Osun State chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party has ascribed the ill-economic fortune of the state to the profligacy and corrupt practices of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration.
The State PDP Chairman, Hon Soji Adagunodo stated this while addressing a Press conference in Osogbo today.
According to the PDP, a 2016 audit report on the account of the state revealed that the Governor spent a whooping sum of over 6 billion Naira as over-head cost in his office at a time when the state workers were groaning under the yoke of half and no salary.
In the words of Hon. Adagunodo, “the office of the governor which is principally made up of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff expended a sum of six billion, three hundred and sixty seven million, three hundred and ninety thousand, three hundred and fifty naira, sixty four kobo (N6,367,390,350.64) in one year. This was higher than the entire money spent on education, agriculture and health in the same year”.
“Of this figure, the sum of over five billion and fifty million Naira was spent on overhead in the office of the governor. This was an increase of almost 400% on the sum of 1.2 billion naira spent on the same over-head in 2015.
The question is what could be responsible for this astronomical rise in overhead cost of running the office of the governor within 12 months? How much of this money was funneled into private pockets and on political patronage?”
While explaining that the huge money spent by the Governor on running his office happened in a year when the state got Zero allocation and borrowed over 26 billion Naira, the state PDP chairman lamented that, it was in the same year that Osun was ranked 4th in the list of states with the highest domestic debt in Nigeria; the other three states being Lagos, Delta and Akwa -Ibom who are very high earner from the federation account and internally generated revenue.
Other financial irregularities discovered in the report according to the PDP chairman include the building of a website for over 10 million Naira as well as the spending of over 276 million Naira on the maintenance of infrastructure in the Governor’s office while a paltry sum of over 1 million Naira was spent on the maintenance of infrastructure in all the health institutions in the state.
He added that even though the state received more than 11.74 billion Naira as Paris Club refund in 2016, the state remained heavily in default of payment of workers entitlements while the Governor was spending over 500 million Naira on his luxurious life-style every month.
The PDP chairman also disclosed that in January this year, Aregbesola administration approved the payment of about 1 billion Naira upward review of a school building contract which was commissioned in 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari contrary to financial regulations and the principles of accountability.
The PDP attributed the wide-spread dilapidation of roads, lack of drugs and medical equipment in health centres as well as other infrastructural decay in the state to what it called the profligate spending pattern of the Governor as well as utter disregard to the principles of accountability and transparency in governance since Ogbeni Aregbesola came on board in November, 2010.
While calling on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti-graft agencies to beam their search-light on the finances of the state government, the PDP said it will be revealing more details about several financial malfeasances which have characterized the Aregbesola administration in the last 7 and half years.
The party added that it will be making more revelations on several issues bothering on financial improprieties perpetrated by the Aregbesola administration in due course.
SEE FULL TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW
TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE CHAIRMAN, PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY OSUN STATE HON. SOJI ADAGUNODO ON THURSDAY 10TH MAY, 2018.
Gentlemen of the Press,
In the last few days some key members of the ruling All Progressive Congress and top officials of the Rauf Aregbesola’s administration have issued statements to the effect that the allegations of corruption, ineptitude, and extravagant spending levied against the state government by the PDP and other concerned persons were not based on facts but rather on our own imagination.
It is therefore necessary that as the major opposition party, the PDP under my leadership takes up this challenge in order to put the records straight and put some facts and figures in the public domain for the sake of posterity.
It is for this reason that we have decided to use this press conference to further reiterate the monumental fraud, waste and sheer wickedness which have been the hallmark of the Aregbesola Government in the last seven and half years.
On the 4th of April 2018, the state government was forced by a European Union transparency initiative to release its 2016 audited report to the public. That report revealed some of the financial improprieties which our party and many well-meaning individuals and organizations in Osun state have been hammering on as the cause of the present terrible economic situation in Osun state.
For example, the office of the Governor which is principally made up of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff expended a sum of six billion, three hundred and sixty seven million, three hundred and ninety thousand, three hundred and fifty naira, sixty four kobo (N6,367,390,350.64) in one year. This was higher than the entire money spent on education, agriculture and health in the same year.
Of this figure, the sum of over five billion and fifty million naira ( 5.05b) was spent on overhead in the office of the governor. This was an increase of almost 400% on the sum of 1.2 billion naira spent on the same over-head in 2015. The question is what could be responsible for this astronomical rise in overhead cost of running the office of the governor within 12months? How much of this money was funneled into private pockets and on political patronage?
This becomes even more worrisome when one considers the fact that in the whole of the year 2016, Osun State was in deficit in the federation allocation account for 10 months. In other words, while the state was groaning under the yoke of zero allocation as a result of heavy deduction of loan incurred by this wasteful government, the Governor was on a spending spree to cater for himself and his acolytes who have since turned the state into their personal estate.
A governor who was urging teachers, doctors, civil servants and retirees to manage with half or no salaries found more than enough money to throw around in the guise of over-head and personnel cost to the tune of several billions of Naira.
For those who may be wondering where the 11. 744 billion Naira received by Osun state as bail-out funds in 2016 went into, this should satisfy part of their curiosity.
I urge you to please note that in the year 2016, Osun was ranked 4th in the list of states with the highest domestic debt in Nigeria; the other three states being Lagos, Delta and Akwa -Ibom who are very high earner from the federation account and internally generated revenue.
Sadly, Osun State spent more than 26.1 billion naira to service this huge debt in that single year.
No wonder that Osun State came number 36 out of the 36 states of the federation in the fiscal sustainability index carried out by Nigeria’s foremost financial data analyst BUDGIT in 2017. In other words, ours is the least financially sustainable state in Nigeria!
While the so called progressive Governor spent over 276 million Naira on improvement of his office infrastructure in 2016, only a sum of 1 .18 million Naira was spent on the improvement of infrastructure in the hospitals in the 30 local government areas and the Ife east area office.
Some of the other wasteful expenses include a sum of over 10 million naira spent on the building of a website called the O-JOB portal as well as several millions of naira on the maintenance of an aircraft which is hardly seen in Osun state.
Another sad revelation coming out from very credible government sources was the approval and payment of an additional sum of 1 billion Naira as variation cost on the construction of 3 prototype high schools in Iwo, Osogbo and Ilesa. Even though this contract was awarded in 2013 and some of these schools have been commissioned as at 2016, the Aregbesola administration approved an upward review of the contract sum from 4. 05 billion naira to 5.002 billion naira in January 2018. This, to all intent and purpose is contrary to the provisions of extant financial regulations and principles of accountability.
Our party is compelled to bring some of these senseless spending and financial irregularities to the attention of the general public in order to sensitize the good people of Osun state about the cause of the parlous state of our economy which has led to irregular payment of workers’ salaries, huge back log of pensions and gratuities as well as inability of government to meet up its various obligations to critical sectors of our state’s economy.
This is the reason why our roads in Iwo, Ede, Ejigbo, Ikirun, Osogbo, Ile-Ife and other towns in Osun State are in such a terrible deplorable state. It is the reason why there are no drugs in our health institutions and why many projects awarded over 5 and 6 years ago have not reached 50% completion.
The above revelations are just a tip of the iceberg as our party will be making more disclosures about how the Aregbesola administration wrecked this state in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, we call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other Anti-graft agencies to beam their searchlight on the accounts of Osun state Government with a view to ascertaining the true reasons why a once buoyant state has suddenly turned into a most insolvent one.
I thank you all for your attention.