I took N18.38bn in the interest of Osun State - Oyinola •It was reckless spending - Aregbesola
The panel chairman, Professor Femi Odekunle, speaking in response to Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s submission before the panel, said as a university administrator and teacher himself he could testify to the fact that after seeing six campuses of the university which Oyinlola told the panel was built with N4 billion, it was well conceived and executed.
Odekunle also commended the former governor for honouring the invitation of the commission, an action he declared marked him out as a gentleman.
However, the former governor, Prince Oyinlola and his successor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, were at variance on the need for securing a loan to upgrade the nine technical colleges and the six stadia projects in the state.
Prince Oyinlola had informed the panel that all actions taken by his administration were in the best interest of the state, just as he affirmed that he took great care in ensuring that due process was diligently followed by making sure that the state executive council and the House of Assembly approved such.
“During my budget presentation in November 2009, the House of Assembly advised me against my position of not wanting to take loans to execute capital projects on the grounds of budgetary low performance.
“We were also encouraged to seek alternative sources of funding by an assurance that refund of excess deductions from Osun State allocation by the Federal Government, which was then put at about N70 billion, would be received.
“It was based upon the above two reasons that we agreed to obtain the loan to finance the priority projects of government. The conception was, therefore, that of people of the State through their representatives in the House of Assembly.
“The loan was approved by the Executive Council of the state and the members of Osun State House of Assembly.
“When I said the House of Assembly initiated and approved the N18.3 billion loan which my government took, I want to make it very clear that the House was made up of 15 PDP members and 11 ACN members. It was a mixed House and there was no division when those actions were taken by the House,” Oyinlola said.
He added that the application for the loan was written by the Ministry of Finance which negotiated the loan on behalf of government and adding that he believed taking the loan was the best his government could do during that time of global financial meltdown.
“Disbursement of the loan was done through appropriate agencies of government. It was disbursed on projects as approved by the Osun State House of Assembly to be funded from the loan that was procured also with the consent of the House of Assembly.
“It is necessary to state that the projects under reference were contained in the Appropriation Law for the relevant year.
“The total loan approved was N18.38 out of which a sum of N10.1 billion was spent on projects approved by the Osun State House of Assembly. About N1.8 billion out of the disbursed N10 billion was repaid to the bank, leaving a total of about N8.2 billion as net indebtedness of the state government to the bank at the time our administration vacated office,” he said.
Prince Oyinlola said the panel should note that his government after seven years took N18.3 billion loan while his successor within its first two months in office took N25 billion loan from the FirstBank declaring that he (Oyinlola) was a major stakeholder in the affairs of Osun State as his own father was one of the four traditional rulers that won independence for Osun division which eventually became Osun State .
He added that the upgrading of nine government technical colleges with the bulk of the loan was his idea based on his experience during a tour of Israel, where he discovered that youth unemployment and dearth of skilled craftsmen could be addressed by implementing the concept. He added that the project, if the Rauf Aregbesola administration had not stopped it two months after it took over, would have met the goal of giving unemployed graduates the opportunity to acquire vocational skills from the institutions.
He, however, stated that he took full responsibility for two projects that could not be completed as conceived by his administration listing the projects as the Free Trade Zone and the state hotel project.
He disclosed that his administration committed N1.5 billion to the Free Trade Zone project and N430 million to the hotel project but lamented that the private investors who were to contribute 70 per cent of the total cost did not fulfill their own side of the agreement while efforts “to use the law” to address problems that arose out of the two projects were on when he left office.
But, Governor Aregbesola who appeared before the commission shortly after Oyinlola had left said his predecessor took the loan in bad fate, stressing that the loan was an handicap to the effective performance of his administration.
Aregbesola who was accompanied to the commission sitting by his deputy, Mrs Grace Tomori and members of the state executive council, alleged that there was no viable Technical College in any part of the state aside that of Osogbo as claimed by Oyinlola.
The governor, who noted that “the construction of six stadia by the Oyinlola-led government in a state like Osun when there was no national or international sporting challenge was senseless and reckless”, said he resolved to pay off the loan with a credit facility taken from FirstBank in order for his administration to execute meaningful projects.
Aregbesola, who expressed worry on why the loan was taken at the tale end of Oyinlola’s government, also recalled that he inherited a government that was insolvent and there was no way for his government to take care of the needs of the electorate.Share
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