SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, AT THE THREE-IN-ONE EVENT FOR THE INAUGURATION OF NEWLY-APPOINTED HEADMASTERS
-GENERAL/TUTORS-GENERAL, PRESENTATION OF BOND CERTIFICATES FOR RETIRED PUBLIC SERVANTS ON CONTRIBUTORY PENSION SCHEME AND THE COMMISSIONING OF THE LAKESIDE RESORT HELD ON TUESDAY, 17TH OF APRIL, 2018
A FESTIVAL OF WORKERS
It gives me great pleasure to be at this three-in-one occasion which amounts to the festival and celebration of our workers – active and passive. There is no doubt that this ceremony is unprecedented and unique. I am therefore delighted at this watershed in the annals of Public Service not only in the State of Osun, but in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
One of the pivotal values that our administration holds dearly is the principle of egalitarianism, which we have followed since our inauguration in November 2010. We strongly believe that all men are created equal and, therefore, should have equal access to social, political and economic rights in the society. It then goes without saying that, irrespective of their career paths, every public servant in the State of Osun now has equal opportunity to reach the peak position in the Public Service, that is, the position of Permanent Secretary.
Against this backdrop, our administration has removed all encumbrances which hitherto prevented Graduate Teachers in the Public Service of the State of Osun from moving beyond the walls of the schools throughout their years in service by giving them automatic conversion as Education Officers and changing the profession to a Directorate Cadre. Earlier in this administration and precisely on 28th September, 2012, the Office of Tutor-General/Permanent Secretary was created in an unprecedented manner in each of the three Senatorial Districts in the State with a view to allowing secondary school teachers rise to the zenith position in the Public Service. Today, and to the Glory of God and in fulfilment of our avowed commitment, the second leg of the transformation of the Teaching Service in the State of Osun is being done, with the inauguration of nine Headmasters-General from the pool of Graduate Teachers in the Elementary School system in the State. The position of Headmaster-General is equivalent to that of the Permanent Secretary. This makes the occupant of the position to enjoy all the rights and privileges of the Office of the Permanent Secretary. It is the expectation of Government therefore that this development will lay a solid foundation and an enduring legacy towards taking the Educational Sector in the State of Osun to a greater height.
Let me use this occasion to summarise the duties of the Headmasters-General/Permanent Secretaries being inaugurated today as including but not limited to the following:
i. Monitoring of academic and other activities of elementary Schools within the Federal Constituency;
ii. Meeting regularly with headmasters in the Federal Constituency with a view to ensuring development of elementary schools;
iii. Seeing to the welfare of teachers within the Federal Constituency;
iv. Collecting and updating data on pupils and teachers within the Federal Constituency;
v. Advising the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) on the teaching and non-teaching requirements of Schools within the constituency; and
vi. Giving SUBEB situation reports on schools within the Federal Constituency.
The Headmasters Generals must know however, that the motivation for their elevation is not just to give them a mouthful and high sounding title. It is to improve the level of superintendence in our schools. The move is to break supervision to nine levels and make control and efficiency easier. With this, our schools should be better in administration and management. You are required to do whatever it takes to motivate teachers, parents and pupils under your administration. Make school an interesting and exciting place to be for the pupils. It is our hope that teachers too will be more alive to their responsibilities. The excuse of modulated salaries as the basis of poor performance of teachers should no longer hold. Other senior administrative staff are also not fully paid, so it cuts across.
The Headmasters General should also know that there will be periodic assessment of their performance through the monitoring of how the pupils fared in internal and external examination, grooming and character building.
You will be considered to have failed where your pupils performed below par in examinations, found to be of unruly behaviour and looked unkempt. This is a huge responsibility and we require nothing less from you.
Nevertheless, our administration has never slacked in our responsibility to workers despite the limited resources at our disposal. The welfare of serving and retired public servants has always been taken as very important in the scheme of things. As the economy of the state continues to improve gradually, the State Government shall continue to release steady funds to defray arrears of pensions and gratuities. In another demonstration of our genuine concern for our retirees, we are issuing Bond Certificates to 171 retirees from the Civil Service, High School Teachers and Staff of Parastatals today. In the same vein, Bond Certificates will be issued to 56 retirees from the Local Government Service and Teachers in the Elementary and Middle Schools who retired on the Contributory Pension Scheme. I have equally approved an additional sum of N100 million to be released to the Bureau of Public Service Pension. The names of the beneficiaries shall be released by the Office of the Head of Service in due course.
With regards to Public Servants who retired on the Old Pension Scheme which ended on December 31, 2012, a total of 2,706 beneficiaries recently received part-payment of their gratuities. Provision has been made already for additional 700 to benefit from this gesture in a matter of days. I want to assure all that this is an ongoing process as our administration winds down. The situation will be improving as the economy gets better. It is also our desire to fulfil our promise to defray the arrears of salaries and pension owed the entire workforce and pensioners before the end of our tenure in office. We are working hard with the hope that the situation will improve.
The construction of a befitting secretariat complex for the State Government of Osun which was started by the Chief Bisi Akande-led Administration in the State is a continuous exercise. Our administration has now added to its aesthetics in line with its master-plan by constructing link roads and landscaping of the premises of the various Ministries, Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies within the Secretariat Complex.
In furtherance of this development and in affirmation of my strong belief in remembering and honouring dutiful public servants, I am today, commissioning and unveiling the ultra-modern restaurant and relaxation centre named after the late Permanent Secretary, Bureau of General Services, Mrs. Olufunke Oluwakemi Kolawole, who was slain on her way to Abuja on 13th July, 2017. This new ultra-modern facility has been christened Olufunke Oluwakemi Kolawole Lakeside Resort as our modest means of immortalizing her.
Mrs Kolawole was a dutiful and loyal staff who never shirked her responsibilities. Working with her was a great delight. It is most unfortunate that she left in such circumstance. I believe she is in great comfort in her next estate.
In closing, I wish to charge the newly appointed Tutors-General and Headmasters-General not to betray the confidence reposed in them by Government in appointing them to the exalted position of Permanent Secretary. They should do their best at all times to contribute their quotas to the development of the Educational sector in the State. Likewise, I enjoin retired Public Servants to make judicious use of their retirement benefits and invest wisely. Lastly, I wish to admonish the firm that will manage the Olufunke Oluwakemi Kolawole Memorial Lakeside Resort to ensure the proper and adequate maintenance of the facility in view of the huge investment of government on the project.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Osun a dara!