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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

N407bn Osun debt: Aregbesola breaks silence, asks Adeleke to drag Oyetola to EFCC

Former Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola has berated his successor, Adegboyega Oyetola for the worrisome debt profile of the state declared by Governor Ademola Adeleke.

Adeleke claimed the state owed N407.32 billion, blaming the administration of Oyetola for incurring the debt. But Oyetola denied the allegation, maintaining Aregbesola’s administration obtained the loans.

Osun State House of Assembly on Friday announced it would investigate the debt profile by inviting the relevant agencies to seek clarifications.

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While reacting to the development though his Media Aide, Sola Fasure, Aregbesola, the incumbent Minister of Interior, on Saturday, December 16, 2022, said Oyetola’s administration would be in trouble, should the government of Ademola Adeleke decides to drag him before the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

He, however, explained what loans his administration took and those that had been liquidated.

Asking Adeleke and Oyetola to count him out of their bickering over the state loans, Aregbesola said that the state’s Accountant-General should be in a better position to give the true particulars of the indebtedness of the state.

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 Accountant-General 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.”

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Aregbesola said the loans his government got had been liquidated, saying: “was it Aregbesola that took a loan of N18b 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 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.

“The matter is between the Adeleke and Oyetola administrations because the Aregbesola debts have been liquidated. It was not Aregbesola that took the N18b 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,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Osun State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused Oyetola of deceitful conduct on his handling of the state’s debt profile, and commended Adeleke for his transparency and accountability in the management of state affairs.

Reacting to the address of the Governor on the state’s debt profile, Osun State PDP caretaker Chairman, Dr Akindele Adekunle described the debt question as “a subject of secrecy for so long with attendant negative consequences on the state finance, investors’ perception and general well being of Osun people. The evil the APC was covering up is now in public domain.

“Osun people genuinely appreciate Governor Adeleke for opening the state books for all to see. It takes courage and commitment for a leader to act the way the People’s Governor acted. The state feels the passion and the love he has for the good people of Osun as well as his readiness to deliver on his five point agenda despite the financial constraints. 

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