Gbadegesin Mufatau: Daring The Limit of Lies by Kazeem Olalekan (GANI)
Assassinations are not only of one kind. Meanwhile, protecting ourselves against the obvious, we overlook the other kind; that of character. And character assassination is what the disgruntled elements in Oyo State, most especially those of the APC have been engaging in for a while now that election beckons. This is majorly aimed at demarketing the willingly-working Governor of Oyo State.
When my attention was drawn to the URL link of the article by one Muftau Gbadegesin in OyoInSight with headline, Makinde and the Revolts of the Youths, I did not bother to open the link immediately. I wanted to take my time to read the entire piece and give it utmost attention with the thought that there will be some areas in which I would have to really make recommendations for my Principal, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Engr. ‘Seun Fakorede who will escalate it and take the necessary action(s). But, at the end, I realised the writer was just being an inaccurate and inefficient opinion writer.
Going through the entire piece, I concluded the writer is just someone with a limitless capacity to lie, defraud, and distort. But, I owe it a duty to correct the aspects of misrepresentation and misinformation being dished out by Muftau Gbadegesin for the sake of record keeping and especially for young ones that have an interest in this administration.
In the meantime, it will suffice to say that the accounts rendered by Muftau Gbadegesin are not only falsified but a public disservice to the State. The writer’s account of YEAP, bursary, investment in youth development are grossly falsified and misleading. The correct position is that this administration has invested so much in youth development by all standards.
There is a local saying that “if one compares children, one may be beaten to death”. This perhaps best captures the sentiment the people of Oyo State evoke for the Governor. This sentiment is what scares people like Gbadegesin who expressed that the sentiments of the people towards this administration have blindfolded them (the people) from seeing the misdeeds of the Governor. Unfortunately for him, there was nowhere in the piece where he could explicitly pinpoint the misgivings of the Governor. Rather, he was making assumptions.
In the past 3 years, Seyi Makinde has displayed exceptional leadership as far as governance is concerned in Oyo State. And, his achievements across board, most especially in youth development, which was the target of Gbadegesin could easily contract the Governor as the model of good governance, if not in Nigeria, but Oyo State.
A. Concerning YEAP
Gbadegesin’s account of Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project (YEAP) is full of inaccuracies. I am in the know that the State Governor launched YEAP training for over 1,000 youths at the Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (OYSADEP) Stadium, Saki as a self-development and empowerment initiative towards ensuring that youths in the State gain the needed skills, mentorship and startup support to contribute their individual and collective quotas to the social and economic well-being of themselves, their local community and the State as a whole.
The correct position is that the youths were taken to Nassarawa to undergo training, and the training was applauded by even the Oyo State Youth Parliament, which the writer claimed have been neglected by the State Government since their swearing-in. The writer assumed that the State Government has neglected the beneficiaries since they returned from Nassarawa and that the Government only paid lip-service to the programme. But, the correct position is that the funds to be disbursed to each person as a startup package by the State Government is under processing and will be duly disbursed as soon as it is approved. If not for mischief, I am sure the writer himself is aware of many processes funds have to go through before final approval.
B. Abandonment of Oyo State Youth Parliament
Gbadegesin’s claim that the Oyo State Government under Engr. Seyi Makinde FNSE has abandoned the members of the State Youth Parliament is yet another piece of hallucination. For record purpose, the State Government has been supporting every of the programmes of the Youth Parliament and the Government has also given them a space to thrive. This is clear on how the Parliament in one of their sittings passed a vote of confidence on the Governor as captured on The Nation Newspaper of 25th October, 2022.
C. Absence of Bursary for Oyo State Students
Gbadegesin’s claim that the administration of Engr. Seyi Makinde FNSE has failed to pay the bursary of students is another shameless and fraudulent fabrication. I must state categorically that payment of bursary to students is a mere piecemeal, not holistic. However, I feel that if not that the writer is suffering from self-induced myopia, he would acknowledge the increment of the State’s education budgetary allocation to 20% as against what was attainable in previous administration and the cancellation of #3,000 educational levy introduced by previous administration to public basic schools in the State.
Payment of bursary does not show equilibrium, so I don’t understand how anyone would expect a government to dwell on that. Rather, we should celebrate the Governor for pursuing the free education policy which was one of the enduring legacy of Obafemi Awolowo.
However, the Governor, from his own pocket, recently announced the payment of bursary to Oyo State indigenes who are students throughout the country; a programme he has been running even before he became Governor.
Also, at the International Students’ Day programme organised by the SA on Students’ Matters to the Governor, he (the Governor) has promised that the payment of bursary to Oyo State indigenes at the Nigerian law school is underway. And, the records are there to show that he did graciously approved the payment of #500,000 bursary to 120 Oyo State Students in the 2019/2020 backlog session of the Nigerian Law School and another #500,000 bursary to 233 Oyo State students in the Nigerian Law School for the 2020/2021 session. That is a welfarist Governor.
D. Youth Empowerment
To avoid distraction, I will go ahead to list some achievements of the State Government in youth empowerment but, before that, it is important I state that the Governor, in his goodwill and in exhibiting that he is a youth lover as against the opinion expressed by Gbadegesin, appointed Dr. ‘Seun Fakorede, MNSE, a youth-indeed, as Youth Commissioner, first of its kind. The Governor has also gone ahead to fill his administration with youths as either SAs or SSAs in various capacities. For record purpose, the State Governor approved;
Training of 100 youths in high demand tech skills in collaboration with Coven Works.
Organising a scholarship programme in collaboration with Utiva to train 22 outstanding youths in Tech-learning.
Collaborating with DAAD, a German Academic Exchange Service to train and mentor 100 youths in international academic cooperation.
Distribution of starter packs to 181 beneficiaries of the Skills for Job (S4J) which is one of the three components of the Youth Employment and Support Operation (YESSO).
Engaging 2,246 youths in public workfare through the Youth Employment Social and Support Operation (YESSO).
Approval of financial reward for the Oyo State contingents to the 19th National Sports festival held in Abuja in 2018.
The payment of all outstanding allowances from 2016 to 2019 to the State’s Basketball team.
Approval of financial reward for the Oyo State contingents to the 20th National Sports festival held in Edo #Edo2020.
Remodelling of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba.
Remodeling of Olubadan stadium, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
Remodelling of Durbar stadium, Oyo.
Remodeling of Soun township stadium, Iseyin.
Construction of Ebedi township stadium, Iseyin.
Construction of Saki township stadium, Saki.
Construction of Igboora stadium complex, Igboora.
In all, the opinion expressed by Gbadegesin in his piece constitute a gratuitous act of public disinformation or deliberate manipulation.
Kazeem Olalekan Israel (GANI).
Media Aide to the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Oyo State.