Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has disclosed how difficult it was for him to pay state workers’ May salaries immediately after he took over from his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
While addressing leaders of the All Progressives Congress in the state on Monday, he revealed that he took a loan of N7bn so as to fulfill his promises to pay as at when due.
He added that he would rather focus on delivering good governance in the state than engaging himself in a political war with his predecessor.
He said “We have by far too many things to do than to begin to be bogged down by what someone did or what he did not do or what he left behind.
“I cannot begin to describe in the open to you the Ogun State that we inherited. I cannot begin to describe it to you. I will not because I have made up my mind that publicly and privately, I will not discuss anything about the past administration.
“We have resolved to draw the line and to move forward from there. We need to be focused. We are going to rebrand and relaunch the security trust fund.”
Abiodun added that his first challenge in office was how to pay the May workers’ salary, saying he had to call his friends who are managing directors of banks to get a credit facility of over N7bn to pay the workers.
He said, “30th day of May was our first day in office. And on the 31st, it dawn on me that it was the end of the month and we need to pay salaries.
“But here we are on our second day in office. I don’t even have an office; I don’t even know how to sign any document; I don’t even know what the protocols are. Suddenly, we realised it was 31st and I intend to keep my end of the tripartite agreement. So, I called the Head of Service; I told him we must pay salary. But he said to me, ‘You are new in government and everybody understands that you just assumed office and we don’t have that expectation of you paying salaries now. They (workers) will understand. There is very little or no money. We can talk to them.’
“I told the Head of Service, whether they (the workers) were expectant or not, it was my promise to the people that salaries would be paid as and when due.”
He added, “So, I picked my phone and called my friends who are MDs in different banks. I told them I needed to pay salaries and this is the little I have; almost nothing in the state account.
“I requested for a credit facility to allow me to pay over N7bn which is the state wage bill. That day, my intention was that maybe one or two will oblige me, but the five banks I called obliged me.”
He said civil servants received their alerts that evening and that gave a sense of fulfillment, being his first task in office.
The governor later held a closed-door meeting with the APC chiefs.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Publicity Secretary of party’s caretaker Committee, Mr Tunde Oladunjoye, said the governor called the meeting to brief them on the activities of his administration in the last one month.