Former Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has revealed how he voluntarily forfeited his official salaries totalling N114, 743,197.4 million for the eight years he was governor.
Aregbesola spoke during a lecture he delivered at the 65th Anniversary and Old Students’ Re-union of Manuwa Memorial Grammar School (MMGS), Iju-Odo, Ondo State, where he emphasised the importance of productivity in the life of a nation and at the level of individuals’ economy.
The former governor, who warned on the dangers of living a life-style not commensurate with one’s income, noted that the way to bankruptcy and inability to meet essentials needs stepped from when an individual either lived above his or her income or consumed all incomes as they came.
In his view, the lure to live above one’s income often come from lust to acquire what one may not need or what one could not afford.
Aregbesola, who urged Nigerians, particularly youths, to always distinguish between needs and desires, made reference to himself when as governor, he said all his needs; including food, housing, cars and all others, were borne by the state, just as he had no school children he had to sponsor.
The former governor said though acquiring new houses, cars and other related property might be desirable as a governor, but added that they were no longer of necessity to him and that what was noble and honourable for him to do was to donate his salaries for the eight years he was governor for the good and benefit of the government and people of the state.
Unlike some of his former colleagues, Aregbesola said he built no house in Osogbo, Ilesa, Lagos or in any other place throughout his two terms tenure as Osun governor.
He said sticking to only essential needs either at the level of individuals or a country would enhance investment and productivity.
To promote the culture of investment and productivity and inculcate them in the minds of youths, the former governor recommended that Investment and Productivity be taught as a subject in Nigerian schools from the elementary to the tertiary level, just as he admonished workers generally to emphasise on productivity more than on salary as a right.
He lamented that one of the banes of low productivity in the country was that workers always pay more attention to salary as a right without considering productivity as a right or as an obligation.
The former Osun helmsman in company of some alumni of the college, among whom are Major General Olu Bajowa (retd), a former Quarter-Master General of the Nigerian Army, inaugurated some teaching-learning enhancing projects sponsored by the college’s alumni association.
A re-constructed chalet, where Aregbesola lived as a student in 1971, was named after him and he pledged to regularly maintain it.
The former governor bemoaned the state of education, but gave kudos to the alumni association for its contributions to the development of the college and urged them to double their efforts.
He noted that in doing this, they would be contributing in no small measure to the emancipation of the children of the poor masses. He noted that with the support of the alumni to boost education, children of the poor would be able to identify their individual passions and develop the hunger to achieve them.
General Bajowa extolled the leadership quality of Aregbesola, especially his passion for selfless service to mankind as demonstrated by the forfeiture of his salaries for eight years and more strikingly, his identification with the alumni and financial contributions to the college regardless of the fact that he only did forms One and Two in the school.
MMGS, named after the late world renowned surgeon, Dr. Samuel Manuwa, is one of the oldest 100 secondary schools in Nigeria.
It was established on February 22, 1954.