By Our Correspondent
The Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, has put the state’s debt stock at N86 billion and lambasted his predecessor, Kayode Fayemi, for allegedly mismanaging and looting the state recklessly.
Mr. Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who defeated Mr. Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the June 21 gubernatorial poll, said his predecessor ruined Ekiti State economy.
Shortly after taking over as governor of the state, Mr. Fayose has been making scathing comments about his predecessor while also blaming him for the woes of Ekiti State.
But on Tuesday, the governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, accused Mr. Fayemi of excessive borrowing and debt pilling.
“The immediate past All Progressives Congress, APC, government of Dr Kayode Fayemi ruined Ekiti State economically. He has put the state in financial bondage till year 2020. Ekiti State government is indebted to the tune of N86, 013, 689, 097,” Mr. Fayose said.
The governor said it is appalling that the Mr. Fayemi-led administration went through the Fountain Holdings Limited, a state-owned investment company to borrow a whooping N5 billion from EcoBank in May.
Mr. Fayose said, “As I address you today, I can tell you categorically that Ekiti State Government is indebted to the tune of N86, 013,689,097.
“The debts are broken down as follows: Bank Loans; N15, 831,613,425.62, bond; N26, 749,796,784.75, outstanding Warrants; N15, 522,552,900.76, Outstanding to Road Contractors; N21, 286,126,749, outstanding remittances to Federal Government – N709, 883,656.75, outstanding remittances to the state – N592, 995,374.89 and EKSG public servants outstanding emoluments – N5, 137,888,224.37.”
On the N25 billion bond taken by the Mr. Fayemi-led government, the governor said after paying a total N15, 221,207,088, the state government was still owning N27 billion.
Out of the N15, 221,207,088 that was repaid, he noted that N14, 299,085,088 was taken from the N20bn bond and N922, 122,000.09 from the N5 billion bond.
“Isn’t it worrisome that after paying N15.5bn out of the N25bn bond taken by Fayemi’s government, Ekiti State Government still owes N26.7bn? That is the situation that we are confronted with,” Mr. Fayose said.
Speaking further, the governor said it was questionable for Fountain Holdings Limited, a company with N15 million share capital to have been granted N5 billion loan by EcoBank without recourse to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
He also queried the rationale behind using the same state-owned company to execute capital projects like road construction in Ekiti State against the provisions of extant laws.
Continuing, Mr. Fayose said, “Fountain Holdings Limited, for your information is an investment company owned by the Ekiti State Government. The responsibility of Fountain Holdings Limited is to manage and supervise all companies owned by Ekiti State Government.
“The Share Capital of the company is N15m, and we wonder how a company with N15m share capital could be granted N5 billion loan by EcoBank without any recourse to the DMO.
“As at today, there is no single evidence of utilisation of the N5bn, suggesting that the loan was taken to fund Fayemi’s botched re-election bid.”
On the N25 billion bond, the governor said a total sum of N499, 654,808.01 was being deducted monthly from the state’s allocation at Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC.
Accordingly, the he said a total of N499, 654,808.01 was being deducted from the state’s monthly allocation from FAAC, with the sum of N397, 196,808 being deducted against the N20 billion bond, while N102, 458,000.01 was being deducted against the N5 billion bond.
He said, “The first tranche of N20 billion will be fully paid in 2018 while the second tranche of N5 billion will be fully discharged in 2020.”
“The N20bn bond is with period accumulated interest of N13.4 billion while the N5 billion is with period accumulated interest of N3.6 billion.
The governor further accused Mr. Fayemi-led administration of placing government’s funds in banks in Ibadan and Lagos at interest rates abysmally low as 0.85 percent and 1.5 percent, arguing that the transactions were carried out to defraud the government.
Under the previous administration, Mr. Fayose said fixed deposit for 30 days was made at 2 percent interest, while the average rate for such deposits was 8.5 percent.
Similarly, Mr. Fayose provided document to show how his predecessor, spent a whooping N604, 961,645.72, to furnish the new Governor’s Lodge at Ado Ekiti.
The governor, who attracted criticism for appointing a special adviser on stomach infrastructure soon after he came into office, however, criticized Mr. Fayemi for lavishing the resources of the state for his (Fayemi) family’s comfort.
The governor said his predecessor awarded contract for the furnishing of the lodge built with borrowed N3, 3 billion on June 15, just three days to the gubernatorial election where Mr. Fayemi lost.
Instead of awarding the contract through the state’s ministry of works, he said the contractor was asked to report to the office of Mr. Fayemi’s Chief of Staff, Yemi Adaramodu, were the contract was signed and details of the of the items to be procured obtained.
This paper obtained the contract document which was addressed to the Managing Director, Kitwood Nigeria Limited, dated June 18.
The document which was signed by the Secretary of the state’s Tenders Board, Tayo Aluko, specifically indicated, “You should formally accept the offer within one week from the date of award and thereafter, proceed to enter into a contractual agreement with the office of the Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti.”
Based on the facts presented, Mr. Fayose concluded that Mr. Fayemi’s administration was a monumental disaster to Ekiti and its people.
He argued that the previous administration in the state simply hated Ekiti and its people and demonstrated it by grossly mismanaging the state’s resources and plunging it into debt bondage.
“A lot of people might want to reason that; the new government should just forget about the past and move on with its own programmes. Yes, the government of Fayose will move on, and deliver on its electoral promises,” said the governor.
“The government of Fayose will bring succour to Ekiti people by putting food on their tables. But the government of Fayose must look at the past, consider the present and project for the future of Ekiti State.
“We want to state categorically that all those who have defrauded this state will be made to refund every kobo they stole. Those who shed the blood of innocent Ekiti sons and daughters will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
Reacting to the comments, the former governor challenged the incumbent to launch a probe into his administration and stop what he described as “cheap blackmail and comical acts.”
Mr. Fayemi, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Olayinka Oyebode, said it is high time the new government got its acts together, have a clear understanding of the state’s finances and financial regulations and stop juggling figures in an exhibition of unpardonable ignorance.
“Ekiti citizens deserve to know what the administration did with state funds during the tenure of the immediate past administration and we are prepared to appear at a probe panel within 24 hours of notice,” said Mr. Fayemi.
“Instituting a probe into the financial transactions of the administration, we believe, is a better option for the current administration of Mr Fayose, instead of its recourse to falsehood, cheap blackmail and propaganda as an excuse for its ineptitude and lack of direction.
“We make bold to say that the administration of Dr Fayemi took all its decisions in the best interest of the people of the state and followed the due process of law as well as financial regulations.”
Three weeks into the new administration, Mr. Fayemi said his successor is yet to chart a direction for the state or conceive a blueprint for its development.
He accused the administration of inventing fresh excuses to cover up its incompetence, saying that during the past three weeks, the Mr. Fayose-led government has cited six different figures as the state’s debt profile.
He said the figures put out by the government ranged from N89billion to N57billion, to N91 billion, to N69billion, to N82billion and lately N86billion.
“More pathetic is that even mundane issues such as the treasury activities of the office of the accountant general are now being arrogated by an idle government as a main focus of probe.
“Our advice: Stop chasing shadows, be matured and concentrate on the onerous task of governance. Institute the probe now,” Mr. Fayemi advised.
By Our Correspondent