By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—GOVERNOR Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, yesterday, pledged not to criticise the administration of his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun whether openly or privately.
Abiodun said this during a stakeholders meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the State.
The governor noted that despite inheriting an almost empty treasury when he assumed office, he has decided to move on.
He said: “I cannot begin to describe in the open to you the Ogun State that we inherited. I cannot begin to describe it to you and I will not because I have made up my mind that publicly and privately, I will not discuss anything about that past administration.
“We have resolved to draw the line and to move forward from there. We need to be focused. We are going to rebrand and relaunch the security trust fund.
“30th of May was our first day in office and on the 31st of May, it dawned on me that it was the end of the month and we needed to pay salaries.
“But here we are on our second day in office. I don’t even have an office; I don’t even know how to sign any document; I don’t even know what the protocols are.
“Suddenly, we realized that it was 31st of May but I intended to keep my end of the tripartite agreement. So, I called the Head of Service, I told him that we must pay salaries.
“But he said to me that you are new in government and everybody understands that you just assumed office and we don’t have that expectation of you paying salary now. They (workers) will understand. There is very little or no money. We can talk to them. But I told the Head of Service, either they (workers) are expectant or not, it is my promise to the people that salaries will be paid as and when due.”
So, I picked my phone and called my friends who are MDs (Managing Directors) at different banks.
“I told them I needed to pay salaries and this is the little I have; almost nothing in the State account. I requested for a credit facility to allow me to pay over N7billion which is the State wage bill. That day, my intention was that maybe one or two will oblige me, but the five banks that I called obliged me.”
“To the glory of God, we paid salaries that day. Civil servants began to get their alert that evening. And I began to feel a sense of uplift and fulfilment. And this was my first task in office, and I managed to accomplish it”, the Governor said.
“We will ensure that pension contributions are forwarded to the PFAs, contrary to what obtained in the past. You cannot be deducting money from people and not forward it to the PFAs because we from the private sector understand the implication of that.”
The Governor later held a closed-door meeting with the party chieftains.
Briefing journalists later, the Publicity Secretary of party’s caretaker Committee, Mr. Tunde Oladunjoye said the Governor called the meeting to brief them on the activities of his administration in the last one month.