Posing as a financial wizard is a good strategy imperative when you are running for the governorship of a state.
Unfortunately, a onetime chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee and governorship candidate on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Iyiola Omisore has his sums muddled up. This is probably why he didn’t have an effective tenure as chairman of the senate’s appropriation committee.
Trying to make a campaign issue out of the debt profile of Osun has left Omisore looking rather a waterish. His attack position is not based on the use of verifiable statistical analyses but on falsehood. This is straight out of the playbook of Frank Josef Coebells, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda Chief. Coebells infamously instructed his civil servants that in pursuit of their objective – “Never, ever tell a small lie. The bigger the lie, the more brazen, the better. A lie told sufficiently often, will eventually assume the posture of the truth”.
The facts about the debt profile are verifiable from the Debt Management Office (DMO) and multilateral agencies.
It is on record that the State’s indebtedness stands as at today at N170.6 billion made up of N141.1 billion domestic and N29.5 billion multilateral debts, and is going down every month since the state never defaults on repayment.
The good news here is that by 2019, the N30 billion vanilla bonds obtained in 2012 would have been fully repaid. Also, the N11.4 billion Sukuk bond would be fully repaid in 2020. This will free up a lot of the resources of the state and the projects procured with the loans would have been a huge gain.
The key point about debt obligations which even a toddler will know is the ability – to – repay. The former senate appropriation chairman knows this and is been clever by half. The foresight and planning of the Osun State government has been pro-active and is based on the capacity to withstand unanticipated buffeting.
The debt, as at the time they came were, not meant to be hard on the state’s finances. Then, oil was selling above $100 and Osun was netting above N4 billion from the federation account every month. From this amount, the state was able to set something aside for the raining day in form of Omoluabi Conservation Fund.
Problem came when oil price fell to as low as $22. This affected not only Osun but all the states of the federation, including the Federal Government. Indeed, this hit the Federal Government so bad that the then Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, cried that the administration had to borrow N476 billion from commercial banks to be able to pay salaries in the last four months of his administration. This explains the low allocation to Osun.
The use of debt instruments is key in the process of facilitating development. Osun is repaying debts which have transformed the physical and social infrastructure in the state for the long-term benefit of the overwhelming majority as well as generation yet unborn. This is of course, difficult for Iyiola Omisore who is always focused on the immediate to understand. His negative track record as the Senate chairman of the appropriation committee speaks volumes. Under him the odious contraption known as “budget padding” came into the lexicon. A man under indictment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) can hardly be convincing as a financial strategist.
The Aregbesola interregnum in the affairs of the State of Osun has been transformative. If you seek to know what has been achieved, please look around you at all the evidence of a new, improved Osun. Omisore has by making ill-thought out allegations exposed his alarming lack of managerial capacity. The people of Osun will be ill-advised to burden a state that against all odds made such great progress, with a man who is clearly not up to the job. We have all been put on notice.