The Chairman, Kogi State Chapter of Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), Hon. Abdulmumini Ibrahim has berated the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello for being economical with the truth on why it is not paying workers’ salaries.
Reacting to claims by Kogi state government that huge loan servicing is responsible for its inability to pay the salaries of its workers regularly, Abdulmumini said the excuse is not tenable.
In a chat with newsmen in Lokoja on Sunday, the opposition party chieftain said citizens of the state are aware of most of the loans accessed by previous administrations in the state.
He stated that it is appalling to hear that the state government is giving lame excuses despite the N20billion bailout, first and second tranches of Paris Club refund accessed by the government.
“Kogi people are not intellectually bankrupt. We know about some of these loans and what they were meant for. The N20billion bond secured by the immediate past government of Captain Idris Wada was meant for the construction of the main road in Lokoja, a new road from Ganaja to Otokiti, the Kogi House in Abuja, Kogi Hotels and other infrastructures. We are also aware that the past government accessed less than fifty percent of the bond before expiration of the tenure. The funds released in two tranches was around N8.6billion. Work started on these projects but the current government has abandoned all.
“As a state lawmaker when the bond was applied for, I knew about the facility. I objected to the concentration of utilization of the fund in a single local government without taking other local governments into consideration.
“Wada applied for N50.8billion bail-out fund to defray salary arrears but could not access a dime before he left office. Rather, the current government have accessed N20billion out of the N50.8billion applied for.
“All governments inherit debts and are paying workers their entitlements. Take Plateau state for example, the APC government of Governor Lalong inherited uncompleted projects and about 7 months backlogs of salary arrears from the PDP-led government of Senator Jonah Jang. As we speak, Plateau state government has cleared all salary arrears and now paying workers as at when due. This is verifiable. How did he achieve this despite inheriting about a hundred billion Naira debts? Lalong did not abandon inherited uncompleted projects, rather, he has completed about ninety percent of these projects.
“It is unwise to say the state’s debt burden is an excuse for not paying salaries. It is appalling. Kogi State government should take advantage of the youthfulness and energy that youths are normally blessed with. Members of the executive and legislature in the state are largely youths, we should not be where we are today. They should deploy this energy in pulling the state out of doldrums and desist from giving lame excuses.
“Unlike Plateau, Kogi inherited three months salary arrears. Past governments paid Kogi state workers hundred percent salaries unlike what is obtainable now.
“Kogi state government must come out clean on its true financial status,” he said.
Abdulmumini called on the State House of Assembly to pass a Bill that will ensure future aspirants get to know the debt profile of the state to avoid another regime of excuses in the future.
He commended the two factions of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state for conducting their parallel congresses without rancour and violence.
The APDA chairman said the party should have employed crisis management mechanisms to organise a single and united congress. He said shows leadership deficiencies in the APC.
“We commend the different APC factions for not allowing the parallel congresses to snowball into violence. We don’t know which faction to congratulate but wish the two factional chairmen, Haddy Ametuo and Abdullahi Bello best of luck.”