The decision by the Federal Government to float a N100bn Sukuk for infrastructure is another vindication that the Rauf Aregbesola administration in Osun has been forward-looking in its determination to turn the state around.
Special Adviser on Information and Strategy in Osun, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, stated this on Wednesday against the backdrop of the move by the Federal Government to raise funds for roads construction through the interest-free bond.
Okanlawon, while congratulating the Federal Government for looking in the direction of Sukuk as an alternative revenue source for infrastructure provision, said Nigerians have reasons to give kudos to Aregbesola for his ability to identify and raise the awareness on Sukuk as an easier avenue of raising funds for live-changing projects.
It would be recalled that Osun, under Governor Aregbesola had in 2013 floated a N11.4bn Sukuk to fund government’s massive education infrastructure provision projects.
The Islamic bond, after its issuance, was oversubscribed by 20% at the time.
“It is gratifying to note that another in the chains of ideas that emanated from Osun has provided avenue for solving one of Nigeria’s national challenges. The news that the Federal Government is seeking to issue a N100bn Sukuk bond reminds us of how Osun under Governor Rauf Aregbesola blazed the trail in 2013.
“However, it is much more worthy of note that as usual with many of the novel developments ideas which were pioneered by the Aregbesola administration, the Sukuk adventure was met with stiff opposition by those who failed to comprehend the development initiatives of the governor.
“His government came under heavy criticisms and accusations of another attempt to use the Sukuk bond to Islamise the state. But Aregbesola, convinced of the clarity of vision and the reality of his intentions, pursued this to its logical conclusion and today, Osun is better for it,” Okanlawon stated.
The statement congratulated the governor for staying the course even in the face of the most daunting criticisms; adding that only a leader who is fully committed to the good of the people could endure the allegations and dogged attempts by the traducers to set the people against him.
Okanlawon advised the Secretary General of the Christian Association of Nigeria Secretary General Musa Asake, who described the adoption of Sukuk as an aberration, to come to the state and see what fruits have come out of the Sukuk initiative by the Aregbesola administration.
“I read in the dailies the CAN Scribe’s description of what Aregbesola started as “an aberration”. This is totally out of tune with the reality that Sukuk presents to us. We can easily urge the CAN scribe to take a trip to Osun to ascertain the huge transformations that have been brought on the state through the proceeds of Sukuk alone.
He reminded those who want to make false religious claims out of the Federal Government’s move on Sukuk to drop the idea fast noting that other non-Islamic countries of the world have utilized Sukuk as source of fund raising.
He added, “In June 2014, Britain, two clear years after the Osun experience, went the way of Oun for Sukuk to raise funds. Britain is not an Islamic country. And three years after that, we have not heard of any religious complication as a result of Sukuk.”
The statement added that with Sukuk, Osun has been able to change the face of education with the construction of elementary, middle and High Schools and provision of other amenities.
He said for decades to come, the state would continue to reap the benefits of the bond and build on the solid foundation already laid by these initiatives.