Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State says his administration inherited a debt burden of N220.58 billion at its inception.
Mr. Akeredolu made this known in Akure on Wednesday while swearing-in commissioners and special advisers. He advised the people of the state to refrain from acts that could further push the state into deep economic crisis.
But his claim about the debt legacy was promptly attacked by a former commissioner for information during the Mimiko administration, Kayode Akinmade, who said that Mr. Mimiko left N20 billion in the kitty of the state government. Akinmade skirted the issue of debt and also did not explain why Mimiko failed to match the N38.64 billion left in the kitty of the state government by his predecessor, Governor Olusegun Agagu.
Mr. Akeredolu said with a debt of more than N220 billion, it was not difficult for anyone to know that the government’s capacity for adjustment to cater for the people had been stretched to its limit.
According to him, Internal Debt of N53.15 billion constituted almost a quarter of the debt legacy.
Others are External Debt, N17.48billion; Unpaid Salaries and Allowances, August to December 2016, N17.27 billion; and January to February 2017, N6,91 billion; Ondo State Pension Liabilities, N4.80billion; Ondo State Gratuity, N15.04billion; Unpaid Local Government Salaries and Allowances, August to December 2016, N9.3billion; January to February 2017, N5.19 billion.
Local Government Pension Liabilities of N25.23billion; Local Government Gratuities N20,96 billion; Contractors’ Liabilities N39.74 billion; Outstanding payment requests in the Office of the Accountant-General without cash backing, N5.45billion made up the rest of the debt profile.
However, Mr. Akeredolu promised to provide the needed leadership to move the state forward and make life more abundant for the people.
“We will continue to strive to keep that vow within the available resources. We can turn things around positively,” he said.
The governor also congratulated the commissioners and special assistants, adding that they should use this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people.
Femi Agagu, who spoke on behalf of other commissioners, thanked the governor for the privilege given them to serve the people.
“We are aware that your administration has a blueprint to transform the state. Collectively, we will take the state to a glorious destination.
“We pledge to discharge our duties faithfully and with the fear of God. We will defend the oath we have sworn to and we will uphold this honour you have bestowed on us,” Mr. Agagu said.
The commissioners are Taofiq Abdusallam, Rasheed Badmus, Solagbade Amodeni, Adegboyega Adefarati, Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, Omowumi Olatunji, Donald Ojogo, Yemi Olowolabi and Wahab Adegbenro.
Others are: Funso Esan, Wale Akinterinwa, Emmanuel Igbasan, Olurimisi Ismaila, Femi Agagu, Bayonle Ademodi, Julianah Fagbemi, Timilehin Adelegbe and Kola Olawole.
The special advisers sworn in include Victor Olabimtan, Olubukola Ademosu, Tunji Ariyomo, Tobi Ogunleye, and Akinboye Oyewunmi.
Others are Olawunmi Ilawole, Jibayo Adeyeye, Tunji Fabiyi, Alaba Isijola, and Raheem Aminu.
Former Olusegun Mimiko handed over to Akeredolu on Feb.24, 2017.