ByÂ Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A group under the banner of Ekiti Recovery Movement (ERM) has accused the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, of misappropriating a sum of N251.99 billion being the amount that accrued to the state as federal allocation and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) under his reign.
The group asked Fayose to explain the true wage bill of the state, which he claimed was N2.6 billion instead of N1.8 billion allegedly contained in all the documents from the office of the Accountant General of the state.
The group advised Ekiti electorate to vote massively for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the July 14 election, regretting that the state has lost its values under the present government.
Addressing a press conference in Ado Ekiti on Saturday, its Coordinator, Olalekan Soyombo, said available statistics from the Federal Ministry of Finance revealed that Ekiti had received aggregate of N223.99 billion as allocation in the last 43 months, after tax and debt deductions, querying why Fayose had found it difficult to pay salary and pensions for the past eight months.
Soyombo said it was so pathetic that the state had made an aggregate of N17.2 billion on an average of N400 million monthly under Fayose as IGR, lamenting that the governor allegedly kept the accrual secret.
He said: â€œPutting the IGR and federal allocation together in the last 43 months, the PDP government has managed N251.19 billion, outside the Paris Club refunds, capital funds, 13 month budget support funds, excess crude oil among others that his government got under President
Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s government.
â€œVerifiable facts indicated that the state wage bill is N1.8billion inclusive of political appointees on consolidated salary structure . This equals N77.4billion only for 43 months. When you subtract the wage bill from the allocation and add to IGR, the state is left with N173.7billion.
â€œIf we may ask, what then is making the state government to deny civil servants and teachers their salaries and wages in spite of all these huge resources?â€, he asked.
Soyombo also lampooned the government for increasing the tuition fee in Ekiti State University to N180,000 in a poverty-stricken state like Ekiti, saying this smacks of insensitivity .
â€œAt various levels, Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, had been approached by many unions and professional bodies, to use his good office as the official superintending over the ministry to intervene on behalf of the students, but unfortunately they decided to embark on unlawful arrest and detention of the student leaders.
â€œAs we speak today, a lot of students have dropped out of school, because they canâ€™t afford such humongous fee. It is even more disheartening that there is no functional scholarship and bursary facilities that could enable indigent students to have access to education like they did under former Governor Fayemiâ€, he said.
The group described Fayemi as the most prepared and one with deep knowledge of how the state could be best governed to bring democratic dividends to the populace.
â€œDr. Fayemi is the most prepared, most experienced and most reliable in changing the negative narrative that has been with Ekiti under this government.
â€œBased on this, we will embark on statewide rigorous campaign and mass mobilisation with the view of ensuring his victory in the coming governorship election, in the interest of our people and for the noble cause of restoring the glory and values of Ekitiâ€.
Refuting the aallegation, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, described the it as unfounded, saying at no time did the government receive N3billion as monthly allocation since Fayose assumed office.
â€œEven at a time, we were getting as low as N1.5 billion when the wage bill was undulating between N2.5 and N2.7 billion. That is why we are
paying in arrears.
â€œIt is worrisome that the government has been spending over 90 per cent of the allocation on payment of salaries and pensions and the fact that the allocations were too paltry accounted for why we have been unable to pay upâ€.
On the State IGR, Ogunsuyi said: â€œGovernment has not been running any secret account. How do you think Governor Fayose has been able to construct the flyover , did dualisation in eleven councils and tarred roads in some towns even when allocation was not enough to pay salaries?
â€œThe governor was able to do all this through efficient and prudent management of our resources, I mean the ones we got internally and those from the federation accountâ€, he stated.