The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in Ondo State, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Saturday said most state governors “spend too much on frivolity,” which he said, contributed to why 27 states of the federation could not pay salaries.
Akeredolu, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), therefore canvassed massive cut of security vote and reckless spending as part of strategies to manage fiscal crisis the states of the federation had been facing.
He expressed the views in a statement his media office issued at the weekend, noting managing a state economy at a turbulent period purely “requires the service of a man, who has vision and who can see beyond today.”
He explained that the prevailing economic situation which over 27 states of the federation could no longer pay salaries demanded the need for the chief executives of the affected states to be creative and make sacrifices.
When the economy continues to nosedive, Akeredolu explained that what was required of a leader was “to manage the affairs of the state within the resources it has and cut some spending to stabilise the economy.”
He observed that there “are many things in terms of security vote to cut. There are many things in terms of reckless spending to cut. Some governors still go out with a number of entourage. What do you need it for when we are in a state of crisis? The problem we have is that we spend too much on frivolity.”
But the aspirant noted that the chief executives of most states of the federation “have refused to cut their spending. If this crisis gets worse, what stops a governor from buying his food in the Government House?
“At least, you are able to feed yourself in your house. Why can you not feed yourself in Government House? Till tomorrow, President Barack Obama pays for his food in the White House? The one the United States Government takes care of is the state banquet.”
Akeredolu urged the state governors “to cut off all these excesses. It does not have to continue this way. If it is a crisis period, you must call your people to prepare to make sacrifice so that we can move forward.”
He, however, expressed optimism that he did not see the crisis getting “to that point because we have not prioritise in respect of what we need to do. We are not looking at agriculture properly.
He thus canvassed a cut of the country’s foreign taste, saying there “must be a way that if anybody that comes to the Government House, the only rice you can eat there is ofada. We get to point we eat pounded yam or amala.”
Akeredolu said whatever might be the challenges of the states – whether economic crisis or inability to pay salaries, it “is what any courageous person will be able to tackle. How do will tackle it?”
He referred to when he was running for the office of the President of NBA, pointing out that his campaign mantra was prosecuting and conviction with courage. He thus argued that the fact that most states of the federation could no longer meet primary obligation would not deter him from contesting the governorship election in Ondo State.