The National Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae, declared that Senator Iyiola Omisore, the SDP governorship candidate in Osun State, as the best man to govern the state and should be voted in by Osun people.
Falae who addressed a mammoth crowd at the mega rally of the party that was held at the Freedom Park, Osogbo, on Thursday, where he officially handed over the party’s flag to Omisore and his running mate, Hon Azeez Yemi Lawal, assisted by Chief Supo Sonibare, vice chairman, South-West, for the September 22 governorship election, stated that the former deputy governor of the state remains the best candidate in terms of experience, commitment and value-worth.
The rally which temporarily locked down Osogbo, the Osun State capital city, caused the people of the state to troop out in their thousands, cheering Omisore and SDP leaders, as their convoy moved to the Freedom Park, venue of the mega rally, also attended by leaders of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, where its leader, Chief Rueben Fasoranti, represented by its general secretary, Chief Seinde Awogbefa, said, the Yoruba leaders supported Omisore’s ambition, and thereby canvassed Osun people’s vote for him.
Omisore who was supported by his wife, Mrs Mojisola Omisore, mammoth crowd lauded his party leaders’ support, and charged the people for standing by him, saying, “it is now the time to free Osun people from many years of suffering caused by the mismanagement of human and capital resources by Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led All progressives Congress (APC) government in Osun State.”
Omisore said, the cause of huge debt and non payment of salaries and pensioners’ arrears was because of corruption and mismanagement of funds, assuring that the SDP government would resolve all the the crisis the ruling APC had caused in the state.
He contended that, “it is less than N7 billion to pay outstanding salaries and pensioners arrears, but information reaching us confirmed that the government has spent N4.3 billion on erection of campaign billboards and printing of posters. If the money had been well spent, the state will not be at the level it is today,” as he also warned the people that “the mistake of 2014 should be avoided by voting for SDP on September 22.
Falae, who in his remark described Omisore as the best man to govern Osun State, and the most experienced of all the candidates, having formerly served as a deputy governor in the state, likewise chairman of the appropriation committee in the Senate, also charged the people to be vigilant and “thumb print the slot showing a horse on the ballot sheet which is SDP’s symbol,” adding that, “SDP is a party set out to represent the Yoruba interest.
In his own contribution, SDP national leader, Dr Yemi Farounbi, said every pensioner issue would end on assumption into office of Senator Omisore, and while lauding his achievements, as a former deputy governor and Senate appropriation committee chairman, he said, “whatever Omisore says he will do, he doesn’t change his words.”
He assured the people that as an engineer and a consultant to foreign financial institutions, which include the International Monetary Funds (IMF) and World Bank, “Omisore would be able to partner relevant agencies and mobilise funds both for development of the state and payment of outstanding workers’ salaries and pensioners’ arrears.
The state SDP chairman, in his remark, charged the people to vote for SDP and mobilise others to do so, while also recognising the support of national SDP national and state leaders, who graced the occasion.
Earlier on Thursday, in a meeting with the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Falae blamed the underdevelopment in the South West states, especially Osun, on the insincerity of politician, who he said lied to hijack power, as according go him, “Afenifere is the foundation of politics in Yoruba land built on truthfulness, so, those bastardising Yoruba name calling themselves politicians are liars.”
He said he was sad entering Osogbo on Thursday, lamenting that “when I entered Osun State today, I felt so bad, and it reminded me of when I came to Osogbo for the first time on January 9, 1953, to start my secondary education, then, I was with my late uncle, J. F. Adedipe, but arriving Osogbo today, I didn’t see much difference between what I saw in 1959 and today, it is sad.”
During the Omisore and SDP leaders meeting with pensioners representatives across the state at the union’s Secretariat, the Osun State pensioners chairman, Alhaji Ganiyu Salawu, expressed workers’ agony over their unpaid overdue pension arrears, calling on Omisore to see to relieving them of their burden if elected the governor of Osun State, as he said the “pensioners are only interested in a candidate who is ready to solve pensioners problems and other related matters towards them development of Osun State.
The pensioners state secretary, Comrade Dele Aina JP, who also lauded Omisore’s contributions to workers welfare as a deputy governor in the state, said, it was such commitment that led to a misunderstanding between him and the then Governor Bisi Akande, and for this reason, he added that, ” since Omisore has done it before, we believe he will be ready to do it again.”
Aina also lamented what he said was Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s refusal to present them with a bus as he said he did for other unions in the state, saying, “he claimed that we, the Osun pensioners did not vote for APC, as a result of which he said we should go and collect our bus from the SDP we voted for.”
Omisore responding said, “the mistake made in 2014 was to vote for a foreigner who has no stake to rule the state, on expiration of his tenure, he will leaves the state and the people, as you know I am equally a pensioner and I’m being owed too. This same mistake must not be made again. So, after voting, ensure you stay with your votes, monitor proceedings from the polling booths to the collation centre and ensure that no one tamper with your votes.
“At the Senate as the appropriation committee chairman, I investigated the reason for disparity between the monthly allocation released to the South West states and other states in the country, and found out that it was because of a sharing formula not favourable, and this we changed, causing an increase in monthly allocation to Osun State. The N1.79 billion earmarked for salaries of workers cannot be accounted for because of malpractices involved.”
He said their was a need for the creation of a special ministry for coordination of payment of workers’ salaries, pensioners’ arrears, salary harmonisation and other matters related to workers’ welfare in the state, adding that “the current allocation coming to the purse of Osun State is enough to take care of workers needs, but corruption in the system has caused untold hardship on workers and pensioners in the state.