Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has said that none of the 36 state governors had received his state’s share of the N713.7bn bailout fund from the Federal Government.
The fund is a relief to cash-strapped states, many of which owe workers salaries.
Oshiomhole, who disclosed this to journalists shortly after a reception in honour of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, at Sabongida Ora, in Owan West Local Government Area of the state on Saturday, explained that while he was unaware of any disbursement, there were conversations going on between the governors and the Federal Government.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari had been “extremely positive” in recognising that he did not want to preside over a country whose workers were not paid.
He said that the President was also concerned about the expenditure of the states as well as measures aimed at the effective management of their resources.
The governor said, “It doesn’t matter who is responsible for it; but at the end of the day, it is simply not acceptable to have a situation in which about 13, 14, 15 states for two, three, four, five, sometimes, one year, people have not been paid. He (President Buhari) is angry over that and he is ready to work do-able programmes to deal with that and then, going forward, to look at the structural issues in the expenditure pattern of states, because, you see, nobody ever has enough.
“The basic law of economics is that resources are scarce in relation to our wants. So, who gets what done has to be a matter of creativity, of priority and of proper costing and project management.
“So, I think the good news is that the President is there to stand by us in finding solution beyond cash giving. Nobody has gotten any one dime. But there is always a time lag between when you conceptualise a solution, when you think through it, when you reach a conclusion and when it begins to manifest.
“So for now, no governor, no government has gotten any one naira under the bailout. But the hope is there. The President is determined and we are all working to see that it is done in a way that it benefits the target group, which is that no Nigerian worker should go home at the end of the month without getting a positive alert from his banker.”
Oshiomhole, who was part of the delegation to the United States last week, described the outcome of the meeting with the US President, Barack Obama, as a demonstration of commitment to the development of Nigeria as Africa’s most populous nation.
“I think in the history of our country, Americans have not shown that amount of worth and I was with the President when he visited President (Barack) Obama and we were all present at the conversation and I have not seen an American president talking in the manner that President Obama did.
“I mean, when a President says to you, ‘In the next 18 months, use me; get us to do any of the things. We will go as far as you will allow us to go.’ We recognise that if Nigeria’s problems are solved, the African continent will be stable and if we can fix Nigeria, we would have fixed Africa and he (Obama) recognised that if it goes the other way round, there are also huge challenges for the continent.”
He added, “It is like politics is not different from business; it is about perceptions. If the world, using President Obama’s language, believes correctly that our President is a man of integrity; then all things become easy. Leadership is about integrity; once the people cannot trust you, it does not matter what your intentions are.
“But if they trust you, they are more likely to follow you through challenges and to claim ownership of public policies that you need to introduce in order to deal with the problem that confronts us.”
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