In a startling revelation, Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, disclosed on Thursday that his administration inherited a staggering debt of 500 billion naira from the past governments of Rauf Aregbesola and Gboyega Oyetola, both members of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Speaking through his spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, in Osogbo, Governor Adeleke revealed that this debt comprised outstanding salary, pension, and employment-related obligations amounting to 100 billion naira. This substantial financial burden looms large over the newly-elected governor’s efforts to stabilize the state’s finances.
Rasheed further clarified that this massive debt was in addition to the state’s existing debt of over 400 billion naira. Nevertheless, the Adeleke administration has embarked on the arduous task of addressing these salary and pension arrears, despite facing financial constraints and competing demands for state resources.
The revelation comes in the wake of a threat from Ibadan-based lawyer, Mr. Mutalubi Adebayo, SAN, who had issued a 10-day ultimatum to Governor Adeleke, demanding the settlement of allowances owed to retired and serving judges in the state. In response, Governor Adeleke advised Adebayo to refrain from what he termed “interloping activism.”
In a statement released by the governor’s office, it was asserted that Adebayo’s actions amounted to unwarranted interference and a misrepresentation of the employment relationship between employees and the employer. The government reminded the public that the outstanding allowances were a legacy of the Aregbesola/Oyetola administrations.
The statement further read, “We can add for him that the Adeleke administration inherited from the two previous governments of the All Progressive Congress a whopping salary, pension, and employment-related debt to the tune of 100 billion naira. This is outside another state debt of over 400 billion naira. The Adeleke administration has, however, commenced payment of such salary and pension debt amidst cash crunch and equally competing demands for state expenditure.”
In light of this revelation, the governor’s office urged the lawyer to abandon his confrontational approach and instead advocate for the State Governor to continue the phased payment of outstanding liabilities inherited from previous administrations. They also suggested that he commend the Governor for his efforts to address abandoned projects and gradually settle outstanding obligations, emphasizing the importance of unity in moving Osun State forward.
The situation underscores the financial challenges confronting Governor Adeleke as he seeks to manage the state’s fiscal health while simultaneously meeting the demands of various stakeholders.