Cross section of Commissioners taking oath of Office
By David Akinadewo
Wednesday, August 30, 2017, was another unique day in the life of the present administration in Ondo State. It was a day the state Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), made it clear to all, more than ever before that he is ready for the tasking business of governance, as he inaugurated 18 Commissioners who would man the various ministries and 10 Special Advisers to serve as his think-tank.
The swearing-in of these men and women came six months after the Governor and his Deputy, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, were inaugurated at the Akure Sports Stadium, on February 24, to steer the ship of the Sunshine State for four years.
Those sworn in by Akeredolu, who later got their portfolios are:
- Rt. Hon Taofiq Abdul Salam – Ministry of Works and Infrastructure
- Mr. Rasheed Badmus – Natural Resources
- Prince Solagbade Amodeni – Physical Planning and Urban Development
4.Otunba Adegboyega Adefarati – Agriculture
- Mr Saka Yusuf Ogunleye – Youth and Sports Development
6.Hon. Omowumi Olatunji-Edet- Women Affairs and Social Development
- Mr. Donald Ojogo – Lands and Housing
- Mr. Yemi Olowolabi – Information and Orientation
- Dr Wahab Adegbenro – Health
10.Mr Funso Esan – Environment
11.Mr Wale Akinterinwa – Finance
- Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan – Economic Planning and Budget
- Alhaji Olurimisi Ismaila – Culture and Tourism
- Mr. Femi Agagu – Education, Science and Technology
- Professor Bayonile Ademodi – Regional Integration and Special Duties
- Hon. Lola Fagbemi – Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs
- Otunba Timilehin Adelegbe -Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives
18.Kola Olawoye, Esq. -Justice.
The Special Advisers and their portfolios are:
- Public Inter Government Relations -Mrs Bunmi Ademosu
- Union Matters – Mr. Alaba Isijola
- Investment and Development – Mr Boye Oyewumi
- Lands, Works and Infrastructure – Engineer Raheem Aminu
- Political Matters – Hon. Olatunji Fabiyi
- Education -Dr Olawumi Ilawole
- Public Utilities – Engineer Tunji Ariyomo
- Transport – Tobi Ogunleye, Esq.
- Health – Dr. Jibayo Adeyeye
- Rural and Community Development – RT. Hon. Victor Olabimtan.
Governor Akeredolu gave the appointees marching order to hit the ground running as there is no time to be wasted in meeting the yearnings of the people of Ondo State.
The occasion of the swearing-in was also used by the Governor to inform the appointees and the Ondo State people of the financial status of the state. In his speech, he revealed that the debt profile of the state as at February when he took the mantle of leadership was N220 billion, while the money he met in the state treasury was less than N10 billion.
According to him, “As the ship of this Administration finally gathers steam to set sail, it is pertinent to acquaint the good people of this State with the true financial situation. We believe it is important that our people should possess this information. This must not be construed as politics and we plead with our media practitioners to subject this information to the crucible of serious scrutiny and analysis. The knowledge of true financial status of the State Government will guide and moderate the craving desires of all and sundry. Expectations of performance from the government must be anchored on reality. Government officials must bear this fact in mind, always. It will be easy for the people to show understanding when they know the truth.
“The economic condition of this State is precarious, depressingly so. We expend virtually all allocations and the insignificant revenue generated internally on recurrent expenditure. The internally generated revenue is very low. The huge debts owed by the State have been worsened by infrastructural deficit on ground. Yet we strive to discharge our obligations to creditors whose exactions on our very poor revenue militate, significantly, against planning.
“The government is looked upon as the major provider of succour to the people. Times are indeed very hard. Job creation is a cardinal policy of the Administration. We are not unmindful of the cynicism of our political opponents who believe that engaging our youths productively is a tall order. We are, however, convinced of not only the possibility of making this objective a reality, but our activities will erase the doubts as we progress. All hands must be on deck”.
He gave a breakdown of the debts as follows:
Internal Debt: N53,159,719,891.01
External Debt: N17,485,393,971.50
Unpaid Salaries and Allowances, Aug to Dec, 2016: N17,279,115,588.10
Unpaid Salaries and Allowances, Jan to Feb, 2017: N6,911,663,629.24
Ondo State Pension Liabilities: N4,800,965,850.00
Ondo State Gratuity: N15,043,537, 042.74
Unpaid Local Government Salaries and Allowances Aug to Dec: 2016 N9,320,568,782.41
Unpaid Local Government Salaries and Allowances (Jan. to Feb., 2017): N5,192,437,503.30
Local Government Pension Liabilities: N25,237,348,457.26
Local Government Gratuities Liability: N20,965,598,590.61
Contractors’ Liabilities: N39,740,423,934.76
Outstanding payment requests in the Office of the Accountant-General without cash backing: N5,451,352,494.25
The governor’s speech also dealt with the liquid assets as follows:
All Banks Balances: N7,236,594,630.36
Fixed Deposit/Call Deposit: N837,000,000.00
Balance in Bond Proceeds: N254,000,000.00
Fixed Deposit (OSOPADEC): N1,449,000,000.00
Portfolio Management Account: N180,000,000.00
Grand Total: N9,956,594,630.36.
With this revelation, it was clear to everyone that all efforts must be geared towards reviving the economy of the state.
The Governor has carefully chosen the best in all fields of human endeavours who believe in the ideology of his political party, the APC, and I have no doubt that they are already aware of the challenges before them and the need to make the people of Ondo State feel the impact of the government in a unique way.