In spite of a debt burden of at least N150 billion and a pronouncement of technical bankruptcy, Governor Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, noted that his administration was poised to tap into the capacities of the state to be prosperous.
According to Makinde, the state had the capacity to exit its current bankrupt state by optimizing its potentials in its huge landmass, favourable climate, resources and reviving moribund industries.
Makinde who spoke on a visit to the top echelon of the state judiciary, at state High Court, Ibadan, however, maintained that about N60 billion of the state’s funds were in wrong hands.
On a monthly basis, he noted that the state only had about N500 million left to run from the combination of Federal allocation and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) once salaries were deducted.
“We have on record, at least close to N50billion to N60billion of Oyo State money in wrong hands.
Maybe we are being sensational, maybe we have a vendetta against our political opponents, I am sure very shortly the ball will be in your court to look at it dispassionately.
“I am saying before you that don’t listen to us if we send anybody to you that we want you to help us persecute this individual or that individual for political reasons. We want you to follow your mind.”
“I said on Tuesday that Oyo State is technically bankrupt. I mean it. This state is bankrupt. This is our current situation, and it is our reality.
“However, it is not the end of the story. What we are getting from the Federation Account and the IGR, when you put them together, and we net off salaries, not even the cost of administration, we are talking of roughly N500 million available for every other thing.
“Also, we have verified at least N150 billion in debt. This morning (Wednesday), I met with the pensioners. The retired primary school teachers, they were owed about 60 billion in backward of pension arrears.
“Now, the good news is that Oyo State has the capacity to exit all of these debts. We have the capacity to be prosperous. Inland mass, Oyo State is as big as Belgium.
In terms of weather, from derived Savannah in the north of the state, or the way to the south of the state where we have rain forest, you can practically grow on every inch of land available in Oyo State,” Makinde said.
Speaking further, he sought the collaboration of the judiciary, led by state Chief Judge, Munta Ladipo, in the successful administration of the state.
Specifically, he said a member of the judiciary will be part of a committee he will be set up to administer funds that accrue to the state.
“I need your support. During my inaugural address, I promised to set up the Oyo State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It is not a joke. I am very serious about it. I am also serious about what I said regarding waving my immunity to come before that commission if I am found wanting in managing the resources of Oyo State.
“The bill has been prepared and it is going to Oyo State House of Assembly. Once it is passed, I want your support to implement and execute,” Makinde added.
On the current legal tussle over his sack of local government Chairmen, Makinde avowed his submission to the court dictates on the matter.
“Before we came in, if I take the issue of local government and local council development areas (LCDA) administration in Oyo State, for example, I know they got a judgment, saying that the governor should not dissolve them. I am not a lawyer. I am actually a layman as far as legal issues are concerned.
“But I asked people to interpret to me and they said from all intents and purposes, it was an anticipatory judgment. I stand before you to say to you that as the executive governor of Oyo State, I will not interfere with how you go about carrying out your functions.
“You are free to go against us. If the people who have come before you are right, tell us. I give you the assurance that we will obey you our judgment.
You are the final hope of the common folks.They look up to you.
“I stand before you also to say that we cannot be right all the time. We are human.
We will make mistakes. When we do, and people come before you, please do what is right, dispense justice, knowing fully well that one day we will all stand before our maker to defend our actions.
“I will not come to you to say you should help with this or that. I want what is fair to every resident and citizen of Oyo State. There should not be any fear or favour in carrying out your duties.
“We will work together to lift our state up, and to move our state towards the modern state, where we can all be proud to say outside that we are from Oyo State,” Makinde said.