Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has accused immediate past Governor Ayodele Fayose of squandering the N18 billion Paris Club refund the state got from the Federal Government.
Fayemi expressed dissatisfaction with how the former governor, who owed between four months’ salary and eight months’ pension arrears, could not pay the backlog of workers’ benefits with such a huge amount of money but diverted it for other uses.
The governor said he had not reneged on his avowed commitment to offset the outstanding salary and pension before marking his first year in office.
Fayemi spoke on Sunday evening in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, on this month’s edition of live simulcast, tagged: Meet Your Governor.
Addressing the rumour that he had collected N11.5 billion Paris Club refund barely two months after assuming office, Fayemi said: “Let those making the allegation come with verifiable proofs to substantiate their claim.
“I have not collected any money in lieu of road intervention or Paris Club refund. Governor Fayose had the opportunity of paying the bulk of the backlog of salaries and pensions.
“He collected N18 billion out of the N21.5 billion due to Ekiti in the fund. So, what is left for Ekiti is just N3.5 billion, which can’t pay a month’s salary, if we add the overhead costs of subvented institutions.
“As we speak, we are doing a lot of cleansing and that has reduced the monthly pay to workers to N2.1 billion. Those who were not properly employed have been left out until they provide evidence. The medical workers who were employed on consequential ground have been reabsorbed.
“I decided to delay appointment of politicians into government for me to be able to pay our workers. With this, Ekiti can now know who is the real and honest friend of the masses.
“I don’t want to do media trial for anyone; so, I have hired the services of a renowned audit firm to look into our finances and the forensic state’s accounts will be published during our 100 days in office in January, 2019.”
Reacting to Fayemi’s claim, the media aide to the former governor, Lere Olayinka, urged the governor to use the over N30 billion his government allegedly got from the Federal Government on road repairs, arrears of Budget Support and Paris Club refund to pay the workers.
Olayinka said: “It was on the basis of the N2.1 billion arrears of Budget Support and N14.1 billion Paris Club refund already approved for payment in June that Fayose promised to clear the salary arrears.
“But due to his bitter politics, Fayemi blocked the payment and more than one month after receiving the payment, he is still following his usual path of deceit instead of paying the workers.”
He challenged Fayemi to publicise the records of disbursement of the Paris Club Refund the state got from the Federal Government.
According to him, there were conditions laid down by the Federal Government before the fund was released and states were made to make reports of utilisation of first tranche of the refund before the second tranche was released.
Olayinka added: “Besides, the fund was meant for both the state and local governments and it is on record that Ekiti fell into the hardship of inability to pay salaries regularly as a result of the debt incurred during Fayemi’s first tenure and the loans restructuring done at the instance of the Federal Government and the Federal Economic Council (FEC).
“If Fayemi had not plunged Ekiti into unnecessary debt, over N1 billion would not have been deducted monthly from the state’s Federal allocation.”