From Noah Ocheni, Lokoja
The immediate past Governor of Kogi state, Capt. Idris on Saturday described the claims of the incumbent Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello that he inherited over #50b salary arrears from his predecessors as a lie.
The former governor while reacting to Governor Yahaya Bello’s independent day broadcast, attributing his inability to perform due to the N50billion salary obligation left for him by past administration frowned that blaming past administrations for the failure or non performance of the present administration of Governor Bello was a sign of incompetence.
Governor Bello had in a state wide broadcast to mark the 60th Independent anniversary of Nigeria on Thursday “said that the N50 billion salary obligations he inherited had impacted negatively on his ability to develop the state as he would have loved to.”
Ex-governor Wada said that it was sad for the Governor to embark on a “blame game” and outright lies that he inherited N50 billion salary obligations when in actual fact, the bailout fund his administration applied for was paid to governor Bello.
Capt. Wada explained that at a time, after he assumed office, allocation to Local government councils dropped. Stressing that when the opportunity for ‘bail out’ presented itself, the total amount due and owed to the LGAs he said was N45billion while it was estimated that by the end of his administration, the State Workers would be indebted to about N5.2b, making it a total of N50.3b.
He noted that based on the adviced of the Nigeria Labour Congres (NLC) the state was at time using two months allocations to pay for a month, pointing out that his administration was only indebted to two months salaries to the State workers before he handed over.
Capt. Wada lamented that it was wrong after five years for the present governor Bello’s administration to be engaged in blame games for it’s failure even after he was given the bailout.
“The fund was meant to clear salary arrears of Local government workers but was not released during my tenure rather, it was released to Bello which he refused to use for the purposes for which the ‘bail out’ was meant for”.
According to him,”there are more pressing and important issues at hand begging for urgent attention than to engage in blame game for your incompetence”.
“When I heard that vehicles, travellers and residents are stranded in Ganaja not being able to cross, I feel bad and I think that, that should be the major concern of any government, not to be engaging in frivolity of blame game and outright propaganda.”
Captain Wada said that it is on record that no administration has exposed the state to more debts than the present administration which had subjected the state to a debt burden of about N120 billion without considering whether or not the state has the capacity adding that he left office with an indebtedness of about a billion naira.
“Every action we took then concerning the finances of the state were subjected to serious scrutiny and debate unlike the present scenario when they just take decision without proper analysis.”
According to him, “We know our limitations in terms of exposing the state to debt burden. We knew we cannot compete with Lagos or Rivers states in terms of borrowing, that was why we limited ourselves to what we had the capacity to borrow, but the present administration have gone ahead to expose the state beyond her capacity. That is unfortunate”. He added.
The immediate past Governor said his administration was working on the Bye pass as an alternative measures for any unforeseen circumstances and the kabawa embankments for erosion control stressing that if the Projects had been completed, the agony people are facing now would have been a thing of the past.