Former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the weekend had very strong commendation for the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for being neutral in matters relating to religion.
The former Nigerian president said the religious unrest that greeted the court ruling permitting the use of female head scarf “hijab” in Osun public schools is one good example.
Obasanjo, Chairman of the occasion at the handover ceremony of a multi-purpose hall and a library donated by Senator Yinka Omilani to Ode-Omu community stated that the recent utterances of Aregbesola on the court verdict on hijab has doused tension in the state.
Aregbesola had at the wake of the controversy that trailed the order of court allowing the use of hijab said he had at no time ordered the use of hijab in schools, noting that since he could not order his wife and daughter on the use of hijab, he could not have done that with Osun state.
Obasanjo, who was represented by Gbaabile of Egbaland, Dr. Femi Majekodunmi said the statement from the governor confirmed his neutrality in the conflict over the use of hijab by female Muslim students in public schools in the state.
He said, “He (Obasanjo) is in China now. He said the governor (Aregbesola) said something which confirmed his neutrality in the matter; that word went a long way in dousing the tension which recently heightened in the state.”
Obasanjo described the donor, Senator Omilani, a former Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South West,as a great philanthropist, noting that his contribution to his community, Osun State and Nigeria at large can never be overlooked.
He urged the community to make the judicious use of the facilities which he described as a significant legacy.
Speaking as the Chief Guest of Honour, Aregbesola reaffirmed his administration’s determination on provision of infrastructures in nooks and crannies of the state regardless of the current economic situation.
He announced that the ongoing construction of Gbongan/Ode-Omu dual-carriageway will be completed before the end of this year.
The Governor attributed the slow-pace of work at various construction sites and projects by his administration to the effect of fall in the revenue accruing to the state, assuring that all the ongoing projects in the state will be completed before the end of his tenure.
He said, “It is unfortunate that we found ourselves in this economic condition in spite of the numerous nature of our resources. As you all know that Osun was the first state to awaken Nigerians on the dangers of the adverse economy we are currently experiencing.
“And it is on this noble foresight that we build our policies and programmes. As I speak to you, our state has successfully weathered the storms just as we are drifting towards economic advancement.
“In spite of meagre resources and financial dire, we did not cancel any of our projects and believe strongly that before the expiration of our tenure, all the ongoing projects in the state would be commissioned.
“By God’s grace, we will ensure the completion of the first phase of Gbongan/Ode-Omu/Akoda dual carriageway before December. The first phase which would be completed and commissioned will be from the Chief Bisi Akande Trumpet Interchange Bridge at Gbongan junction to Ode-Omu township while the second phase would take off immediately”.
He lauded the noble gestures of Senator Omilani, calling on other well-meaning Nigerians to emulate his kind gestures to his community.
Aregbesola said no matter how committed government is, it could not do everything, thus calls for the support from the privileged and affluent individuals in the society.
The donor of the library, Senator Omilani attributed the construction of the ultra modern library and multi-purpose hall as part of his compassion and commitment towards the development of education and Ode-Omu community.
Omilani said the provision of supplementary readers in schools and public libraries is one sure way of expanding the horizon of knowledge and acquisition of life-long skill, saying the act will save the teeming youths from idleness and juvenile delinquency.
He disclosed that the development of Ode-Omu had always been on his mind, saying “I love my town and I have always identified with it. When we started raising money for the palace and hall projects, I used to champion the programme by inviting my friends and associates to come and donate generously”.
Senator Omilani affirmed his strong belief in giving back to the community, describing his gestures as a way to revamp education.
He disclosed that the multipurpose hall can conveniently accommodate up to 1000 people, adding that it has been furnished with chairs and giant-size electric fans.
He said, “this hall has conveniences for both male and female located in and outside the hall. It also has a kitchenette and a store.
“It can serve different purposes ranging from a town hall to an event centre and a conference centre. There is also a 40KVA standby generator and a bore hole for water supply.
“The library can conveniently accommodate up to 100 persons at a time. It has several shelves for the display of books and also has a section reserved as virtual library when fully utilized. It has been modestly kitted with books for a start.
“I wish to seize this opportunity to call on my fellow educated indigenes of Ode-Omu to continuously seek ways of improving the community.”