Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
The Osun State Government has described as ‘false, baseless and unfounded’ the allegation of wasteful spending levelled against the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola by the opposition party, the PDP last week.
This was contained in a statement, on Monday, by the Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Sola Fasure, who said “PDP had once again demonstrated its skill at deception and uncanny ability to turn white into blue in a bid to discredit the people-oriented government of Aregbesola.”
The party, had last week, accussed Aregbesola of misappropriating the state’s fund to the tune of over N6 billion naira. The party Chairman, Soji Adagunodo, who made the allegtion based on the state’s 2016 edited report released by a European Union Transparency Initiative, had alleged that the reckless spending accounted for the financial crisis and hardship that has been rocking the state.
Adagunodo had also alleged that the money expended was higher than the entire amount spent on education, agriculture and health in the same year.
But Fasure stated yesterday that “the opposition PDP in Osun in company with the party’s governorship aspirants had only succeeded in dishing out concocted figures that were a mix-bag of lies and half truths containing wildly flawed and incorrect statistics about spending in the Office of the Governor.”
He insisted that Osun PDP had demonstrated for too long its inherent ability for untruth and deception, claiming that the recent information it purportedly disclosed to the public was nothing unusual as it had been the party’s stock in trade.
Fasure described the alleged financial misappropriation as a display of monumental fiscal ignorance to ascribe the Office of the Governor to the person of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
He said that “the dubious press conference by the PDP was a desperate attempt to change the narrative on the soaring popularity of Governor Aregbesola and the APC in contrast to the dwindling fortunes of the PDP in the state and all over the country.”
The statement read in part: “We therefore have the following to say on the cacophonic baloney concocted by the PDP on the account of the state.
The primary source of the information relied upon was the state audited account for 2015 and 2016 that had been publicly presented with fanfare on April 4 this year.
“It is therefore curious how the state’s account transparently presented to the public could be a source from which the opposition will draw allegations of financial impropriety.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Osun is the only state among the six participating states in the State and Local Governance Reform (SLOGOR) Project that publicly presented its account for three years running. Others are Anambra, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano and Yobe.
“The PDP got its facts wrong by claiming that the Office of the Governor spent N6.3 billion in 2016. It was actually N9.7 billion. N4.8 billion was also expended in 2015, as against N1.2 billion falsely claimed by PDP. But it is a display of monumental fiscal ignorance to ascribe the Office of the Governor to the person of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
“There are 28 agencies under the Office of the Governor. These are: Osun Park and Gardens; Wife of the Governor; Office of Regional Integration; Bureau of Government House and Protocols; Christian Welfare Board; Muslim Welfare Board; Public Procurement Agency; Osun State Sports Council; Office of the Deputy Governor; Public Service Office; Special Project Office; Sustainable Development Goals; O’Jobs; Office of Human Resources; Bureau of Public Service Pension; Office of Economic Development and Partnership; Policy and Economic Team; Office of Forestry, Natural and Mineral Resources; Office of Policy Coordination; Bureau of General Services; Osun State Emergency Management Agency; Bureau of Lands; O’Honey; United Nations Development Programme; Osun State Agency for the Control of AIDS; Sustainable Development Goals; and Bureau of Communications and Strategy. These are the agencies which received the budgetary allocation under reference, not the person of the governor.
“A breakdown of the 2016 sum reveals that N648 million was spent on personnel, N2.5 billion on overhead while N4.99 billion was spent on pension, making a total N8.1billion. The balance of N1.56 billion was expended on capital acquisition and other critical expenditures.
“It is ridiculous and the height of mischief to claim that the state government spent N1.8 million on health in 2016. Capital project and project funded on health alone was to the tune of a total sum of N498 million in 2016. Hospital Management Board in 2016 also got N1.5 billion. Capital projects in health were also carried out under Sustainable Development Goals and the Ministry of Health.
“PDP also claimed that the Office of the Governor spent N276 million on ‘infrastructure maintenance’. This is false. The sum was expended on ‘infrastructure acquisition’. There is a world of difference between ‘acquisition’ and ‘maintenance’.
“The state government has had to use huge sums to repay debts. These debts date back to the old Oyo State. Aregbesola’s administration inherited a total of N19.9 billion debt incurred by the previous PDP administration. These debts were owed UBA, Zenith Bank and Sterling Bank. As it is evident to all, the bonds were used efficiently for infrastructure development. The state government also took more than N25 billion loan to pay workers salaries and it was in order to avoid cumulating more debts to pay workers salaries that the government adopted the modulated salary structure arrangement.”
Fasure averred that it is sad to behold the display of intellectual ineptitude of PDP which made a mountain out of the molehill and in the process exposed itself to ridicule and public opprobrium with the expression of monumental ignorance on simple fiscal matters.
He stated that the PDP leadership, with its governorship aspirants including a professor and a Senator of the Federal Republic, shamefully displayed crass ignorance in its failure to know and distinguish the difference between the Office of the Governor and the person of the governor.
Fasure said the faux pas had morally disqualified PDP and its aspirants from occupying any leadership position, having demonstrated their unsuitability to govern the state.
He alerted the media and the public “to be wary of the diabolic intentions of the PDP leadership who are ‘certified Confusionists that have perfected the art of lying and public deception.”