Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has explained the reasons why his government is probing the financial transactions entered into by the administration of his predecessor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Fayose said apart from the N25 billion bond Fayemi took from the capital market, the administration also took N31bilion commercial loans which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) now wants the state government to take responsibility for.
He stated this in Ado-Ekiti on Monday night while featuring in an interview programme on state radio and television.
Fayose, through his deputy, Dr Kolapo Olusola, had on Monday morning inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to probe the finances of the state under Fayemi from October 2010 to October. 2014.
The governor said while the bond funds were meant for projects such as civic centre, state pavilion, new governorâ€™s office, new government house, most of the projects were never completed.
He added that the N31 billion commercial loans were also wasted and the state committed to servicing the loans with about N1.1 billion monthly until year 2036.
â€œAlso, that administration misappropriated funds given to the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) leading to the suspension of our state from UBEC support for some years. The SEC wrote me to take responsibility for the loans, even though they too displayed dereliction of responsibility in monitoring how the funds were spent.
â€œVery annoying is also the fact that the representatives of our people, members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, invited Fayemi repeatedly and he refused to appear before them to explain how the funds were spent. His finance commissioner also took a cue from him; he refused to appear before the lawmakers too.
â€œThe lawmakers had to pass a resolution mandating the state government to set up that panel and I am not a law breaker, I have to obey the peopleâ€™s voice. The panel is made up of honourable people and will not witch-hunt anybody. If they donâ€™t have any skeleton in their cupboards, let them appear before it,â€ he said.
On the refusal of petrol marketers in the state to sell their products, Fayose said his government would not succumb to blackmail.
He explained that following the fire incident at a filling station early this year, it was discovered that most fuel stations in the state were operating without basic facilities in place and vital regulations being followed.
â€œI will not allow anybody set this state on fire. After the last fire incident, the owner was only ready to pay N10,000 compensation to people whose properties were burnt. The victims gave me a bill of over N176 milion compensation. The owner only insured his products. Who will now be responsible for the losses suffered by the victims?
â€œSome stations were also located in wrong places. Their leaders came from Lagos and they went round and condemned the attitude of these people, but yet they want to hold us to ransom. They started their strike last week to create chaos during the burial of Baba Adeyinka Adebayo, but they failed.
â€œHenceforth, those who refuse to sell petrol will not be allowed to sell any other thing in their stations. Those having shops in their stations must shut down those shops too. Any state official found to have helped any of them to get approval inappropriately will be dealt with severely,â€ he added.
On the release of the second tranche of the Paris Club Refund, Fayose opined that the state and local governments have suffered over-deductions in the first instance and they ought not to beg the federal government to return their money to them.