November makes two years since Rauf Aregbesola was sworn in as the governor of Osun State for a second four-year term, yet he continues to run the state of Osun without a cabinet.
Despite clamour and protests by the opposition parties and civil society organisations in the state for him to constitute a cabinet, Governor Aregbesola has remained adamant, running the state with his deputy, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Moshood Adeoti and his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola.
On his reason for not appointing state commissioners, Aregbesola while interacting with journalists in June, 2016 during the ceremonial breaking of fast (Iftar), had claimed he refused to constitute a cabinet because Osun State has no money.
According to the governor, it will cost the state about N100million monthly to maintain a cabinet.
Under Aregbesola’s watch, Osun has remained one of the worst hit state in Nigeria where salaries of workers are not paid as at when due and when paid, they only receive half salaries.
Ripples Nigeria gathered that since June 2015, Osun State civil servants have only been receiving 50 per cent of their salaries. The last of it was received in July this year.
Bola Ajao, the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretary, reacting on the issue told Ripples Nigeria, “As you have heard of uncommon transformation somewhere, they are having uncommon way of doing government here in Osun. It is only the governor, the deputy governor, the SSG and Chief of Staff that is running our government. The government here is like a sole administration. Those three running the government with him are all cleavages and attachments of Aregbesola”.
Ajao added, “The constitution of Nigeria provides that there must be an executive council. The House of Assembly is a constitutional body that is saddled with that responsibility to call the governor to order, but nobody knows if they are doing anything in that regards.
“We have tried all we can, civil society organisations have shouted, gone on the streets, went outside Osun to Abuja to protest and yet noting seems to be happening and our friends in the media seem to be getting along with them.”
Ripples Nigeria however reliably gathered from one who is well informed in the governance of the state and who would not want his name mentioned that the governor may appoint his commissioners before the end of November.
Despite the governor’s claim that he wants to save money by not constituting his cabinet, feelers suggest there may be more to it than he actually claims.
According to a source, the governor‘s delay in appointing commissioners was political as he still wants to appoint some of his former commissioners and “he wants them to exhaust all the money they made last time before appointing them so that whatever he offers them, they will gladly receive it without complaints,” our source revealed.
The governor it was also learnt purposely delayed the appointment so that it will come when the next governorship election in the state is close by, “then he will appoint those he will be able to manage without much hassles for the purpose of the next election,” the state PDP secretary said.
“But all his plans cannot work because the people know better now, all the monumental lies he told the people are now glaring for all to see and there is nothing he can do now to win back the people’s trust. Already they have given him (Aregbesola) a name, ‘Halfsa’, which means half salary because since June last year he has been paying half salaries to civil servants in the state,” Ajao added