The embattled governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, has been accused of deliberately starving Ondo State civil servants their salaries accumulating into five months and purposely hoarding funds in preparation for this year’s governorship election taking place on November 26, top officials have confirmed to SaharaReporters.
These officials are powerful forces that control the internal affairs of the Ondo State government’s main circle and have been having difficulties with the self-styled leadership of the Mimiko government over the non-payment of civil servants salaries, our correspondent reported on Monday.
The government officials have also faulted insinuations from some quarters that the treasury of the State was empty and had been the reason for the non-payment of workers’ salaries while arguing that “there is still enough money” in the purse of the government that could assist in paying workers their full outstanding wages.
“There is enough money to offset the wages of these workers whose rights have been deprived of them by the Mimiko-led government in the State.
“We at the top seat of power in this State know fully well that Governor Mimiko has further impoverished this State using his family members and wife to acquire secret properties. He is deliberately starving Ondo workers their salaries while keeping the funds to perpetrate his evil deeds in the forthcoming governorship election in the State,” the source said.
Some of these whistleblowers authoritatively told SaharaReporters that Mr. Mimiko is shirking his responsibilities to the people of the State and has been silencing the leadership of the organized labor unions in the State from agitating and pressing further for the payment of the workers’ outstanding salaries.
Another top government official who spoke in anonymity with our reporter at a secret gathering at the Alagbaka government quarters in Akure disclosed that despite the governor’s knowledge that the civil servants in the workforce of the State are not currently “happy” with his administration following the refusal to pay their salaries, Mr. Mimiko does not seem perturbed about the agonizing condition of the workers whose last payment was made in November of last year.
One source said the issue of paying workers their salaries might not even be at the forefront of the governor’s agenda, as he is more concerned with choosing his successor.
“What is more important to the governor as I speak with you now is who succeeds him as the governorship election in the State draws nearer. He is seriously strategizing and doing underground work in the camp of the Peoples Democratic Party and that of the Labour Party. The opposition All Progressives Congress and the emergence of the third force, the Social Democratic Party, have become a disturbance and threat to his political calculations in the State."
The source added that Mr. Mimiko has already spent “huge sums” of money on the election and has done everything in his power to ensure a favorable outcome.
“Already, he has used all the abracadabra means in his brain to conduct the local government election in the State before the November governorship election. He even planted key loyalists of chairmen and councilors who can convincingly win elections for him at the grassroots starting from the ward level areas.”
SaharaReporters can authoritatively report that Ondo State received N14.69b last year from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and were one out of the twenty-seven states that were given a bailout package following the outcry of the shortage of funds to address the issue of workers’ wages. Aside from this fund, the debt stock profile of Ondo State stands at N29.75b as at December 31, 2014.
Other top government sources also disclosed that the monthly wage bill of Ondo State stands at no less than N3.8b, noting that the Mimiko-led government had received over N52b in federal allocations both for the State and the local government between September 2015 and February 2016.
“People, and mostly journalists like you, should start asking our State governor and his cohorts what happened to these funds. Remember, we have not calculated how much the State realized through its internally generated revenue and the bailout funds given to it by President Muhammadu Buhari through the CBN.
“Honestly, Mimiko’s government is the most corrupt since the establishment of the State as a democratic institution. The people have refused to ask questions and make their government more accountable to them,” the source added.
Opposition parties in the State have accused the embattled governor of stockpiling funds meant to offset salaries of workers for the forthcoming November 26 governorship election in the State. The State government has not openly denied these allegations.
Several source at the Ondo State government office of the Board of Internal Revenue in Akure also told SaharaReporters that the State generates no less than N1.2b monthly from its internal revenue from all the sectors and sub-sectors of the government ministries and parastatals and through heavy taxation on business owners in the State.
“Due to unpaid workers’ salaries the generating drive has dropped, but the amount the government is still making in its IGR is a whooping sum, enough to pay some workers their outstanding wages.
“Only in this office of the Board of Internal Revenue we generate close to over N4 million per month to the treasury of the State government and we have not even calculated how much other sub-offices in the local government areas bring to the Alagbaka headquarters of the office. The Ministry of Transport and its sub-sectors generate the highest levels of IGR in all the offices of the government in this State,” the source said.
The workers under the aegis of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the State chapter took part in the May Day celebration on Sunday rally as a sign of protest against the government of Mr. Mimoko.
Many of the union leaders were sighted along Ijoka Road in Akure on Sunday rendering supplications to God after advising government workers to embark on one day of fasting and prayer for intervention on their salaries.
“It is unfair for the present administration of the State to be holding us ransom while billions are being looted for personal use and costly structures are being erected at the Alagbaka quarters by the stooges and families of this uncaring governor,” one of the leaders said in an interview.
Independent sources from government office revealed to our correspondent that civil servants in the State have been boycotting their offices, thereby paralyzing office work duty due to the non-payment of the outstanding wages.
Meanwhile, the main opposition party in Ondo State, the All Progressives Congress (APC), have repeatedly criticized the organized labor leaders, specifically the NLC in the State, for being “complete stooges” to the embattled Governor Mimiko while lamenting his silence on the plight and suffering of civil servants in the government workforce.