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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

That Chief S. B. Falegan’s Diatribe on Ekiti Government

OPINION

That Chief S. B. Falegan’s Diatribe on Ekiti Government

By Lere Olayinka

One of the lessons my grandfather (of blessed memory) taught me was that I should be mindful of joining issues with elderly people. However, he constantly reminded me that “agbalagba to ba ti so agbado m’odi, o maa da alawada adiye” (an elder that choses to tie corn to his waist should expect to be made jest of by the fowl). In other words, while my grandfather was teaching me to respect elders, he was also telling me that when an elder chooses to disrespect himself, he loses the right of being respected.

When I read the article written by Chief Samuel Bandele Falegan, titled; “Kayode Fayemi: A Governor they all love to hate,” in which he went on to lie that N650 million was being paid to an election contractor via the Ekiti State’s Federal Allocation drawn at source every month effective from October 2014 after the swearing in of Governor Ayodele Fayose, my mind went to that important lesson my grandfather taught me.

The article and lies told therein by Chief Falegan, was what is usually referred to as someone carrying his “saara” (zakat) beyond “mosalasi” (Mosque), thus losing his respect as an elder.

While I do not begrudge Chief Falegan for rising in defence of Dr Kayode Fayemi, under whom he served as the Chairman of the Ekiti State Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) Committee, and did nothing with the State share of the SURE-P fund, I find it extremely un-elderly for a 82 year old man to have lied in such a brazen manner.

Though, one is not surprised that Chief Falegan, in displaying his marimaje (chop I chop) criticism of Governor Fayose could throw away his age and experience in Economics and Banking while trying to polish the image of Fayemi, his benefactor, it however remains to be seen how he could have descended to the lowest level of falsehood.

How on earth could a supposed banker feed the public with tales of N650 million being deducted from a State allocation directly from Abuja? With what document(s) or standing order is the deduction being made directly by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission? Is it a practice for State Government contractors to get their payments directly from RMAFC before allocation is released to the affected State?

Simply put, if there is any election contractor that Governor Fayose is committed to, the contractor must be the people of Ekiti that overwhelmingly gave him their votes and Governor Fayose is resolutely committed to the welfare of these people, whose votes made him governor the second time.

The people voted against Fayemi because of the failure of those appointed into positions of responsibility like Chief Falegan to utilise their positions for the benefit of the people. Or is there any footprint of the SURE-P committee that Chief Falegan headed on the sands of Ekiti State?

Also, it was because elders like Chief Falegan chose to play ostrich while the economy of Ekiti State was being mismanaged by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of Dr Kayode Fayemi, thereby plunging the State into the precarious financial situation that we are grappling with now.

Chief Falegan was alive, and a prominent member of Fayemi’s government when the State was plunged into N86, 013,689,097 debt!

The N15, 831,613,425.62 Bank Loans, N26, 749,796,784.75 Bond, N15, 522,552,900.76 outstanding warrants, N21, 286,126,749 outstanding payment to road contractors, N709, 883,656.75 outstanding remittances to federal government, N5, 137,888,224.37 outstanding emoluments to State Public Servants and N592, 995,374.89 outstanding remittances to the State Government, making a total sum of N86, 013,689,097 should be enough evidence of Chief Falegan’s competence in financial mismanagement.

Of major interest is the N25bn Bond obtained from the Capital Market by the Fayemi-led government and another N5bn loan taken from EcoBank in May, last year.

Two weeks before the June 21, 2014 governorship election, N5bn was borrowed from EcoBank for what they called “Project Financing,” in the name of Fountain Holdings Limited, an Ekiti State government investments management firm. The loan was obtained through Fountain Holdings Limited so as to be able to avoid going through the Debt Management Office (DMO) in Abuja, because the State was already highly indebted to a level that its monthly income could no longer sustain additional liabilities.

Chief Falegan never deemed it necessary to ask Fayemi whether or not it was part of the responsibilities of Fountain Holdings Limited to execute capital projects like road construction on behalf of Ekiti State Government.

N25bn bond was taking from the capital market to finance white elephant projects like the new mountain top government house, state pavilion, civic centre among others. The first tranche of N20bn will be fully paid in 2018 while the second tranche of N5bn will be fully discharged in 2020.

The N20bn bond is with period accumulated interest of N13.4bn while the N5bn is with period accumulated interest of N3.6bn. 

As at the time Fayemi left office, after paying a total sum N15, 221,207,088 (i.e. N14, 299,085,088 repaid from the N20bn bond and N922, 122,000.09 from the N5bn bond), the State Government was still owing N26.749bn!

To an elder like Chief Falegan, with training and experience in financial management, shouldn’t it have been worrisome that after paying N15.5bn out of the N25bn bond taken by Fayemi’s government, Ekiti State Government still owed N26.7bn as at the time he (Fayemi) left office.

In a State like Ekiti with less than N2.5bn as monthly federal allocation, a government in which Chief Falegan served spent a whooping sum of N604, 961,645.72 just to furnish the new mountain top governor’s lodge built for the comfort of one single family. Meanwhile, hospital project like the Oba Adejugbe General Hospital, Ado Ekiti was left unattended to.

Chief Falegan, a banker and economist who kept silent when borrowed fund was being used to execute non-income generating projects, has now elected to be a peddler of falsehood just in his bid to polish a dirty image that was roundly rejected by the people of Ekiti. What an un-elderly way to be an elder!

Not surprised anyway, Chief Falegan’s records of performance at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria tell a lot about his understanding of basic principle of financial management.

Olayinka is the Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media to Ekiti State governor.

OPINIONS and views expressed do not necessarily form the expression of NUJ Europe.

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