The curious case of Governor Ajimobi, unpaid salaries and the Paris Club debt refund brouhaha
Remember the story I wrote on the decision of Oyo state government to pay civil servants in the state salaries for June and July? Remember I called them out for being shameless in turning a ridiculous development into a political propaganda? Well, apparently, they could have gotten paid for four months instead of the two months they received as revealed by the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
According to Ajimobi, the state government wanted to pay for four months but couldn’t do so as a result of their inability to receive the state’s portion of the Paris Club debt refund.
Nigerian Tribune reported the governor said the Federal Government deemed the state unworthy of the refund because the immediate past government was said to have received the same refund, some time in 2009. He however revealed that they are currently reconciling accounts with the Federal Government, and would get some refund to clear its backlog of salaries.
“The Federal Government has been giving some refund on excess charges on loans taken by each state. Oyo State is one of the states that will not benefit because the Federal Government said we have been given refund before this administration came in. We were told that this was done sometime in 2008 to 2009. If we had got that money, we would have been able to pay three or four months salaries.
“That notwithstanding, we are trying to reconcile with the Federal Government. We are doing everything necessary to get something. And, the moment we get something, we will pass it on to the workers.
“If we have money and suffer the workers, posterity will judge us. We will do everything possible to pay salaries. As I appreciate the workers, I want to appeal to them to bear with us,” he said.
The red alert
There is an interesting angle to this issue that we need to start paying attention to – is the government trying to tie workers’ salaries to Paris Club debt refund such that when the civil servants agitate for their salaries they will ask them to wait until the refund is received? I hope not cos if this is the latest ploy, it would be morally wrong and ethically unacceptable.
There is an obvious question that the government is not providing answers to – did the previous administration receive any refund? I believe that governance is a continuum and those that served in the previous administration are still alive which is why I still don’t understand why is talking as if it can’t get answers from the Ladoja and Akala administrations. It needs to get its house in order, get the facts right and tell the public what is really going on.
Happy New Year