The All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State has condemned Governor Ayodele Fayose for allegedly diverting the recent bailout of N8.8 billion meant for the payment of backlog of workers’ salaries and pensioners’ allowances.
The party also accused Ekiti State Labour leaders of alleged conspiracy with the governor in his alleged misapplication of the state’s funds.
It said as workers suffer over unpaid salaries and allowances, the union leaders looked away in “an unholy romance with the governor for personal interests”.
At the weekend, media reports said that the Federal Government was in possession of information that Fayose had allegedly diverted the fresh bailout cash of N8.8 billion to other purposes outside the purpose for which it was approved for Ekiti State.
In a statement on Sunday by Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, the APC described Fayose as “callous” for his refusal to use the money to pay workers’ salaries, pensions and severance allowances to former political office holders like his counterparts in other states that benefitted from the same fresh bailout.
The statement regretted that while labour leaders in other states were always in support of workers to enjoy their legitimate benefits, Ekiti State Labour leaders were hobnobbing with the governor in an “unholy alliance to protect the governor for their own personal benefits”.
Olatunbosun said: “It is more worrisome that whenever the labour leaders chose to talk on the welfare of Ekiti workers, they always defend the governor who has pauperised the workers despite availability of funds from the bailout received twice amounting to N20 billion.
“It is very callous of Governor Fayose to collect almost N9 billion and refused to pay workers and pensioners who are being owed eight months in arrears but has chosen to deceive Ekiti people again that the monthly wage bill has risen to N5.3b up from the fraudulent figure of N2.6b he had been bandying around before the latest N8.8b bailout was approved by the Federal Government.”
Berating Fayose for fooling Ekiti State people that the wage bill had doubled without promotions of workers and new recruitment to the civil service, Olatunbosun said: “Nobody is fooled by Fayose’s payment of a paltry one month salary out of eight months he is owing workers and pensioners.
“Fayose has fixed N5.3 billion of this money in Skye Bank so that he can benefit from the interest that will accrue on the deposit while the remaining N3.2 billion is in the JAC Account.
“Fayose only spent the state’s normal monthly allocation, which has accumulated for many months, to pay one month salary while giving the impression that he paid the salary from the new bailout he collected.”
The party said it had been vindicated in its earlier allegation that Fayose diverted the first bailout, adding that the “latest callous conduct” by the governor was a confirmation of its view that Fayose had never been sincere and transparent in his financial dealings concerning state resources.
Alleging that the governor frittered away the first N9.6 billion bailout and refused to account for how the cash was spent, Olatunbosun also accused Fayose of running the state “as a roadside bukateria where he is the only custodian of cash”.
Listing various sums of money that the governor had earlier received from the Federal Government, but allegedly wastefully spent, Olatunbosun cited the first 9.6 billion bailout cash, N10 billion loan from Federal Government for capital projects, N1.3 billion budget-assisted funds and the recent Paris Club refund of N8.8 billion (second bailout) allegedly diverted again.
According to him, others include N5.5 billion refund on Ado-Ifaki Road, which was confirmed by his own party man, Dayo Adeyeye, as Minister of State for Works under former President Goodluck Jonathan; N2.5 billion Ecological Fund; N2 billion loan for small and medium scale businesses, without disbursing it to the target beneficiaries; and alleged payment of N250 million as monthly personal security vote for the governor, even as crime rate had risen in the state, including assassinations and kidnapping.
Olatunbosun added: “Fayose collects the regular monthly allocation of about N2.5 billion while IGR of the state, according to the governor, amounts to N150 million monthly, yet he cannot not pay workers salary and pensioners.”
Olatunbosun scoffed at the latest statement by the Commissioner of Finance, Toyin Ojo, declaring that the state’s wage bill had risen to N5.3 billion monthly, saying such statement was provocative in the face of “barefaced fraud” in the inconsistent figures being reeled out as the official wage bill of the state.
He explained: “Fayose first put the wage bill at N2.6 billion, the same wage bill that former Governor Kayode Fayemi was paying after Fayose removed about 30,000 names from the wage bill he inherited from Fayemi in 2014, including the reported discovery of 500 ghost workers by Fayose himself.
“Without new recruitments and promotions in the service, the figure has suddenly risen to N5.3 billion immediately Fayose received the latest bailout of N8.8 billion.
“This is a lie as the wage bill of Ekiti State is not even near N2.6 billion that Fayose claims, as records indicate that the state’s wage bill has drastically come down to around N1.7 billion monthly.”
Olatunbosun also accused the governor of inflating the wage bill to justify his refusal to pay workers, including diverting the bailout cash to unnecessary projects that would fetch him kickbacks.
Tasking the governor to show kindness to Ekiti State people, especially workers that should not be owed salaries, Olatunbosun added: “If Fayose is sincere about the finances of Ekiti State and has the milk of human kindness flowing in him, he ought to have considered the plights of workers and pensioners as he can conveniently pay between four and five month salaries and pensions like his counterparts in Ogun and Osun states.
“Instead of this, Fayose revels in stashing away billions of naira as revealed by the EFCC in one of his frozen accounts and keeps changing the state’s wage bill figures to justify his callous misapplication of Ekiti funds.
“We call on the EFCC and the CBN especially to pay more attention to Ekiti State finances and ensure that Fayose uses the new bailout to pay workers salary while he must be made to account for how previous monies he received were spent.”
Olatunbosun called on Ekiti State Labour leaders to stop their unholy romance with the governor to short-change the workers and admonished the workers to take their destiny in their hands by demanding for their salaries and allowances, while also assuring Fayose that he would render full account to Ekiti State people to the last kobo at the right time.
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