By Daud Olatunji
The Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State has raised concerns over the soaring debt levels incurred by the administration of governor Dapo Abiodun.
According to a report published by PLATFORM TIMES on Monday, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics reveals that Ogun State’s total debt has surged to 379 billion naira within four years of his assumption of office.
PLATFORM TIMES had previously reported exclusively that the state was the third-highest indebted state in Nigeria, closely trailing Lagos and Delta states.
The PDP, in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary in the state, Asiwaju Bankole Akinloye, claims that the state’s staggering debt burden appears disproportionate to the visible development of public infrastructure and social amenities.
The PDP accuses Abiodun’s administration, which it labels as incompetent, of driving Ogun State perilously close to insurmountable bankruptcy.
While acknowledging that borrowing is sometimes necessary for financing developmental projects and infrastructure, the PDP questions the absence of significant developments commensurate with the additional 300 billion naira debt accrued during Abiodun’s tenure.
The statement partly reads, “The Ogun state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is increasingly worried about the relentless zeal with which the outgoing administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun has plunged Ogun state and its coming generations into the irreversible pit of indebtedness.
“In a recent publication made available by the National Bureau of Statistics, the total debt profile of Ogun State has risen and is put at 379 billion naira, the 3rd highest in Nigeria, closely following Lagos and Delta states in the first and second positions respectively.
“An objective look at the mind-boggling amount of the state’s debt in relation to the physical development of public infrastructures and social amenities clearly confirms that Ogun state, under the incompetent watch of Mr. Abiodun and the sinking APC, is edging towards irredeemable bankruptcy if urgent steps are not taken.
“For the PDP, it is not out of place for states to borrow to finance developmental projects, expand frontiers of potentials, and fund their physical infrastructural needs from time to time. So many forward-looking states, including Ogun state, have done this in the past; Lagos state, our immediate neighbor, has also availed themselves of these opportunities.
“What is extremely worrisome and utterly disturbing is that Ogun state has absolutely nothing to show for an additional 300 billion naira debt apart from about 80 billion it inherited from the Ibikunle Amosun’s administration in 2019.
“It is as if the only thing the Dapo Abiodun-led government does is to borrow and loot. Or how else does anyone explain this embarrassing borrowing with no commensurate developments?
“A drive through all major commercial centers and towns across Ogun state provides an embarrassing show of infrastructural decay, abandoned public utilities, a dirty and unkempt business environment, uninspired workforce, and several other tales of woes and failures of government business as a whole. In fact, a first-time visit to any part of the state proves a government that is permanently on holiday.
“The only question that has continued to beg for answers is what Mr. Abiodun and his insensitive government have been doing with all the money; statutory state monthly allocations, the borrowings, and other funds. Yet, the government still diverts statutory Local government funds every month.
“Governance cannot be about reckless borrowing only. From all the realities around, it is increasingly clear that Ogun state is being milked to death.”
The party, however, calls on stakeholders and the state house of assembly to investigate how the funds were spent by Abiodun’s government in the last four years.
The PDP in the statement further siad, “we,therefore, call the attention of all stakeholders, all men of good conscience, to join us in the call to liberate Ogun state from Mr. Abiodun’s unquenchable appetite for unexplained borrowings.
“Particularly, we challenge the State House of Assembly, under the Speakership of Rt. Hon Taiwo Oluomo, to look at the government books immediately if truly The House is not a party to criminal diversion of the state resources to private vaults.
“Mr. Dapo Abiodun must be reminded that government is a trust; a trust he holds on behalf of the good and law-abiding residents of the states. He, therefore, owes his employers, residents of Ogun, some detailed explanations on what has happened to every kobo from the 379 billion debts hanging on the state’s neck.”
Attempts to get in touch with both the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi, and Special Adviser to the governor on Economic matters and former Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Okubadejo, failed as the duo ignored both text and WhatsApp messages.
But when contacted, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Lekan Adeniran, verbally attacked PLATFORM TIMES over its exclusive report on NBS recent data on the debt profile of the state.
Adeniran, in his response to PLATFORM TIMES’ questions on the allegation against his boss by the PDP, expressed displeasure with the data story as published by PLATFORM TIMES.
Adeniran, who was asked to highlight the projects the N300bn were used for, said, “If you were really interested in our response, you wouldn’t have gone ahead to publish the fiction that you were fed with before sending this.
“I started journalism in 1992 at the Guardian and have traversed the whole gamut of the industry. There should be decorum in what we do. You can’t be a political journalist and be fair in your reporting. Good day.
“If you were interested in working as a journalist, you would have attempted to get any government official to tell your reader what projects the money was expended on, not you asking me to respond to the PDP statement.”
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