Aregbesola vs Akinwusi: Who Is Telling the Truth? -By Remi Oyeyemi

Filed under: Political Issues |
Remi Oyeyemi

Remi Oyeyemi

 

On July 24, 2015, Mr. Olusegun Akinwusi, former Head of Service of Osun state delivered a speech to the Osun Stakeholders Summit at Aquarium Event Center, Parakin, Ile-Ife. In his speech, he had come up with the details of how much has accrued to the State of Osun since the Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola assumed office in November 2010.

In that speech, Mr. Akinwusi had contended that Governor Aregbesola is “lying” to the people of Osun state in regard to the income from the Federal Allocation and other sources of income to the state. He posited that Governor Aregbesola has been and is still taking the people of Osun for a ride by misinforming the Osun State House of Assembly (OSHA) about the true state of the people’s commonwealth.

Governor Aregbesola has been in the news in recent times, mostly because of his mismanagement of the resources of Osun State. His popularity has turned to notoriety. He has become a reviled figure among the generality of the people of the state except among a handful of his hardcore supporters. He has been so pummeled that at times one would have to pity him. But in a matter that is of life and death to the people of the state, where the present is mortgaged and the future is under the threat of being foreclosed, there would be no relent until the needful is done and on time.

Mr. Akinwusi is not a persona non grata in Osun State. Yes, he is not a “nobody” in the State of Osun. As a former Head of Service, he has paid his dues. He could not be described as a frivolous person. He could not be dismissed as an unserious mind. No matter how this is rolled or diced, he is a legitimate stakeholder in Osun State having put his skills and talent in the service of that state all of his life. So, he, just like every other citizen, has a legitimate reason to be concerned if he feels that there is existential threat to Osun State.

Akinwusi in his speech had written inter alia:

“Recently, our governor addressed the state House of Assembly on the position of the economy of our state. NOT only that the figures given were bogus, but they were criminally deceitful. This government came on board in November, 2010; I will therefore give details of the income and expenditure as available on-line, especially from the Federation Account compared with what was presented to our state representatives.

T o substantiate his claim that Governor Aregbesola is a “liar” who has been deceiving the people of the state about the true income from the Federal Allocation, he presented the following figures to contrast what Ogbeni Aregbesola presented to the people through their “representative” in the OSHA as follows:

YEAR               MONTH                                  ALLOCATED AMOUNT
2010               November                               N3,359,574,999
December                                N2,643,527,897
Total = N6,003,102,896 bn

2011               January                                   N2,696,765,229
February                                 N2,645,955,515
March                                                 N2,777,616,461
April                                        N2,885,614,779
May                                         N3,805,132,254
June                                         N6,642,100,744
July                                          N3,968,379,222
August                                                N3,875,166,548
September                               N4,536,205,850
October                                   N6,151,023,296
November                               N3,805,409,418
December                                N4,396,762,996
Total= Approx N48.2bn
Against a sum of N29.9bn the governor declared to Osun State House of Assembly (OSHA).

2012               MONTH                                  ALLOCATED AMOUNT
January                                   N3,894,581,054
February                                 N4,842,019,095
March                                     N3,921,855,981
April                                        N3,614,243,600
May                                         N3,618,147,287
June                                         N3,446,176,188
July                                          N4,451,689,936
August                                                N3,473,346,273
September                               N2,678,278,414
October                                   N4,133,057,528
November                               N5,610,314,299
December                                N4,114,871,121
Total Approx N47.8bn
The governor declared a sum of N31.6bn.

2013               MONTH                                  ALLOCATED AMOUNT
January                                   N3,291,209,812
February                                 N5,064,089,701
March                                     N4,204,314,757
April                                        N4,294,238,309
May                                         N4,063,536,687
June                                         N4,353,931,533
July                                          N3,271,484,073
August                                                N3,637,472,918
September                               N2,955,122,740
October                                   N3,479,416,049
November                               N3,348,427,615
December                                N2,694,382,073
Total Approx N44.7bn
A sum of N26.4bn was declared by the governor to Osun State House of Assembly.

2014               MONTH                                  ALLOCATED AMOUNT
January                                   N3,050,792,396
February                                 N3,014,708,843
March                                     N3,019,480,006
April                                        N2,838,749,560
May                                         N4,131,453,072
June                                         N3,557,937,064
July                                          N3,557,937,063
August                                                N3,047,503,618
September                               Nil
October                                   N2,773,853,335
November                               N2,778,332,759
December                                N2,479,474,912
Total Approx N36.7bn

Although there was a missing record of one (1) month, we still had on the strength of the eleven (11) months – N36.7bn, while the governor declared only N19.3bn for the whole year. By the conclusion of the governor we received only N108.3bn in all excluding our IGR, as against a total sum of N183.4bn excluding one (1) month in the period under review.

Given the above figures, there is a difference of 75.1 billion naira that has disappeared into thin air! Ogbeni Aregbesola has an explanation to make to the people of Osun State. He has to tell us where the money has gone and why he has decided to manipulate the figures. If he thinks Mr. Akinwusi is lying to the people of Osun, then he needs to come out and say so with his own proof and allow the people to judge.

75.1 billion naira is a lot of money to a state like Osun. It may not be anything to Lagos State where Aregbesola came from as a commissioner for works under Bola Tinubu. We may not be rich in Osun, but we are not fools. We may overlook mistakes but we would not tolerate the destruction of the state. We would not accept criminal activities in the governance of Osun state. Aregbesola must come out to tell us what happened to the difference and where that difference is!

After providing the above figures to proof that Ogbeni Aregbesola has been deceiving the people of the state, Mr. Akinwusi then addressed the issue of worker’s population strength and their bill to be paid by the state. He contended as follows:

“The gimmick of salaries of workers is fraught with many manipulations of figures as usual. The total staff strength of our workforce is below twenty-one (21,000). This is because over 1/3 of the workforce voluntarily retired in December, 2012. From grapevine, it is being speculated that since civil servants are no longer allowed to do their statutory duties, i.e preparation of salaries, a number of fictitious names had found their way into the payroll of government, even people that have never been to Osun State.

The figure of N3.6bn as salaries is spurious and over inflated, I challenge anyone that the best the salary bill could be cannot be more than N2.2bn.”

So, where did Ogbeni Aregbesola get his bill of 3.6 billion as being the salary of workers in Osun state? It is very important that in the interest of transparency and fairness to the people of Osun State, Ogbeni Aregbesola must come out with the number of the present number of employees on the payroll of the State, ministry by ministry, parastatal by parastatal, department by department and how much their wages is costing the state. He could not just keep silent over this matter. He has to speak out.

Mr. Akinwusi then dwelled on the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and other sources of income in Osun State as follows:

More importantly, besides the regular monthly allocation from the federation account, the followings also accrued to government coffers:-
(i) ECA – N61.7bn
(ii) IGR – N43.6n
(iii) SURE-P- N14.4bn
(iv) SUBEB- N13.9bn
There are other interventionist programmes including UNICEF, Multinational donations and MDG releases etc.”

N25 billion to service a debt of N11 billion?
One of the most disturbing revelations by Mr. Akinwusi in that speech is that of the loan from the Islamic Bank called SUKUK. The loan is supposed to be interest free to the state according to Ogbeni Aregbesola. Mr. Akinwusi is now contending that this is not the case. He is insisting that Osun state would have to pay N25.5billion to service a loan of N11.1 billion! I would like to disbelieve Mr. Akinwusi. His claim is too grave to be true. To this end, the people of Osun would like Ogbeni Aregbesola to come out and make the facts of this case known to the public. Is Mr. Akinwusi lying or telling the truth?

Also of concern are loans allegedly procured by Ogbeni Aregbesola with “a moratorium of 5-6 years.” This would mean that  the loans would be due for repayment  after 2020 and beyond when Aregbesola would no longer be in office as governor of Osun state. We are not sure if these claims are ture. But if Ogbeni Aregbesola fails to come out to contend this statements with verifiable facts, then he would be due for stoning publicly. Initially we were speaking of mortgaging the future, now it appears that the future of Osun state and her unborn children have been foreclosed!

As to how the rules, laws and norms of governance were and are still being violated by Ogbeni Aregbesola, Mr. Akinwusi contended as follows:

“The issue of our debilitating debt profile honestly contradicts the quantum of resources that had flown into the government coffers, when viewed against the background of the various allocations to the state and local governments. Today, the entire allocations for the two (2) tiers of governments are solely controlled by the governor. Local government funds do not get to them, most are disbursed by the governor, while the so called Executives Secretaries merely endorse resolutions prepared for them to regularize the illegalities. No records, both at the state and local government levels about the disbursement of our releases for SURE-P and ECA funds.

Let us ask the where about of N17.5bn borrowed for the dualisation of Osogbo to Ila-Odo, as corroborated by the Bank for infrastructure to date. These items like many others were replicated in the N60bn bond, yet all these projects have been abandoned; it on record that N9.7bn would be expended on the phony urban renewal project, all to date moribund. The Ido-Osun Airport project is another nagging matter, for which billions have been expended so far, and deceitful statements made about its completion in the media.

The state government has no budget, this is because there is no adherence to the rules and norms of budget cycle. Contrary to the norm, there is nothing like Treasury Board for the preparation of this all important policy document, instead a kangaroo – meeting called bilateral talk is in vogue since the inception of the administration. That is why we spend over 60% in excess of our actual
revenue. For example in 2011 a sum of N102bn was budgeted, increased to N146bn in 2012, to N235bn for 2013 and 2014 and N201bn for 2015.

These figures were without recourse to budget performances in the previous years. The monthly FAC composed of eight (8) principal officers of government has been cancelled; therefore only the governor and his commissioner for Finance know the income and expenditure of government and thus our total debt profile. Not even the Accountant General or Permanent Secretary Finance
have an inkling of this crucial functions of government.”

Ogbeni Aregbesola has to come out and respond to this. He could not afford to be silent on all these grave allegations. He has to understand that the Osun people would not keep quiet until they get answers to these allegations. N o amount of blackmail, intimidation or harassment would silent the people of Osun over these alleged criminal acts under his auspices. The people of Osun are waiting to hear Aregbesola’s explanations. Nigerian are watching and waiting too!

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961

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