OSUN State governor Rauf Aregbesola has revealed that his state has only managed to survive by delaying the appointment of commissioners in a bid to conserve scarce cash in the face of dwindling Federal assistance.
Speaking over the weekend in southeast London at a function of the non-governmental organisation De Raufs, the volunteer group which promotes the governor’s pet projects, Governor Aregbesola said Osun is one of those states struggling to make ends meet. In a presentation titled Voluntary Organisation and User-led Participation, Governor Aregbesola described Osun State as indigent with resources that are grossly inadequate to provide amenities and services to the people.
According to the governor, Osun State’s monthly revenue from the federation account dwindled from N4.6bn (£17.2m) in 2010 to a little over N3bn (£11.2m) last year. He added that during this period, salaries and pensions bill grew to N3.6bn (£13.44m) from N2.6bn (£9.7m), putting a severe strain on public finances.
Governor Aregbesola, who said the state was surviving in spite of the acute shortage of resources, stated that he had to delay the appointment of commissioners for 10 months in order to save money to plug the shortfall. He explained that the savings made from the delay had become crucial in keeping the state government going.
In his speech, among other things, the governor emphasised the importance of providing employment to the youth to make them functional members of the society. He attributed the Boko Haram menace and the insurgency in the Niger Delta, as well as the spate of kidnappings across the country to youth unemployment.
Enumerating the various youth training and empowerment programmes introduced by his administration, Governor Aregbesola said his government has rehabilitated hospitals and provided medication among other things. His government has also introduced an ambitious Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O’Meals) scheme, for which the governor received praise in the British House of Commons last week.