Recently, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu publicly said the former administration of Olusegun Mimiko, left behind a staggering debt of N220.6 billion.
The Governor has been negotiating with workers on the payment of salary arrears owed by the former administration. Its succor in paying part of the debt was the Federal Government’s refund of Paris Club funds.
The Mimiko administration had however promptly said no to the allegations, calling it a sham.
A statement issued by the former Commissioner for Information under the Mimiko administration, Kayode Akinmade, stated that, “Our attention has been drawn to the speech made by the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu on the state of finances inherited on February 24, 2017. We are concerned by the figures in the speech and feel obliged to put the records straight. For the avoidance of any doubt, our administration left about N20Billion in the coffers of the State at its exit on February 2017. This include: N7.37.Billion in the Current Account; N7.53Billion as Fixed Deposit; N1.2Billion in the MDG Account; $346,000 and 443,000Euro in the Domiciliary Account, including the N825million Sure-P fund at the Local Government Account!”.
Akinmade said the administration in its eight year tenure, did not incur any foreign debt.
“The above amount, most of which came late into our tenure was to be used to offset a chunk of owed salaries before the then Accountant General made a curious disappearance. On figures listed as External Debt, it is necessary to state the following. Our administration did not incur any foreign debt in all its 8 years! Also, the External debt stock as at February 2017 was US $ 49,958,268.49, which (if translated at 1 US $ = N305) is N15.23 billion. All of these external debt stock was inherited from previous administrations”.
Pointing that Mimiko’s administration did not contract any external loan, Akinmade said the debt being incurred had spanned over twenty years.
“Again, we did not contract any external loan for all of our 8 years! Well aware of the fact that government is a continuum, we continued to service the debts, some of which spanned over twenty years. Internal debt profile, we aver, stood at N53.159 billion comprising mainly of salary bail out loan of N13.76 billion, Excess Crude Account loan N9.79 billion, CBN restructuring FGN Bond N4.13 billion, CBN budget support N7.5 billion and Ondo State 7-Year bond of N17.6 billion. Of all the above-listed indebtedness, only the Ondo State 7-Year Bond was directly incurred by our government to build major infrastructure across the State. Yes, we experienced the sad reality of salaries arrears like almost all the States of the federation. That is why unpaid salaries for the period August 2016 to Jan 2017 was N32.40 billion, with N20.93 billion owed State Government Workers and N11.469 billion owed Local government workers, including political appointees. Even at that, it must also be clear that we left office on the 24th February 2017 while Federal Allocation for February 2017 salaries was received by the incumbent Government on the 28th of February, 2017. We could not have paid February salaries when we did not receive February allocation before exit. On Pensions, a sum of N4.8billion was said to be owed by the State Government and N25.237billion by the local governments. We wonder where these figures came from.”
Numerous issues have emanated from this public shame.
Is it possible for two administrations to publicly push forward different figures.
Was there no formal handing over note signed by both parties, afterall, it was in public domain that both teams met for the smooth handing over.
Since all has been smooth for the two administrations as a result of the long time relationship between the former and incumbent governors, couldn’t they have met and iron this out, instead of this public shame.
Developments like this bring the nation back from gains recorded in entrenching a democratic culture.
The truth must be told to the good people of Ondo State, as integrity of both personalities and their administrations are at stake.
There should be a public debate on the issue, with the two Governors leading, while prominent sons and daughters of the state must be fully represented.