Address Of Osun, Governor, Oyetola, On The Second Anniversary Of His Administration, On Friday, November 27, 2020

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Address Of The Governor, State Of Osun, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, On The Second Anniversary Of His Administration, On Friday, November 27, 2020

My Dear Fellow Citizens,

Two years ago this day, I stood before you to take the Oath of Office as your Governor. Just like yesterday, it seems. Your solid and massive support freely given at the polls birthed that inauguration ceremony. It was a classic example of patriotic compatriots aligning their will to deliver on a divine mandate. I will be forever grateful to you.

Your preference of me was an avowed decision to choose light over darkness, hope over gloom and courage over despair. It was a decision to consolidate, go forward and break new grounds. It was a choice to build, not to destroy; to walk towards a prosperous haven, not to rest on the oars of mediocrity. You favoured a forthright yet pragmatic leadership, not frivolity.

With that singular important step, we began this important journey together. We decided to collectively roll up our sleeves and build an Osun that truly works for all. Each day of the last two years, has afforded me an opportunity to walk the talk, knowing full well that I am on the threshold of history. The gravity of your sacred mandate has left on the table of my heart, an indelible touch too weighty to trivialise. Many times, I have found myself jolted out of sleep, to reflect and think deeply on how to keep faith with the confidence you have graciously reposed in me. And those times reassured me that we shall not fail.

Two years on, to the Glory of the Almighty God, I have stayed the course. I have, with steady hands, steered the ship of our dear State towards the pathway of demonstrable progress. With focused leadership, our administration has consolidated on the gains of the recent past and carefully nurtured a sustainably responsive economy that is alive to the needs of the people.

In keeping with the promise of my inauguration address titled, A Hope Renewed, our administration has run on a model of inclusive and participatory governance. From the 'Thank you' tour we undertook across our State on assumption of office to the DFID-supported Citizens’ Needs Assessment, from the various budgetary consultations to Apero, our grassroots engagement platform, we have made your voices heard and your yearnings appropriately channelled. This is because we value you. This is because we value the power you gave us in trust. The result is what you have today – an administration that is absolutely people-centred, and ever strengthened on account of our sustained partnership with you.

As you all know, our strategy for achieving our Development Agenda, which is our pact with you, is adequate, qualitative and equitable delivery of service, programmes and projects. We have employed this strategy to bring governance to your doorsteps.

Permit me to share with you some of the people-centred projects and programmes our administration has implemented within the last 2 years to improve your lives.

Realising that our people are our most precious resource and that a healthy population is what creates true and enduring wealth, we engaged in an ambitious intervention in the health sector.

• Three months of our coming into office we flagged off the revitalisation of nine General Hospitals and 332 Primary Health Care Centres across our State – one per ward. About 300 of these Primary Health Care Centres and 2 General Hospitals have been completed and commissioned while the rest are at various stages of completion.

• We have bolstered the operations of the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS), with a view to making all citizens have access to better healthcare. To demonstrate this commitment, within our first year in office, we released the sum of N150million as take-off grant for the agency and over N477million as equity grant meant for the premium for the poor, the needy and the vulnerable.

• We also established the OHIS Drug Distribution Centre which is now supplying medicines and consumables to 16 OHIS-accredited government secondary health facilities across the State in order to put an end to the perennial out-of-stock syndrome of medicines in government secondary healthcare facilities for health insurance enrollees.

• With over 80,000 poor and vulnerable citizens already registered and validated, Osun’s Health Insurance Scheme is up and running as one of the leading State Health Insurance Agencies in the country.

• As a way of motivating our valued medical personnel, in February 2020, I approved the implementation of a full-revised Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and Consolidated Health worker Salary Structure (CONHESS) for healthcare workers and also invested in healthcare infrastructure in secondary and tertiary health sectors.

Our administration has over the last two years prioritised the security of lives and property, despite the prevailing security challenges in the nation. We have been able to sustain the ranking of the State as the most peaceful State in Nigeria.

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• We purchased 20 brand new Hilux vehicles that are fully equipped with communication gadgets and other logistics to protect lives and property across the State.

• We have also refurbished seven fire stations while15 fire vehicles have been repaired to combat fire outbreaks and other emergencies across the State.

• In addition to a Joint Taskforce operation involving all security agencies in the State, we collaborated with the other States in the Southwest to establish the Amotekun Corps to complement the efforts of our security operatives in intelligence gathering and surveillance to better secure the region and the State.

In the education sector, we have built upon my predecessor’s investment in schools’ infrastructure development by revitalising some of the schools. Additionally, we are also focusing on the promotion of equitable, functional and value-based developmental education that emphasises competence and character. We have equally built some new schools during the period under review, just as we shall be constructing and renovating over 100 schools across the State.

• To review some of our policies in the education sector for optimum effect, we constituted an 11-man Committee that included distinguished academics and educationists, and chaired by Professor Olu Aina, to make recommendations. After a thorough mental and professional distillation, the Committee proposed eleven recommendations within the context of the national policy and global best practices, which we have approved.

• Our administration sustained the implementation of the Free Education Policy, covering both primary and secondary schools. We have also sustained the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, which empowers thousands of our women and provides ready income for our teeming farmers.

• To again demonstrate our commitment to the education sector, we have earmarked N10, 711,328,430.00, or 18.08 percent of the 2021 budget to education. It is our resolve to progressively attain UNESCO’S proposal of 26 percent of a nation’s budget to education.

On the welfare of our hardworking bureaucrats, we have honoured our word and we are still committed to doing more.

• I have approved the immediate implementation of Minimum Wage, making our State one of the five States to have done so throughout the country so far. Similarly, we have prioritised the payment of pension arrears, despite our dire economic condition. We shall not renege on this. This is my pact with you.

As we are all aware, our dear State is a model in peace delivery, having emerged the reigning most peaceful State in Nigeria. We remain so despite the flashes of crises occasioned by the challenging insecurity issues in the nation.

The youthsprotest against the brutality of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad also known as #EndSARS, a peaceful march recognised in a democracy, was hijacked by hoodlums and suspected political thugs in some States across the country, including the State of Osun.

On October 17, I led my Commissioners and other aides to do road trek and later address them at Olaiya Junction, Osogbo. In the midst of my address the suspected political thugs and hoodlums made a failed attempt on my life, hauling dangerous weapons at my convoy and vandalising the cars in my convoy. I was ferried to safety and my entourage also escaped unhurt to the glory of God.

Seven days later, precisely on October 24, the hoodlums engaged in looting of government property in the offices and personal businesses, including the palliatives donated by CACOVID awaiting distribution directive by the donors and the Osun Mall.

As a responsible government, we have set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to get justice for all the victims of Police brutality in the State. We also held a stakeholders’ meeting where we discussed the aftermath, compared notes and developed implementable action plan that will deliver justice and unity, engender enduring security in our State and further stimulate sustainable development.

We recognise that our youths are our strength and our future. They constitute very important stakeholders in our quest for a revitalised economy. Therefore, we are fully committed to empowering and enabling them fulfil their potential.

• Our administration has continued to sustain the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) which empowers not less than 20,000
youths across the State.

• Our most recent programme for the youths includes the Post-COVID Recovery Plan, which is currently empowering not less than 5,000 youths across the State with critical skills and requisite funding. Our administration facilitated the payment of N500, 000 to 3, 634 youths and indigents from the State by the Federal Government to enable them to start small businesses and fund existing ones.

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• We have also carefully codified and unveiled a Youth Policy christened the 4 E's: Youth Empowerment, Youth Engagement, Youth Entrepreneurship and Youth Education. The Policy articulates our broad-based agenda for youth development.

• We have set aside N1.5 billion in the 2021 Budget for the engagement of our youths in Agriculture, Mining, ICT, Culture and Tourism and Commerce among others.

• Within the next few months, we shall be unveiling the Osun ICT innovation hub that will provide a world-class platform for aggregating the ideas of our brightest minds in the technology and innovation space.

The tourism sector is critical to our economic revitalisation programme. On account of our vast tourism endowments and, indeed, extensive cultural potential, our desire is to become the lead destination for domestic and international tourism in the country.

• I have unveiled the Osun Tourism Master Plan: Culture and Tourism for Sustainable Economy (CUTOSEC), which is a long-term comprehensive template to expand the State's economic diversification programme and improve our Internally Generated Revenue.

• We have also put together the Osun Sterling Tourism Vision (OSTOV) 30-30, our short- term agenda to develop 30 key tourist sites in Osun within the next one year.

It is the avowed resolve of the Government of the State of Osun to develop the agriculture sector, improve food security and sufficiency.

• We continue to support our farmers with requisite inputs supply such as fertilizers, agro-chemicals, seeds, cassava stems, among others.

• We have sustained provision of high yielding, early maturing and disease resistant seedlings of cocoa, cashew, oil palm, etc., at subsidised rate to farmers.

• The Osun Broilers' Out Grower Production Scheme continues to wax stronger under our Administration.
v The Scheme started with 12 farmers at the pilot phase, but has now metamorphosed into 106 participating farmers till date.
v The programme has created both direct and indirect jobs for various groups in the State, ranging from farmers, artisans, drivers, etc. Till date, the programme has witnessed 18 cycles that produced millions of birds for School Feeding Programme in the State.

• Our partnership with the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to improve on rice farming has led to rice production in the State from 1.5metric tonnes/hectare to 5metric tonnes/hectare in the last two years.

• Through the State Microfinance Agency, we also assisted our Cocoa Farmers with loan to aid their production.

Our State occupies a unique place in the mining sector in Nigeria, and this underscores our sustained focus to create a proper framework for deriving maximum economic benefits from the solid minerals hosted by the State.

• In June 2019, we commenced the Osun Solid Mineral Development Programme, which is responsible for implementing and overseeing the State’s policy for the mining sector.

• We have started realising some returns on signature bonuses from investors entering into partnership agreements with the State on some of the State’s solid mineral titles. I am happy to note that one of such Partnerships has concluded its exploration work and commercial operations will be starting soon. Another has finished over 50 per cent of its exploration work, while five other partnerships which include a global leader in mining and an off-taker with substantial commercial mining entities are at advanced stages of transaction negotiations.

• Also, we supported the Segilola Fields of the Thor Exploration Company to continue its construction under strict health measures during the COVID lockdown and they are due to commence operations in the second quarter of 2021. This singular effort will bring tremendous growth to the Osun economy. Arising from this, the revenue to government and employment potential for our youth will be substantial.

• By the end of 2021 we expect to have concluded all transactions with Partners. We also expect, God willing, to be able to announce a Commercial discovery and a development programme for one of the Assets and a timetable to commence commercial operations by the second quarter of 2021.
• Part of the measures taken to sanitise the sector was the inauguration of a Joint Task Force to fight illegal mining in the state, among other vices that the sector is prone to.

• To halt the activities of criminal elements in our mining sites, we have regularised mining activities in the State by ordering the registration of artisanal miners. As at January 2020, over 10,000 artisanal miners have been registered through biometric data capture on RFID-enabled tags with the technology partners of the State.

Building a vibrant economy necessarily requires concerted investment in infrastructural development. Just as I promised during my inauguration speech, our Administration recognises the importance of intra and inter-city roads to facilitate movement of goods and people. This explains why we have continued to muster resources to building strategic roads across the State in order to make life better for our people.

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These roads, in addition to others spread across the State, have been prioritised on account of their strategic values for stimulating accessibility and economic productivity among our people.

• Only yesterday, we inaugurated the Alekuwodo Network of roads in Osogbo. To further demonstrate our commitment to massive infrastructure delivery for the socio-economic development of the State, we shall soon be embarking on the construction and rehabilitation of Ejigbo township road, Ido Osun township road, Gbongan township road, Ile-Ife township road, Kuta township road, GOF-Ori-Oke Pure Water road, Osogbo, Halelluyah Estate, Osogbo, Inisa township road, Ila-Arandun road and Ikirun township road among others.

In the 2021 budget, we have made plans to construct a flyover bridge at Olaiya junction in Osogbo, the State capital. When completed, we are assured that it will significantly eradicate traffic hassles and make the lives of our valued citizens more secured.

•We have also embarked on the Light Up Osun project. It will get to the major cities across the State.

• To forestall reoccurrence of flooding and other climate-related issues to degradation, we have prioritised river channelisation, dredging and other flood prevention mechanisms.

• To ensure constant provision of potable water for our teeming citizens across the State, we have also invested in the construction and upgrades of facilities at the water works at Ede, Iragbiji and Ilesha

• Our administration is committed to ensuring the availability of potable water, especially at the rural areas, part of which is the recent commencement of a 25,000,000 litre capacity water project in the State.

• We have also completed works on the rehabilitation of 486 boreholes and construction of 20 new ones in the 30 LGAs and 1 Area Office under the African Development Bank interventions in the State of Osun. We shall also be embarking on Rural Electrification to further stem rural-urban migration.

Our vision of catalyzing our economic revolution in the State has received a firm impetus with our deliberate policy of promoting commercial and industrial developments, engaging both formal and informal businesses and building capacities and competencies of the Small and Medium Enterprises.

• We have commenced the construction phase of the International Trade Centre and inland Port, codenamed the Dagbolu International Market. The project is set to be the largest Free Trade Zone (206 hectares) in South-West Nigeria, once it is fully operational.

The components of the project include: an Inland Dry Port, an Industrial Hub, an International Trade Centre, Railway Platform, a Car Mart, a mini residential development area, storage facilities and warehouse. We have also inaugurated the Osun Ethanol Bio-Refinery Factory located in Ayekale, which will provide jobs for 10, 000 youths.

We have established the Osun Investment and Promotion Agency (OSIPA) to drive engagement with investors and ensure they constantly enjoy hitch-free operations in the State.

• Leveraging on the State Economic Empowerment Programme (SEEP) to provide relief to our people who were affected negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have successfully implemented and concluded the pilot phase of the programme, and more than 2000 people benefited from the programme.

• The State Government provided a total sum of N100million to be given to the beneficiaries as “Seed Loans” for their businesses.

Just as I assured you during my campaigns, ours is a leadership that is anchored on transparency and accountability. Hence, since assumption of office, we have put in place a most prudent financial model that has significantly reduced wastes and cut leakages.

• Using the Bank Accounts Monitoring System for the monitoring of day-to-day transactions, we have enshrined openness as a key principle of our administration.

• It was this commitment that earned us participation in World Bank programme tagged State Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Programme. As trustees of State resources, we will continue to raise the bar in probity and incorruptibility.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
Without any doubt, the last two years have been very eventful. We have remained undaunted in delivering to you the dividends of your mandate. Yet, we are not relenting. We count on your sustained support in the years ahead. Together, let's raise the bar in good governance and take our State to the greatest height possible. Let's build an Osun that works for the prosperity of all.

I thank you for listening.

May God continue to bless the State of Osun.

OMOKOSHABAN

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