Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun has dismissed insinuations of possible disagreements between him and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola.
He made the clarification when he appeared at NAN Forum, a special interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The governor described Mr Aregbesola, who currently serves as the Minister of Interior, as a brother and well-wisher.
Mr Oyetola, who said that possible disagreements could not be totally ruled out in politics and governance, however, insisted that there was nothing personal between the two of them.
He, however, said that possible areas of disagreement could have been in respect of disparities and changes in some policies and programmes his government inherited from the Aregbesola administration. Let me say this, Ogbeni and I are brothers, yes, we can have little disagreements.
“Some could misinterpret this to mean something else. We did it in good faith and in line with the demand of the people and we followed due process to do that. Like I mentioned, policies are supposed to be reviewed from time to time. “I have had cause to reverse myself even as a governor. “That’s part of life. That thing was unduly exaggerated by some people, giving different meanings to it.
“That doesn’t change the fact that we are brothers. I hate people saying we are quarrelling. There’s no basis for it. We are not quarrelling at all. ‘’I don’t know why people are always asking me if he’s going to support my second term election. Well… I have said it that he is my brother and I believe he will want to ensure my success. “Without quantifying it, I put in my best for the eight years of his success. “That is the much that I can say.
“I don’t want to go into specifics, all I know is that, yes some people are aggrieved for different reasons and it is natural. “You do appointments and some people believe they should be part of it, but they are not; they become aggrieved. But that doesn’t mean that what you have done is wrong.
“Naturally, we could have a few disagreements, even in politics. Fixing of conflicts is part of politics; we can find a way of conflict resolution and move on.
“We have actually set up a committee on reconciliation; to see people who are genuinely aggrieved and to be brought back to the same single-family that we used to be. “I believe with time, we should be able to achieve that,’’ he said.
Mr Oyetola also said that gold mining will assume the position of crude oil in the economy of the state in the near future. He said that his administration was taking mining activities from artisanal to the corporate level, with the involvement of private sector players coming for exploration and export.
NAN reports that Osun State is known for large deposits of minerals, including gold, lead, zinc, quartz, feldspar and several precious metals.
The governor said that apart from current efforts of his administration to achieve mining sufficiency, Osun was a beneficiary of the presidential initiative on mining.
“Give us a few years to come, gold will be our own oil in Osun State. Our state will be known for major supply of gold in Nigeria and around the world.’’ Mr Oyetola named a Canadian firm, known as Badger Mines, as being already on the ground, while the process of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with another unnamed firm was underway.
“We are working with responsible miners. The two Canadian firms are doing pretty well and I believe that in no distant future we will be able to harvest a lot of our gold and refine them.
“I can talk about Badger Mines while the second one is still doing the MOU but the first one is already out there doing exploration and the result has been so far, so good.
“Don’t forget that we also have the Segilola Gold Project, which has established a refinery for gold in Osun State. It is a state government initiative too. We are also collaborating with the Federal Government on mining. “Our state is one of the two states, along with Kebbi State, selected as pilot states for the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI).
“So, the intention is to actually encourage our youths to go into mining by giving them skills and some supports, instead of the usual diggers and things like such that they use excavators. “The problem I have with that is the question of remediation. They dig but they don’t remediate. That is not good enough. They end up destroying our environment. “You don’t destroy the environment and leave it like that.
“The ground they are digging is supposed to be for farming. So, if you don’t remediate, over time you may have serious issues of environmental degradation like you had in the Niger Delta in those days. “In whatever partnership we are doing with people, we take the issue of environment serious. We need responsible firms that will do remediation and not destroy our environment in the name of mining.’’
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