For many Nigerian politicians, becoming the governor of a state is the pinnacle of political success and should be the time to sit back and enjoy. That doesn’t seem to be the case for Ademola Adeleke, the dancing governor of Osun State who currently has little reason to dance.

On December 15, 2022, Adeleke alleged that the former governor of Osun State whom he defeated at the polls, Gboyega Oyetola, left ₦‎407.32 billion in debt.

What’s the breakdown of the gist?

Oyetola has boasted in the past that he was able to successfully run Osun State without borrowing a dime. The new sheriff in town, Adeleke, decided to check out the claim with the office of the state’s Accountant-General. His conclusion was that it was untrue. He added that a portion of the debt comes from a bridge finance facility of ₦18.04 billion which Oyetola borrowed after he lost the election in July.

“The only fund in government coffers, as of Monday, November 29, 2022, was for November 2022 workers’ salary. Otherwise, the state treasury was empty. If the ₦76 billion debts on salaries and pensions are added, the state is indebted to the tune of ₦407.32 billion. The amount owed to contractors is yet to be determined.”

Nobody likes to be called an onigbese and sure enough, Oyetola’s camp has fired back.

How has Oyetola responded?

Oyetola’s spokesperson, Ismail Omipidan, remained adamant. He responded that his boss didn’t borrow while in office. The response more or less said Adeleke didn’t know much about governance and maths. According to him, any debt claim is from another former governor, Rauf Aregbesola. The governor said there’s ₦14 billion left over in the state’s purse. 

“If you go to my principal’s welfare address, he stated it clearly, that like every other state, we benefitted ₦3 billion on a monthly basis for six months from the federal government as budget support.

“This money was given to all the 36 states of the country without request. You cannot categorise that as a loan.

“So the new governor does not understand the working of government and he should have allowed those that understand the rudiment to explain it to him. So that he won’t be coming to the public to embarrass himself the way he did.”

What have reactions been like?

Some traditional rulers in the state like the Oluwo of Iwo don’t think Oyetola could have taken on such debt. Others, like the Oluwo of Kuta have said he should get on with his job since he asked for it. 

“Mr Governor, you need to leave brickbats to your party and face governance. There are a lot of landmines ahead of you. You have to face governance with a view to meeting our expectations and your promise on your first 100 days in office, the days are counting.”

The days are counting indeed and Adeleke more than anyone knows this. 

Ultimately, he’ll be judged on his performance, not his excuses.



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