The Peoples Democratic Party has accused Governor Rauf Aregbesola of paying N20billion to Slava Yediteppe, a contractor handling one of the road projects in the state, from the N34.988 bailout received from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Director of Media and Strategy of the PDP in Osun State, Mr. Diran Odeyemi, who made this allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Osogbo on Sunday, said it was wrong for the governor to pay the contractor from the fund purposely meant to pay backlog of workers’ salaries and pensions.
The opposition party said the governor had clearly proved to everybody that he did not care about the suffering of the workers who had not been paid for nine months.
The PDP claimed the N35 billion was fixed in two banks and one of the transactions was recalled and the fund was used to effect the payment made to the contractor last Thursday, while the other transaction was still intact.
Odeyemi claimed that the stringent conditions the governor gave the workers to meet before paying their salary arrears further proved the party’s allegation that Aregbesola had fixed the bailout fund for profit.
The statement read, “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.
“Much 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 Governor Aregbesola at this particular period of nine months unpaid salary if not because of some under current deals to siphon funds and shortchange the people of Osun state.
“This perhaps is the reason why the governor said he would only pay half of March salary for workers at a meeting he held with them last week.”
The PDP called on President Mohammadu Buhari to prevail on the governor to pay the workers and pensioners, which, they said, were the motive behind granting the state the loan.
Odeyemi said the fresh screening exercise the state government ordered was a time wasting tactic to buy time for the transaction to become mature in the bank.
“Having spent over N500 million for biometric screening of the state workforce in 2013 which led to a monthly payment of N50 million to a Lagos based consultant to undertake direct payment of workers salaries since then, we wonder why another screening is being done in 2015 by another Lagos-based consultant. All these are the reasons why Osun State is in debt and could not perform.”
The media aide to the governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, did not pick calls put across to him by our correspondent and was yet to reply the text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
Okanlawon, while reacting to a similar allegation last week, described the PDP’s claim as a fabrication aimed at inciting workers and people of the state against the governor.
He said, “Besides, the verification exercise which the party claims is the subterfuge for this alleged lodgement in a fixed deposit account for personal gains is being handled with active involvement of civil servants. Does the PDP expect the workers themselves to delay the verification for its imagined interests on the funds to materialise?
“Its claim that bailout was paid two weeks ago further confirms its dubious intention because even the Central Bank of Nigeria still confirmed list of states that first received their shares while the same CBN said other states would get theirs on or before the end of last week.
“The PDP would do well to tell the world where it got its own information on the date of the bailout release to Osun as well as provide evidence of the alleged lodgement.”