From Olanrewaju Oyedeji, Ile Ife
The government of the State of Osun has assured residents that projects that add value to the state and people’s lives will not be abandoned.
The Director of Media and Strategy of the state, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, who gave the pledge assured that despite the current financial crisis facing the state, the government would see pending crucial projects through. “It is not in the plan of the government to abandon capital projects especially those that have been started before the financial problems of the state started,” he declared.
According to him, the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola would explore all legitimate means to complete the projects for the benefit of the people of the state.
The Aregbesola regime has been under serious pressure as a result of the cash crunch that has afflicted it for several months now with the latest being an impeachment attempt hanging on the governor as well as a renewed strike by workers over unpaid salaries.
Although the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress recently suspended a six-week strike based on agreement with the state government on modalities for payment of the salary arrears, it again ordered the state workers back to the trenches last week- a move which teachers in the state reportedly backed off from.
There have been fears in some quarters that the state government may abandon some projects in the state to prevent a reoccurrence of financial problems currently experienced in the state. Notable among these are the distribution of the computer tablet, “Opon imo”, the free education scheme which also includes the free meals and uniforms programmes, and several road projects.
Some economic analysts had called for their scrapping owing to what they termed “pressure on the financial status of the state.”
There has also been conflicting opinions as to the prudence of the state government, with regard to fiscal policies. But Okanlawon reiterated the administration’s commitment to delivering the benefits of democracy to residents and investors in the state, despite the current economic challenges which have been allegedly worsened by dwindling federal allocation.
The Osun State government had accused the Federal Government under former President Goodluck Jonathan of refusing to pay monies spent by the state government to rehabilitate federal roads in the state. But the Jonathan regime denied this claim.
However, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced that it was facilitating bailout funds to help pay outstanding salaries to workers owed by states.