In a very tight operating fiscal climate, oil producing, landlocked state of Osun has not only held its own, it has punched above its weight. Vindication for Governor Aregbesola’s financial prudence has now come from the Independent Corrupt practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
The reaction to the allegations of funds diversion made against the government of the State of Osun was unambiguous. The ICPC in a letter referenced ICPC/INV/GBP/SG.2/520 and dated August 24, 2017, cleared the state government, saying, the bailout fund was actually expended on payment of salaries and pension of both the state and local government workers and the cadets of the Osun State Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES).
The letter, addressed to the Secretary of the State Government was sent with the heading, “Re: Request for probe on diversion and possible misuse of Salary Bailout Fund of Osun State. Save the Soul of Workers and Pensioners in Osun State” and was signed by the Head of Department of Investigation, Adebayo A. Kayode.
It reads in part, “The above case bordering on diversion and misuse of bailout fund and allowance to effect the full payment of all outstanding salaries, allowances, pensions and gratuities owed to Osun State civil servants and retirees contrary to the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) Act 2000 was reported to the commission and same had been investigated conclusively with no fraction substantiated.
“A sum of N34,988,999,000 was released to the State of Osun on 31st August, 2015 which was expended on the payment of salaries, civil pensions, OYES cadets stipend and allowances and local government salaries and pension.
“In view of paragraph 2 above, it is clear that the bailout fund was not diverted but utilised for its original purpose, therefore, the commission has set aside the case for lack of merit.”
This is a fulsome public relations endorsement for the state of Osun government as one can get. We take it that the original enquiry by the Coalition of Civil Societies for the Emancipation of the People of Osun State was not born out of mischief. This means that with the clarification from the ICPC, they should come out with a very reigning endorsement of the fiscal prudence of the state of Osun government.
It must also be noted that it has taken great managerial sagacity for the state of Osun government to have continued its much lauded social intervention programmes in a season of stress. That the federal government is now using the template of the State of Osun for its own programmes says it all.
We have no alternative than to give full marks to the fiscal prudence of the Governor of the State of Osun has he continues to use his vast expertise to steer the ship of state through turbulent waters caused by a nationwide economic down turn and hampered by Nigeria’s debilitating quasi-federalism.