Semiu Okanlawon, spokesman of Rauf Aregbesola, governor of Osun state, has asked Nigerians to thank his principal for identifying Sukuk as an alternative means of raising funds.
In a statement on Wednesday, Okanlawon said the issuance of the N100 billion bond by the federal government has freed Aregbesola from claims of an attempted Islamisation of Osun.
“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 life-changing projects,” he said.
In 2013, Aregbesola floated a N11.4 billion Sukuk to fund education infrastructure provision projects in Osun.
According to the statement, 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 an avenue for solving one of Nigeria’s national challenges,” he said.
“However, it is much more worthy of note that 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 advised the Musa Asake, secretary general of the Christian Association of Nigeria, to come to Osun 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,” he said.
“We can easily urge the CAN scribe to take a trip to Osun to ascertain the huge transformations that have been brought to the state through the proceeds of Sukuk alone.
“In June 2014, Britain, two clear years after the Osun experience, went the way of Osun 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 federal government issued a N100 billion bond on Thursday, September 14, for the construction of “25 economic roads,” in the words of Patience Oniha, director general of the Debt Management Office (DMO).