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Exclusive Interview: “My Scorecard: So far, so good”- Governor Adeleke

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Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State

• I am paying debt and we are not borrowing
• Multibillion Naira Infraplan in progress
• No sector, town or LG will be neglected

In this interview with Sola Isola, Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke speaks on how he has managed the affairs of the state since he was sworn in as Governor in November, 2022.

You have been Governor for close to two years, how have you been able to manage the affairs of the state?

First of all I will like to appreciate the people of Osun State for the support they gave me before elections and even after I was sworn in as Governor, from traditional rulers, to the youth, women and even children to groups and association here and there, the support has been huge.

Now, when I was coming in, I came prepared because I know we have work to do and I was ready to change the narrative in the history of Osun state and that’s what we are doing and will continue to do.

Coming into office, a lot of people underrated me, they thought I couldn’t do it, they called me a dancer, not knowing that I am a happy man and I am always grateful to God, because I know where I was coming from and I know where I am now, thats why I sing and dance and no form of criticism can take away that from me because praising and dancing to God is my secret weapon.

A lot of people still say you have not done anything, what do you have to say to that?

(Chuckles) You are a journalist, didn’t you see anything on your way here? See when people say things like this, we need to check their intentions, some of them have never been to Osun State and some of them are members of the opposition party, they won’t praise me because they don’t like me, and they are already fidgeting because of the next election. They are scared of me, they are scared of our party.

When I came in as Governor, Osun state was in a mess and in less than two years, I have disappointed the opposition. We met a backlog of debt in salaries arrears and pension, we have started paying that back. Every worker deserved to be paid because it is their right.

In terms of infrastructure, Osun was no where to be found, roads were abandoned, schools and hospitals dilapidated and then I told my people, we have work to do and we must face it.

What we then did is to look into creating a short term plan, which is what we implemented in the first 100 days and then the long term plan, which is what we are working with right now and that includes the Multibillion Naira Infraplan, which is also unprecedented in the history of Osun State.

For instance in the area of providing water, we decided to sink one boreholes in each ward in the state so we can provide an interim solution to the need of the people where as on the long term plan, we are revitalizing the abandoned waterworks and mini-water scheme in the state.

On roads, in the short term, we completed phase one of Osogbo-Ikirun-Ila Odo Road, completed selected road one per federal constituency and on the long term, we will be constructing five flyovers and 45 roads within the State across all local governments of the state, 1.5km per local government.

On education, we are currently on the process of recruiting 5000 teachers, 250 education officer and you are also aware that we have enrolled all pensioners in the state into Osun Health Insurance Scheme so they do not need to buy drugs and seek healthcare with their pension. We are also taking Imole Free Healthcare across the state, that initiative is helping people who need healthcare but can not afford it.

We are also rebuilding dilapidated schools across the state, as well as several primary healthcare centres, we are re-equipping the moribund State hospital through Osun Health Insurance Agency.

In terms of ease of doing business, I recently approved N1billion loan for SME’s in the state, and it is at a single digit interest rate. I can go on and on.

But a number of people have been saying the state allocation has increased since subsidy removal and they are accusing your government of not being transparent.

You see the issue of allocation is an open document and we can not lie about it, if we do not release the figure, FAAC will release the figure through NBS, so the opposition party need not lie to the people of Osun state.

Secondly, Osun is hugely indebted and all our repayment is being taken from this same allocation before it ever gets to us, now put that on the same side with the rate of inflation in the country, for instance project that cost 1million naira before will now cost close to 4million naira and we can not but keep running the state.

Despite that, with the little we got from the federal government, we are paying wage award of N15,000 to our workers and N10,000 to retirees, we also introduced the Imole De Buses which is to convey civil servants and students in the morning and in the evening at a very subsidized rate.

We also shared the rice and maize that the Federal Government sent to us. I understand the plight of my people and I am doing as much as possible to cushion that.

So how have you been able to manage the finances of the state?

Its been a lot of serious conversations with my team, one of the things we did was to be prudent, then we started blocking all the loopholes where the state was losing money and redirected all those funds.

When I saw that we need alot of money, I decided to let go of my security vote which is around 600million, if you calculate that in a year, that’s about N7.2bn, thats the amount of sacrifice I am willing to make for my people.

These and many other steps have we taken to ensure the smooth running of our administration.

There was a recent allegation that your government borrowed #10billion, is this true?

Allegation by who? The APC? Thats a terrible lie, since we came in November, I have made it clear to my team that we are not borrowing, so we have to be prudent and we must block all leakages.

No one should take Osun APC serious, the records are there, we have not borrowed a dime and we will not, what we have to focus on right now is repaying the debt that the opposition party had imposed on us.

Recently, you launched a multibillion Naira Infraplan and it came under a lot of criticism, with many people saying your government didn’t follow due process, whats your reaction to this?

You see, I have learnt something since I became Governor and I said it the day I was conducting swearing in ceremony for my Special Advisers, its impossible to please human beings but as a man of integrity I will keep trying my best.

To everything in government, there is a process and I have given strict instructions to my team members to make sure they adhere strictly to these rules. For every of our projects that are not direct labour, a bid was made, it was advertised and just so we can save cost, these projects were awarded to the lowest bidders and let me be honest with you, what is important to me right now is the completion of these projects.

I see every other thing as distractions which is coming from a group of people that wants me to fail in office.

How certain are you that this project will be completed within the stipulated period of time?

I have no doubt whatsoever, apart from the fact that we have the best hands in charge on site, we also have a strong monitoring team and I get up-to-date report on a daily basis, if anything goes otherwise, I am the first person that will call all the journalist in Osun and the contractors will be made to face the music.

There are concerns from some quarters that you are focused on Osogbo and Ede, what do you have to say to this?

(Smiles) I think its only a misconception, there is hardly any plan we make that doesn’t cover all geopolitical zones of the state as well all local governments in the state, but I must say that people need to be patient with us because we have a robust plan that we are implementing in phases, which will go round in no time.

One thing I am certain of and I can assure the people of Osun State of is that no sector, town or Local Government will be neglected because everybody contributed to where we are today, so no stone will be left unturned.

There is no town, local government or community that will not be touched.

On Ipade Imole, people are asking questions, what should they expect?

What are those questions? Ipade Imole was conceived to serve as a platform where I get to meet the people of the state and provide answers to whatever questions they have and we have decided to be taking it round federal constituencies in the state.

We held the first one in Osogbo in October 2023, and we are holding another one in now in Ilesa. I have instructed my team members to make sure we have enough time to answer questions and also allow people who will not be able to join us physically to phone in while the programme is on.

It will be live on Radio, TV and our social media handles.

One of the concerns raised is the fact only PDP members and your appointees will be able attend? Is this concern true?

Thats a blatant lie, its impossible to bring everybody in Osun into one hall, so we have designed a system, to allow selected people from different groups.

It is an open invitation to all groups, agencies, organizations, civil societies, journalists, Labour Union and so many other organized groups.

This is not about politics, its about governance.

We heard that you about to be Installed as Asiwaju of Edeland, how would you say you achieved this feat

(Smiles) To be honest, it can only be God. My father Chief Ayoola Adeleke in his lifetime was Asiwaju of Edeland, after he passed on, my brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke was also installed Asiwaju of Edeland until he also passed on.

So I think this is about the people of Edeland acknowledging our contributions to the development of Ede and also keeping a good legacy alive.

I just appreciate our father the Timi of Edeland, Oba Munirudeen Lawal, for upholding the culture of diligence in Ede sons and daughter and upholding the culture and traditions that his forefathers left behind.

I have accepted the offer to be installed as Asiwaju of Edeland and I must say I consider it a challenge to step into a shoe my father and Elder brother left behind, but as always I believe in Almighty Allah to help me through.

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