The Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Sunday said he was largely misrepresented concerning the payment of outstanding seven months’ salary arrears being owed workers in the state.
Aregbesola said he can never be helpless because he relies on Allah.
The embattled Governor was recently widely quoted in the media as saying that he was helpless concerning payment of outstanding seven months’ salary arrears.
Delivering a Ramadan lecture organised by the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society at the Women Development Centre, Abuja, Aregbesola seized the opportunity to clear the air, saying he couldn’t have said that he was “helpless”.
He spoke on the topic: “Ramadan, Living in The Season of Positive Change.”
According to him, what he meant was that he could not help to salvage the situation that brought about the dwindling revenue from the Federation Account where people were stealing 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Going emotional, Aregbesola said: “It is extremely painful that I cannot pay salary.
“It is painful that I have to be in this condition.
“I am not helpless because I have Allah and the people with me.
“And whoever has Allah and the people has everything.”
Aregbesola said he was making efforts to pay the outstanding salaries of the civil servants.
He recalled borrowing up to N25 billion from banks to support the allocation from the federation to pay workers salaries before the banks declined further lending to the state government.
Explaining how the state found itself in this situation, the Governor said his administration could not meet up with the payment of N3.5 billion monthly wages with the dwindling federal allocation despite increasing the Internally Generated Revenue from N900 million to N8 billion annually.
He said: “I didn’t envisage that 400,000 barrels of crude oil would be stolen daily.
“But the whipping boys must be the governors and I am the ‘Chief’ of the whipping boys.”
Aregbesola however expressed delight that the second coming of President Muhammadu Buhari has brought light again into the country, calling on him to look into the issue of 25 per cent unremitted revenue into the Federation Account when only 15.33 per cent of crude oil was being stolen daily.
Governor Aregbesola commended the leadership of Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society for organising the annual Ramadan lecture, saying all Muslims must ensure that the ‘Change’ will now have in the country translates to benefit to all.
The Holy month of Ramadan, he said, presents an opportunity to draw closer to the Qur’an.
According to him, it is a month that Muslims strive for excellence and share pure love freely.
“We thank God for the second coming of President Buhari,” he said.
He, however, cautioned that not all Nigerians want change.
He noted that those benefiting from the old order will not want change, calling on Muslims to support the President to make the change permanent.
Aregbesola said: “Terrorism is a challenge of Islam and it is the Muslims who will solve it.”
He said Islam does not support killing without clear judicial pronouncement.
The Governor also called on governments at all levels to stop sponsorship of Muslims to Hajj, saying over N1 billion could be saved annually from the exercise and diverted to education and job creation.
Present at the Ramadan Lecture were former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais; wife of the Nasarawa State Governor, Mero Al-makura; Senators Abubakar Sodangi and Khairat Gwadwabe; and former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulieman, among others.