assumed office.
In his inaugural speech, Adeleke said, “Since Osun people elected me as your governor on the 16th of July 2022, which the INEC announced on July 17th 2022, the former governor, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola, maliciously started putting roadblocks to make things difficult and almost impossible for the new administration to serve you.”
Adeleke stated that mass employments were carried out without budgetary provisions for salary payments for the new employees, even when the state was struggling to pay salaries and deliver other services. He said contracts were hurriedly awarded without budgetary provisions, while some were criminally backdated.
The new governor alleged that appointments of several Obas were also hurriedly done without following due process, stressing that all efforts to get his predecessor to set up a transition committee and submit hand-over notes proved abortive.
“It is, therefore, this administration’s desire to ask for people’s patience and understanding,” Adeleke said. He said his administration would in a few weeks review and sort out all actions and mischievous confusions the immediate past administration had created since July 17. He said those actions were vindictive measures against the people of Osun State for voting APC out of office.
Adeleke issued directives, which would be backed by Executive Orders, freezing all Osun State government accounts in banks and other financial institutions, and establishing a panel to carry out an inventory and recover all government assets.
He reverted to the constitutionally recognised name of Osun State, from the State of Osun, adding that all government insignia, correspondence, and signage should henceforth reflect Osun State rather than State of Osun, which he claimed was unknown to the Nigerian constitution.
Adeleke said he was aware of the fact that his responsibility as governor and chief security officer of Osun State entailed meeting the legitimate expectations of the people. He promised that the expectations of workers, traders, artisans, farmers, business owners, students, pensioners, traditional, religious leaders, and indeed, all residents of Osun State would be met.
He stated, “Let me state here that from the education, health, mining sector, agriculture, road infrastructure and supply of potable water, let it be known to all that it is no longer going to be business as usual. And I repeat, it is no longer business as usual.
“Our administration will demonstrate a high sense of urgency, transparency, justice and innovation to tackle and solve the problems of poverty, illiteracy, disease, and poor infrastructure.
“Your governor will be a people’s governor. I will be accessible, responsive, consultative and proactive in handling small and big matters of state governance. I know that as a product of the collective will of you, my people, there is a heavy weight of history on my shoulders and I accept the urgency of your expectations, the depth of your aspirations and your conviction in me to build a better state.”
Adeleke also listed his development agenda for the state, which included welfare of workers and pensioners, boosting the state’s economy, home-grown infrastructure policy, people-focused policy on education, affordable healthcare, security and social welfare, agro-based industrialisation for wealth and job creation.
On his priorities, he said, “It was disheartening to see our state at the bottom of the national educational ratings, especially, in public primary and secondary schools examinations. My administration will launch reform with direct focus on improvement of learning environment and outcome. Our target is to reverse the poor performance of students in public examinations within the next few years.
“To achieve this target, we will prioritise in-service training and welfare of teachers, enhancement of school environment, entrenchment of discipline in the school system as well as involvement of the Parents-Teachers Association in our school administration system.”
He said his administration would soon convene an emergency education conference to articulate its blueprint on the restoration of the state’s education glory.
The governor saluted the founding fathers of the state, all the past administrators and governors of Osun State, as well as everyone, who had contributed to the growth, stability and progress of the state in the last 31 years.
He promised development with a target on agriculture export earnings.
But Oyetola, who gave a brief account of his administration, disclosed that he did not borrow anywhere in the world to run his government. He said he maintained fidelity with his electoral promises since assumption of office.
Oyetola made the disclosures in his farewell statement to the people of the state indicating the expiration of his first term in office. He stated that his administration put Osun’s economy on a surer footing through many people-centred and masses-focused projects timely and promptly implemented to make life worthwhile for the people.
He said Osun on his watch was stable economically, as manifested in the astronomical increment in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state since he assumed office.
Oyetola stated that he left Osun State more stable economically than he met it in 2018, saying despite all the visible socio-economic challenges, he was able to take care of the fears and evil of fiscal indiscipline and lack of implementation, which hamper projects and services in the nation’s public service.
He stated, “As I step aside today, following the conclusion of the four-year tenure you freely gave me, I thank God and I thank you for your support, cooperation and prayers over the years. I recall how the journey began four years ago; how by your belief in me and your conviction in the plans and programmes of our party, you exercised your right to vote for me.
“As we draw the curtains on this first tenure, we are convinced that we neither reneged on our promise nor disappointed you. We kept faith with you and maintained fidelity with our electoral promises. It was our wish to continue to serve you but we are constrained by the outcomes of the July 16 governorship election, which we are already challenging in court.
“As a law-abiding citizen and government, we are stepping aside to allow the law take its course. However, we look forward to continue to serve you in no distant future. We have absolute trust in God that we shall be back soon, as we have implicit trust and confidence in the judiciary to do justice in the case before it.
“We are confident that this period of temporary political eclipse shall pass. The sun shall shine again, brighter and warmer and the sustainable development and participatory governance that we enthroned, which have been applauded by local and international organisations, shall be restored and put on a surer and better footing.
“There can be no substitute to people-oriented and development-savvy governance in a democracy. The taproots of the unprecedented good governance, inclusive and participatory governance that we introduced, which delivered massive equitable projects and programmes, are too strong to be uprooted.
“As we end our first term, rest assured that Osun is more stable economically than we met it in 2018 and it remained the most peaceful state in the country under our leadership.
“For four years, we did not take any bank loan facility. But we benefitted from the N3billion monthly intervention from the federal government to all the states for six months to cushion the effect of deductions of budget support facility and salary bailout accessed by the previous administration, just as we have paid N97 billion from the total debt we inherited in 2018.
“We are leaving behind cash of over N14 billion. In addition to the N14 billion cash, another N8 billion is being expected between December and January from our performance in SFTAS and the IGR. Also, another Seventy-Two million Dollars will come to the state soon from RAMP 3, NG-CARES, Nigeria for Women Project and Ease of Doing Business.
“These are earned, based on performance. And we have, indeed, performed to earn them. It was part of the same performance that earned us the award of Best Governor on Efficiency of Public Expenditure and TOP Performer on Domestic Revenue Mobilisation by the World Bank’s States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS), recently.
“We have gone this length to let you know that Osun under our leadership was sustainable. It was done through fiscal discipline and personal sacrifices.
“On behalf of our team, I appeal to you all to continue to be law abiding and to work assiduously to build the Osun of our dream. Together, we shall continue to mend the broken walls of our dear state and restore her glory for our collective good and that of posterity.
“Thank you all and may God continue to bless Osun.”
Meanwhile, no fewer than seven men of the Western Security Outfit, otherwise known as Amotekun, were weekend wounded by some suspected thugs, who were at the Osogbo Township Stadium during the swearing in ceremony of Adeleke.
Sources told THISDAY that the thugs, who were following the new governor behind while he was entering the venue inside his vehicle, on sighting men of Amotekun, descended on them injuring about seven in the process, who were taken to an undisclosed hospital for medical attention.
The hoodlums, who came in large number, were prevented from causing further trouble by armed policemen and other security agencies during the inauguration of the governor.
An eyewitness told THISDAY that the suspected thugs were on a mission of revenge against Amotekun, which they considered part of Oyetola’s government.
A competent police source, who confirmed the story, hinted that the police were on the trail of the hoodlums and they would soon be brought to book.
But Adeleke has promised to embark on a security sector reform that would target crime prevention, detection, neighbourhood policing, and better synergy among security agencies. He said Amotekun would be strengthened under his administration and would ensure operational linkage between local hunters and the Amotekun Corps.
PGF, in its congratulatory message to Adeleke, noted that his victory at the polls was a testimony to the gallant efforts, hard-work, teamwork, skilful campaigns, efficient resource allocation, openness, and humility he had exhibited over the years.
In a statement by Director General of PGF, Cyril Maduabum, the group said during the campaigns, Adeleke concentrated on issues that mattered most to Osun people and they in turn responded in kind with their votes, bestowing on him and PDP an earth-shaking victory of historic proportions.
PGF stated, “This proves once again that God’s time is the best. He chooses the time and the place. This mandate has all the trapping of the love and prayers of the people. The PDP-GF looks forward to a very engaging and prosperous first tenure for Governor Adeleke and enjoins all the people of the state to continue to pray for him, support him with their undiluted loyalty, as his heart is full of love and concern for their wellbeing.
“Today, the path has been cleared and light of progress is shinning on Osun State. It is now time for the ‘Peoples governor’ – a man so much loved by the people – to settle down to develop a roadmap for the rapid development of Osun State. The state deserves the best.”
The statement said further, “Your colleagues, governors of the PDP and our great party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), pray for divine wisdom and favour, good health and protection as you lead the state as governor. They also assure you of their unalloyed support and brotherly advice always.”
Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo