The Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress in Ondo have disagreed over the N50bn bond recently initiated by the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to fund infrastructural development.
Akeredolu, who observers claim is eyeing a second term in office, said that he requested the approval for the N50bn bond from the Ondo State House of Assembly to complete projects already initiated by his administration.
But disagreeing with the governor’s reason for seeking the fund, top members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo described the development as an attempt to plunge the state further into debt.
According to the PDP, the state doesn't need to borrow funds to complete any significant infrastructural projects going by the monthly allocation it gets from the federal account.
Ayo Fadaka, a stalwart of the PDP in Ondo and its Publicity Secretary in the Southwest, accused the government of Akeredolu of wasting the state's resources.
He said, “It is unfortunate that this man is trying to add debt burden on our state.
“What does he need N50bn bond for, what infrastructure is he pursuing? What we do know of his intention is that he is already looking for funds to buy votes during the next election.
“But we want to assure him that, that will not save him.
“When you talk about infrastructural development, you must have a budget before you go and borrow money.
“As far as we are all concerned, the APC government of Akeredolu has no business borrowing N50bn, the state does not even need it.”
Also, PDP spokesperson in the state, Zadok Akintoye, said Governor Akeredolu’s plan to raise N50bn through bond is a sign and indictment of bad leadership especially considering the N52bn debt profile of the state as at 2018.
He said, “The recent approval by the Ondo State House of Assembly for Rotimi Akeredolu to access a loan of 50bn calls for deep concern.
“While we are well aware that states may access loans from the capital market to finance projects that may not be covered by available resources, our concern is that Ondo State is doing so at a time when its financial inflow from Federal allocation, internally generated revenue and other earnings from past investments of the state, are at a fairly steady level.
“Considering our present domestic debt profile of about N52bn as at 2018 and an external debt profile of about $50m, it is worrisome to see that the Akeredolu is resorting to further borrowing rather than reducing the debt burden of the state.”
Reacting to the allegation by the PDP, a chieftain of the APC in the state, Ayoola Bamidele, said Akeredolu had the right to seek a bond in the capital market.
He said, “All the projects lying low in Ondo are due to lack of funds, they would have been completed if money was available.
“So, rather than waiting for federal allocation, Governor Akeredolu decided that there was need to get the N50bn bond.
“The fund is to help him embark on and complete developmental projects in the state.
“I totally disagree that it was meant to fund his second term election bid.”
Also reacting to the allegation by the PDP, spokesperson for the state government, Donald Ojogo, said that Akeredolu will not dwell on baseless issues.
He said, “Rotimi Akeredolu was elected into power not to complain but to provide infrastructure in the state even though there is no money.
“So, the man (governor) decided to think outside the box and one of the noble things he did was to pay regular salaries of workers including the backlog he met on the ground.
“This administration has not received up to N6bn from the federation account since coming on board.
“Rather than going to the bank to obtain a loan, the government decided to go through the bond process.
“This N50b that was approved by the House of Assembly, is only to help sustain and enhance further development in Ondo.
“Let me also make it clear that the bond or money is not coming into the government's purse, it is between the capital market and the banks where the fund will be domiciled.
“This bond is tied to specific projects.”