Born on May 25, six decades ago, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State received unprecedented supports from his political supporters as he marks his birthday today in Osogbo, the state capital.
The cake was built to reflect the Ultra Modern Schools his administration built across the state.
His birthday came a day after pensioners in the state urged him to pay the backlog of their gratuities amounting to about N2billion and the arrears of 12-month salary.
The retirees under the aegis of the “Forum of 2011/2012 retired public servants of Osun State” staged a peaceful demonstration in Osogbo, the state capital yesterday to draw the attention of the state government to their plights.
The chairman of the Osun pensioners, Comrade Ilesanmi Omoniyi, said the state governor was insensitive to their plights and lamented that Aregbesola was celebrating his 60th birthday while still owing them and subjecting them to hardship.
According to him, “the precarious situations of the workers and pensioners in Osun state has led to unabated loss of lives of our people on daily basis as a result of non-payment of salary and pension as well as the backlog of gratuities starting from 2008 to December 2012, amounting to 22 billion naira.”
He said: “For a responsive governor, the pathetic situation of workers and pensioners in the state does not call for a flamboyant celebration of 60th birthday as it is happening in Osun state now.”
“Also, as at today, people of Osun state are still mourning the sudden demise of the first Executive Governor of the state and a distinguished Senator representing Osun West senatorial district, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, our governor was celebrating birthday.
“Even, if the plan to celebrate the 60th birthday had been in the pipeline before, the sudden death of our beloved Senator Adeleke is enough for a sensitive Governor to shelve the unnecessary flamboyant celebration.
“Thank God that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has attained the age of 60. If he is a public servant, must have retired from civil service and join the league of elders, the senior citizens that he is depriving of their constitutional entitlements.
“This is callous and sheer wickedness which we know that the Almighty God will repay him if he refuses to change his mind and do what’s right for the pensioners”.
According to the chairman of the Forum, pensioners in the state are facing a lot of predicaments, ranging from inability to pay their children school fees, avoidable sickness and loss of lives, among others.