Former Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has told his successor, Adegboyega Oyetola, not to drag him into issues concerning the debt portfolio of the state under his administration being raised by the incumbent governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
Adeleke had while addressing a state meeting of traditional rulers said Osun had a debt portfolio of about N407.32bn, and vowed to probe Oyetola over the indebtedness.
But reacting to Adeleke’s claim, a former Commissioner for Finance in the Oyetola administration, Mr Bola Oyebamiji, said the Aregbesola administration incurred the debt as the loans were obtained between 2013 and 2017.
Oyebamiji also said the claim that Oyetola owed workers salaries and pensions worth N76bn was unfounded, adding that the salary and pension arrears cited by Adeleke were owed by the previous government.
Aregbesola, who is the Minister of Interior, however, in response to the claim that his administration incurred the debt, said the state Accountant-General was in a better position to give the true position on the matter.
While admitting taking loans while in office as a governor, Aregbesola, in a statement by his media aide, Sola Fasure, obtained in Osogbo on Saturday, however, noted that the two major ones he took had been liquidated while “the other ones are long-term concessional facilities (given to the state) by the Federal Government” with minimal monthly deductions.
He added, “The matter is between the Adeleke and Oyetola administrations because the Aregbesola debts have been liquidated. It was not Aregbesola that took the N18bn loan that was taken after the election. Oyetola took some other loans, including salary support from the Federal Government.
“They caused the problem for themselves. If they had set up a transition committee and if they had cooperated well with the incoming governor after they had lost the election, there would have been a smooth change of government.
“They would have compared notes and there would be no rancour. But he was busy sowing mines on the path of the incoming governor, creating problems for him, and spending money with reckless abandon. What did he do with N18bn? Now, the new government is fighting back. If the new government takes the matter up to the EFCC, there would be problems for the Oyetola administration.
“They should count Aregbesola out of their problems because out of the three loans he took, two have been liquidated. It is only the long-term debt that is remaining and only the Accountant-General can give us the status of the loan because it is no longer what it was because deductions are being made.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State has assured the people of the state that the Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, will not be weakened in his resolve to deliver on his five -point agenda, despite the state’s debt portfolio.
The party also commended Adeleke for his transparency and accountability in the management of state affairs.
Reacting to the governor’s address on the state’s debt profile, the Osun PDP Caretaker Chairman, Dr Akindele Adekunle, in a statement on Saturday, described the debt question as “a subject of secrecy for so long with attendant negative consequences on the state finance, investors’ perception and general well being of Osun people”.
He added, “The evil the APC was covering up is now in the public domain. Osun people genuinely appreciate His Excellency, Governor Adeleke, for opening the state books for all to see. It takes courage and commitment for a leader to act the way the people’s governor acted.