By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Following claims that the immediate past administration in Oyo State left a debt profile of N150 billion by Governor Seyi Makinde , some aides of former governor Abiola Ajimobi have described the claim as false saying that their boss borrowed a little 90 billion naira in 8 years and not 150 billion naira as alleged.
Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, Mr Bolaji Tunji and Mr Ambali Abiodun who spoke on behalf of their other colleagues, alleged that Makinde and his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are hellbent of tarnishing Ajimobi’s image.
At a press conference which held at the premises of the Oyo State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ in Ibadan on Friday, they explained that 35 per cent of the borrowed sum was used as payment of arrears of pensions and gratuities of civil servants.
“Enough of Lies, Propaganda and outright falsehoodIt has come to our notice, former aides of the past governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi that there is a deliberate smear campaignagainst the immediate past administration in the State by the apologists of the present administration.
“This is in order to destroy the legacies of the immediate past administration and to individually andcollectively malign us.This carefully-orchestrated propaganda started a few weeks ago when the former administration was accused of awarding the Iseyin-Moniya-Oyo road to a faceless contractor at a cost of N2billion per kilometre which had been debunked.
“Not only that, the present administration had also falsely alleged that the State had a debt profile of N150b, which has been confirmed to be incorrect. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Debt Management Office (DMO), put a lie to this.
“Total Domestic Borrowings at end of the Ajimobi Administration was just over N90b, of which about 35% constituted Provisions for arrears of Pensions and Gratuties of Civil Servants.The remainder of the amount was made up of Bailouts and Interventions extended by the Federal Government to all States of Nigeria, to assist Government alleviate pains experienced by the populace as a result of the Global Economic depression and the fall in Oil prices.
“These include N18b Salary Bail out of 2015, N10b Infrastructure Loan and N18b Budget Support Facility. The Debt amount also included a N4.3b provision for Salary,which had since been paid.
” The actual Government borrowings were the State Capital Bond of N3b (almost since paid down) and N8b Commercial Bank Loan (which had been converted into a Bond by the Federal Government).Going further, a bulk of the debt is tied to the $200m (N72b) loan from the World Bank which makes up the so- called debt profile Before its tenure ended on May 29, the World Bank had only disbursed just over 25% of the Loan. Disbursements are made only after Clearances and “No Objections” are issued under the most stringent World Bank Guidelines and only to Project Milestones.
“The Projects under the Loan are World Class, evident all over Ibadan and has ensured that the devastating floodingthat had hitherto claimed precious lives and property, has finally been checked for the first time in the History of Oyo State.
“However, we have also decided to respond to the current smear campaign about vehicles alleged to have been recovered from some aides and political office holders. As stated, these are orchestrated campaigns of calumny and cheap propaganda aimed at rubbishing the well-known giant achievements of the Ajimobi administration which we were part of.We have always challenged the current administration to come up with names of people alleged to havetaken vehicles away illegally or without justification. Till date, they have not been able to do so.
“We are challenging the Engineer SeyiMakinde administration to tell the people of Oyo Satate and the whole world;1. Which mechanic workshop these vehicles were recovered from?2. Who took such vehicles to the mechanic workshop?3. Were there no documentation given to the mechanic when the vehicles were received? If there were documentations, then they should tell the whole world the circumstances that led to the vehicles being in the workshop?4. Lastly, when were the vehicles taken to the workshops?From our own investigations, we discovered that some government apologists are behind the present smear campaign.
“Further information also revealed that an individual named Olopoeniyan is prominent. These people have been going around mechanic workshops, waylaying and picking up vehicles alleged to have been illegally taken away. Some of these vehicles have either been boarded or officially taken to mechanic workshops for repairs.
“We want to advise the administrationto desist from this deliberate campaign of calumny as this could lead to the breakdown of law and order which can derail evident peace and security that has been hitherto enjoyed in the last eight years.
“We want to further advise the administration of Gov Seyi Makinde to squarely face the serious task of governance instead of embarking on the mundane attempt to malign his predecessor-in-office and paint him and his aides in bad light, among the populace.
“Further, it has come to our attention that the administration has embarked on the recruitment of social media personnel to step up this smear campaign. We want to advise and state further that propaganda and outright falsehood will not benefit the administration and the generality of the people of Oyo State.
“Empowering touts into taking pictures from mechanic workshop, car snatching on the street under the guise of “retrieving government vehicles” could lead to a situation of anarchy where men of the underworld would capitalise on this untoward behaviour, to snatch people’s vehicles on the road, encouraging brigandage, breakdown of law and order, which had ceased to exist in the State under the stewardship of Senator Abiola Ajimobi.This should not be encouraged” he concluded