Barely 20 hours after meeting with Governor Ayo Fayose, Ekiti State civil servants have rejected his position on the state’s indebtedness.
They demanded their outstanding September 2014 salaries, leave bonuses for 2014 and 2015, unpaid deductions and pensioners’ entitlements.
Acting under the aegis of the Enlightened Workers’ Forum (EWF), the workers described Fayose’s claim on the indebtedness as “deceitful, bogus and dubious”, saying the debt claim was being exaggerated for alleged sinister motives.
The governor met the workers on Wednesday at the Abiodun Adetiloye Hall of the Trade Fair Complex, Ado Ekiti.
He told the workers that the state was bogged down by “huge debt” incurred by the last administration.
[quote_left]Fayose, whose meeting followed the workers’ agitation that the government should access the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) bailout funds, said he would leave the final decision to the civil servants, as the facility would plunge Ekiti into another debt commitment for the next 20 years.[/quote_left]
[quote_box_right]He said: “They say they are restructuring N18.8billion of our commercial loans and with the nine per cent interest, by the time the money is repaid in 20 years, we would have paid an extra N36 billion as interest and this means the N18billion would have become N56billion.”[/quote_box_right]
But EWF in a statement yesterday by its coordinator, Mike Bamidele, accused the governor of deceiving them and the public on the debt profile, saying workers would no longer tolerate excuses on the non-payment of September 2014 salaries, leave bonuses and unpaid deductions.
It said: “Although his claims on the total wage bill, loan servicing and allocations to the state have been doubtful, the Nigerian Tribune of August 13, which published the June allocations to the federal, states and local governments shared in July, only threw more light on it.
“This publication was revealing, as it exposed the misinformation of the public by Fayose on the position of the debt owed by the state and what goes into debt servicing.
“The publication was reminiscent of the popular Yoruba adage that ‘if falsehood has gone for 20 years, it will take just one day for the truth to catch up with it’.
[quote_box_center]“It is certain that the controversies over what the state owes and the amount being used to service it has been put to rest, as the debt has been put at about N48 billion, which of course is the cumulative figure of Ekiti State debts over the years, even beyond the four years of the ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi’s administration and the loan repayment, at N523 million.[/quote_box_center]
“We now know who the liar is between Governor Fayose and his predecessor. The publication has exposed Fayose, having gone on air on July 30 to deceive the people that he only got N2.4billion for the month.
“He was sweating and more or less swearing on the TV that day, saying he would still have to augment this amount with a loan of N200million for him to pay the salaries for July, when in fact, he collected N4.861billion.
“What accrued to the state and the 16 local governments for June was N7.998billion, because the latter got a net total of N3.13billion.
“The disturbing aspect of this issue is that anytime there was an exposure of the antics of Fayose, either in the newspapers or electronic media, the governor would rush to his Ekiti Radio to dispute it and attribute same to the opposition, even when the source was authentic and undisputable. This same scenario played out on the publication in question, as he asked Ekiti people to ignore it.
“We are using this medium to urge Ekiti people to watch out and be vigilant, as two heavy allocations will get to the state in a few days. We are expecting the CBN bailout of N9.6 billion and a huge allocation for July, as the three tiers of government will share N511 billion.
“Otherwise, the ore mekunu (friend of the poor) will turn round to tell us he only collected N2 billion and N1.5 billion.
“We disagree with the governor on the wage bill of N2.6billion he has persistently presented to the people of Ekiti State because the last government, which had greater responsibilities, only paid N2.5billion wage.”
The EWF slammed labour leaders in the state for their alleged “criminal silence” in the face of what was going on, most especially the non-payment of the backlog of arrears of workers’ entitlements.