By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITYâ€”GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state, weekend declared that his predecessor in office, Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor left a debt of N10billion and not N4billion as was claimed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state.
The Governor who also disclosed why those whose houses were demolished along Airport road are yet to be paid compensation, during a pidgin programme on the Independent Television, ITV, Benin City, weekend, asserted that contrary to the claim that the debt profile of the state had increased to N18billion since he assumed office, â€œ we have only borrowed N4billionâ€.
According to him, â€œOsunbor actually left N10billion debt and not N4billlion. Cash N4.9billion, vouchers, that is jobs that have been done but they have not paid, N5billion. If you put the two together it is about N10billion. We cleared that when we came in. The truth is like poison to the PDP. You see PDP has been cheating the people of the state for a long time so to say the truth is always difficult for them.
â€œThe only money we have borrowed, every thing, by December 31, was N4billion. So where they got N18billion or N14billion is their headache. The Commissioner never said we are indebted to N18billion. The PDP has a way of twisting the truth. But let me tell you, I planned for the next three years of my administration, I do not plan more than that.
Any money that we have borrowed, we have shown how it will be paid before the end of my tenure. We are not borrowing for the future.
â€œWe have looked at our income and why you see our contractors working day and night is because we have shown them evidence that we have money in the bank to pay them no matter the situation. Not as if we have even taken the money we borrowed, it is in the bank and in case if we have problem we will go and take it but if we do not have need for it we will move on with what we have. But the good thing is that if you borrow; use it to work not to put in your pocket. Even the Federal Government borrows.â€
Commenting on the delay by government in compensating those whose houses were destroyed, Governor Oshiomhole explained that â€œI have asked the Commissioner what is the problem in paying compensation to those whose houses were demolished at Airport Road because we have budgeted the money. I have personally gone to visit those people.
But the Commissioner explained to me that the cause of the delay was because some of the houses are family houses.
â€œIf you discuss with one person in the morning, in the afternoon another person will come to say he is the rightful owner of the house because he inherited it from his father. So it is being delayed. But I have told the Commissioner that what I think we should do is to keep the money in the bank so that when the families settle their problem they will go and collect the money.â€
The Governor added that â€œI am not happy that people are suffering because government destroyed peoples houses. But in government, if you are not determined, you will not make progress, Edo state will not change and Edo must change.
We cannot continue to be known as ancient city, if it is ancient, it must be digital too. We have enough to show our ancient past, our very rich culture, there are so many things we can exhibit to visitors in the palace of Oba of Benin. But do you know why we do not experience the influx of tourists here because we do not have beautiful places here. But as we are beautifying the city now, tourism will be boosted.â€