The Osun State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Tajudeen Lawal, tells BOLA BAMIGBOLA the position of the party on the commissioners appointed by Governor Ademola Adeleke
You raised questions about the governor’s commissioners shortly after the names were unveiled. What exactly is your reservation with those on the list?
It is the prerogative of Governor Ademola Adeleke to appoint those who would work with him to realise his vision, if at all he has any. What we are saying is that Osun State is the common patrimony of all the indigenes of the state. It is a complex state to govern because of the high literacy rate. It is general knowledge that Osun has one of the highest tertiary institutions, both public and privately-owned. Apart from the fact that we demanded for the publication of profiles of the commissioners in line with the provision of the Freedom of Information Act (2011), part of our complaints is that the appointments should be gender-sensitive. A situation where only two females are in the 25 list of commissioners is not only an abnormality but a political heresy. Among the two females picked by Adeleke, one is his late brother’s wife while the other one is a direct elder sister of the senator representing Osun Central senatorial district, and is known to have a relationship with the Adeleke family. So, these are clear cases of favouritism and nepotism. Of the 30 local government areas and one Area Office, the Adeleke commissioners were sourced from only 20 local government councils while two or three nominees were sourced from one council. In terms of religious balancing, there are 17 Christians on that list, leaving Muslims with just 7. This is a clear case of lopsidedness and that’s the point we are making.
The PDP said those appointed are a mix of tested technocrats and politicians with grassroots appeal, do you find that claim to be untrue?
It is not our task as an opposition party to teach the government of the day how to run an effective government. It was because they said they could do things differently that they made it to government. It is not all the commissioners that have questionable records. There are some of them who have distinguished themselves in their chosen professions and in public service. A sizable number of them are however on the list in order to fulfill an axiomatic expression of ‘job for the boys’ because nothing suggests they are capable of functioning effectively in that public office. They do not have sound and verifiable backgrounds. If they do, the House would not screen them behind closed doors. You saw the interview granted by some of them after the ‘arranged’ screening, do they in all honesty fit the bill? In fact, it won’t be an overstatement to observe and conclude that their inclusion as commissioners has succeeded in subjecting the state to ridicule, odium and derision among other states.
Was that why your party asked for the profile of the appointees before their screening?
We did not demand for too much by asking for the profiles of Governor Adeleke’s commissioners before their screening, as it is the standard in a democratic society and in line with the Freedom of Information Act, which empowers citizens to demand any information about any public officers or their offices. The Osun people and the outside world need to know the past records, professional and educational qualifications of those who would be representing them at the state executive council. What we found out was that the state House of Assembly turned a deaf ear to our request for the publication of the profiles while the screening done by an ad hoc committee of the Assembly was hurriedly and haphazardly done under the table. But when we get to the bridge, we shall devise a means of crossing it. However, it will be on record that they have yet broken another of their promises to run an open government.
Your party specifically mentioned the nomination of the governor’s sister-in-law as a commissioner, why did your party pick on that particular nomination?
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We are not particularly against the nomination of Governor Adeleke’s sister-in-law as a commissioner. What we are frowning against is when the governor expressly played on the intelligence of the right-thinking people of the state by ceding his sister-in-law’s slot to Osogbo when Adenike, his brother’s wife, is still living in the Ede country home of the Adelekes. In Nigeria’s parlance, once a wife is married to a family, she has become part and parcel of that family. In view of this explanation, it would not be out of tune to state that Governor Adeleke nominated her sister as a commissioner under his government.
Beyond the commissioners, the governor has also got approval to appoint 25 SAs, what is your take on that?
We wish him good luck, while we shall be waiting to see how such a high number of commissioners and special advisers shall be beneficial to the state. If only the governor can pay those he will be hiring, no problem. There is every propensity of that common saying ‘so many cooks spoil the soup’ playing out here. We are watching.
Some members of your party complained that the cabinet may be bloated, do you think he should reduce the number of appointees?
It is not true that APC as a party raised such complain. But assuming without conceding that it happened, the immediate past administration did not run that kind of government and that’s why former governor Adegboyega Oyetola was able to stabilise the state economy. At any rate, they promised to cut down the cost of governance even from the lean administration that we ran. I think we should charge them to walk their talk.
What are your expectations from the administration now that the cabinet has been formed?
Our expectations now that his government is being formed after eight months of mesmerising is for him to fulfill all his campaign promises. Adeleke should know that governing a state is not a tea party and it transcends mastery of Azonto dance. For instance, during his campaign, he promised to offset all the 30-month half-salaries owed by former governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration within six months. A fact-check showed that in eight months, Adeleke has paid only two of the 30 months backlog. Adeleke has also reneged on his promise to clear all the pensions and gratuities he inherited within six months of his administration. As I speak, the pensioners are daily regretting ever voting for Adeleke. They are accusing him of deceit. What we see are approvals not back by cash. The problematic Adeleke 332 boreholes across the state and his phoney repairs of public schools are earnestly being awaited by the ever-vigilant people of the state. ,
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