By Toba Ajisafe
The State Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has described the allegation of Forum 2011/2012 pensioners that he paid N50 million severance allowance to self and ex-officers as unreasonable.
Aregbesola while reacting to the press conference held on Tuesday by the group’s chairman, Mr Omoniyi Ilesanmi, said the group’s claim is outrageous and aimed to incite the people against the government.
The reaction was contained in a statement released by the Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Sola Fasure on Thursday.
The statement read “The allegation is preposterous in its entirety. It is absolutely unreasonable for anyone to suggest that a state government will give each political office holder a N50 million severance allowance at this period when every available kobo is being mopped to pay salaries and pensions, provide infrastructure and social services and run a modest government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the severance allowance of political office holders has been set in accordance with the State of Osun Public/Political Office Holders and Revised Remuneration Package Law 2007, section 4 (1) and (2) schedule (B) which recommends 300 per cent of basic salary as severance allowance. This recommendation was also taken on advisement from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission which recommends 300 per cent of basic salaries.
The statement reiterated that, the State of Osun law referenced has a proviso of beneficiaries having successfully completed a full term or on pro rata basis, after a minimum of two year period of tenure.
“With the arrangement, only the governor and his deputy are entitled to N6.6 million and N6.3 million respectively.
The statement further explained that the governor returned his cheque to the treasury, having waved his right to earn salary since he assumed office.
“Two principal officers qualified for N4 million each, 15 political office holders received N3 million each, and while 18 others received N2.8 million each. This was over a year government.
The statement also stated “Ilesanmi and his ilk have embarked on a campaign of calumny against the government, hiding under the plight of pensioners, telling barefaced lies, making outrageous claim and inciting the people against the government
“He moves around with a motley crowd and they parade themselves as representing the whole company of dignified and respectable retirees in the state.
“Mr Ilesanmi and his group openly campaigned for the opposition party candidate in the 2014 governorship election in the state, hiding under the cloak of retirees. He used the same platform to openly campaign for the candidate of the same opposition party in the last senatorial election in the state, curiously only in the cities where election held.”