Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, the immediate past governor of Osun State ran what he termed an “Unusual Government.”
One of the features of the government was late appointment of a cabinet which supposed to be the nucleus for effectful governance of a state.
The incumbent, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola was at the forefront of Aregbesola’s administration and in actual fact one of the kitchen cabinet of Aregbesola as the Chief of staff to the governor.
Therefore, his refusal to put in place a cabinet within his five months in office did not come as a surprise to the people of Osun State especially when the government got to power on the platform of continuity.
However, not many people thought that the delay in the formation of cabinet will drag on till almost a year after the inauguration of the governor.
While some people believe that there is nothing wrong with a government without an extended cabinet, others are of the opinion that if a cabinet is not a necessary ingredient to good governance, it will not be in the constitution guiding governance in the land.
Whatever might be the reason for the delay to constitute the executive council, light appeared in the tunnel when the list was submitted to the clerk of the House a few minutes after 11:00 a.m of Tuesday, September 24, 2019. by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji.
Oyebamiji, who drove into the premises in a black-coloured Pajero met with the clerk for a few minutes before leaving and the submission of the list was later confirmed by the media aide to the Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Reading the names of the thirty-five nominees at the floor of Osun State House of Assembly, the Speaker, Hon. Timothy Owoeye said the House will do justice to the list.
He noted that the nominees would be screened and made to appear before the House to prove their worth.
Notable on the list were the Chairman, Guild of Editors and Editor-in-chief, New Telegraph Newspapers, Mrs Olufunke Egbemode, three ex-commissioners. Dr Rafiu Isamotu, Oluremi Omowaye, and Bola Oyebamiji.
While some Special Advisers in the Aregbesola led administration were also on the list, the alliance between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) reflected with the inclusion of the Deputy Governorship candidate of the party Yemi Lawal Azeez and Taiwo Akeju, the Publicity Secretary of the party.
The State House of Assembly commenced the screening the following Monday with the grilling of Mrs Funke Adenike Egbemode, former Commissioner for Science, Technology and Innovations in the state, Mr Oluremi Omowaye, Oladoyin Olayinka Folorunso, Ibitoye Felix Adeniran and Adebisi Obawale Simeon.
Others include Oladepo Solagbade Atanda, Ajisefini Abiodun, Ogunfolaju Christiana Olusola and Nathaniel Agunbiade.
Responding to questions from the lawmakers, Egbemode promised to build a healthy relationship between the state government and the media if deployed to head the Ministry of Information and Strategy.
Speaking earlier during the plenary, the Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Timothy Owoeye assured indigenes and residents of the state that the legislature will do a thorough and strict job on the screening of the nominees for the post of Commissioners/Special Advisers.
He maintained that the Assembly had resolved that the screening exercise is not going to be a “tea party” and that members were in high spirit and ready to give their all for the betterment of the state.
Owoeye, however, said that the House is not oblivious that the nominees would have gone through different levels of security checks, saying aside from such checks, the lawmakers will not shy away from its constitutional responsibility.
According to him, “it is on record that Governor Oyetola had sent a list of 35 persons to be screened as Commissioners/ Special advisers. I and my colleagues at the Assembly have resolved not to betray the confidence reposed in us by the public.”
“We are not unmindful of other screenings that might have taken place before now, but the State House of Assembly is constitutionally saddled with the final screening. We assure our people of Osun that we will do our job without favour, nothing but the interest of our state,” Owoeye remarked.
Consequently, all the thirty-five nominees were screened promptly and all of them were confirmed by the House of Assembly.
But before the confirmation of the Commissioners/Special Advisers designate, there were pockets of agitations from communities in the state against alleged marginalization by the governor.
But governor, Adegboyega Oyetola reassured the citizens of adequate representation in the administration, especially with regard to political appointments.
He said the administration was committed to ensuring that every local government of the state was fully represented in the management of the affairs of the state, saying apart from the list that was released then, there are many more appointments to be made and that those councils that may not have benefitted from the list of Commissioners and Advisers would certainly benefit from subsequent appointments that would be made.
Eyes Of Lagos gathered that, Oyetola further said that the administration was committed to the welfare and general well-being of the people of the state as manifested in the myriads of social intervention programmes that the state has been embarking on in the last 10 months.
He appealed to the protesting citizens to remain calm as the government is committed to ensuring equal representation.
Having confirmed the list by the House of Assembly, a 4-day Executive Council Retreat for Commissioner and Special Adviser designates, was held.
It was at the end of the exercise that the governor announced the restructuring of twenty ministries which are: Finance; Economic Planning and Budget; Agriculture and Food Security; Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Education; Health; Justice; Works and Transports; Information and Civic Orientation; Environment and Sanitation; Women and Children Affairs, and Water Resources.
Others are: Land, Physical Planning and urban Development; Special Duties and Regional Integration; Innovation, Science and Technolog; Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism; Youths and Sports; Rural Development and Community Affairs and Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.
Oyetola said the idea was to make the government more effective and efficient in the pursuit of the administration’s development agenda for the state.
He assured the nominees that he would give necessary support within the limits of the available resources to enable them perform, as the administration was determined to deliver “an Osun that would become a benchmark for many generations to come.”
He added that a performance charter would be handed to each of the nominees as a way of measuring their individual relevance in the cabinet.
“The only way to reciprocate the trust reposed in us is to go ahead and implement the Development Agenda conscientiously. As you know, great ideas are only relevant to the extent to which they are translated to concrete and measurable impact on the people.
“It would have been sheer waste of valuable time if all that have been produced here are not painstakingly applied in enhancing the quality of life of our beloved citizens.
“Your tasks have been carefully defined to enable you give full expression to your competence and contribution within the larger context of the Development Agenda. I count on you to write your name in gold through excellent service delivery.
The governor noted that there would be no ranking in the cabinet and that the idea of Commissioner and Special Adviser was merely for administrative convenience.
Earlier, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Charles Akinola, said the essence of the retreat was to prepare the appointees for the task ahead in order to understand the nitty gritty of the government’s development agenda.
At the inauguration of the Commissioners/Special Advisers governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, admonished them to shun acts capable of undermining the corporate integrity of the administration and the state.
He said the administration has zero tolerance for corruption and opacity, warning that the government would not hesitate to wield the big stick where necessary on any official found wanting of public misconduct.
He warned them to do away with frivolities and work as one formidable and impenetrable team, bound together by the sole aim of delivering on the Developmental Agenda of the administration.
He called on them to see their appointments as clarion call to serve humanity and support the administration to uplift the state.
Speaking on behalf of the newly-inaugurated cabinet members, the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, lauded the governor for the confidence reposed in them to serve the state.
She assured the governor and the entire people of the state of diligent service in their respective ministries.
Earlier, the governor announced portfolio for the new cabinet members as follows: Egbemode Funke Adenike, Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation; Oyebamiji Bola, Commissioner for Finance; Yinusa Olalekan, Commissioner for Economy Planning and Budget; Kolajo Aderemi, Special Adviser to the Governor on Economy Planning and Budget; Adewole Adedayo, Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security; Ajisefini Abiodun, Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture and Food Security; Adeleke Yekini Adedayo, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.
Others are: Adeosun Adegboyega Rasaki, Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters; Oladoyin Olayinka Folorunso, Commissioner for Education; Isamotu Rafiu Olasunkanmi, Commissioner for Health; Olamiju Olasiji, Special Adviser to the Governor on Health; Akande Oluwafemi Jimoh, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; Olanipekun Henry Olabode, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Co-operative; Ogunfolaju Christiana Olusola, Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce, Industry and Co-operative; Omowaye Oluremi, Commissioner for Works and Transport; Olaniyan Hussein Toke, Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Transport; Agunbiade Nathaniel, Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning; Bakare- Akande, Special Adviser to the Governor on Lands and Physical Planning.
The rest are: Olawumi Jamiu Babatunde, Special Adviser to the Governor on Education; Oladepo Solagbade Atanda, Commissioner for Environment and Sanitation; Oyegbile Rufus Adeyemi, Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment and Sanitation; Olaboopo Olubukola Rihanat, Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs; Babalola Idiat, Commissioner for Federal Matters; Badmus Olalekan Rahaman, Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties; Lawal Azeez Olayemi, Commissioner for Youth and Sports; Olawale Babatunde Olumide, Commissioner for Innovation, Science and Technology; Kareem Ismaeel Akande, Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation, Science and Technology; Adebisi Obawale Simeon, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism; Lawal Tajudeen Olaniyi, Commissioner for Home Affairs; Tadese Amidu Raheem, Commissioner for Water Resources and Energy; Ibitoye Felix Adeniran, Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Resources and Energy; Oladimeji-Olanibi Adesegun Samson, Commissioner for Rural Development and Community Affairs; Mumini Adekunle Rafiu, Special Adviser to the Governor on Rural Development and Community Affairs; Giwa Lateefat Abiodun, Commissioner for Governor’s Office and Akeju Taiwo Sadrack, Commissioner for Political Affairs and Inter-governmental relations.
While observers have identified the putting of round pegs in right holes in the cabinet formation, others have queried the rationale for such a large-member cabinet in the face of paucity of funds.
It is difficult for anybody to fault the appointment of Mrs Funke Egbemode as Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Oyebamiji Bola as Commissioner for Finance, Isamotu Rafiu Olasunkanmi as Commissioner for Health among others.
Yet, the seemingly proliferation of offices can be better explained by government otherwise it will appear as if it is a measure to find “job for the boys”.
While it is true that the support of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) led to the victory for the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the gubernatorial election, governor Oyetola may have to explain why he allowed SDP in his cabinet having said that he would not accommodate such for fear of loyalty and team work.
It is pertinent to note that the governor told his cabinet to hit the ground running and transform the state within the next two years.