The Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has disagreed with Senator Iyiola Omisore over the N480bn which the latter gave as the amount of money borrowed by the present administration.
The governor, in a statement in Osogbo on Tuesday by his media aide, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said Omisore was being economical with the truth.
The governor said the statistics of the nation’s revenue given by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday had debunked the claim of Omisore, who is a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.
But the PDP in a statement also accused the governor of telling lies to the people of the state by not coming out to admit that the state was heavily indebted.
The Director of Media and Strategy of the PDP in Osun State, Mr. Diran Odeyemi, said it was sad that the governor gave two conflicting figures as the state’s debt profile in the last two weeks.
But Aregbesola said, “For us, Omisore is not the issue as we are more focused on getting the salary issue resolved and put it behind us as fast as possible.
Again, it is relevant to note that traducers of the Aregbesola administration in the ilk of Omisore should be told that capitalising on the plight of the state and its workers through fraudulent figures is not only self-serving, it is also wicked and ungodly.
Going by the CBN’s revelations on Monday as reported by the Nigerian media on Tuesday, the Osun governor has only been vindicated on his claim which explains the reasons for the unavoidable delays in the payment of salaries.
The CBN’s explanation that showed that at N119.27bn or 77.7 per cent of the total, state governments’ receipt from the Federation Account was below both the 2014 monthly budget estimate and the level in the preceding month by 29.7 and 30.3 per cent, respectively, is a direct vindication of our position.”
Aregbesola said that he raised the alarm and warned ahead of the looming danger in July 2013 when he discovered that the June allocation of that year was down by 40 per cent.
He said, “About40 per cent downward journey of the revenue to the states continued till June 2014 when it dropped further to 60 per cent. Overall now, the revenue to the state has now dipped by 60 per cent and that accounts for the inability of the state to be able to cope.
“Regardless of these figures, those who want to make gains out of the plight of the state and the workers would rather ignore the reality; paint wrong pictures in order to get undeserved attention to boost their selfish political ambitions. The figures Omisore and his cohorts quote do not add up enough to suggest that the government has been reckless.”
However, the PDP insisted that the governor borrowed more than N480bn which was the figure Omisore gave in an interview with journalists on Monday.
The statement read in part, “ Aregbesola, during the inauguration of Osun State House of Assembly, in an attempt to absolve himself of blame over the nonpayment of salaries and pensions, put the debt profile of the state from the loans at N75bn.
“Ogbeni Aregbesola also told his audience that arrear of 2014 workers’ salary was N13bn while he admitted that 2015 salary arrears was N16bn all totalling N104bn.
“However, less than two weeks after, Aregbesola, in his reaction through his media aide, while reacting to the claims by Senator Iyiola Omisore, who had put the debt portfolio of Osun at N480bn, said the state is owing only N44bn. It will take several lies and cover ups to cover a lie whereas truth is constant.”
The opposition party urged the governor to say the truth about the debt profile of the state, saying covering up the truth was not the solution to the financial crisis which the alleged financial recklessness of the governor had plunged the state into.
The PDP added, “We, as a responsible party, stand by what Senator Omisore said that the principal debt of Osun State under Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is N480bn as he took N300bn loan for the 30 local government areas after raising N60bn bond and later another N40bn apart from all other loans for O’meal project, O’ school uniform project. O’airport project” O campaign project and others.
The party added, “If Aregbesola is not lying, why give two figures as Osun debt profile within two weeks? What the governor need to understand is that ruling the state by telling lies will not help him but further expose him as a man bereft of solutions to the present economic woes.”