Aregbesola, Omisore disagree over Osun debt profile



The war of words between Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola and the opposition parties over the status of the state’s debt is yet to abate as the state government quoted statistics of the dwindling nation’s revenue by the Central Bank of Nigeria {CBN} to justify its inability to pay salaries.

However, Senator Iyiola Omisore and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party {PDP} have asked Aregbesola to stop hiding behind a needle insisting they stand by their claim that the state government’s debt profile stands at N480 billion

Omisore had on Monday in a local radio interview {Crown FM} disclosed that Aregbesola had grounded the economy of the state through mismanagement of state resources and collection of N480 billion loan to date.

But Aregbesola debunked the claim saying its administration had only collected a N14.5 Sukuk loan and raised another N30 billion from capital market since its administration came on board.

In a statement yesterday by the Director,Bureau of Communications and Strategy ,Office of the Governor, Semiu Okanlawon, the governor said a statistics stating falling revenue in the country had absolved Aregbesola from financial recklessness and proved that Omisore’s claim of N480billion indebtedness by Osun to be a blatant lie.

The statement noted ‘’the precarious state of the Nigerian economy especially as it affects the states and other tiers of government, is a direct vindication of the positions of Aregbesola”.

Okanlawon said Aregbesola was the first to raise the alarm of an impending economic doom, adding that his cries and alerts that an economic war had been declared on the states were politicised by the Federal Government and the Peoples Democratic Party in order to divert Nigerians ‘attention away from the realities.

He said, “For us, Omisore is not the issue as we are more focused on getting the salary issue resolved and put behind us as fast as possible. However, it is germane 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.”

The statement said that ‘’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 claims which explains the reasons for the unavoidable delays in the payment of salaries.

The CBN’s explanation that showed that at N119.27 billion 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.

“We all only need to be reminded that in July 2013 when the June allocation was released, it was discovered that the allocation was down by a sharp 40 per cent. It was at this point that Governor Aregbesola began to call the attention of Nigerians to the coming danger.

“That 40 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 states have now dipped by 60 per cent and that accounts for the inability of the state to be able to cope in augmenting any longer.

Okanlawon’s statement added that’’ the physical infrastructural projects completed and ongoing by Aregbesola and the services he has rendered in the areas of human capital development, health and security are all there for all to see.So, when some politicians want to cash in on the revenue crisis to misinform the people and set them against the same government they had applauded for its pro-people policies, they need to be wary of the selfish gains that are behind their self-serving clamours,” he added.

However the PDP in a statement issued in Osogbo through its Director of Media and strategy, Prince Diran Odeyemi, said the governor in the space of two weeks had contradicted himself concerning the debt profile and amount his administration is owing all sectors.

He said, “What the governor need to understand is that ruling the state by telling lies will not help the him but further expose him as a man bereft of solutions to the present economic woes”

Making specific reference in reaction to the statement credited to Aregbesola during the inauguration of Osun state House of Assembly on, Wednesday, June 3, in an attempt to absolve self of blame over non – payment of salaries and pensions, he said Aregbesola put the debt profile of the state from the loans to be N75billion.

“Ogbeni Aregbesola also told his audience that areas of 2014 salary of workers was N13billion while he admitted that 2015 salary arrears was N16billion all totaling N104billon. 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 N480 billion, said the state is owing only N44billion.

“It will take several lies and cover ups to cover a lie whereas truth is constant, again, we implore Ogbeni Aregbesola to say the truth about the debt portfolio so as to come up with ideas on the way out” the PDP said.

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