Gov Abiola Ajimobi

Nigeria: Ajimobi accused of siphoning state funds

By Teslim Olawore

Gov Abiola Ajimobi
Gov Abiola Ajimobi

Abiola Ajimobi, the outgoing Governor of Oyo state, has been accused of siphoning state funds in his remaining few days in office. This accusation was made by the Oyo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Akeem Olatunji, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Oyo state, lay this accusation in a recent interview.

He supported the allegation of Seyi Makinde, the Oyo State Governor-elect, that Ajimobi has awarded N30billion contract to create hiccups for the incoming administration

Olatunji said, “We don’t make allegations when there are no evidence. In actual fact, we know that government is a continuum and we are not trying to stampede the incumbent government. Nevertheless, due process has to be followed in whatever is done. For the governor to just wake up one day and start to dash out contracts to cronies, is more or less a way of siphoning the funds of the state. About 33 excavators were recently bought with almost N10bn for local governments.

“The needs of each local government vary and so the state government should not have embarked on such project now. This is at a time when many of the local governments are finding it difficult to pay their workers’ salary as well as those of the retirees. We believe that the government should be able to prioritise people’s needs.

“Aside from this, a situation whereby within two months, more than N50billion projects were awarded by the government calls for worry. Has the government completed the projects on ground? When workers and retirees are being owed, where did they get the funds to execute those projects? If it were an ongoing project that funds were released for, no one will suspect any foul play.

“About N34billion excess crude fund belonging to the local government is in the Heritage Bank. This is not the time to spend such money anyhow, because the incoming government needs to have something to fall back on. When government is winding up like this, the whole thing becomes a bazaar with 10 per cent, 20 per cent being collected as kickbacks. That is why we are warning civil servants not to engage themselves in any transaction that can implicate them after the transition.”

He also accused Ajimobi of surreptitiously employing workers with the intention of increasing the wage bill.

“Definitely, we learnt about that as well. What we are saying is that recruiting new set of workers at this time is condemnable in the sense that he was the one that said that Oyo State workforce is over bloated. If that is the position, the governor is not supposed to be the one to be employing workers underneath again.

“Many of the state-owned tertiary institutions are under lock and key only because salaries of the workers are not paid. We are looking into increasing the subvention of those institutions because we cannot leave them to fend for themselves just like that if we want them to function effectively.” He said.

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