In the bid to seek the support of civil servants in the state for the house of assembly polls, Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has directed the heads of government ministries and agencies to give the workers the sum of N5,000 as "mobilisation fund" for the election. However, the distribution has been marred by corruption.
SaharaReporters exclusively learnt that the “mobilisation fund” was being distributed to the workers based on their relationships with their heads of ministries and agencies.
Sources within government circles, who confirmed the sharing of the "largesse", said the idea was suggested to Akeredolu by members of his kitchen cabinet.
Akeredolu is already deploying all his chances to ensure that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), wins the house of assembly election. The essence, according to sources close to the Governor, is to have the required number of lawmakers in the Ondo House of Assembly, which will be members of his party, to gain support against any impeachment.
Our correspondent learnt that the real motive behind the idea was to "buy the hearts of the workers who have threatened an election showdown with the Governor over their unpaid benefits and arrears".
It was authoritatively gathered that money was shared among different cadres of workers (both juniors and seniors) in the state with the plan to get their votes for the election.
A government worker who spoke with SaharaReporters on the telephone on Friday evening, confirmed the receipt of the largesse, saying the "mobilization fund" was shared among workers in her office on Wednesday.
"Yes, it is true. The money was shared in my office on Wednesday and they told us that it came from the Governor's office for all the civil servants. In fact, my colleagues helped me to collect my own share of the funds because I wasn't around when they shared it. They told me that our boss brought the money for them," she said.
"Honestly, they only gave me the sum of N5,000 and said the money was directly from the Governor, probably for the election.”
However, there appears to be some crisis, as heads of government ministries, including agencies, have allegedly pocketed the money while others reduced the sharing formula.
It was reliably gathered that the civil servants at the Ministry of Information got N5,000, while those in some of the departments under Education and the Governor's Office (politcal) got between N2,000 and N3,000.
Some workers, who spoke to SaharaReporters in the Ministry of Justice, claimed they only heard about the funds, but were not given anything.
One of them, who simply identified herself as Mrs. Ibukun, said she was told by her friends in other ministries about the money with the hope she would receive hers. She, however, noted that they were scared to ask their boss concerning the funds.
"Like in my own Ministry, we heard it that Mr. Governor gave the civil servants money, but we didn't see it here and that is very bad. We are in fear to ask questions and to probe further because of the type of boss we have here. He would not even answer us and might redeploy anyone who questions his authority,” she said.
The workers at the government-owned broadcast media organisation, OSRC and Orange FM, denied receiving any money for the election.
Many members of staff, who preferred not to be named, accused Kunle Adebayo, the interim head of their station, of pocketing the funds.
"They were sharing the funds at the government ministries on Tuesday and Wednesday, but nothing reached us here," one of them said.
"We heard that the oga at the top, Adebayo, who has been under fire for alleged high handedness, nepotism, corruption and mismanagement of the station since he assumed leadership about two years ago, received the money and probably did not give it us."