Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan
The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, on Monday said that the next governor of the state would be known by May 2018, stressing the need to have an intelligent and true leader as his successor in order to continue the work he started.
Ajimobi spoke at an interactive session with the media and the people of the state on the state-owned radio and television stations. The session was also aired live on some private radio stations in the state.
The governor revealed that although he had in the past said that he would not contest an elective position in the state again, he might consider a race to represent the state as a legislator after his tenure as governor in 2019.
The governor said already there were 34 candidates jostling to succeed him but only a few met the criteria needed because the standard of governance in the state had been raised by his administration.
“About 34 people want to become the next governor of the state but not all are qualified to be there. We have been able to raise the standard of governance in the state. I want a leader who has the courage to take decisions to succeed me. Oyo State needs an intellectual who is not afraid to take decisions. That is the kind of person I am looking for. I have seen about five people with such potential already. It is too early to start discussing this but by May 2018, I will know my successor,” said the governor.
Speaking on the possibility of running for an elective position again in the state, Ajimobi said although he had served as a senator before, he might consider a return to the National Assembly in 2019.
He said, “I might consider legislative duties (next). I have been there before (as a senator) but it depends on some things I am looking at.”
The governor also frowned on insinuations surrounding the debt profile of the state under him, saying that those peddling wrong information about the actual amount lacked the facts to back their claim.
He said the state had some ‘pseudo-intellectuals’ that criticised the government out of ‘mischief’; noting that the state’s debt profile currently stood at around N4.8bn instead of the N150bn being rumoured.
Ajimobi said, “Oyo State is one of the most prudent states in Nigeria in terms of finance. It is false that our debt profile has reached N150bn. Those who are saying this should come up with documents to back their claim. As I speak, this state owes only two months’ salaries to civil servants. This morning (Monday), I have approved the March 2017 salary to be paid.
“To clear the backlog, we were paying two months’ salaries every month. I am happy that the deputy governor (Moses Alake), who just returned from Abuja, informed me that the Federal Government had approved another economic support for us. Sixty per cent of such money will be paid to workers, in addition to the 100 per cent allocation that we use to pay their salaries.”
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