In a startling revelation, Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, disclosed on Thursday that his administration inherited a staggering debt of 100 billion naira in unpaid salaries, pensions, and employment-related expenses from the two previous governments led by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The governor’s spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, made this revelation during a press conference in Osogbo while responding to a recent ultimatum issued by Ibadan-based lawyer, Mr. Mutalubi Adebayo, SAN. Adebayo had threatened to take legal action against Governor Adeleke and the state government if they failed to settle the outstanding allowances owed to judges working in Osun State.
Rasheed explained that this immense financial burden was in addition to the state’s existing debt, which amounted to over 400 billion naira. Despite facing financial constraints and competing demands on the state’s resources, the Adeleke administration has taken steps to address the salary and pension debt issue.
Governor Adeleke, in response to Adebayo’s ultimatum, advised the lawyer to refrain from what he referred to as “interloping activism.” He argued that Adebayo’s actions constituted interference in employment-related matters and misrepresented the relationship between employees and their employer.
While the governor’s office did not immediately attribute Adebayo’s threat to political motives, they pointed out that the lawyer had confirmed that the allowances in question were incurred during the tenures of the previous administrations led by Governors Aregbesola and Oyetola.
Part of the official statement released by the governor’s office read, “We can add for him that the Adeleke administration inherited from the two previous governments of the All Progressives Congress a whopping salary, pension, and employment-related debt to the tune of 100 billion naira. This is outside another state debt of over 400 billion naira. The Adeleke administration has, however, commenced payment of such salary and pension debt amidst cash crunch and equally competing demands for state expenditure.”
The statement continued, “We are constrained to therefore urge the lawyer to avoid distractive and interloping activism. As we believe he is not politically recruited, he should adopt another dignifying route rather than usurping labor dispute questions, which only the unions and their employers can undertake. As we assume the lawyer has good intentions, he can rework his threat into an appeal to the State Governor to continue his ongoing phased payment of outstanding liabilities inherited from the previous administrations. He may further commend the Governor for acting for all Osun people by devising strategies to complete abandoned projects and gradually pay off outstanding liabilities.”
The revelation of this substantial debt serves as a stark reminder of the fiscal challenges facing the Adeleke administration as it seeks to steer the state towards financial stability and economic growth.