Osun under Oyetola not a spendrift -Govt replies ex- Finance Commissioner

Governor Oyetola
Governor Oyetola

Osun under Oyetola not a spendrift -Govt replies ex- Finance Commissioner

…says it never paid a month salary four times as he did while in office

POLITICS DIGEST- The Osun Government says the claim by ex-Finance commissioner of the State, Dr. Wale Bolunduro, regarding the finances of the State under Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, is a misrepresentation of facts and outright lies against the person of the governor and the government he superintends over.

The government while insisting that Osun under the Oyetola administration is not a spendrift, further challenged the ex-Commissioner to be courageous enough to tell the whole world the truth about his inglorious years in Osun where one-month salary was paid four times at intervals.

In a statement, signed by the State Commissioner of Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, titled: “Wale Bolorunduro: An asset or complete liability?,” the government said “To begin with, his claim to have used his contacts to raise funds to modernize Osun is not only false but also ridiculous.

“For God’s sake, how can a single member of a State cabinet under the leadership of a Governor arrogate such glory to himself? For instance, he claimed to have used his relationship with the Governor of Central Bank (‘my former boss’, he said) to facilitate a two billion naira revolving fund for micro, small and medium farmers, traders and artisans ‘without issuing an ISPO, for any monthly deductions from FAAC…’

“Nothing can be farther from the truth. The said amount was disbursed by the Federal Government through the CBN to all the states of the federation under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Fund, MSMEDF.

“For clarity purpose, the referenced fund was actually put in place by the FG to galvanise entrepreneurship activities across all the states in the country! In Osun, in line with the requirements of the fund, Osun Micro Credit Agency (OMCA) was employed as a vehicle to access the loan in 2014.

“Contrary to Bolorunduro’s claim however, an ISPO was actually issued by him on the State’s local government’s accounts, and the referenced funding was further supported by a Bank Guarantee among other comforts. The former commissioner was simply struggling to sidestep the fact that the State’s finance was in a very precarious situation such that the required ISPO could not be accommodated on the State’s Statutory account.

“Bolorunduro needs to be reminded further of the bad condition he left the State’s finances due to his many bad financial decisions and unwholesome practices leading to unsustainable level of debts in the State at that time.

“To date, the State is still missing opportunities particularly from development partners on the account of the bad position of the State’s finance arising from Bolorunduro’s unpopular stewardship.”

Read full text below:

Wale Bolunduro: An asset or complete liability?

It has become imperative to issue this statement to correct the misrepresentation of facts and outright lies against the person of Osun State Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, and the Government he heads, by Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, the former Commissioner for Finance in the State, in his recent self-glorifying press conference heralding his eventual defection to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

While trying to justify his decision to defect to the PDP, a party he has been hobnobbing with openly before the July 16 governorship election, the former Finance Commissioner went on a voyage of self-immortilisation particularly through his repetitive uncouth criticism of the party (All Progressive Congress, APC) that brought him to political limelight in 2011. Ordinarily, all the outbursts of the former Finance Commissioner could have been ignored as usual given his propensity for such self-righteous statements and because this latest one may be the last in his chronicles now that he has unveiled himself as one of the moles in the APC prior to the July 16 gubernatorial election, but for some defamatory remarks he made about the State’s financial transactions under the current administration.

For posterity sake, critical issues such as Government’s divestment from Omoluabi Savings and loans, Omoluabi conservation funds, among others are considered germane and require detailed clarifications. Hence this statement.

Let me say from the outset that in the last three years plus, this government has proved that it is not a spendthrift and therefore could not have been reckless with the finances of the State as being insinuated by Dr. Bolorunduro.

To begin with, his claim to have used his contacts to raise funds to modernize Osun is not only false but also ridiculous. For God’s sake, how can a single member of a State cabinet under the leadership of a Governor arrogate such glory to himself? For instance, he claimed to “have used his relationship with the Governor of Central Bank (‘my former boss’, he said) to facilitate a two billion naira revolving fund for micro, small and medium farmers, traders and artisans ‘without issuing an ISPO, for any monthly deductions from FAAC…’ Nothing can be farther from the truth. The said amount was disbursed by the Federal Government through the CBN to all the states of the federation under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Fund, MSMEDF.

For clarity purpose, the referenced fund was actually put in place by the FG to galvanise entrepreneurship activities across all the states in the country! In Osun, in line with the requirements of the fund, Osun Micro Credit Agency (OMCA) was employed as a vehicle to access the loan in 2014.

Contrary to Bolorunduro’s claim however, an ISPO was actually issued by him on the State’s local government’s accounts, and the referenced funding was further supported by a Bank Guarantee among other comforts. The former commissioner was simply struggling to sidestep the fact that the State’s finance was in a very precarious situation such that the required ISPO could not be accommodated on the State’s Statutory account.

Bolorunduro needs to be reminded further of the bad condition he left the State’s finances due to his many bad financial decisions and unwholesome practices leading to unsustainable level of debts in the State at that time. I am sure he would agree that his failure to make the cabinet list of Ogbeni Aregbesola’s second term in office is enough confirmation of his unsatisfactory performance while in office as the Finance commissioner. Else, why was the former commissioner’s name excluded from Aregbesola’s second term cabinet members list? To date, the State is still missing opportunities particularly from development partners on the account of the bad position of the State’s finance arising from Bolorunduro’s unpopular stewardship.

On the Omoluabi Conservation Fund, I think Dr. Bolorunduro should be courageous enough to tell the people of Osun the complete story of his inglorious years in the State. Truly the referenced fund was put in place during his time, but the law setting up the fund was repealed much later. Therefore, the Oyetola’s administration could not have inherited the said fund.

So the former commissioner should take a step forward by providing full accounts of the conservation fund. If indeed such a fund existed before he left office in 2014, how come the State could not meet its minutest financial obligations especially to the workers and other citizens of the State when pressure mounted towards the end of 2014? It was under him that one month’s salary to workers in the State was paid four times at different intervals. If the Commissioner has a short memory, the rest of Osun people don’t.

On the State’s divestment from Omoluabi Savings and loan, now known as Living trust Mortgage Bank Plc, it is quite laughable that the former commissioner has the effrontery to reference this matter in his press briefing. To clear all doubts, Dr Bolorunduro by his position as the Finance Commissioner then, was the Chairman of the said Bank’s board. The story of the entity when Wale was in charge was a complete replica of Osun State’s finance then. Poor yearly performance, rising bad loans, bad corporate governance practices among others, characterized the bank while Wale was in charge. The efforts of the State to go the route of Initial Public offer (IPO) when the bank was mandated to increase its shareholder’s fund from N1billion to N2.5billion in 2013 (as a State Primary Mortgage Institution, PMI) was principally aimed at restructuring the bank to pave way for productivity and sound corporate governance practices. The desire to diffuse ownership of the bank under the last administration in the State led to the eventual divestment of the State’s stake in the bank.

The partial divestment which has eventually changed the outlook and performance of the bank is actually in line with the regulatory framework of banks in the country. It is also worth stating that contrary to what obtained under Wale’s regime, the State has for some years been receiving annual returns (dividends) from her investment in the bank. Therefore, contrary to Bolorunduro’s insinuations, Osun government under Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has not sold the said bank but divested partially to align with the regulatory dictates, engender productivity and return on the State’s resources.

Going by these clarifications, I am sure you will all agree that Dr. Wale Bolorunduro’s stewardship as Commissioner for Finance will never be forgotten in a hurry, not by Osun State workers who sweated blood under the yoke of his decisions or the citizens who will continue to bear the brunt of his ‘wizardry’ for years to come as the state labours to pay debts he took on in the State’s finance corridor. While wishing him well in his new political abode, I’m certain time will eventually prove whether PDP has signed on an asset or a complete liability.

Mrs. Funke Egbemode
Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation
August 14, 2022

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