Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has expressed regret over his inability to pay salaries for months now.
He however added that contrary to reports, he was not helpless about the unpaid salaries of civil servants in his state because he has Allah.
Delivering a Ramadan Lecture at the Women Development Centre, Abuja, the governor used the occasion to debunk reports that he ever said he was ‘helpless’.
He delivered a lecture titled : “Ramadan, Living in The Season of Positive Change”at the event organised by the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society.
Aregbesola said, “It is extremely painful that I cannot pay salary. It is painful that I have to be in this condition.
“I am not helpless because I have Allah and the people with me. And whoever has Allah and the people has everything,” he said, assuring that he was making efforts to pay the outstanding salaries of the civil servants soon.
He noted that the state borrowed up to N25 billion from banks to support the allocation from the federation account to pay workers salaries but the banks have refused to continue lending him money.
He explained that the state’s wage bill was N3.5 billion monthly and his administration has found it difficult to pay in the face of dwindling allocation in spite of increase in the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from N900 million to N8 billion annually.
“I didn’t envisage that 400,000 barrels of crude oil would be stolen daily. But the whipping boys must be the governors and I am the ‘Chief’ of the whipping boys,” Aregbesola said.
He expressed delight with the re-emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s leader. Also, the governor hailed the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society which organized the event.
Aregbesola said “terrorism is a challenge to Islam and it is the Muslims who will solve it”.
He maintained that Islam does not support killing without judicial ruling.
Some of the dignitaries at the lecture included Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais, wife of Nasarawa state governor, Mrs Mairo Al-makura, Senators Abubakar Sodangi and Khairat Gwadwabe as well as a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman and many more.
Meantime, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, in Osun State has described as insensitive and callous the statement credited to the ruling All Progressives Congress APC that workers in Osun state constitute less than one percent of the population.
Speaking on behalf of the party Prince Diran Odeyemi, the Director, Media and Strategy said the APC has publicly shown to the world that it has lost focus and not responsive to the plight of Osun citizens.
According to the party, “The APC arithmetic of 1% civil servant is a formular coined for them after the election forgetting that these hard working servants are financiers of over 90% of the populace in the state.