Ondo pays ex-political office holders
Since Governor Adebayo Adefarati administration left office in 2003, the list of political office holders entitled to the largesse, which was recommended by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) for disengaged political office holders, had been growing because not all of them were being paid.
The sum of N866 million was, however, disbursed in one swoop last weekend by the state government, which said it was “criminal to deny somebody his entitlements because of political differences and affiliations”.
The bulk of the recipients were members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and political opponents of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who during the former regime of Dr. Olusegun Agagu, were stridently against the incumbent’s emergence as the state’s helmsman.
The list of beneficiaries include Chief Segun Adegoke, Agagu’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, Olu Adegboro, Adefarati’s Information Commissioner who was a board member under Agagu, Ayo Omotosho, a governorship aspirant, among others.
In all, the 201 beneficiaries who had earlier been denied the entitlements, were presented their cheques at a brief ceremony presided over by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Niran Sule-Akinsuyi, who described the disbursement as long overdue.
The commissioner, who said the gesture was a symbol of Mimiko’s administration policy of caring for everybody no matter the political platform, added that “it was wrong and criminal for the former Agagu administration to deny people of their entitlements because of political sentiments.
“Besides we are aware of the reverberating effects that this kind of fund disbursement will have on the socio-economic indices of the state. Like it happened when the sum of N1.4 billion was released to our old pensioners who were denied for several years, we know our local economy would take a large chunk of the money in terms of trading and activities of artisans who would be engaged by the beneficiaries in one form or the other”, he added.
Before the release of the fund, there had been strident calls by past political office holders who served between 1999 and 2003 to the Agagu administration to pay them the allowance. Some of them had taken the government to court and received judgment against the state government.
The Mimiko administration early this year approved the amount for the payment of the severance allowance to all former political office holders who served in both the late Adefarati and Agagu administrations.