The Catholic Bishop of Osogbo Diocese, Most Reverend John Akin Oyeloja ,has slammed Governor Rauf Aregbesola for lack of transparency on the fiscal responsibility of the state.
Oyeloja said the process and procedure of development plan of the state and the annual budget are neither transparent, nor inclusive and people-oriented.
The Bishop made this known during a press conference in Osogbo to mark this year’s World Communication Day.
The cleric added that the policies of the government that are shrouded in secrecy continue to mar the credibility of several projects the government have embarked upon.
“We appreciate the government for it’s several infrastructural drive, especially in the area of road construction and control of erosion, however, we would like to say that noble as this would have been, the lack of transparency in the procedure by which all of these are undertaken continue to mar their credibility.
“Recently, specifically in April, the office of the Auditor-General of the state embarked a public presentation of the 2017 audit report of the state. While this on its own is fundamental to democracy, the process leading to it gives the impression that it was only staged in order to paint a
colourful image of the government of the day.
“For instance, the document was made available to the invited participants to study ahead of the forum and no one outside the government has had access to the
signed 2017 state budget, how then are they to evaluate the credibility of the state audit?
“We appeal to the government to quit such public show and take the welfare of the state as a sacred duty”, he said.
The Bishop, however, identified the media as indispensable partner in the quest of making the society just and habitable.
He described the fourth estate of the realm as projector and moderator of fundamental values that regulate human existence.
“The media from time immemorial has remained a major stakeholder in the affairs of human society. The media serves as the projector, moderator
and protector of the fundamental values which all human beings who make up a society have agreed upon as the regulating principles of
their common existence as a social entity.
“Simply put, those of you before me serve as watchdog of our social contract as a people both at the state and national level. The Catholic Church has always regarded your duty as having a prophetic dimension which makes you responsible not only to the citizenry but to God.
“The Catholic Church continues to challenge and support the media to preserve itself from the influences that the very negative forces it exists to combat can have on it. Too often in Nigeria and even here in our state, the press has allowed itself to be used as instrument in the promotion of objectives which are not just unrelated to common
good but threaten it.
“We consider that a failure on the part of media and continue to challenge various media outlets to develop sound self-monitoring and evaluation mechanism to preserve its integrity and usefulness for the good of our society”.