Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has accused ex-governor of the state and current Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Kayode Fayemi , his party, All Progressive Congress (APC) and his ex- commissioner for finance, Dapo Kolawole, of allegedly blocking the refund of over N11 billion from the Federal Government to the covers of the Ekiti State government with a law suit instituted recently by the former Commissioner for finance against the state government to challenge a 10- year ban on him by the government for alleged graft while in office.
But while Fayemi has denied having hand in the development, Kolawole also said the governor was blackmailing him with the allegation, saying the legal action was only to defend his name.
Speaking in a press briefing Wednesday, Fayose said he had planned to use the refund to pay the outstanding salaries of Ekiti civil servants adding that it was the hope that the money would soon be paid that made him to constantly assure the workers that he would not leave the office a debtor of salary in October 16 .
The governor also accused the Federal Government of stopping payment due to the state as refund on road projects.
He said, “It is with heavy heart and deep sense of responsibility that I address you today on the latest display of deep seated hatred against Ekiti State and its people by leadership of the All Progressives, especially the Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
“When I said that I won’t leave office as a debtor of salary, I was sure that the over N12bn owed the state by the federal government on construction and rehabilitation of federal roads will be paid this month.
“However, I’m shocked that in their usual characteristics of working against every effort to alleviate the sufferings of the people, Dr. Fayemi through his Commissioner for Finance, Dapi Kolawole, went to court in Abeokuta seeking an order that the N11bn refund should not be paid to my administration.
“Because of this court action, the refund that should have been made this month is said to have been stopped.”
According to him, the latest onslaught was aimed at destabilising the state government ahead of the July governorship election.
“My question is: must Ekiti people, especially the workers be made to suffer just because of the forthcoming governorship election? Is it by inhuman act that these APC people intend to realise their tall dream of taking over Ekiti state by force?
“I consider this as wickedness taken too far against one’s own people all in the name of election.
“It is my belief that irrespective of our political affiliation, the wellbeing. interest of our people should come first.
Fayose said it was worrisome that it was the same APC government of Fayemi that ran the state into huge debts, which led to the irregular payment of workers salary.
With the recent effort to stop the payment, the governor said the APC had exposed itself that it lied when claiming that refund had been made to his government in the past.
“Today the story has changed. The same money they claimed was paid in the past must now be stopped.
“This action is not against me but the good people of Ekiti.
“Ekiti people should recall that this same opposition APC, out of sheer wickedness lied in 2015 that the federal government refunded N22bn spent on road construction to my government. Then I made it known that no refund was made. Rather, the federal government owed Ekiti State N2.2bn.
“One wonders why a case affecting Ekiti was filed in Abeokuta. If not for forum shopping. So that the federal government can hide under the matter in court.
“We want the federal government to realise that it is its primary duty to make life easy for the people.”
“It is worrisome that while we have many mineral deposit here in Ekiti, our son as the Minister of solid mineral has turned his back on his own people.
“It is a shame that Ekiti has not benefited anything from the federal government in close to three years of this administration.”
Reacting, Kolawole said: ” the governor is only trying to blackmail myself and Fayemi with his allegations. Has he not been collecting budget support from the FG? Has he used the money to pay workers’ salaries. I have only gone to court to defend my name as an accountant and I have a right to so do.
” Fayose said Fayemi committed Ekiti to N86bn debt to be repaid up to year 2036 but the reality is that while we owed only N30 bn, we have a refund of N17 bn from FG on projects and we also have N5bn in government covers before leaving, so what the Fayemis government actually owed is less than N5b, ” he said.