A group, Campaign for Democracy (CD) on Thursday issued a one-month ultimatum to Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, to set up a panel to investigate alleged financial improprieties that took place under the administration of his predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.
The group in a statement signed by Samuel Aina, its Southwest Chairman, and the General Secretary, Ifeanyi Odili alleged that the Mimiko administration plunged the state into economic debt and that the panel of inquiry will unravel every shady deal perpetrated during the last government of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State.
Governor Akeredolu had said his administration inherited a debt burden of N220.58 billion during the swearing-in of his commissioners and political aides last year.
According to Mr. Akeredolu, internal debt of N53.15 billion left behind by the PDP immediate past government constituted almost a quarter of the debt.
Others are External Debt, N17.48billion; Unpaid Salaries and Allowances, August to December 2016, N17.27 billion; and January to February 2017, N6,91 billion; Ondo State Pension Liabilities, N4.80billion; Ondo State Gratuity, N15.04billion; Unpaid Local Government Salaries and Allowances, August to December 2016, N9.3billion; January to February 2017, N5.19 billion.
Local Government Pension Liabilities of N25.23 billion; Local Government Gratuities N20,96 billion; Contractors’ Liabilities N39.74 billion; Outstanding payment requests in the Office of the Accountant-General without cash backing, N5.45billion made up the rest of the debt profile.
But Kayode Akinmade, who served as the spokesperson for the Mimiko administration denied the claims, saying his boss left behind N20 billion in the treasury of government while leaving office.
But the Campaign for Democracy said it had since been expecting Mr. Akeredolu to constitute a panel to investigate the Mimiko over the huge debt.
"Since this assertion was made, the campaign for democracy has been expecting the governor to institute a panel of enquiry to investigate the circumstances that led to such a huge debt by a government that inherited over 32 billion naira from its predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu.
"It is rather worrisome to be informed that Mr. Akeredolu has decided to sweep the seeming financial fraud under the carpet.
"He is claiming that his predecessor, former governor Mimiko, was his Secretary General, when he was the president of the SUG at the University they both attended.
"For that reason, his hands are tied to commence a full-scale investigation into the real reason why the state was grounded and rendered impotent".
But the group said that Governor Akeredolu should separate governance from friendship and stop the attitude of shielding Mr. Mimiko.
"It is not the business of Ondo state people if they are childhood friends or bedmates in the higher institution as such should not be a barrier to transparency and accountability in the running of state affairs.
"The consequential effect of Mimiko's maladministration is the owing of civil servants several months' salaries, the increment in tuition fee at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, which has caused many homes untold hardship and gnashing of teeth".
The group said failure to comply with the ultimatum would mar the good working relationship it hopes to maintain with the Akeredolu led government in Ondo state.