*As governor becomes Grand Patron of SWAN Osun branch
The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has called on the media to be the best promoter of programmes and policies of government that have mass benefits to the society.
He also described as exaggerated and uncalled for the action of few elements, who called themselves pensioners, to have tagged themselves as “internally displaced persons” in their own peaceful territory.
The governor stated these at an investiture and award ceremony where members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Osun State Chapter, made him their Grand Patron.
Aregbesola stated that media organisations have the duty to support and promote any programme that is good and valuable to the general well being of the society.
He stated that based on the beneficial impact of government programmes, journalists should always strive to support and encourage it so as to bring out the positive values to the people.
Aregbesola singled out two such beneficial programmes, “Walk to Live and Calisthenic,” as such impactful sporting programmes his government introduced for the benefit of both young and old in the state.
According to him, such programmes, which ensures healthy living, promote team work, unity of purpose and develop cognitive ability of school children are too important to be ignored by the media and sports journalists in particular.
“Sporting activities promote healthy living and drive away boredom as well as promote spirit of organisation and team work. In recognition of this, we introduced two key programmes: Walk to Live and Calisthenic.
“But sports journalists did not give these two mass participatory and beneficial programmes enough coverage they deserved. Such programmes are too important and helpful to turn a blind eye to.
“In particular, as sports journalists and in general, as media practitioners, I think we have the enormous duty of informing the people about what government is doing.
“Besides, let us encourage government to do things that have positive values to the generality of the people.
“We should also challenge government on the need to continue programmes that have positive impacts on our people.
“Whatever is good; whatever has values must be promoted and supported. Whatever will raise and develop the society should not at all be neglected or ignored by the media,” Aregbesola said.
The governor said such sporting activities also involved coordination, saying coordination was very essential for communal development and success.
He said his government would continue to encourage people to engage in sporting exercise so as to eliminate stress, numbness and promote sound and healthy living.
He stressed that government had also expanded the scope and coverage of calisthenics to include both public and private schools, adding that what government wanted is mass participation by all stakeholders.
Aregbesola also said the pensioners have no cause to curry unnecessary sympathy for themselves as they have just received accumulated four months pension arrears.
He noted that apart from Lagos State, no state had paid such amounts, saying the nation was just going through what he called “a special period.”
He noted also that though government owed the pensioners gratuity which he said would be paid when the economy improved, he added that with the four months of pensions cleared, his government should be commended.
“It is very funny and shameful when some people said they are pensioners and that they are displaced in their own territory. They can never say they are protesting because of money or unpaid arrears.
“It should be to my eternal credit no matter what my traducers may want to say, just two weeks ago, we paid accumulated four months arrears, we are not saying it is the best that can happen but it is a major relief to those who received it,” he said.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman, Osun Sports Writers Association, Mr. Yemi Aboderin, commended Governor Aregbesola for initiating the monthly Walk-to-live programme for the promotion of healthy living development agenda among the people of the state.
He stated that it was also worthy of commendation the declaration of the government of Osun State that sporting activities should be made compulsory in all public schools in the state.
The SWAN chairman held that the financing and renaming of Prime Football Club to Osun United would now allow the people of the state to see the football club as Osun rather than the perception of the club as that of Osogbo.
He said, “We cannot afford to look the other way the honour the school calisthenics display has brought to the state.
“We are aware of the government policy which brought the state sports council under the direct supervision of the Office of the Governor for effective supervision and performance.
“Your Excellency, let me put it on record that since the state was created over 25 years back and since the coming of SWAN, our amiable governor will be the first beneficiary of this mark of honour as Grand Patron of SWAN in the state,” he stressed.