Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior had explained in the past that he was not drawing any post-office benefits from Osun state’s coffers and donated his 8 years salary to Osun State. The salary former governor Rauf Aregbesola donated to Osun State in his 8 years as governor was to support everything from health, disaster recovery efforts and environmental causes to higher education institutions amounted to about greater percent of gross domestic product – a share that has barely budged in the past in Nigeria. Former Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola donated his 8 year salary to the state’s public schools and hospitals, making good on his campaign promise to donate his salary until public education and health improve. Former Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has revealed how he voluntarily forfeited his official salaries totaling N114, 743,197.4 million for the eight years he was governor. In fact, the only governor so far to sacrifice his entire salary a noticeable contribution to his state, but former Governor Aregbesola refused to collect a dime until Osun gets good education and health care.
For 21 states with pension laws stipulating post-office benefits running into billions of naira for their former governors and deputies, it was a sigh of relief recently as the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to recover all funds paid as pension to erstwhile state chief executives, who are also serving in the National Assembly or as ministers.
A total of 21 states had at various times promulgated pension laws allocating huge benefits to their former governors despite public objection. They are Lagos, Akwa Ibom; Edo; Delta; Kano; Gombe; Yobe; Borno; Bauchi; Abia; Imo; Bayelsa; Oyo; Osun; Kwara; Ondo; Ebonyi; Rivers; Niger; Kogi; and Katsina.
President Buhari should please take note of the man that donated his salary to the state to develop education and health care. Former Osun State governor Rauf Aregbesola has donated his 8 years salary to Osun State – and he wants others to follow his lead. “It’s a small gesture that if shared can change the world,” Aregbesola wrote in his blog. I want to beg President Buhari to appeal to other governors to emulate Rauf Aregbesola by donating their salary to develop their states.
According to former governor Aregbesola: “I asked the people of Osun for the chance to lead this state for many reasons, chief among them being the opportunity to improve educational outcomes for every child in every classroom in the state,” Aregbesola wrote. “To show my commitment to this goal, I donated my net state salary to the state back to public education and health. It is my sincere hope that with these donations, I can begin to fulfil my promise to our educators, families, and children and make a positive impact on our public schools.”
Aregbesola donated his eight years’ salary to Osun state. Aregbesola promised that he would take no salary if elected, and thus far he donated his salary to worthy causes. Immediate past Governor of Osun Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola made a shocking revelation on recently when he recalled that he voluntarily gave up his official salaries totaling N114, 743,197.4 million for the eight years he served as governor.
Aregbesola spoke recently during a lecture he delivered at the 65th Anniversary and Old Students’ Re-union of Manuwa Memorial Grammar School (MMGS), Iju-Odo, Ondo State, where he emphasised the importance of productivity in the life of a nation and at the level of individuals’ economy. The former governor, who warned on the dangers of living a life-style not commensurate with one’s income, noted that the way to bankruptcy and inability to meet essentials needs stepped from when an individual either lived above his or her income or consumed all incomes as they came.
In his view, the lure to live above one’s income often come from lust to acquire what one may not need or what one could not afford. Aregbesola, who urged Nigerians, particularly youths, to always distinguish between needs and desires, made reference to himself when as governor, he said all his needs; including food, housing, cars and all others, were borne by the state, just as he had no school children he had to sponsor.
The former governor said though acquiring new houses, cars and other related property might be desirable as a governor, but added that they were no longer of necessity to him and that what was noble and honourable for him to do was to donate his salaries for the eight years he was governor for the good and benefit of the government and people of the state.
Unlike some of his former colleagues, Aregbesola said he built no house in Osogbo, Ilesa, Lagos or in any other place throughout his two terms tenure as Osun governor.
He said sticking to only essential needs either at the level of individuals or a country would enhance investment and productivity. To promote the culture of investment and productivity and inculcate them in the minds of youths, the former governor recommended that Investment and Productivity be taught as a subject in Nigerian schools from the elementary to the tertiary level, just as he admonished workers generally to emphasize on productivity more than on salary as a right.
He lamented that one of the banes of low productivity in the country was that workers always pay more attention to salary as a right without considering productivity as a right or as an obligation.
The former Osun helmsman in company of some alumni of the college, among who are Major General Olu Bajowa (retd), a former Quarter-Master General of the Nigerian Army, inaugurated some teaching-learning enhancing projects sponsored by the college’s alumni association. A re-constructed chalet, where Aregbesola lived as a student in 1971, was named after him and he pledged to regularly maintain it.
The former governor bemoaned the state of education, but gave kudos to the alumni association for its contributions to the development of the college and urged them to double their efforts. He noted that in doing this, they would be contributing in no small measure to the emancipation of the children of the poor masses. He noted that with the support of the alumni to boost education, children of the poor would be able to identify their individual passions and develop the hunger to achieve them.
I want to appeal to President Buhari to beg more Nigerians to emulate Rauf Aregbesola the man that donated his salary to the state to develop education and health care in Osun State and refused to draw his pension benefits. Nigeria needs more people like Aregbesola who can donate their salary for the benefit of mankind and poor Nigerians.
Inwalomhe Donald writes from Abuja, email@example.com