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PALLIATIVES: Osun Takes The Lead In Transparency By Sarafa Ibrahim



On Wednesday, the Executive chamber of the Osun State Government was filled to the brim. It was an unusual gathering, but one that clearly portrayed a sense of transparency on the part of the government. This is because the gathering was a reflection of every strata of the society. From the Muslim community to the Christian Association (CAN); Market woman association to transport unions; and labour to pensioners; almost every important segment in the state was in attendance.

And the reason for conveying such a critical gathering was no other but issues around palliatives. Osun, just like the other states in Nigeria, has been faced with challenges in appropriating palliatives provided by the federal government to citizens to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.

The Deputy Governor, Prince Kola Adewusi, who led other top government functionaries to the meeting, wasted no time in giving a piece of detailed information on palliatives received by the state. He explained that while the state government had received 3,000 bags of rice as palliatives, it is still awaiting receipt of another 14,000 bags of rice and 3,200MT of maize from the central government. He also clarified that contrary to the misleading insinuations of the opposition, the State Government has not received the N5 billion recently announced by the federal government and that the state government will not hesitate to inform the public when it does.

Things however got more interesting when the Deputy Governor turned to the stakeholders that they would be the ones to handle the distribution of the palliatives. He noted that the decision was necessary for transparency, explaining that the composition of the stakeholders makes it easier to reach the people who mostly need the palliatives.

The Deputy Governor said the Adeleke administration is open and invested in doing things that will positively benefit the populace, adding that the state government is working out additional support for citizens to ease the pains caused by the fuel subsidy removal. He went on to inaugurate the stakeholders as the Osun State palliatives committee that will handle the distribution of not just the current items but any other thing of this nature in the future.

Well, anyone who has followed Governor Ademola Adeleke’s administration since coming on board will not be surprised at this show of transparency. It will be recalled that shortly after assuming office, Governor Adeleke opened up the book of finance of the state to the Osun people through traditional rulers in what many went on to describe as historic.

The openness of the Adeleke administration on palliatives punctured the erroneous impressions that some mischievous elements had tried to create for days. Stakeholders at the meeting were unanimous in acknowledging the transparency of the Adeleke government on the issue of palliatives, a brutal rebuke of the dangerous accusation of hoarding against the government.

You don’t have to take my word for it, here is what one of the committee members said. Sheikh Mustapha Olaniyi, who is the Chairman of the Muslim community in Osun state, plainly countered narratives that suggested the state government is deliberately delaying the distribution of the palliatives. “The State Governor, Ademola Adeleke handed over the delivered goods to us. We have drawn a template for the distribution but decided that the second batch arrive before we embark on its distribution,” he said.

No matter how hard anyone tries to ignore this, the truth that is manifest in all of this is that the Adeleke administration meant well. Contrary to the mischievous impression that some people have tried so hard to portray, the clear intention of the government is to guarantee fairness in the distribution of palliatives. This is exceptional and underscores the administration’s genuine commitment to the people.

It is hard to remember when last the government was this open and transparent to the people. Not just the distribution of palliatives, every aspect of government or intervention has been handled transparently under the Adeleke administration, contributing significantly to the remarkable progress recorded in just a short time with few resources.

Of course, those who ran Osun aground with recklessness will find the approach of the Adeleke administration to governance unusual because what defined their time was secrecy and distortion. This is why we are in the mess that the Adeleke administration is working so hard to resolve.

And the truth is this, the Adeleke administration will not be distracted, not by the lies of the people whose mismanagement plunged Osun on the edge of the abyss, nor by the mischief of those who are consumed by hatred and envy. Governor Adeleke and his team are committed to making a good difference for the people and transforming the state as a whole, and already, we are seeing their efforts churning out great benefits.

Sarafa Ibrahim is a Special Assistant to the Osun State Governor on Print Media and writes from Osogbo.