Nigerian governors often do not go into too many details about State finances. But, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State on Friday, in an unprecedented frank talk, let all hell loose, as he tried to convince unpaid workers on strike that he was a good guy trying to fix the rot left by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr. Kayode Fayemi.
Mr. Fayose, a thorn in the flesh of President Buhari, has not paid civil servants in the southwestern State for several months, and they have embarked on an indefinite strike to force the once popular governor to pay or face hell.
Mr. Fayose had blasted Mr. Fayemi in the past for leaving huge debts, uncompleted projects or simply ruining the state. But on Friday, he hit him really hard and went further than before to explain in scary details the precarious finances of Ekiti State.
He said the money borrowed by former Governor Fayemi would be repaid heavily every month for the next 20 years, long after he has left office and more than a decade after President Buhari has vacated Aso Rock, the Nigerian seat of power in Abuja, assuming he even wins a second term in 2019.
Every month, Mr. Fayose said, Ekiti State has to pay creditors more than a billion naira debts left by the former administration and a bailout received by his own administration to pay salaries.
With low oil prices, Nigerian States are struggling to pay workers. Many capital projects have been halted and huge debts being owed contractors have made a bad situation even worse.
Excerpts were provided to TheSimonAtebaNews by his office.
Again my good people of Ekiti, I just want to appreciate you, I
want to thank you for your patience, endurance so far in the face of this strike and our financial challenges.
It is rather unfortunate that we are in this kind of situation, I want
you to remember that I have always made you proud, I have always paid wages, salaries on the 22nd /23rd of every month. I have always done that which you can always remember, the effort put in place by my administration during the first tenure. You will recall that I said severally and nobody has controverted it that I left the sum of 10.4 billion when I was leaving in 2006.
I came back now to meet debts in bonds and the commercial loans. You will remember that we are paying 600 million every month as a result of that bond. Let nobody deceive you that the bond was part of the bailout, that is far from the truth.
The federal government has no powers over the bonds, the bonds are subscriptions of various interest groups and they must be sustained and payment must be monthly as agreed. I want to say very expressly if that 600 million is not being deducted from source it would have been adding value to the state today.
Beyond that, they took a 31billion commercial loan, the federal
government restructured that loan by paying the banks back and
extending the tenure of the commercial loan instead of us paying 875 million every month, we now pay about 300 million every month and that will remain like that till year 2036. While the bond where we pay 600 million per month will remain like that till 2022. All these debts were incurred by the Apc government under governor Kayode Fayemi of the last administration.
That was why I said it is morally wrong for a leader to put his people in perpetual slavery even after your tenure. All governors, all leaders must borrow money payable within their tenure otherwise how do you imagine a situation where somebody served a state for four years and his people will be paying back the debts incurred by his administration for 20 years after.
If we add the 600 million naira from the bond and the 300 million deducted monthly for the commercial loan, that is 900 million naira incurred by the past administration and it will remain binding on Ekiti for the next 20 years.
They have no moral standing, they have no moral ground to come out and talk, they have left us in perpetual pains, even governments after me will face the same problem and that was what I said when I took over the reins of government.
I want to equally say that the bond, the bailout for paying salaries I got 9.6 billion from the federal government, the balance for the local government I have not gotten till today. The 9.6 billion was used to pay the wages of civil servants and 900 million for the wages of local government workers.
I want to say it expressly, with that 9.6 billion we are paying close to 100million every month and that too was restructured for another 20 years, when you add that to the 900 million, that is another 1 billion.
Beyond that, they gave us 10 billion for capital project against the excess crude account and they asked the banks to borrow us and they asked us to tie those projects to the 10b. I was able to tie the Fly over and the Oja Oba market to it and the other small projects am doing and these were entrenched in the budget.
The house of assembly resolution was part of what they demanded, the exco resolution and my signature. How do I now divert money in the budget for capita project for alternative uses, then you end up with EFCC. So this is to explain to people asking us to divert money from project for payment of salaries and I want to go further to say that every month they deduct about 45m for fertilizer, so every month they deduct close to 1.2 billion naira from source, even more sometimes.
This last one, the basic allocation that came was 1.21b, and
deducting 1.1b the state was left with 102m. When you add VAT 626million, exchange gains and bank charges, we are left with 751 million, it was later they said they should suspend 300 million and they suspended it in d month of May, so ordinarily our allocation that we got was 751 million officially and how can we get allocation 751m and we are paying wages of 2.5/2.6b, how do we reconcile all these.
When people come they say Fayose, the number of political appointees of Fayose, reducing ministries, there should be enough money, have you forgotten that what we are getting is 750m? The last allocation Dr. Kayode Fayemi got when he was leaving here was 3.9 billion, today we are getting 751million.
The Apc should close their face in shame, how can you rule for four years and you destroy a state, you destroy the whole economy of that state for 20 years. That is why the labour leaders must come to reason, we must face the reality. I am not one governor that will come and lie to you, as it is the state is in financial mess.
We pay institutions (university, college of education, hospitals,
judiciary, college of health technology, we pay them almost 730
million every month). The core civil service goes to about 1.4b/1.5b aside other responsibilities of government and you are getting 751 million.
When you join three 751, three allocations, you hardly get to the
wage bill. Don’t forget you still have to provide chemicals for water, we have to provide diesel at Ero, we have to provide diesel at Ado waterworks and provide chemicals to water, we owe responsibilities to the communities, the security issues are there.
I want to tell you very expressly it is not easy for this government
financially and I have always said this, I did not hide it from you.
I went round the local government with the labour leaders in July and we all agreed that we should use two allocations to pay one salary. If you are using two months to pay one starting from September/October, we used September/October to pay September, we used November/December to pay October, we used January/February to pay November, we used March/April to pay December.
The issue now is that as we were going on that journey, when we got to February the allocation dipped further, it was now ending in using three months allocation to pay one month salary, that made it impossible for us to pay certain levels of deductions in December.
The question to ask the labour leaders is why did you wait till now to talk about this issues if you were not part of it.
We need certain level of integrity to show that we are leaders of the people than to back out when we actually know we are part of it. What are the issues? What are the problems in Ekiti? They are two. The first problem is the dwindling economy, the money coming from Abuja is no longer coming, Ekiti earns about the least in Nigeria and secondly the debt profile of Ekiti as a result of mal-administration by the last administration where almost 1.2 billion is deducted from source.
If that 1.2 billion is not deducted and we add it to what we are
getting today, life would have been a lot easier for our people. I
have said it expressly, it will take a very wicked leader to have
money and have his people to suffer. It is not my joy that you should suffer as a people, it is not in my prayers. If I could be paying salaries on the 22nd/23rd of every month during my first tenure, what should stop me from doing it now?
It was because of the little I was able to do then that made you
bring me back to come and serve you again. Within ambit of resources I am trying and I will continue trying but as I speak to you I don’t have money, I love you, I appreciate you but I don’t have it.
Parents are generally emotional, passionate about their children
particularly their female wards but sometimes you are helpless as a father. Your daughter will be at home, she cannot go to school but you are helpless and I still want you to continue praying for Nigeria because in the next three months it may get tougher.
It is not going to be in my interest for you to ask me for fish and I
will give you stone, what I don’t have, I can’t give. I plead with
you to see reasons and come back. If this strike is not political, Oyo state is owing, Osun is even owing owing owing, States even taking derivation, oil derivation, they are complaining and they are challenged financially.
It’s not about the governor, its about all of us, it is a selective
solution we must look for. I am prepared to serve you, I am prepared to give my best, let us not be beclouded by our pains not to see the actual facts surrounding this State. Don’t let anybody come-in in the name of APC to deceive you. They have plunged this state into trouble, why should they take money beyond their administration?
They did not even stop at that, they committed Ekiti by 600 million till year 2022 and committed Ekiti with commercial loans till year 2036. I hate talking about them but if there is a need and it becomes necessary to explain like this, I have to explain. This are not problems from me at all or my government, we mean well and we’ll continue to give our best. At this juncture I want to plead with you again, please come back to work.
The internally generated revenue of Ekiti is collected from various areas by 13 banks and on the 1st and 2nd of every new month, they sweep it into one bank and this is done electronically.
The governor cannot say help me remove this, help me remove that. No responsible governor or government will say bank, help me manipulate, because of how much? The size of the state determines your IGR, can you take water out of a dry toilet roll?
Can you push the people beyond what they can do? I don’t want to be here fooling Ekiti people, telling them the IGR is 600 million/700 million for reasons of arrogance and pride. No! This things are done electronically, there is freedom of information, you can google it.
You can go to accountant-general’s office, if she does not avail you with the documents you want please call on me, let me know. I will get her to give you those documents, she is a civil servant, I don’t want anybody to deceive you. You will recall that even the bailout was monies owed by the last administration, the money was used to pay them and ICPC, EFCC and other agencies that monitored the bailout gave credit to Ekiti for doing that. I never diverted your money, what will I do with it?
I want a name, I don’t want money, money is momentary, money has got wings, it can fly. For the bailout, Ekiti will be paying back for 20 years, I asked the workers before I got it for you because if I did not take it you will say it’s because of politics but we are paying back, it is part of the burden. The bond is a burden, the commercial loan owed by the last administration is still part of the burden of Ekiti that we are paying back.
So, I want to say again that I love you, it is not my joy, it is not
my pleasure that you should continue on strike. Some people said Fayose said he is on strike, Yes, I said so jocularly and you know it because you made me a Comrade and it is in the character of Comrades to strike and jokingly I said to you to identify with you that I am equally on strike. Don’t make a political statement out if it, what is important is the issue, the problem and we must deal with it, it is a different ball game if I have the money and I am not giving you. I plead with you to come back, I am still the same man you know, I will never sit on this seat and make you suffer. Not in my character,
may God bless you.