Osun Government Recruits 100 Youths Into Internal Revenue Service

Osun State Government on Thursday presented letters of employment to over 100 unemployed youths recruited into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to upsurge the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.

The newly recruited youths were said to have been selected across the 30 local governments including the Area office, Modakeke, as the full-fledged staff to assist the state in its revenue generation.

Addressing the beneficiaries at a three-day training workshop organized by the Board, the Director of Finance and Strategy, Osun Board Internal Revenue Service, Mr Oluyemi Oni, said that the essence of the training was to give the newly employed tax marshals requisite knowledge and to instill in them the basic principles that will aid them to diligently discharge their duties.

Oni said that out of over 400 revenue marshals who were recruited on contract basis about one year ago, 100 of them were absorbed due to their excellent performance while on probation.

Giving insights into the recruitment criteria, Oni said NCE, OND, HND, B.SCS and Masters Degree holders were considered by the board to be fixed into levels 6, 7 and 8 respectively.

According to him, having absorbed 100 trainees into the board, efforts were being made to finally absorb them into civil service just as a fresh batch would be absorbed by the board very soon.

“As part of efforts to improve on the state IGR, the board had to secure the approval of the government to absorb 100 officers into the board as staffs so as to assist the state in its quest to improve on its revenue generation,” he said.

Oni implored the beneficiaries to see the appointment as a call to service by living up to their responsibilities in making the state to realize its objectives on robust revenue generation.

Earlier, Chairman of the Osun Board Internal Revenue Service, Mr Dayo Oyebamiji, commended the state government for empowering the youth through jobs creation.

Oyebamiji said Osun has always been ahead of its peers in wealth creation and employment generation as the developmental policies of the state had impacted positively in the lives of the citizenry.

He called on the newly recruited tax officers to live up to state’s expectations by championing the laid down tax principles and guidelines aimed at improving the status of the state IGR.

The Head of Training, Osun Board Internal Revenue Service, Mr Lawrence Oladapo, called on the trainees to distinguish themselves by making the board proud as revenue collectors.

Oladapo, who sued for transparency and honesty, called on the beneficiaries to be diligent to duties as being dictated by the concept of taxation.

One of the youths recruited to join the OIRS, Bimbola Ajayi told Channels Television that the move by the state government is a commendable one

“Many of us who are fortunate to be among those recruited have been without jobs for so long. So, we will ensure that we do our best, knowing filly well that we are helping to generate funds for the state government.

“We are beneficiaries of all the government is providing for the people of Osun state and tax payment is the civic duty ?of a responsible citizen. We will not disappoint the government,” he said.

Fidel Castro: An Unforgettable Revolutionary Icon, By Rauf Aregbesola

Fidel Castro has completed his earthly assignment but the ideas for which he struggled, defended, sacrificed, lived and died, like his other immortal colleagues, will live forever.

“Died in beauty, like a rose blown from its parent stem” – Charles Doyne Sillery

 

At last the curtain fell on the exemplary life of the Commandante of The Army of the oppressed and dis-inherited people world-wide. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz has passed on after 90 eventful years, 49 of which he held sway as the Prime Minister and later President of Cuba. Indeed, Castro became a permanent feature of political and ideological discourse in the past five decades, such that we almost thought he would live forever.

 

The feeling is mixed. Yes mixed! To lose such an inspiring and profound personality is eternally painful but for such a legend to depart at such a ripe age of 90, deserves a huge celebration in a world where the average life span hardly surpasses 50 years, but not more than 70 years for men in the most advanced nations on our planet.

 

On behalf of the government and people of the State of Osun, and in recognition of the historical and cultural bond between the Cubans and Yoruba in the State of Osun in Nigeria and worldwide, we salute the courage, determination, vision, resilience and revolutionary zeal of Fidel and his companions, the indomitable spirit of Cubans, and solidarity of all people of the world committed to human dignity, freedom and happiness.

From the July 26 movement of 1953, the Granma Expedition of November 25, 1956, the ultimate victory of the revolution on January 1, 1959, to his final departure from our realm at about 10 pm, November 25, 2016, we are sure that our Commandante lived a fulfilled life that history will never forget.

 

Millions of people – students, academics, poets, politicians, trade unionists, artisans, revolutionary cadres and humanists – including my humble self, drew inspiration from him, his rhetorics, writings, reflections, dedication, integrity and commitment to building socialism. There is no doubt that the world is a better place because of him, consequently a gem has been lost indeed.

 

He was a symbol of resistance to injustice and oppression, as all the oppressed people of the world drew inspiration from him. He held the unenviable record of being the man with the most assassination attempts on his life, without any succeeding. He stood for what he believed in and not for once did he flinch in the face of the most formidable military encirclement and daunting economic and financial strangulation. Ironically, the man who the greatest powers on earth could not break finally succumbed to illness and ultimately the cold hands of death, in the way of all mortals.

…we join the people of Cuba in their national grief and urge them to renew and redouble their commitment and duty to the struggle and ultimate victory of socialism.

As Africans, we remember the solidarity, partnerships, high level of discipline and sense of DUTY of the Cubans to the liberation struggles, healthcare delivery, education, sports and youth development and political consciousness in Africa under the leadership and direction of Fidel and his administration. Although Castro’s Cuba is a nation with modest means, yet she has a gargantuan spirit of internationalism, support and assistance to the poor and exploited peoples and nations of the world. We proudly acknowledge the heroism of Cuba in this unparalleled show solidarity and humanism.

Nevertheless, in death, Castro has joined the pantheons of immortals whose ideas and praxis continually dominate and influence their world and therefore live forever in the hearts of people, in literature and politics, and in the physical monuments that will be named after him all over the world. Millions will carry on the struggle from where he left it.

 

Fidel Castro has been rightly described by The Guardian of London as a ‘revolutionary icon’. It is expected that well deserved encomiums and heartfelt tributes will pour in for a life of struggle, Spartan discipline, selflessness and sacrifice that he lived.

 

As we mourn and celebrate the passage of this international revolutionary legend, hero of the oppressed, fighter of oppression and exploitation, promoter of social justice, soldier and Commandante of ideas, we join the people of Cuba in their national grief and urge them to renew and redouble their commitment and duty to the struggle and ultimate victory of socialism.

 

Fidel Castro has completed his earthly assignment but the ideas for which he struggled, defended, sacrificed, lived and died, like his other immortal colleagues, will live forever.

 

Long Live Cuba !
Long live the revolution !!
Till Everlasting Victory !!!

#ReOpenLautech: Nigerians Deserve A Top Notch Educational System – Isaac Amoo

Nigerian student deserves more and the educational system needs better handling than what we are presently seeing in LAUTECH. Is this the promised change or do we wait for another? These are the question plaguing our minds as we look at the unfolding scenarios in LAUTECH.

 

If this has to do with change mantra, I don’t know. But the height and depth of irresponsibility displayed by the two Governors (Osun and Oyo states) stink to the high heaven. They came in the garb of Awolowo but are bereft of Awo’s idea and the ideal of Education nor do they portray Awo’s integrity.

 

We have been sold a mouthed commitment to educational overhaul before the election but alas it becomes a forgone one immediately the politicians are sworn in. To every politician in Nigeria especially of the western extraction, reforming and transforming education top the list of their agenda only to see how it becomes a non-issue as they ascend the seat of power. Men whose actions are diametrically opposed to their words. Men with questionable integrity.

 

Today, we have been trapped in the convoluted web of men whose value for the future is infinitesimal. And whose pleasure is gallivanting and globetrotting without any discernible idea on education.

 

Our politicians lack the will and vision to accurately position the state beyond subsistence, even at the subsistence level they are a colossal failure as thirty out of the thirty-six cannot pay common salary.

 

The past months the school had been on lockdown, the concerned Governors have not moved a hoot. That speak of high-level responsibility. Every government should have a face value at least for the populace especially the future.

 

A country lost in the world of delusion- wanting to be great but contended with staying at a mediocre equilibrium without a proportional effort to achieve the greatness. A sorry state for the giant of Africa whose delight is in stupefying retrogression. The Governors especially should put their houses in order as regard education because if we continue in these one step forward and several backwards, we won’t amount to anything soon.

 

We have become the scum of the world because we lack this one virtue- Vision! Our leadership is not driven by men and women with crystal clear vision. We lack the power of focus and intensity that behoves quality leadership. And where there is no vision, there won’t be the passion for pursuing the necessary course. Misplaced priority is equally inevitable.

 

It is high time we woke up from the slumber. The fabrics of our educational sector are losing out in the seams. We are tottering towards educational extinction if we don’t rise up from our greed induced stupor.

 

So, I ask if Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Senator Abiola Ajimobi have concerns for the school gate that has been shut for more than two months now? Could this be the other side of the change promised?

 

Could this be another style of leadership whose priority is not first about the education? Could this be that they don’t know the school activities have been handicapped for this number of months? Or can we conclude that they are living in another world different from ours?

 

Maybe they don’t know this is taking place under their watch?

 

If their pride is that the school is jointly owned by two States whose Governors are ‘change’ mantra fanatics, I think they have to borrow themselves some currencies of common sense.

 

What progress has this change brought to the school? Non-payment of both the teaching and non-teaching staff is the trademark that stands them out. Two men whose party’s song of change has only resulted to an exponential backwardness in a fast order. Your house is burning, but it does not move you an inch speak volume of the premium you place on the family.

 

The two Governors and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the chancellor of the school should bring dynamism and progressiveness to the school but see where we are today? I do believe the good APC national leader in the person of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will use his heavyweight to weigh in in the current impasse in the school.

 

Please, wake up and do something urgent to the sordid and helpless state of the institution that has been on a terminal break for more than two months. Redefine your vision along the path of education and save the future of this nation.

 

Writer: Isaac Sogo Amoo – @isaacsogo on Twitter

Osun Sacks 141 Poly, Colleges Of Education Staff

No fewer than 141 members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, and Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU, in Osun State owned tertiary institutions have been sacked by the government.

 

It was gathered that the sacked workers were victims of the on-going controversial restructuring of tertiary institutions in the state.

 
The two institutions affected by the gale of sack are Osun State College of Education, Ila and Osun State College of Education, Ilesa.

 
According to credible sources, the sack letters were brought from the state Ministry of Education on Friday for distribution to the affected staffers, but the leaders of the two unions directed their members not to collect the letters.

 

 

The state chairman and secretary of Council of Academic Staff Unions Osun State Owned Tertiary Institutions (CASUOSTI), Comrade Lasisi A. Jimoh and Comrade Olusegun Lana, respectively, in a press statement, said “letters of termination of appointment were issued to several members of staff in Osun State owned tertiary institutions today (Friday)”.

 
No government official was willing to comment on the development as several calls and text messages put across to them were not replied.

 
In a related development, the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, has fixed an emergency meeting for Tuesday to discuss the appeal made by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to the union to suspend its two months old strike. The strike started on December 24, 2015.

 
SSANU embarked on strike over the alleged disengagement of about 2,000 universities staff School workers, following a government circular to Vice Chancellors of universities to remove the names of the workers from their pay roll.

 
Sunday Vanguard reliably gathered that the Minister held a meeting with the SSANU leadership at an undisclosed hotel in Abuja last Sunday on how to resolve the problem.
A source privy to the meeting told Sunday Vanguard that Adamu indicated, at the meeting, his willingness to ensure that the strike was called off, but SSANU insisted that the termination letters to her members should be withdrawn before it could suspend the strike.

 
The source further said that after listening to the minister, the leadership of SSANU decided to hold an emergency NEC meeting on Tuesday to consider the appeal made by the minister and then take a stand on it.

 
Confirming this, the Public Relations Officer, PRO, of SSANU, Comrade Salaam Abdulssobur, said the meeting was an informal one and that the the union had scheduled an emergency NEC meeting.

 

 

Credit : Vanguard

Gov. Aregbesola Calls For Eradication Of Female Genital Mutilation

Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has called on government at all levels to work towards total eradication of female genital mutilation in the country.

Aregbesola made the call at a Forum on Female Genital Mutilation organised by United Nations Fund for Population Activities(UNFPA), in collaboration with Shericare Foundation in Osogbo on Tuesday.

The governor commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the Act prohibiting female genital mutilation in Nigeria.

According to Aregbesola, female genital mutilation is a bad practice borne out of primitive idea to continually dominate females in the society which must be stopped by all Nigerians.

“Everybody must work hard to ensure that the practice is done away with. Besides the damage it has done to women, it has created health challenges like acute urinary retention, delivery complications, among others.

“We have not established any scientific advantage let alone any religion supporting the practise. It is just an inhuman design to suppress the other sex.”

Sherifat, wife of the governor and President of Shericare Foundation, described female genital mutilation as primitive.

She said that if the practice continued, 2, 718, 000 girls born between 2010 and 2015 would be at risk of experiencing female genital mutilation by 2030.

Country Representative of UNFPA, Ms Ratidzai Ndhlovu, charged Osun Government to work and ensure the eradication of the practice.

She stressed that? Osun had the highest prevalence rate of 7.6 per cent, followed by Oyo state with 7.2per cent.

The UNFPA boss added that it was important for the wives of governors in the country and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance with the existing law on female genital mutilation.

Wife of Oyo State Governor, Florence Ajimobi, wife of Governor of Ekiti State, Feyi Fayose, representatives of wives of the Governors of Lagos, Imo and Ebonyi, were among dignitaries at the event.

 

 

(NAN)

Osun, France sign N8bn solar plant agreement

Osun State Government and France have signed an agreement to build a 35million Euros (N8 billion) 13 megawatts solar plant in the state.

 

Stephane Gompertz, France’s Ambassador for Climate Change, told reporters in Abuja on Sunday that the project was the first of such magnitude to be signed in Nigeria.

 

Gompertz said the agreement was signed on Friday by the Osun Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola and a French company, Vergnet, adding that France was supporting Nigeria in the area of renewable energy.

 

“As far as new and renewable energy are concerned, the French Agency for Development helps finance through credits, projects in new and renewable energy.

 

“On Friday morning, I was with the French Ambassador in Abuja. We were received by the Governor of Osun State. We signed an agreement with a French company called Vergnet.

 

“Vergnet will build a solar plant of 13 megawatts, which is quite big for a solar plant. And as far as I am concerned, this is the first project of such magnitude to be signed here in Nigeria.

 

“There will be other bigger projects going up to 50 or even 100 megawatts,” he said.

 

Gompertz said France had supported Nigeria’s power sector through its contracts and also through loans from the French Development Agency (AFD).

 

He explained that the agreement to build the solar power plant also included training component to encourage transfer of technology.

 

According to him, the more we develop new technologies, the more people are trained to manage or to invent those technologies, and this will on the long run contribute to the development.

 

He noted that in 2009, the Federal Government had assigned Vergnet to establish a wind farm of 10 megawatts in Katsina state for more than 20 million Euros (about N4.5 billion).

 

The envoy said the farm, with 37 windmills, should start producing and be connected to the grid in the beginning of 2016.

 

According to him, the French group, TOTAL, is also willing to develop a solar energy project in Katsina state.

 

 

 

(NAN)

Osun govt. provides free train service for Sallah

The Osun Government on Sunday said it would provide free train service for its citizens who would be travelling to Osogbo from Lagos for the Eid-el-Kabir festival.

This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Semiu Okanlawon, the media aide to Gov. Rauf Aregbesola, and made available to newsmen in Osogbo.

 

According to the statement, the free train service would convey people from Lagos to Osogbo on Tuesday and Wednesday at 11:00 am.

It stated that the return journey to Lagos from Osogbo would hold on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 11: a.m.

The statement said the gesture by the state government was aimed at facilitating a stress-free homecoming for the people during the festival.

 

It noted that the state government had, since 2011, been making such similar arrangements for the people of the state to travel home during festive seasons.

The statement urged the travellers to take advantage of their homecoming to assess the ongoing developments in the state.

 

“We encourage holiday makers to use this opportunity to update themselves about the developments that are taking place in the state as against the persistent negative media campaigns by our traducers.

“This is one of those opportunities they have to see things directly in order to be guided by future campaigns of calumny which our political opponents are committed to,” it said.

 

(NAN)

#OsunEdu: Making Sense of Aregbesola’s Edu-Revolution in the State of Osun – Ogunyemi Bukola

OgbeniI have met Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola only a few times, the last time at the launch of my father’s book in April 2013. In his speech that day, Ogbeni reiterated his administration’s plans to revolutionize education in the State of Osun, and has since rolled out several reforms in the education sector in the state, some of which have generated serious controversies. This explains, in part, my decision to attend the State of Osun Education Policy Summit organized by the Osun Movement for Peace, a group of non-partisan academics and professionals, not just as a new media observer but as an Osun indigene.

According to the chairman of the event, our job was to critically examine the educational policies introduced by the Aregbesola administration and make recommendations. The summit featured presentations by Dr. Isiaka Owoade, Professor Ayo Olukotun, Chief Layi Oyeditan and the State Deputy Governor, Otunba Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, who doubles as the Commissioner for Education. They took turns to explain the various policies of government in the education sector and relay the success stories.

Perhaps the most controversial and widely misunderstood educational policy of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is the schools reclassification policy leading to a new school system in the state. The new system is a departure from the 6-3-3-4 and 9-3-4 systems to the 4-5-3-4 system which has led to the restructuring of primary and secondary schools into Elementary, Middle and High schools.

The Elementary Schools will cater for pupils between the ages of 6 and 9, grouped into Grades 1 to 4 as against the old designation, Primary 1 – 4. Each elementary school is designed to accommodate 900 pupils and daily academic activities run from 8am to 2pm. As at December 2013, 13 of the elementary schools have been completed and commissioned.

The Middle Schools will cater for pupils and students between the ages of 10 and 14, grouped into Grades 5 to 9 as against the old designation Primary 5 and 6, and JSS 1 – 3. Each middle school is designed to accommodate between 900 and 1200 pupils/students and academic activities run from 8am to 3pm daily, while the High Schools are for students within the age bracket of 15 – 17 years, grouped into Grades 10 to 12 as against SSS 1 – 3. Each high school is designed to accommodate 3000 students and daily academic activities from 8am to 5pm.

The implications of this new school system include the phasing out of single sex schools, the merger of schools within the same geographical location irrespective of their religious or community ownership backgrounds, and demolition of old school structures after students have been relocated to new premises. The Osun State government is poised to commit about N30 billion to the building of 100 elementary, 50 middle, and 20 high schools across the state. This will cater in total for about 210,000 pupils/students.

The reclassification of schools naturally gave birth to unified school uniform project. The idea is that all elementary schools should have a common uniform, and same applies to the middle and high schools. Toward this end, government established a garment factory in Osogbo for the supply of complete sets of uniforms for all categories of students. The factory has since produced 750,000 sets of uniform which were distributed free to pupils and students across the state, at a cost of N900 million – about N1200 per set.

A less controversial but less publicized policy of the Aregbesola administration is the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme, referred to as O’MEALS. The vision of the programme is to have a state of well-nourished and healthy children who are happy and eager to not only attend but complete their basic education. Some of the objectives include the alleviation of hunger and malnutrition among school children, job creation, increasing local food production, and the development of small and medium scale enterprises for poverty reduction.

The idea is for all elementary school pupils (Primary 1 – 4) to eat lunch in school. This scheme covers a total of 252,000 pupils, costing the government about N14.8 million per day – about N58 per child per day. Government appointed 3007 food vendors, assigned them to the various schools in the state to supply a certain number of pupils the menu for each day with the one for Thursdays, as an example, being rice with egusi garnished with vegetable, chicken and banana.

This scheme feeds the pupils with 35 herds of cattle, 8,400 crates of eggs and 15,000 whole chickens on a weekly basis and all these are sourced locally. O’Meals has led to the establishment of the Osun Fisheries Outgrowers Production Scheme which now supplies about 400 metric tonnes of fish weekly. It has also led to the Cocoyam Rebirth Programme in which 1000 cocoyam farmers have been trained and assisted in the cultivation of pink cocoyam.

Enrolment in elementary schools has increased by about 40% since the introduction of this scheme, and Osun State now has, according to NBS, the highest rate of primary school enrolment in Nigeria. Apart from the increased enrolment rates, absenteeism has also reduced in elementary schools in Osun State, pupils have shown incredible improvements in their academic performances and most importantly, about 5000 people are indirectly employed and empowered economically.

Perhaps, what the Aregbesola administration considers its greatest educational reform programme in the state is the Opon Imo project. According to him, the need to develop an efficient knowledge based economy and make students ICT compliant, both for learning and self-development inspired the design and distribution of computer tablets, branded Opon Imo, to high school students in the state. The tablets are preloaded with lesson notes on the 17 subjects offered by students in WAEC and NECO exams. Opon Imo also contains lesson notes on extra-curricular subjects such as Civic and Sexuality Education, over 40,000 past questions, 63 e-textbooks and 51 audio tutorials.

According to Otunba Tomori, 28,000 high school students have received the tablet out of a total number of 32,000. The contract for the supply of 150,000 tablets was awarded to a Chinese firm at N1.2 billion and is to be executed in two phases – 50,000 tablets will be imported from China while the remaining 100,000 is to be manufactured in the state. She stated that the initiative has saved the state N8.4 billion as about N9.6 billion would have been spent on the supply of the books and instructional materials on the Opon Imo.

Other achievements in education mentioned at the summit include the upward review in bursaries, from N2000 for students of Colleges of Education and Polytechnics and N3000 for university students to N10, 000. Law and Medical students now receive N20, 000, 100% more than the previous figure. Also, the special grant given to Osun State indigenes at the Law school has increased from N10, 000 to N100, 000. N2.5 billion spent on the provision of 150,000 befitting furniture for 300,000 students, and another N543 million spent on provision of instructional materials. Others include N155 million spent on the sponsorship of 98 medical students to Ukraine and the reintroduction of extracurricular activities like debates, calisthenics and interschool sports competitions.

So why has so much backlash accompanied the introduction of what seems to be commendable policies and reforms? Rauf Aregbesola strikes me an impatient reformer, barely seeing through one reform policy before introducing another. I understand his zeal to turn around the fortunes of the state in the sector under consideration, but introducing so many reforms at once is bound to boomerang, both in execution/implementation and acceptance by the public.

The execution of the Opon Imo idea for example leaves much to be desired. The distribution has been haphazard, because on one hand, students and teachers are settling into the new grade system, and on the other hand, schools are being merged and hundreds of students relocated to new premises. I am yet to understand the logic behind making all the schools in the state wear a common uniform. And I have it on good record that the sets of uniforms supplied by the garment factory are of low quality and barely survived a month of use before tearing. I believe schools should have different uniforms for identity and branding.

Also, claims teachers’ monthly salaries are promptly paid by the 25th of every month are false. Salaries are paid as late as the first week of the next month. Also, Otunba Tomori stated that N14.41 billion has so far been spent on building 39 model schools, which translates into almost N370 million per school. I have seen some of the schools, and the structures there don’t justify that amount.

In conclusion, Ogbeni needs to be a bit less radical and more strategic about execution of what are certainly mostly commendable educational reforms, and commit to consultations with stakeholders and the public before going ahead with policies that are likely to be misunderstood and resisted.

Ogunyemi Bukola (@zebbook) writes from Lagos, Nigeria.