LESSONS FROM OSUN SENATORIAL BYE-ELECTION
APC lost the election to APC, contends Kunle Owolabi
THISDAY Newspaper’s editorial of Friday, July 17, 2017 was a carefully and skillfully written piece. The editorial dug deeply into how the last Osun West Senatorial byeelection was conducted, lost and won. Commendation should go to newspaper for electing to tell the truth about the issue at stake as well as its thorough appraisal of the election; and constructive criticism of the principal actors in the electoral contest. With its objectivity and near-perfect reading of the performance of the Governor, Rauf Aregbesola; the successes of his programmes and policies ‘boosted by fiscal prudence;’ and the eventual financial crisis arising from the ‘slump in oil prices and dwindling bailout from Abuja,” the editorial gladdens the heart as the positive comments and insightful appraisal of the governor’s policies and programmes would inform a lot of people who are currently being bamboozled by a section of the media with fixated minds on the true state of issues in the State of Osun.
While it cannot be denied that THISDAY gesture will serve as tonic to Aregbesola’s administration in order to consolidate on his people-oriented programmes it embarked on as his administration winds down gradually, there are few grey areas in the editorial, which ought to be put in proper perspective. Prominent among them is the notion that Ademola Adeleke left the party because of manipulation at the primary election.
One, Ademola did not participate in the primary as he decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not more than six hours to the real primary. Though the primary election was adjudged to be free and fair, the belief in some quarters is that he left because of the array of support base for his opposition before the primary election.
Two, Ademola positioned himself to be the sole candidate of the APC with the collaboration of some party top echelon in Abuja, coupled with the assistance of some renegades within the Osun APC. When this failed, he left the party.
Third, it was even the magnanimity of the party and the goodwill of his late brother that paved the way for him to express his desire to contest on the platform of the party without any antagonism. The simple truth is that, Ademola was never a card-carrying member in the real sense of being a party man. Only his brother sought to belong to the party after he was humiliated out of PDP. So the notion that the younger Adeleke decamped from APC is a contradiction for he never belonged to the party in the first place. Thus, the allegation that they denied him the ticket of the party was baseless altogether.
THISDAY also situated the financial crisis bedevilling the federal government and all the states of the federation very well, especially, on the fact that states are now struggling to fulfil their monthly statutory bills right. And Osun is welloff in terms of salary payment than most other states of the federation.
With the modulated salary structure adopted by the state in the face of the crisis, it can be said that the state does not owe any salary except that of July, which the state is set to pay.
Under this arrangement, civil servants on Grade Levels One to Seven in the state have been getting their full salaries paid monthly while Grade Levels Eight to 10 have been taking home 75 per cent of their monthly salaries; and Grade Levels 13 to 17, half of their total monthly pay package.
All these three categories have collected their salaries up to June 2017. So, the misinformation in some quarters that the state owes backlog of salaries is far from the truth.
This is where the media also can help. It is sad that a section of the media is currently aiding the spread of rumours, deliberately sponsored to malign the government and Governor Rauf Aregbesola so as to portray him as being callous and unresponsive to the yearnings of workers.
Let it be known that when the economy of the state was buoyant, salaries were not only paid as and when due, full salaries were also paid as ‘13th month’ to the workers. It is however unfortunate that Aregbesola’s traducers seem to have forgotten all his good deeds so soon. Not even his commitment to restore the status quo ante bellum once the financial status of the state improves.
To insist therefore that the modulated salary structure demoralised the workers to the extent of contributing to the loss of the bye-election is totally untrue.
It is enough to just say that APC lost the election to APC!