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I’ve never touched LGA funds, Ondo gov claims

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu

The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, said that he has not touched Local Government money since he assumed office in 2017.

Vanguard reported that, Akeredolu said this while hosting the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Oluwole Sunday-Adeleye in Akure on Friday.

The governor claimed that the Local Government has been functioning independently under his administration, even though, he cannot understand its inability to pay its workforce.

Akeredolu said, ”What is happening in the Local Government is a source of concern. At a time they were ahead of the State Government in the payment of salaries. They even started the payment of salaries in percentages.

“For us at the State level, we were able to overtake them because little money came in and I said these monies have to be used for workers’ salaries. Not that we have stopped working. We are still working.”

The NLC boss Chairman in his address said, ”We have come to say a very big thank you. If we are saying we don’t know the inflow of money into government and the percentage salary is taken out of it, we’ll be deceiving ourselves.

“We are not unaware of the chunk salary is taking out of the inflow to the state. Of course, civil servants are signatories to the account. We are aware that almost 80 per cent of what comes in is expended on payment of salary, which we normally term recurrent expenditure.

“Ordinarily, there is no way recurrent expenditure should be more than capital expenditure but because of your policy and determination to see that you do not owe workers, you even paid the ones you inherited. That is why, today, we are enjoying this leverage.

“You paid three salaries within ten days. October, leave bonus and November salaries. And luckily, my joy is that the leave bonus is not taxed and we don’t put a mortgage on it. We don’t use leave bonuses as collateral.

“You have said it severally, that you have not given us a dime personally, whether to bribe or do anything. But we have also looked at it that if the government is committing a larger percentage of its income to salary, then we cannot ask for anything better than that.

“We can only pray for its sustenance. It got to a stage, I was even afraid, looking at what you are doing and wondering where you would get the money to finish these projects before you leave office.

“Mr Governor sir, if we would not be asking for too much, you would agree with me that we have about five services in Ondo state that the Head of Service superintends over.

“It is on record that since you came on board, you have never touched local government money. Not that they told us but because we know.

”As of today, only a few will understand that our source of salary is different. People believe salary is salary. It is a big request to help us see into the local government arrears. They are the closest to the grassroots.”

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