Osun State has been in the eye of the storm of recent, no thanks to the orchestrated attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), working in concert with a renegade section of the media, to make the state the poster boy of the cash crunch that has now engulfed 27 states and the Federal Government, if President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement last week that ‘Nigeria is broke’ is anything to go by.
There was a failed bid by the opposition PDP to stampede Governor Rauf Aregbesola out of office. This began in August with sponsored demonstrations and a phantom petition to the State House of Assembly to impeach the governor.
The petition was dismissed for lacking in merit and the sword has since been turned on the petitioner in a case of the hunter now being the hunted.
The backlog of the salaries are being cleared even as the government and the labour unions come to new rapprochement on dealing with paucity of funds in a way that available funds will be judiciously used to accommodate wages, running the government and undertaking projects that will benefit the majority of the people. All the labour unions that have been on strike have since resumed work. Even the intransigent academic staff of tertiary institutions in the state have since yielded to reason and called off their strike last week.
Then the good news started to tumble in. On Tuesday October 13, the Bank of Industry (BOI) commissioned a 24kw micro-grid solar solution in Idi-Ita/Onibambu community in Ife North Local Government of Osun State. The N44million rural electrification project being financed by the bank in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), would supply power to over 200 homes not connected to national grid.
Then on October 18, the State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the French Government to build a 35million Euros (N8 billion) 13 megawatts solar plant in the state. A French company, Vergnet, will build the solar plant in Osun. What is unique about this project, according to Vergnet, is that it will involve technology transfer. Locals will be trained to man and operate the plant and will also be the nodal point for the building of solar power stations across the country and beyond.
The biggest of all perhaps is the MOU signed with a Chinese company, Geo Engineering Construction Alliance Team. The company will undertake in Osun a broad range of economic development programmes that coveragro industrial park, export processing, hydro power, dry port associated enterprise park and water supply and road projects among others.
These will create wealth and generate thousands of jobs. The Chinese deal alone should generate direct 10,000 jobs and 50,000 indirectly. This indeed is good news which should bring smiles to the faces of the people of the state and affirm the legitimacy of the governor who has bravely and adroitly weathered the storm.
Osogbo, Osun State