Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, has said that he is leaving behind a state that does not owe salaries and is able to meet other demands because of the several interventions the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration extended to the states.
Ajimobi, who said he was on a thank-you visit to the Presidential Villa, added that with the help and support President Buhari gave to the states, he was leaving behind a peaceful and secure state.
Ajimobi who said his only regrets was not being able to complete all that he set out to do, expressed gratitude to the people of Oyo State for allowing him be the first to complete two terms of eight years in office in the history of the state.
He said; “I want to thank President Buhari for the support he has given all the states particularly during the period of scarcity of funds to execute our projects, to pay salaries, to meet the socioeconomic development demands. He was on hand to help all of us. He supported us by releasing funds to all of us and as at today, most of the states including Oyo State are not owing salaries.
“He also assisted us with social infrastructure, that is, extending the welfare nets to the states. That is why I am here to thank Mr. President because in another two days, I am going for Umrah and by the time I come back I won’t be in office as governor.
“I am going to Umrah to thank God. When I came in, I pleaded with God to give me the opportunity to serve peacefully and that He did. I also want to thank the people of Oyo State for allowing me to be the first governor to do two terms of eight years, it has never happened in Oyo State.
“I am leaving a legacy of peace and security in Oyo. At a time Oyo State was seen as what you call a ‘garrison state,’ today Oyo State is one of the peaceful states in Nigeria. If our government has not done anything at all, we have brought peace and tranquillity and development to Oyo State. It’s been a worthwhile venture.
“Many of us could seat back and say I retired as an MD of a multinational but if we seat back and play the ostrich we will see that evil will always triumph when men of goodwill fail to act. I want to say that Ajimobi came, brought peace to Oyo state and added value to the social economic development of the state and to Nigeria in general.”
Asked if he had any regrets, Ajimobi said: “I think I regret the fact that I have not been able to do everything I wanted to do. I wish our people could be more understanding, could be more patient, but they feel that any time you try to make a change, people resist change even if it’s good for them. I wish I had been in politics 20 years ago.”
The Federal government had in February disclosed that it had so far, spent over N1.19 trillion to support the 36 states of the federation.
The funds were made available to enable them pay salaries of workers and meet the challenges of shortage of funds for the execution of programmes in the respective states.