Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, of approving the payment of a sum of N20 billion, from the N35 billion bailout funds allocated to the state by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to a road contractor, last week.
The party, in a statement signed by its Director Media and Strategy, Prince Diran Odeyemi on Sunday, wondered why Governor Aregbesola prioritized the payment of the company handling the Osogbo Ring Road project over the welfare of the civil servants, who according to them, have been wallowing in abject poverty, following a nine months period of unpaid salaries.
The party said “We have it on good authority that the payment was effected last week Thursday and we have noticed that the contractor has returned to site with its men and equipment within 24 hours as requested by the governor.”
The party alleged further that the N35 billion bailout had since been lodged in two banks adding that while the amount lodged in one of the banks is in a fixed deposit account, as earlier alleged by the party, the other part of the money had been withdrawn from another bank to pay the company.
The statement read, “Inasmuch as we believe the road project is ideal, we wonder why an inflated road contract awarded at N1 billion per kilometre has suddenly become the priority of Aregbesola at this particular period of nine months of unpaid salary if not because of some undercurrent deals to siphon funds and shortchange the people of Osun State, the party disclosed further.
“This perhaps is the reason why the governor said he would only pay half of March salary to workers at a meeting he held with them last week,” it added.
In their defence, the All Progressives Congress (APC) denied the opposition’s allegation, saying because of the level of PDP’s frivolous and unsubstantiated allegations against the ruling party, it had resolved never to respond to its future allegations.
According to the APC spokesperson, Mr Kunle Oyatomi; “The banks the PDP mentioned are there for the public to vet towards establishing facts or fallacies of the PDP. Also relevant institutions and officials abound in Osogbo where information flow freely. We have had enough of this irresponsibility.”
The PDP however called on “President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the looming crisis in the state if governor Aregbesola continues to deny Osun workers their right to salary having received the bailout fund from CBN three weeks ago even without meeting the condition set for him to submit the resolution of the State Executive Council because he does not have an exco 10 months into his second term.”
“These hardships are too much for the people of Osun. We are therefore, appealing to traditional rulers and religious bodies in the state to wade in before it escalates and become unbearable because a hungry person is unarguably, an angry man,” the PDP said.