A former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, on Monday, June 15, 2015 revealed that since assumption of office in 2010, the Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration has taken loans that run into over N480 billion from different sources.
Omisore made this shocking revelation at a press conference in Ile Ife where he observed that Aregbesola spends money carelessly.
He opined that the governor’s failure to pay workers in the state for 7 months was largely as a result of the loan burden and the alleged continuous wasteful spending.
Omisore, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, in the state during the August 9, 2014 election said the governor also wasted the state’s resources on political campaigns during the last governorship poll and the just concluded general election without minding the consequences of his actions reported Punch.
He said, “The principal debt of Osun State under Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is N480bn. They took N300bn loan, by taking N10bn for each of the 30 local government councils.
“They first raised N60bn bond and later raised another N40bn bond. They borrowed for O’meal project, borrowed for school uniform project and borrowed for airport project.
“They borrowed another N25bn. But the principal debt is N480bn. You will remember that we were saying this before this financial crisis reached this height.
“I raised the alarm then that the way Ogbeni Aregbesola was running the affairs of the state, he would soon run it aground. Now it has happened.”
He implored the governor to resign since he openly declared on Friday, June 12, 2015 that the financial crisis plaguing the state was beyond his ability.
He urged the governor to desist from his extravagant lifestyle and show some remorse in order to tackle the current siuation.
He said, “The governor should sell the helicopter; the helicopter has two pilots. They spend money on maintenance and so on. He should also stop using chartered aircraft. I am sure this will shock the people to hear that the governor still travels in chartered aircraft despite the financial mess he put the state into.
“He should reduce his security votes, reduce the Government House spending and stop giving Osun money to his Lagos visitors. He should bring back our money. The contracts were inflated, especially the road contract. Gbongan to Akoda, Osogbo to Kwara boundary and the Ring Road were inflated to the tune of N102bn. So, the money to workers is in his pocket. If he can bring just N50bn out from this stolen fund, the workers would smile.”
The former chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation and Finance, said that he had been assisting people the way he could without making a noise out of it. He said if he wanted to play politics with the situation, he would station a trailer load of truck at the PDP secretariat and ask people to come and collect foodstuffs.
However, Aregbesola reacted to the claims of his reckless spending adding that the debt profile of the state is much lower than the figure stated by Omisore.
In a statement made by his media aide, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon,Aregbesola said, “Every knowledgeable person in Osun and beyond has the figures of the Osun borrowings by virtue of the open nature of the Aregbesola’s administration. Osun could not have borrowed in secrecy as the two bonds were in the capital market and the Sukuk Bond was taken in celebrated manners.
“While we took N14.4bn Sukuk bond in two tranches, the state government also approached the capital market for a N30bn loan.
“These are verifiable facts and which are in the public domain. So, what new thing has Mr. Omsiore said other than regurgitating the same old-fashioned, weather-beaten lies that could not help him dislodge Aregbesola in the August 9 governorship election?
“If it is not crime for a state government to source for funds for the development of the state, Omisore needs to tell us why states under the administration of his party, the PDP, are among the debtor states in Nigeria.”
He further stated that he was doing everything possible to ensure that the workers are paid withing the shortest possible time.
He added, “For instance, the Gbongan-Akoda Road; Osogbo-Ila-Odo-Kwara-Boundary Road which Omisore has fraudulently put at a cost of N102bn all together, cost a bit higher than N60bn. While the Gbongan-Akoda-Osogbo Road costs N29.2bn; the Osogbo-Ila-Odo-Kwara Boundary is to gulp N17.8bn while the Oba Adesoji Aderemi Second Bye-pass Road will cost N14.5bn.
“However, we are not surprised at this warped sense of arithmetic. It is this same problem that has robbed him of basic knowledge of banking rules which ought to make Omisore to know that no financial institution could have borrowed a state more than it can earn.”