The Peoples Democratic Party has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to beam their searchlights on the finance of the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The PDP chairman in Osun State, Mr. Soji Adagunodo, made this call at a press conference in Osogbo on Thursday.
The senator representing the Osun East Senatorial District at the Senate, Ademola Adeleke, and many governorship aspirants of the party including a former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade; a former Speaker, Adejare Bello, and Chief Nathaniel Oke (SAN), were present at the briefing.
The party said the audited report of the state government which the European Union transparency initiative forced them to release to the public was replete with alleged glaring evidence of financial recklessness.
The PDP chairman said, “For example, the Office of the Governor which is principally made up of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Secretary to the State Government and the Chief of Staff, expended a sum of N6,367,390,350.64 in one year. This was higher than the entire money spent on education, agriculture and health in the same year.
“Of this figure, the sum of over N5bn and N50m was spent on overheads in the office of the governor. This was an increase of almost 400 per cent on the sum of N1.2bn spent on the same overheads in 2015. The question is what could be responsible for this astronomical rise in the overhead cost of running the Office of the Governor within 12 months? How much of this money was funnelled into private pockets and on political patronage?”
He said the huge money spent by the governor on running his office happened in a year when the state got zero allocation and borrowed over N26bn.
Adagunodo lamented that it was in the same year that Osun was ranked the fourth in the list of states with the highest domestic debt in Nigeria.
The other three states – Lagos, Delta and Akwa-Ibom, are very high earners from the federation account and internally generated revenue.
The PDP chairman claimed further that Aregbesola according to the audited report, spent over N276m on the improvement of his office infrastructure in 2016, while a paltry sum of N1 .18m was spent on the improvement of infrastructure in the hospitals in the 30 local government areas and the Ife East area office in the same year.
Some of the other alleged wasteful expenses according to him are: over N10m spent on the building of a website called the O-JOB portal as well as several millions of naira on the maintenance of an aircraft.
Adagunodo said. “Another sad revelation coming out from very credible government sources was the approval and payment of an additional sum of N1bn as variation cost on the construction of three prototype high schools in Iwo, Osogbo and Ilesa.
“Even though this contract was awarded in 2013 and some of these schools were inaugurated in 2016, the Aregbesola administration approved an upward review of the contract sum from N4. 05bn to N5.002bn in January 2018. This, to all intents and purposes, is contrary to the provisions of extant financial regulations and principles of accountability.”
The party chairman said the PDP was compelled to come out with the alleged financial recklessness in order to sensitise the people and to show them why Osun State was in a financial mess with unpaid salaries and pensions.
But the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Adelani Baderinwa, when contacted described the allegations of the opposition party as spurious and baseless.
He said the PDP was coming out with these allegations because of the success of the tour of the federal constituencies recorded by the governor.
He urged the people of the state to discountenance what he called concocted lies to tarnish the image of the government and continue to support the ruling APC government which he said had brought unprecedented development to the state.
– Copyright PUNCH