Posted by By AKEEB ALARAPE, Ibadan on
Immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rasidi Ladoja on Tuesday lampooned his erstwhile deputy and now governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, for what he termed as giving flimsy excuses over his inability to govern the state. He said he left behind enough resources to cater for workers’ salary.
• Quit if you can’t govern, he says
Ladoja’s position, which was delivered by his former Chief of Staff, Barrister Sarafadeen Abiodun-Ali, came on the heels of another stalemated meeting between the striking workers and the state government over the disputed minimum wage.
Addressing a press conference on behalf of his boss, the former Chief of Staff stated that the Alao-Akala government "cannot claim that they don't have enough money to meet the workers' demands or pay salaries, unless he has any other thing against the workers, which he should say.
"After Ladoja left office, this government got part of the proceeds of shares worth N2.4 billion. There was a refund of N1.40 billion to Oodua states, which was contributed for the recapitalization of the Wema Bank (Plc). Part of the proceeds they have now is about N1.4b.
"Then, there is monthly N500 million from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as well as the monthly federal allocation for the month of May, which the administration got. The administration has also got N700 million as excess crude oil money. So, why are they complaining that they don't have money to pay salaries?"
Abiodun-Ali, who explained that the success of his boss lay in his prudence, financial ingenuity and foresight, adding that the problem with the new administration was that it did not meet another N8 billion in the state treasury to throw around as it did during the illegal impeachment saga of Ladoja.
"What they are not happy about, I must say, is that they didn’t meet as much as eight billion they met the other time. Before we spent the money, Ladoja, in his wisdom, felt the best to do was to tie the money to some projects that will be of mutual benefit to the people of Oyo State."
He dismissed insinuation by Alao-Akala that shares were sold before the workers’ new salaries were paid in April, saying the Accountant-General of the state could testify to that.
"If they cannot govern the state, let them go back home and allow somebody duly elected to take over, instead of engaging in cheap blackmail and propaganda aimed at currying the unmerited public favour. We know the people did not vote for them in the first place," Abiodun-Ali added.
In a swift reaction by Alao-Akala’s Special Adviser on Public Communication, Dotun Oyelade, the government alleged that the press conference by the immediate past administration was done to fuel the workers strike and further cause confusion. The government accused the conveners of deploying lies shamelessly.
It said contrary to Abiodun-Ali’s claim, its predecessors only left N1 billion in the state treasury.
"The load of lies continue when it was alleged that they left N8 billion in the treasury during their first departure in January last year.
Why are they going on as if there are no documents? They left N3.2 billion in two and a half years and when they came back, they met it intact, increased to N3.8 billion and they spent the thing. It is now crystal clear who is fueling the labour crisis in Oyo State," Oyelade said.
Meanwhile, the national secretariat of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to strengthen the workers’ strike if the state government brought any blanket injunction to coerce them to suspend the action.
Briefing newsmen on the failed meeting it held with the state government, Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Promise Adewusi, said it was aware of the peculiar nature the state does its things, saying "nobody would bring a black market injunction and expect us to obey. We are going to help the state to strengthen the strike. We can’t watch while our members being humiliated."
According to Adewusi, the decision of the NLC at the national level was informed by the alleged arrogant nature of the state government when both parties met on Monday, disclosing that the state government came back to the meeting and started raising objections to some issues that had already been resolved at its first meeting on Sunday.
"We at the national secretariat cannot allow our child in Oyo to be an orphan when it still has a living parent. The sitting governor was the deputy governor when the agreement was reached," Adewusi said.
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