Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose’s recent efforts at presenting the financial situation of the state to the media and blaming the immediate past administration for the turn of event, provide some interesting insights into developments in Ekiti State.
Many of the reports centred on Governor Fayose’s appeal to labour union leaders in the state and some contained in his media interviews, where he tried to falsify the state’s debt portfolio (in a manner that has become the standard practice of his regime) in the bid to appeal to the striking workers.
While there is nothing wrong in Governor Fayose’s appeal to the workers, what one finds quite strange was the governor’s resort to cheap blackmail of his predecessor in Office, Dr Kayode Fayemi, currently the Minister of Solid Minerals Development.
Fayose said he paid N1bilion monthly on the loans allegedly taken by the Fayemi administration, hence the finances of the state were being affected. In another forum, he claimed to be making a monthly payment of N1.5 billion on the state debt. This claim, coming almost 20 months after the exit of the APC-led government in the state is not only lame, it s infantile and laughable. It is nothing but another in the series of Fayose’s bizarre rants.
While the Fayemi administration’s main loan was the N25 billion naira bond it raised at the capital market in 2011 and other minor facilities taken from a few commercial banks, the DMO had put the state’s indebtedness at N18.8 billion. That is outside the N20billion loan recently taken by Fayose.
This figure contrasts sharply with the figure usually bandied by Fayose. He had upon resumption put the state’s indebtedness at N86 billion, then to N96 billion, and later to N68billion, insisting that it would take about 35 years to service the debt.
One fact Fayose had refused to disclose is that his administration , had, within the first year in office accessed about N20billion loan from commercial banks with attendant huge interest rate, plus commitments to a few contractors.
While Fayemi opted for a capital market bond, with low interest rate and a well structured repayment plans, Fayose opted for commercial bank loans with its huge interest rate. Through the repayment plan put in place, it is on record that the Fayemi administration had repaid more than N14 billion from the N25billion bond money.
The repayment of the bond money taken by Fayemi, was spread along seven years from the date of its approval. Hence, the repayment is expected to be completed in 2018. It is also on record that throughout Fayemi’s tenure, the state was paying about N500,000,000 (five hundred million naira ) monthly to service all its commitment (both bond money and bank facilities).
One is then baffled how Governor Fayose came about the N1billion he claimed to be paying monthly on the loan taken by the immediate past administration.
While Fayemi spent the bond money for infrastructure development of the state, including major roads, street lightening, school renovation, government lodge/office, a civic centre, the Ikogosi warm spring resort and Ire Burnt Bricks Company, among others; Fayose had opted for white elephant projects including an airport and a flyover.
While the loan taken by Fayemi has a well structured repayment plans and a thorough monitoring of projects by the Stock Exchange Commission (SEC), Fayose has yet to disclose the repayment plans for the loans he took, the same way he did not account for the Federal Government’s bail out released to the state by the President Mohammadu Buhari’s government.
In his craftiness, Fayose also failed to tell the labour leaders and indeed Ekitis that the only reason the bond money would not be liquidated in 2018 as structured was that he had, upon assuming office in October 2014, gotten the nod of the then PDP-led federal government to suspend repayment for a certain period of time.
The beauty of leadership is being able to evolve creative ways to manage and bring succour to the people in times of crisis. Fayose has, through his constant references to his immediate predecessor in office in negative terms, demonstrated his inability to provide the right leadership at this critical moment.
It must be stated clearly that while the DMO put the state’s indebtedness at N18.8 billion , the recent N20 billion taken by Fayose had increased it to N38.8 billion, and that is just the ones we know about.
We implore Governor Fayose to lessen his infantile attitude, play less to the gallery and concentrate more on governance- which as he should have realised by now, is not a monkey business.
While we sympathise with the governor over the financial burden of the state, we urge him to look inward and work with relevant stakeholders, developmental partners and the state workforce as well as entrepreneurs from the state to help his administration. This we consider a better approach to development that will lift the state from its current economic mess, much faster than trying to bully the workers, institutions and investors in the state.
Governor Fayose should now put on his thinking cap, roll his sleeves and go to work, rather than going about the streets drinking local gin and cutting ‘asun’ meat. He should also take a cue from some of his colleagues who have become quite innovative in their approach to governance and stop constituting a nuisance to the polity.
Barrister Adeoye Aribasoye, an Ado-Ekiti based legal practitioner, is also Southwest Zonal Coordinator of APC Youth League. [myad]