By Laja Thomas
LAGOS— FORMER Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, yesterday, denied allegations by the present government of the state that he left debts running into billions of naira.
Speaking at an interactive session organised by a civil society group in Lagos, Daniel said: “There is absolutely nothing like debt accumulation in Ogun State. Before we handed over, we took it upon ourselves to provide a compendium, a full report of our activities in a book from 2003 – 2010, which we handed over to the incoming government.
“I have not seen any government out of the 36 states in Nigeria that has been able to produce a report where every kobo that came into government coffers was put in a report.
“There is a difference between what you called liability and debt. We are magnanimous to have a liability of N49.2billion, out of which N13.9 billion was outstanding money left behind as debt.
“What made up the liability, which you cannot regard as debts were arrears of tertiary institutions subvention, arears of running cost, money you give to schools for routine maintenance, arrears of pension, which all sum up to the total N49.2billion liability. I mentioned earlier.
“We were determined not to leave arrears of pension but around 2008, and 2009 there was downturn in world’s economy, Nigeria was not an exception. Our situation was made worse because of our local politics.
“Therefore, the cash liability which we left behind was N13.9 billion. God has helped us and the truth is now coming out.
“I wish the government of Ogun State well because I am not the leader of government’s opposition. I don’t want to discredit them. If they have left me alone and allowed me to have my retirement, I wouldn’t have said anything. But all I have been hearing is that OGD did that, OGD embezzled this and that amount.”