By Abdulrofiu Agboola
An Osogbo based human rights activist, Comrade Wale Adebisi has frayed at a call being sponsored by a session of people in the state, asking the state government to concentrate the largest chunk of the state resources on the payment of workers salary arrears.
The activist who condemned the claims in it entirety, said it is inhuman, cruel and criminal for any government to centralize all the state government treasury on salaries.
Comrade Adebisi made this known in Osogbo while reacting to couple of insinuations and agitation proliferating the state as Osun clocks 25.
The rights activist who doubled as the director, Ola-Oni Centre for Social Research, explained that the essence of government and governance is to champion the welfare of the people, adding that government was not constituted primarily to pay salary.
The activist further elucidated that it is erroneous for anyone to either hold a belief or think that government was constitutionally instituted to cater for civil service needs alone, saying the entire members of the society that form the government must not also be left uncared and uncatered for in all the government’s policies and programmes.
Relating governance to development, Comrade Adebisi said since government is a machinery for development, thereby, governance is to bring about growth and development in different aspects of the economy.
According to him, “Development is not about the payment of workers salary alone and is not about stomach infrastructure or what you give to people to eat, but rather, it is about developing different sectors in the society that will centre on the people.
“What we are experiencing in Osun today is development in real form and practice.
“It is unfortunate that people don’t know the value of what they have until they lose it that is why some minus in the society don’t appreciate governor Aregbesola, as they failed to realize that, he has created a strong pedestal for development of the state.
“Aregbesola’s administration is unusual because people are not used to development. The past administrations in the state with the exemption of Chief Adebisi Akande, have never had developmental ideology as we have it presently that is why it is strange and that is why some people are challenging government for executing developmental projects.
“Out of their unconcealed ignorance, they believe that it is the responsibility of government to give them food to eat, clothing them and all that, having forgotten that government is constituted primarily to champion the welfare of the people in the society through the provision of basic amenities like good roads, portable water, basic quality education among others”.
Comrade Adebisi further stated “It is unfortunate that in Nigeria, people see government as “Father Christmas” that should provide all they need in life, not minding that, government has constitutional role on the people in the society, while the citizens also have their constitutional obligations to complement the government efforts.
“For instance, Osun has a population of about 4million while the civil servants are just about 35,000, so, if one deduct 35,000 from 4million people, you can imaging the margin.
“The implication is that if government uses all its resources to pay workers salaries, what happens to the shares of other citizens who are not working under government?, they continue to suffer and live in penury since what they deserved in terms of infrastructures had been deprived them.
“But these remaining people can realize development through other means of government policies and interventions, such as infrastructures, good roads, good schools, free healthcare delivery, quality water among other designed programmes to touch their lives.
Comrade Adebisi however said, the present government led by Governor Rauf Aregbesola has successful displayed a high sense of transparency and prudency in the management of public funds since assumption of office.
The activist held that the state, through its driven-force of Six-Point Integral Action Plan, has over the years restructured and transformed the state, just as her policies and programmes had touched the teeming lives of the citizenry in one way or the other.
He said “development is when you have a programme that touches the lives of the people positively and as well bring about tremendous change and transformation just as the Six-Point Integral Action Plan of governor Aregbesola is pragmatic and tailored towards development.
“It is also indisputable that the Six-Point Integral Action Plan of the present administration is a strong pedestal on which development can be placed as it emphasized strongly on the need to banish poverty, banish unemployment, banish hunger, restore healthy living, promote functional education, bring infrastructures and enhancement of communal peace and progress.
Comrade Adebisi said to achieve development, money should be pumped into all sectors of the economy.
He corrected a notion that taxes collected are meant for workers salary payment, arguing that taxes collected from people are constitutionally meant for the execution of developmental projects.
The activist said people should be further encouraged to pay their taxes as part of their obligations to government, saying it is criminal for any government to divert public funds to settle workers’ bill alone.
Lamenting over the performances of some workers in the state, Comrade Adebisi said it is unfortunate that in spite government huge commitment to different sectors being overseen by the state civil servants, it is disheartening that some of these sectors have failed.
He said, “for instance in our public schools, where we have teachers who must be paid every month and the students are recording failures in WAEC, it means that the teachers do not justify the salaries they earn. The same thing goes to other sectors.
“If teachers perform their duty diligently, the students will not fail. If doctors do their work as expected, the society will be healthy. If workers in agricultural sector do their work, our society can produce what it consumes and so on.
Speaking on the monthly Federal Allocation to the state, Comrade Adebisi said it is an offence for any state government to expend all its allocation on salary payment, saying doing this means that government assumes that everybody in the state is a civil servant, forgetting that the fund is meant for the generality of the people in the state.
He called for proper education on what governance and development are all about, saying every citizen has equal right to what comes to the state.
“There is need for government to initiate proper orientation on what governance and development are all about through seminars, workshops, advocacy, sensitization and so on, so that this bankrupt agitation will stop”, he said.
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