Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, on Saturday stated that the reason his administration has been able to pay workers salaries, pensions and gratuities as and when due as well as record some other key deliverables across the four key pillars of his administration was due to the prudent management of resources and the personal sacrifices of all political office holders in the state.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary(CPS) to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor stated this on a quarterly live interview programme, Meet the Governor, on Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State(BCOS).
Makinde explained that among the various measures employed by the administration to effectively manage resources in order to have funds for developmental projects was because himself and other functionaries in the government had been using their private vehicles in the last six months. He noted that the action has saved the state to N4 billion, which could have been expended on vehicles.
He explained further that his administration has put an end to the era of frivolous approvals, while also giving clear-cut priorities to projects and programmes that can be embarked upon in the interest of people living in the state.
The governor maintained that the new thinking and approach, apart from freeing up funds for the development has also contributed to raising the interest of the private sector in partnering with the government to develop the state.
He said that one of the benefits the state has derived from his style of administration was the fact that the beautification efforts on major roundabouts in Ibadan with Christmas Lighting Systems around the state capital, Ibadan, was done by the private sector at no cost to the state.
He said: “It is true that when we came in, we cannot be talking about the money we met on the ground because if we do, some people won’t be allowed to walk freely in the street. If you look at it, till now, I am using my personal cars for office work. We have not also gotten cars for any of the political office holders. If we want to get that done, we will be talking about N3 billion or 4billion Naira. So, we stepped it down. We had to prioritise on what we think we can do for the people of Oyo State who gave us this mandate.
“We wanted to see how we can stabilize the government to suit the interest of the people first and not running after our selfish interest. We need to say this too; those that are involved should take note of this. On the 6th of May, those who worked with the past administration collected N5.2 billion and left 19,000 Naira as of the 29th of May. Those involved will still have to explain to the people.
“That was why we had to seek the approval of the State Assembly to borrow 10 billion Naira because I have to be honest, I was very scared. We found out that the state’s funds were in about 60 accounts. In one account, we found 300 million Naira. In another, we found 20 million Naira and many others like that. So, I called the Accountant-General that the monies which are in different accounts should be pulled together and, after that was done, it amounted to about 6 billion Naira. We summoned ministries, departments, and agencies to come and give an account of what the monies were meant for. After we did that, we were able to get some money to start doing some things in the state.
“Also, our internally generated revenue has gone up a little bit because we have been able to block some loopholes of financial recklessness. Some people approached me on the way they used to go about sharing money but I shunned them.
“I want to also tell the people that the government did not spend a dime on Christmas on the street. Some people came and said they have made it a point of duty to always gift some money to the Governor every year. So, I told them not to give me anything. I asked the Commissioner for Finance to pull all the money together and look for someone that can do Christmas Decoration for the state. So, all the monies went into the beautification exercise we are seeing today. I believe that we have to continue on that path of parsimony. Until we finish expanding our economy, that is when respite can come to us all.
“Even, the civil servants know that any frivolous approval will not fly, once it gets to my table. So, that is how we have been managing with the available resources, which has made us achieve what we have on the ground now.
“If you also look at some of the projects we have awarded, contractors have cut down on the bill they charged us. When we awarded the Moniya-Iseyin road, it was for 9.9billion Naira. The one awarded by the Federal Government was double that amount and even a palliative measure awarded on the same road was awarded by the previous administration, you know how much it was. What we are embarking on is a total reconstruction project and the contractor we gave the job to assured us that nothing will happen to the road for the next ten years. So, from all the wastages we have been cutting out, we have achieved a lot for the people. The good work has not stopped, it is extravagant spending that we have stopped.”
On the issue of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Makinde maintained that the committee set up by the state to negotiate with a similar committee from Osun State had been given one term of reference, to negotiate separation of ownership from Osun State, adding that he was confident that with the quality of individuals on the committee, the state would get a positive result.