Bola Oyebamiji, former Commissioner for Finance under the administration of the immediate past governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, on Friday released facts and figures showing that the government of Oyetola’s predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, was responsible for the N407 billion debt of the state.
Oyebamiji, in a statement made available to the media on Friday, exonerated the Oyetola government of procuring any debt for the state. He faulted the statement on Thursday by the incumbent governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, describing it as vindictive campaign of calumny.
Titled ‘The Fallacy of Half Truth by Governor Ademola Adeleke: The True Position of Osun Finances under Governor Adegboyega Oyetola (Part 1)’, Oyebamiji’s statement revealed that the total figure being bandied by Adeleke are loans procured between 2013 and 2017 before the advent of the administration of Oyetola.
Oyebamiji also cleared the air on a loan Governor Adeleke accused Oyetola of taking after the July 16 election.
His statement reads: “The recent comment by Governor Ademola Adeleke on the position of the debt of Osun State under Governor Adegboyega Oyetola is a reflection of the combative and vindictive posture, yet again, of Governor Adeleke against my principal, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. It is purely a campaign of calumny against a people-centric government.
“For the umpteenth time, the true picture of the finances of the state is not hidden; the Annual Auditor-General’s report and the reports from the Debt Management Office (Osun and Abuja) are available for scrutiny.
“The latest comment of the incumbent governor to the effect that Governor Oyetola accessed a loan facility after the July 2022 gubernatorial election is nothing but a lie. The current government would have won an iota of credibility for itself if the details of the loan, including the figure and the creditor, were mentioned.
“Just to let you know, as captured in the address of Governor Oyetola on the 26th of November, 2022, the government of Osun did not take any bank loan under his watch. What the state benefited from, like the 35 other states of the federation, which was well publicised at the time (see The Punch Newspaper (punchng.com) of 19th November 2021), was the monthly intervention from the Federal Government which commenced in December 2021 and terminated in June 2022. This support was to cushion the effect of deductions from the budget support facility and salary bailout accessed by the previous government.
“One then wonders how support from the Federal Government which started in December 2021, as contained in the document released by the current government itself, turned into a facility sought and accessed after the July 2022 election is beyond comprehension.
“Of significant importance is the half-truth presented by Governor Adeleke about the true position of the state’s debt portfolio. For instance, one is at a loss about how the government will report the position of the state debt, leaving out very vital information such as the dates of procurement. In accounting, it is elementary knowledge that no valid amortization schedule can be presented by a competent accountant without a valid date of procurement.
“For clarity, the state bond of N30,000,000,000.00 at 14.75% started in September 2014; the Sukuk of N11,400,000,000.00 at 14.75% started in May 2013; the FGN Bond of N86,671,281,863.41 at 14.83% started in August 2015; the salary bail-out of N25,871,920,000.00 at 9% started in September 2015; the FGN Budget Support Facility of N17,569,000,000.00 at 9% commenced in July 2016; the FGN Special Intervention Fund of N4,000,000,000.00 (interest-free) was accessed in 2017; the Excess Crude Account (ECA) Secured Term Loan of N10,000,000,000.00 at 9% was accessed in February 2016; and the Central Bank of Nigeria Development Fund (ECA2) of N5,000,000,000.00 at 9% started in June 2017.
“Where then is the commercial loan traced to the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola? As presented above, all these loans were procured between 2013 and 2017 before the advent of the administration of Governor Oyetola. The question then is where is the loan procured by Governor Oyetola and who is the lender?
“Also, the claim that Governor Oyetola owed workers salaries and pensions to the tune of N76bn is unfounded. The salary and pension arrears figure mentioned by Governor Adeleke was owed by the previous government and I challenge the current government to present any available facts to the contrary.
“Characteristically, the lie that the government of Governor Oyetola did not leave any money in the coffers of the state has yet sold the infant administration of Governor Adeleke short. “Again, as contained in the documents made available to the new government, the following balances were available to the state as of November 26, 2022: Non-IGR Accounts: FAAC Accounts meant for Salaries = N3,541,950,501.26 (N1,106,634,659.87 (First bank Plc) and OSSG VAT Account = N2,435,315,841.39 (Sterling bank Plc); Lautech Refund Account with Wema Bank Plc = N1,563,832,985.78; Ecological Fund with United Bank for Africa = N1,206,756,053.65; Other Non-IGR Balances in Various Bank Accounts = N3,284,899,623.16; Revenue Collection in Various Bank Accounts = N2,234,916,050.36; Sukuk Bond Proceed Accounts = N5,358,332.13; Tranche 1 Bond Proceed Accounts = N9,853,250.90; Sinking Fund for Credit Agency with Wema Bank Plc= N2,000,000,000.00; and Sinking Fund on OBOPS with Sterling Bank Plc= N202,423,426.11.
“Thus, the total money left in the state’s coffers as of 26th November 2022 stood at N14,049,990,223.35. Any contrary information to the one presented here should be publicised with verifiable facts.
“Consequently, it is important to remind the administration of Governor Ademola Adeleke that public finance remains public. No amount of effort to deliberately circumvent fact can change what is publicly available.
“The government of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola promised to run a transparent government and it did until the last day in office to the commendation of well-meaning Nigerians and the international community.
“It will therefore serve the current government well to be serious and deploy its energy towards governing the state rather than fighting an imaginary enemy with half-truth. Government is a continuum and it must be seen as such.”
However, former Governor Aregbesola has reacted to the development, saying the Accountant-General of the state should be in a better position to give the true particulars of the indebtedness of the state.
Reacting to the statement by Oyebamiji on the contention that the debts were incurred by his government, Aregbesola, through his media aide, Mr Sola Fasure, said the impasse was between Adeleke and Oyetola, and so he should not be in the picture.
While admitting that he took loans, he said the two major ones he took had been liquidated while “the other ones are long-term concessional facilities (given to the state) by the Federal Government” with minimal monthly deductions.
Aregbesola said: “I will suggest that you look at all the loans and get to the Accountant-General of the state at Abere. I think the AccountantGeneral or the Permanent Secretary (Finance) would have better information because it is the Accountant-General that raised a memo based on the query of the governor.
“The Accountant-General, in reply to the query of the governor, stated the condition of the loans and the loans that are outstanding. He is the most knowledgeable about the loans by the state as the custodian of the account of the state. They should count Aregbesola out of it.”
He said the loans collected by the Aregbesola government had been liquidated, saying “was it Aregbesola that took a loan of N18billion after he lost the election? The two major loans Aregbesola took have been liquidated. They were the Sukkuk loan and the other ones were long-term concessionary facilities by the Federal Government which have a long span repayment terms. The deductions are minimal and they are not deductions that will infringe on finances of the state. The two major loans taken by Aregbesola have been liquidated.”
He said: “The matter is between the Adeleke and Oyetola administrations because the Aregbesola debts have been liquidated. It was not Aregbesola that took the N18 billion loan that was taken after the election. Oyetola took some other loans, including salary support from the Federal Government.
“They caused the problem for themselves. If they had set up a transition committee and if they had cooperated well with the incoming governor after they had lost election, there would have been a smooth change of government.
“They would have compared notes and there would be no rancour. But he was busy sowing mines on the path of the incoming governor, creating problems for him, and spending money with reckless abandon. What did he do with N18 billion? Now the new government is fighting back. If the new government takes the matter up to the EFCC, there would be problems for the Oyetola administration.
“They should count Aregbesola out of their problems because out of the three loans he took, two have been liquidated. It is only the long-term debt that is remaining and only the Accountant-General can give us the status of the loan because it is no longer what it was because deductions are being made.”