Onuesoke: FG Has No Right to Tell Govs How to Spend Paris Club Refund


Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Delta State, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has stated that the federal government does not have the constitutional right to tell state governors how to spend the Paris Club refund.

Onuesoke, in a statement while reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari‘s order to the governors to direct the expected Paris Club refund money to pay salary arrears, argued that state governors have exclusive control over their revenue and expenditure.

He maintained that the Accountant General of the Federation cannot order or demand obligatorily from any tier of government, including the 36 states’ information on how to spend the Paris Club refunds.
“Nigerians should not forget that the Paris Club refund is the constitutional right of the governors. The federal government does not have any control over them on how to dispense the fund,” Onuesoke argued.

While commending President Buhari for having soft spot for the suffering Nigerian workers who have not received their salaries for months, the PDP chieftain however felt it would have been more honourable for the president to appeal to those governors who have not paid workers to do that before Christmas instead of issuing what seems like an order.

“It is not all the states that owe workers’ salaries. Delta State for example does not own workers’ salaries, so why the blanket order without verification? Thus, such holistic instruction from the president may not go well with some governor most especially when they have different pressing issues in their various states.

“I would have equally expected the president to instruct the governors to channel the fund to other area of development in their states instead of payment of salaries alone. The president should advise governors, including the presidency, as a matter of urgency to concentrate the Paris fund in areas of parastatal investments, but not mostly workers’ salaries. Is Nigeria a civil service investment concern or industrial investment concern?

“If all the money is used to pay arrears of workers’ salaries alone, what will then happen to the parastatals, indebted contractors, infrastructural development, education sector, health and other area of governance?’ He asked.