Gov’s seat not for ill-prepared – Oyo Ex-Speaker Onigbinde

Onigbinde

By Jide Jegede

Notwithstanding his many enviable feats contained in the loud governorship campaign billboards conspicuously placed in strategic positions across the state, many youngsters would still want to ask ‘who exactly is Dr. Akin Onigbinde’. Their curiosity may not be out of place. Since the beginning of the current political dispensation in May 1999, little was heard of the erudite scholar and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). Though brief, the most advertised part of Dr. Onigbinde’s trajectory was his time as the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, where he made his mark as an effective and efficient leader, even as a young lad then. Sadly, the House could not run its full term as the then Military President Ibrahim Babangida truncated what would have remained a shiny legacy of his regime. The annulment of Nigeria’s fairest, freest and most credible election held on June 12, 1993, and won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola, as well as his decision to ‘step aside’ in reaction to the heat generated by the misstep, halted the democratic process his government began.

Dr. Onigbinde had since left the political scene. But, in this recent chat with some journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the learned silk hinted that he decided to take a break to enable him to prepare himself better before asking the people of the state to entrust him with higher responsibilities.
The break had afforded him the time to study to a Ph.D. level and had held several high profile positions in the private sector. It was within the period that he also got appointed to the rank of a SAN, the zenith of legal practice in Nigeria.

He is currently seeking the ticket of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to contest as the governor of Oyo State in the 2019 elections. The interview touches on a wide range of issues critical to the development of the state, the Nigerian nation, and the citizenry.

Below are the excerpts:

Who is Akin Onigbinde

I intend to bring to you a summary of whom I am because many times, journalists are being asked to sell products that they neither know nor understand. I don’t think that is fair on the part of the journalist or the society itself.
My training started with the humanities. Initially, it was in the English Language where I did two degrees- BA and MA- at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife). I then read Law. Before I contested election into the Oyo State House of Assembly, I went to the University of Ibadan for an MSc in International Relations. My thinking was that people should be prepared for whatever they want to do. By the time I was finishing the programme, I was already the Speaker of the House. I then applied for a Ph.D. and I started attending lectures and seminars towards my doctoral degree. I had an opportunity to be a teacher. I taught in secondary schools, College of Education, Ilesha, University of Ife and recently at Bowen University, Iwo.
When National Bank had a problem and it went under, the late Chief Bola Ige decide to resuscitate it and they headhunted a number of Yoruba professionals. Mr. Olagundoye, who was the Managing Director of Chartered Bank that time, was headhunted to become the Managing Director of National Bank. I was asked to leave my practice in Ibadan to come and be the Legal Adviser and the Company Secretary because there were too many cases hanging on the neck of the bank. It was painful for me because I didn’t want to leave my practice. I knew it would set me back on my professional accomplishment. But I had to make that sacrifice. I joined National Bank and resolved all the legal tangos. Later, Econet Wireless came, and they were looking for lawyers to start the GSM technology in Nigeria. I bought into it too.
The relevance of all this is that I have been a teacher; I have been a banker, and I have worked in the telecoms industry. The experiences which one gathers along the line cultivates one’s intellect and competence.

My development strategy

What I see every day in Oyo State are sources of good business which the state can tap into to turn things around.
I will not be able to say everything now, but I just want to give two examples. I believe that the people of Oyo State, the Yoruba people that I know in this state, are people with honour. In other words, until recently that things nosedived, you won’t find a Yoruba man that begs. They will rather engage in menial jobs. Many of you have stories of the sacrifices your mothers made to send you to school. Presently our mothers and sister will take loans with very terrible conditions, just to survive. I believe in the cooperative system which was used in the past. I am going to work very hard to make it an instrument of economic empowerment. I am not going to buy motorcycles or pepper grinding machines for people. We will organise things along trade lines. As far back as the time of Rome, people were classified on the account of their trade. When you work on the street, people can tell what your trade is. A cobbler would say he is a cobbler because he is proud of making shoes. If we organise things along trades line, it will be easy to reach everybody. People on the same trade know each other. They won’t run away after collecting loan meant to grow their business. There have to be structures.

On the youth

I recently presented a paper at a function organised by the Federation of Oyo State Students Unions (FOSSU) where we addressed comprehensively the issues pertaining to the youth in Nigeria. I made it clear that really need to properly interrogate the whole idea of ‘youth must run’. When people are talking about the youth, they should not forget that governance is about responsibility. Therefore, there are critical issues that are very important in governance. One, you must have knowledge. If you don’t have knowledge of the job you are asking for, you cannot perform well. You must have the relevant experience; you must have integrity, and you must be trustworthy. We still have good people in our society. We will have to do the work of getting out those people and pushing them forward. We talk about the youth, but we must know that there are youths and there are youths. How do we classify those who spend their time watching the Big Brother Naija and the likes? You glue yourself to the television set, watching some people sleeping and waking up; playing and eating, you did that throughout the night. Do you realise that the most valuable thing that you have is your time? You want to achieve the same thing as Barack Obama, but you will spend your time on Facebook and Instagram. It is not that you are selling something on Instagram. You are posting the pictures of the food you ate yesterday and the dress you wore for your birthday party. That is what you are doing on Instagram, and you say because you belong to a particular age bracket, we should hand over governance of the state to you. It will never work that way. Youth gives you energy, it is for you to transmit that energy into capacity that will enable you to lead. It is not just a question of age. It is also a question of developing yourself to the point of getting ready to take up responsibilities. It is not a question of age. It is a question of capacity. What have you done with yourself? That is what youths should pay attention to. The fact that you are youth does not automatically confer on you the right to lead. If you are competent. if you can show that you have what it takes to take up higher responsibilities, by all means, we will support you.

Why AD

The truth of the matter is that we have become very mentally lazy. Everybody wants a fast food solution. You are not ready to do the work that gives success. The average politician in the Southwest wanted to be a member of the Action Group (AG). He believes that anybody that is in AG will win an election. He wanted to be in the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), not because he wants to do any hard work, but he wants to take advantage of the work some people have done. He wants to be in the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He wants to be in AD. But the truth of the matter is that some people did the hard work that created those political pedestals. What we are saying is that it may be more of hard work to create a platform in AD, but it is a surer platform.
I don’t just want to go to any party. I would have been a welcomed person in the All Progressives Congress (APC). There are many of my friends there. The difficulty I have is that APC is a bus full of people going to different destinations. Some are gentlemen; some are rogues; some are violent, and all of them are encapsulated into a single vehicle. Some of those inside that vehicle are putting engine oil inside the fuel tank; some are putting water; some are stealing the tyre. For how long will it take to get to the destination? If a political party cannot organise its own self, how would it organise the country? A man cannot give what he does not have. As far as I am concerned, for us to be able to move, we need a healthy vehicle.
If Nigerians are kind of people that ask questions, it shouldn’t be difficult for us to say these people cannot help. Go and look at what creates problems in those political parties. They don’t have to do with the welfare of you and me. They have to do with the selfish interests of those individuals. why should it be difficult for us to see that these people are not working in our interest? These are the reasons why we decide that it could be hard work getting young and educated people. At what age did I become the Speaker? Some people did that to me. Why can’t I look around for people that I can mentor too? I mean people who have the mental capability. I don’t believe it is impossible. It requires a lot of hard work. But I think there are a lot of people that are ready to join in the struggle.

Chances of AD?

If you have a Mercedes Benz filled with adi agbon instead of fuel; water in place of brake oil; one of the passengers holding a dagger and an explosive, and the vehicle is being controlled by a drunk driver. On the other hand, there is a Keke NAPEP properly fuelled with a sane man in control. No matter how long it takes, the Keke NAPEP will get to its destination. If the other vehicle is not careful, it will self-destruct because it is carrying enough explosives inside of itself. And that kind of vehicle cannot help any society.
Anybody looking at a Mercedes Benz and a Keke NAPEP will ask the question what is the chance of Keke NAPEP overtaking a Benz. But if a Mercedes Benz is debilitated; if it has enough contradiction inside itself, it is not going anywhere. With all my education, why should I put myself in that kind of vehicle? That abuses my intelligence. That is the reason why I chose AD. Hard work is the only thing that I know and I believe that what you get from hard-work lasts longer than what you get from cutting corners.

Quality journalism in a democracy

The essence of any reportage is that it should be grounded in fact and analysis. The media is the only source people believe and rely on for authentic information, and that places a huge responsibility on the journalists. That is the reason why for the good of the society, information that is going to be passed on to the people to rely on, has to pass through the test of veracity.
There is no other realm where half-truth is being passed to the society than in politics. Either when you are talking about facts or individual, you find out that the information being passed across are often unreliable. Therefore, they must be well interrogated before spreading to the public. All of us will probably remember the gentleman that was a Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1999, who had to resign because he claimed a qualification he did not possess. How did he get to pass the primary election; pass through the main election; got to the House of Representatives; and got elected as the Speaker, all on false claims? If somebody had done his investigation very well, the man couldn’t have gone that far. I want to encourage us that the media is a major stakeholder with huge responsibilities in the future of this country and there is no country that can be founded on the peddling of falsehood.
We have looked at the issue of political parties in Nigeria, and being an insider, I understand intimately the difficulties that political process takes us through. I need you, gentlemen, to take more than passing interest in what goes on in political parties. All of us agree that the way we run our politics is one of the things that spoil our morals, businesses, and makes us not to be trustworthy again. It is really dehumanizing. I was looking at a documentary recently where 19 former governors are on the list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Is that normal in any society? Is that the kind of mentoring that you want to give to the people coming behind? We really need to tackle the issue of politics. And the media has a critical role to play here.
The way political parties select candidates for elections in Nigeria poses a lot of problems for the polity. Look at the delegates system, which, unfortunately, is in the constitution of most political parties, what goes on there is pathetic. That is where good candidates are sacrificed on the altar of resources to finance the party. if the delegate system has imposed on you a bad candidate, it is important for the press to be very tenacious; to examine us who say we want public trust; to be ruthless in getting to the root of who we are, where we are coming from, what is the level of our integrity and how much trust have we been given by our societies. Unless we are ready to do this hard work as pressmen, we are not going to go far, because it is the press that sets the agenda that determines how the society is run.

Why I stayed away

One of the terrible things about the politics in Nigeria is that people think that once they have occupied a political position, they must never work with their hands again. Some only got elected as Councillors, but since then, they are not doing anything again. They want to sit down and get free money. If there is any opportunity for you to serve the people, you are there to serve. When you finish, you go back to the job you were doing. I am a lawyer. After leaving the State House of Assembly, am I supposed to be hanging around? When did I know politics will start again? Between then and now, I had worked at the National Bank as well as Anderson Consulting, among others. What is wrong with a former Speaker being a worker in the bank? I didn’t see anything wrong in that. I went to work with my hands. All of those have now galvanised into an advantage. I am a better person now. I can serve the society much better because of the experiences I have garnered. I was busy developing myself and acquiring more qualifications. And I believe that I am a better person returning to politics now than I would have been if I had come back earlier.

Lawmaking not like it was in our days

When I was made the Speaker of the House, I had made up my mind, even as young as I was at that time, that nobody was going to mess up my reputation. I have been a beneficiary of this society; this country has been good to me and so, I wasn’t going to go to any police station to answer for any crime related matter after I leave office. So, nobody could push me. And it is the kind of leadership you provide that you get. No matter how rich you are material-wise, if you are plagued with covetousness, you will never be satisfied. From the governor to the lawmakers and other political office holders, we were not greedy. The political culture we imbibed did not allow for greediness.
These days, our society has gone terribly backward. It has deteriorated and gone down several notches in terms of values. Some of the things that are taken for granted today were unimaginable when we were in the House. Therefore, it was difficult for any governor, including Governor Kolapo Ishola, who was the governor during our time, to try to pocket the legislative arm of government in his state. Governor Ishola could not take me for granted. He was old enough to be my father. He even has a son who is a lawyer and a friend of mine too. I respected him as a father, but I see myself as somebody who has a job to do. There was a time the Clerk of the House died and we needed to replace him. Rather than allow us in the House to choose, they were lobbying in the Governor’s office to impose somebody. I chose the new clerk, with the consent of all members of the House. The governor only heard about the appointment on the radio. and I saw him on the evening of that day. There was nothing he could do about it. I had the knowledge, I had the courage and I had the support of my colleagues to do the right thing. It was a different culture altogether. The way I look at the present Houses of Assembly is that it is not the fault of the lawmakers that they tend to be subservient to their governors. This society generally has deteriorated and that is the reason for the hard work all of us have to do.

Nigeria’s fight against corruption

If a man has a headache, stomachache, diabetes, leprosy, cancer and at the same time has Ebola, the kind of treatment, medication, and management that will be needed for that kind of patient is different from what is required for a man that only has a headache. The little we know about medicine makes us know that the condition of the earlier man is much more complicated than that of the other with a headache. Anybody that understands the amount of damage that corruption has done to this country will understand from a contextual standpoint that the combination of the EFCC, ICPC and CCB are not enough to solve the problem even if they are working honestly. This is because if you go to the EFCC, for instance, to report somebody that allegedly stole about N10m, they don’t take you seriously. They will say they don’t have time for that because they are dealing with a minimum of N100m and above. It is not contextually possible for only these anti-corruption bodies to solve all the problems of corruption in Nigeria. The question of corruption exists at the local government level, is the EFCC that will solve that too? There is corruption in our religious places, would the EFCC come from Abuja to address that too? I believe every state and every political unit must have its own vibrant anti-corruption mechanism to effectively tackle the menace.
We say we don’t like corruption, but we give kudos to people that corruptly enrich themselves. We give them chieftaincy titles, honour them in our churches and mosques. In our quest to curb corruption, we cannot be like the chichidodo bird that doesn’t like shit but likes maggot. We have to make up our mind on whether we want to fight corruption or we just want to pay lip service to the fight.

How to make Nigeria better

People complain the country is not running well. If the country were a company or your personal estate, and you have the kind of investment that you have in this country, will you allow it to go under? You will do everything, including bringing people that are competent in order to revive it and get it back to a profitable state. We need people with competence in management; people that understand how things work in order to be able to turn this country around.

Oyo LG polls: Ajimobi’s APC takes all

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has won all the elective positions contested for in the Local Government election held in Oyo state last Saturday.

After the collation of the final results by the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), the party’s candidates were declared winners in all the Chairmanship and Councillorship posts in the 33 local governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) at the commission’s office on Sunday.

The election which held on Saturday after 11 years of its kind in the state, witnessed extremely low turnout, though it was peaceful as residents complied fully with the sit-at-home order imposed by the state government to ensure that the exercise did not experience any hitch.
Independent observers, who monitored the election, declared it free and fair.
Though twelve political parties participated in the election, APC candidates were returned unopposed in most of the seats.

Meanwhile, a splinter group within the ruling party, the Unity Forum, has described the “abysmally low turnout” of the electorate at the Saturday’s LG election as a wake-up call on the leadership of the party to intervene in the crisis rocking its Oyo state chapter and reposition it for good outing in the 2019 general elections.

The Forum in the release by its Secretary, Wasiu Olatunbosun, noted that the poll was a referendum on the APC, saying the low turnout was an indication that the party needs to be re-invigorated to stand a fair chance in next year’s elections.

“We have said it for the umpteenth time that the members of the Unity Forum constitute more than 70 per cent of the membership of the APC with a history of party loyalty, discipline and proven capacity to deliver the votes.

“It was to the members of the group that the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu turned in 2015 to secure needed votes for the second term bid of Governor Abiola Ajimobi,” the released further stated.

Also, the state chapter of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has thanked the people of the state and particularly its members for boycotting the LG polls, describing the exercise as a ‘rehearsal for APC’s burial’.

The party, which had announced its decision to boycott the exercise ahead of its conduct, made the claim in a statement forwarded to journalists in the name its chairman, Kunmi Mustapha, by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Akeem Olatunji.

The statement alleged that participating in last Saturday’s local government election in the state would amount to “a tacit endorsement of an illegality as the election failed integrity test right from the inception of the electoral process.”

Stray bullet kills teenage girl as Oyo conducts LG poll

An eighteen-year-old girl was killed at Idi Oro, Ekotedo area in Ibadan by a shot allegedly fired by an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) during the Local Government election held across Oyo State on Saturday.

The girl identified as Kofoworola Abubakar was said to be a student of St. Bridget Secondary School, Mokola where she reportedly wrote the last paper in her Senior Secondary School Examinations the previous day.

According to eyewitness account, Kofoworola met her untimely death in front of a patent medicine store where her mother sent her to buy some items.
The eyewitness recalled that a brawl had broken out between two rival cults gangs in the area which prompted residents to call on a team of NSCDC men, who were on election patrol, to come and rescue the situation.
On getting to the spot, the security men shot to the air to disperse the hoodlums, and in the process, one of the bullets hit the poor girl in back of her neck and pierced through her left eye.
Reports said she died on the spot.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Adekunle Ajisebutu, confirmed the incident, saying the suspect was already in the command’s custody.
Ajisebutu added that the state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude, had directed his men at the Investigation and Intelligent Department to commence diligent investigations into the unfortunate incident.
The NSCDC men were said to have hurried left the scene to avoid been mobbed by residents, who were obviously pained by the girl’s death.
A police team later came to fetch her remains.
Meanwhile, a local government election was held across the state on Saturday.
Despite the constitutional provision for periodic elections in the third tier of government, the state local governments were witnessing the exercise for the first time in the last seven years.

Though peaceful as no incident of violence was recorded in any part of the state, the election witnessed an abysmally low turnout.

Residents used the opportunity of the sit-at-home order imposed by the state government to allow them participate in the election to attend to personal issues.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, and his wife, Florence, voted at Ward 9, Unit 20, Community Grammar School, Oluyole Estate III in Ibadan South West Local Government Area.
The governor told newsmen that the poll was quite free, fair and peaceful, adding that everybody was well organised as he commended the people for supporting the process.

“It is great that Oyo has moved from the era of brigandage for which it was known before the inception of this administration in 2011. Since we came on board, we have been encouraging peace. The purpose of government is to ensure peace, security and socio-economic wellbeing of the people of the state. We will continue to do these.”

The CP and the state Coordinator of Civil Societies Organisation from Abuja, Mr. Friday Maduka, also said they visited some parts of the state capital to monitor the election and ensure that law and order were maintained.

Steer clear of LG election, congress, Ajimobi warns rival APC faction

Town Planning

Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Thursday warned his rivals in the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stay away from the Local Government election scheduled to hold across the state on Saturday,
The group, otherwise known as Unity Forum was also warmed against alleged attempt to disrupt the party’s Local Government Congress holding across the country same day.
The governor’s warning was contained in a statement issued by his Executive Assistant (Political), Dr. Morohunkola Thomas, in Ibadan on Thursday.
Thomas said the state government had uncovered a plan by the disgruntled APC members to cause mayhem in the state on the said date, warning that security agencies in the state have been placed on red alert to deal decisively with any group or individual fomenting trouble during the exercises.
Since the party held its ward congress last week, the factions in the state have been tackling each other in the bid to have their loyalists at the helm.
Below is the statement from the state government:

“The Oyo State Government has warned groups and individuals against activities capable of disrupting Saturday’s local government election and party congresses, saying that security operatives have been put on red alert to ensure peaceful conduct of both exercises.

“A statement by the Executive Assistant, Political to the Governor, Dr. Morohunkola Thomas, on Thursday, said that the warning became necessary following the fresh plans by dissident groups and their sympathisers within the All progressives Congress to cause mayhem on Saturday.

“Following the scuttling of the initial plans of the group to burn down the state secretariat of the APC, he said that intelligence revealed that they are restrategising to disrupt the peace of the land and render the LG election and congresses inconclusive.

” The government said that necessary security arrangements have been put in place to protect lives and property and to ensure that residents exercise their franchise without let or hindrance.

“According to him, latest intelligence has revealed that the members of the Unity Forum are planning to use their thugs to unleash terror on innocent electorate and loyal members of the APC.

“He said that the government appealed to all citizens, including the self-styled Unity Forum to embrace peace and allow the elections to hold in a peaceful atmosphere in the overall interest of the state and sanctity of democracy.

“The government has put security operatives on red alert to ensure the safety of election officials and voters. It has therefore become necessary to warn groups and individuals bent on fomenting trouble on Saturday to have a rethink.

“The law of the land is no respecter of anybody, no matter his or her position in the society. As leaders in their own right, those crying blue murder should rise above pettiness and join hands with the government and our great party.

“The government is using this opportunity to caution all political parties, including APC and their followers against any act of violence before, during and after the local government election and party congresses. The full weight of the law will be visited on troublemakers without discrimination.

“The government wishes to tell the public that an earlier interim injunction stopping the LG election had been vacated by a Federal High Court, Ibadan, thus clearing obstacles before the conduct of the election.”

Oyo proposes N267b for 2018 fiscal year

2018 fiscal year

The Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, presented a budget of N267 Billion for the 2018 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly on Thursday tagging it ‘Budget of Stabilisation.

Though the governor could not provide the details before the lawmakers, saying the state ministry of finance would do the job later, he informed that the new budget is increased by N60b above that of 2017 which was N207b in total.

Governor Ajimobi informed the members of the house that the budget submitted for consideration and approval of the legislature stood at N267,436,357,912.19, adding that it is expected to be funded from Internally Generated revenue of N112.10bn, Federation Account N93.68bn, Capital Receipts of N43.72bn, Transfer (LG, JAAC for LGSPB & LGSC) of N7.53bn and an unspent income of N10.40bn from 2017.

The budget presentation witnessed the presence of eminent personalities in the state including former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, Former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, Former Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Ashimiyu Alarape, traditional rulers , led by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Salawudeen Adekunle Ajinese 1, Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola, the Olubadan in Council, Party stalwarts as well as members of the Ibadan Elders Forum led by Ambassador Olu Sanu.

Senator Ajimobi said that the structure of the 2018 budgetary proposal reflects the priority the Government has accorded the various sectors in terms of their expected developmental effects, noting that the relative aggregate sectoral allocations were Economic Sector N85.390bn (57.29%), Social Services Sector N54.280bn (36.42%), Law & Justice Sector N0.517bn (0.35%) and General Administration Sector N8.860bn (5.94).

According to him, “The aggregate percentage of 93.71% of the capital expenditure allocated to the economic and social sub-sectors underscores the State Government’s determination to continue to pursue a people-centered, empowerment-focused agenda. We consider this as the best antidote to the problem of poverty amongst our people.

“It is to be recalled that apart from consistently utilizing more than the stipulated minimum of all the recurrent intervention from the federal government to settle salary/pension and arrears, our administration had conceded 100% monthly allocation from the federation accounts to payment of salaries and pensions of the State’s work force,” he added.

The Governor assured that his administration will further strengthen monitoring, supervision and inspection of our teaching staff as well as roll out  policies that will culminate to better performance of students at national and international examinations, adding that the State Government has awarded the construction and renovation of structures in Schools towards the provision of conducive environment for teaching and learning in our various schools with continued restructuring exercise in respect of staff redistribution with emphasis on professionalism and competence.

Fake land deeds: Oyo dismisses town planning interim staffers

Town Planning

The Oyo State government said it has dismissed all ad-hoc staff in Town Planning offices in its local government and local development centres across the state.

The state Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Survey, Ajiboye Omodewu, who disclosed this to journalists in Ibadan, said the government took the decision to nip in the board fraudulent activities being perpetrated by most of the interim employees.

Besides, he said the government would not need their services any longer as it has commenced processing and issuance of Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) through electronic means.

The commissioner also said about 245 recently processed electronic C of O are ready for collection at the ministry office.

According to Omodewu, apart from ensuring efficiency, the new C of Os have unique security features and are designed to cut off counterfeiting associated with analogue type.

He said the picture of title holders would appear on it with the survey plan of the land printed at the back of the certificate in order to prevent fraudulent productions.

While imploring members of the public to take advantage of the new land deeds for proper documentation of their lands, he reiterated its capacity to effectively fend off activities of land-grabbers.

Also speaking on the activities of the dismissed ad-hoc staff, the Director-General, Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control, Waheed Gbadamosi, said the bureau established cases of fake receipts and bank tellers being issued in the name of the government for C of O processing.

He said one Asumo Taofeek was arrested in connection with the crime and now in police custody to answer to the allegations against him.

Ajimobi to sign alternative dispute resolution law soon – Attorney-General

Town Planning

The Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Oluwaseun Abimbola, at the weekend said the State Governor Abiola Ajimobi will soon sign into law an alternative dispute resolution bill recently passed by the State House of Assembly.

In a release made available to journalists in Ibadan on Sunday, an elated Abimbola said the law was designed to liberalize dispute resolution in the state and promote access to justice among the residents.

He said the governor was ready to put his assent as soon as the legislators present the clean copy of the passed bill to him.

“One of our signature bills towards Justice sector reforms in Oyo state, targeted at liberalizing the dispute resolution space and promote access to Justice for all residents has just been passed by the Oyo state House of Assembly. This is the Oyo State Multi-door Courthouse Law of 2017,” he added.

Tagged  Multi-Door Courthouse Bill, the law was proposed to the law making body by the State government as an executive bill to encourage use of alternative dispute resolution methods among disputants in civil matters, rather than full litigations.

The Attorney-General also disclosed that the state judiciary had made an arrangement within the High Court premises for effective take-off and smooth running of the exercise as soon as the bill is signed to law and inaugurated by the governor.

He commended the Speaker and members of the Oyo state House of Assembly on the diligence given to the passage of laws relevant to the people and their consistent cooperation with the Governor.

 

Court relaxes order against Oyo LG election

Town Planning

Oyo State Government has secured an order that will facilitate the conduct of local government election in the state.

In a statement in Ibadan on Wednesday by the Commissioner for information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun quoting the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Oluwaseun Abimbola, the government stated that Order 3 of the interim injunction forbidding INEC from releasing the voters register to OYSIEC for conduct of elections into LGs and LCDAs has been discharged by the court.

According to Mr. Abimbola, “in respect of the case filed by Oyo baales challenging the LCDAs and in which the court had issued an injunction preventing the conduct of elections into LG&LCDAs. I made an application to the court to discharge the part of the Interim order preventing our conduct of elections into LGs since the subject matter of the suit is only on the propriety of LCDAs and not LGs.

“The other counsels in the matter all conceded to the point as canvassed by the Oyo State Government on this matter. Consequently, the Order 3 of the Interim injunction forbidding INEC from releasing voters register to OYSIEC for conduct of elections into LGs and LCDAs has been discharged by the court. Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) is now at liberty to conduct LG elections only, but not into LCDAs which is still pending in court,” the Attorney General explained.

Abimbola hoped that this would development would clear the air and misrepresentation by the people who believe that the state government was not interested in the conduct of the local government election, pointing out that the order secured is a demonstration to the fact that the state government is ready for the conduct of the election and the barrier has been removed.

Oyo partners Microsoft for digital literacy

Oyo Microsoft

The Oyo State Government on Wednesday disclosed that it is partnering Microsoft and Signal Alliance on its digital literacy programme, saying that 800 computers will be provided across eight centres as the pilot scheme.

The Government stated these during a press conference attended by representatives of Microsoft Nigeria, Signal Alliance, Tertiary Institutions, Schools Governing Board and other stakeholders   held at the Film Theatre of the State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Ibadan.

Speaking at the conference, the Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Education, Dr Bisi Akin-Alabi stated that the state would launch digital literacy centers to prepare the state towards producing a knowledgeable competent workforce in the country.

She explained that the state government cum Microsoft and Signal Alliance would give birth to eight centres with 100 computers each, stressing that four centres will be in Ibadan, two in Oke Ogun, 1 for Oyo/Ogbomoso Zone and One for Ibarapa zone.

Dr. Akin-Alabi said that the every student is expected to benefit from the digital literacy, noting that Microsoft has promised to give the state 700 computers every year to complement the state government’s efforts until each school in the state is covered.

According to her, “this digital literacy project was put on ground towards the Sustainable Development Goals in education in order to ensure wholesome offerings for all and to demonstrate the government commitment to delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG) to bridge gaps in education provision. Oyo State government is collaborating with Microsoft and Signal Alliance to launch the digital literacy and cluster learning centers in the State. Initially, the government wanted to provide 3 Cluster Learning Centre (CLC) as a pilot scheme but the partnership with Microsoft and Signal Alliance increased it to eight.

“This is to improve access to qualitative education in the State by all private and public pupils. The Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led administration in Oyo State is set to launch a 21st Century Compliant digital literacy drive. This is another unprecedented move by the administration to prepare Oyo State for a knowledge-based future and make the State a hub for producing a knowledgeable competent workforce in Nigeria,” Dr Akin- Alabi added.

In her comments, the Microsoft Head of Education Programs in Nigeria, Ms Jordan Belmonte said that the programme was built towards making Oyo State meet the global technological pace, saying that this project could put Nigeria on the digital technological map through the state.

Belmonte pledged Microsoft’s commitment to lifelong education by providing education solutions and at the same time, promoting adoption of ICT in schools, stressing that the project will lead to institutional change and students can get certification which is recognized globally thereby giving Nigerian companies the opportunity to find the needed talent from their host community.

She said “We are delighted to partner the Oyo State Government and Standard Alliance we believe that investment in education is a critical component of preparing youths for the global workforce and it is directly tied to a country’s economic growth. Our mission is to ensure that we support this advancement in learning and the benefits it provides for Nigerian students. Microsoft Nigeria is committed to promoting lifelong learning by providing affordable access to education solutions and promoting the adoption of ICT in schools.”

The representative of Signal Alliance, Mrs. Adamma Onoegbu said it was important to prepare graduates before joining the workforce so as to be sure of quality input into the nation’s economy.

She said that technology should reach everywhere in Nigeria, hence the need to support the digital literacy drive of the Oyo State Government, assuring that the company will ensure that the objectives of the programme are realized.

The press conference was witnessed by the State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs Aderonke Makanjuola among others.

Oyo Govt Committed N22bn to LAUTECH in 6years, says crisis to end soon

PRESS RELEASE

Oyo State Government has said that over N22bn has been expended on the Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH) since 2011, confirming that the recently inaugurated Governing Council is already finding a lasting solution to the crisis in the institution.

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Professor Adeniyi Olowofela, who made the disclosure on Thursday during a Ministerial Press Briefing, held at the Film Theatre, Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism, revealed that the Governing Council has had a series of meetings with the Unions of the institution to resolve the current imbroglio, saying that the unions have consented to the forensic auditing recommended by the visitation panel to the institution.

Prof. Olowofela said that the forensic audit is for all the tertiary institutions in the state to know the state of their finances, saying that the tertiary institution’s fees will be reviewed as the present fees being paid are highly subsidized by the government.

The Commissioner explained that N10.5bn has been spent on LAUTECH as an institution, N8.317bn expended on LAUTECH teaching hospital Ogbomoso while N3.17bn has been spent on LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo from 2011 to 2017 adding, “It is a wrong insinuation to say that we are care free about the LAUTECH crisis. We are not happy with the situation in the school but there is good news already. The unions have agreed to the forensic audit recommended by the visitation panel and the crisis is coming to an end with lasting solutions. The governing council is meeting the unions and stakeholders of the institution on a regular basis.

“Tertiary institutions’ fees are being subsidized by the state government. For instance, A 300-level student at the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education as at now is paying N8,000.00 and the highest fee being paid in LAUTECH is less than N70,000.00. We all know what the economy is saying and we are aware what is being paid in other government institutions and private ones. We are subsidizing fees paid in institutions in the state and we are committed to quality education for all. We want to assure our stakeholders in the education sector that the LAUTECH and other crisis in the sector will be resolved in due course,” the commissioner disclosed.

Prof. Olowofela noted that there is a surgical operation going on in the education sector in the state starting with automatic promotion which adversely affected the standard of education not only in Oyo state but Nigeria as a whole; explaining that the state government has introduced the ‘No Automatic Promotion” policy and started a unified examination system as well as harmonized grading for S.S 1 & 2 students in public schools in the state to improve the state’s performances in external examinations, WAEC and NECO.

He noted that the efforts of the government has started yielding fruitful results with the state coming 2nd in NECO external examination in 2016, better than 12th position of 2015, urging that the media should be wary of the reports they publish so as not to mislead the general public on the present rating of the state in external examinations.

Prof. Olowofela stated that the recently introduced School Governing Boards for Public secondary schools in the state is a master stroke that is changing the schools’ system, emphasising that the paradigm has changed and the SGBs are improving the standard of education and infrastructures in Oyo State schools.

He posited that the SGB model will outlive the present administration as it is yielding positive results already, explaining “One of our SGBs put N125m to renovate their school and they are presently trying to raise N1bn now. The SGB is a master stroke that will change education in the state forever. The Government has also approved and initiated the process of renovating 100 schools with about N5bn comprising of N3b counterpart funding and N1.9bn  which is a combination of  funds generated from the students’ levies and state government’s internally generated revenue.

“We want our students to take advantage of our Oyo State Model Education System Intervention (OYOMESI) to build good character and the Ajumose Legacy Note for secondary schools to download text books from the web, while the hard copies are also available in the Ministry,” the Commissioner stressed.

Prof. Olowofela said that the Education Trust Fund (ETF) inaugurated recently by Governor Abiola Ajimobi would complement the budgetary allocation at all levels by the government, adding that 5% of VAT to State/Local Government will go to ETF as well as 1% from IGR and 1% paid by students of private schools will go into the pool.

The Commissioner pointed out that The Technical University, Ibadan (TechU) will be self-financing, saying that the government is just midwifing the university that will develop the vocational skills of its students and promote technical education.