Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has revealed that his first baptism of fire as Chief Executive of the state was how to pay workers’ May salary after he assumed office on May 29 and met “almost nothing in the state account”.
The Governor said while addressing leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, that his first challenge in office was how to pay the May workers’ salary.
He added that he had to call his friends who are managing directors of banks to take a loan of N7bn to pay workers’ May salaries.
He said: “May 30 was our first day in office. And on the 31st, it dawn on me that it was the end of the month and we need to pay salaries.
“But here we are on our second day in office. I don’t even have an office; I don’t even know how to sign any document; I don’t even know what the protocols are. Suddenly, we realized it was 31st and I intend to keep my end of the tripartite agreement. So, I called the Head of Service; I told him we must pay salary. But he said to me, ‘You are new in government and everybody understands that you just assumed office and we don’t have that expectation of you paying salaries now. They (workers) will understand. There is very little or no money. We can talk to them.’
He added: “I told the Head of Service, whether they (the workers) were expectant or not, it was my promise to the people that salaries would be paid as and when due.”
“So, I picked my phone and called my friends who are MDs in different banks. I told them I needed to pay salaries and this is the little I have; almost nothing in the state account.
“I requested for a credit facility to allow me to pay over N7bn which is the state wage bill. That day, my intention was that maybe one or two will oblige me, but the five banks I called obliged me.”
The Governor said civil servants received their alerts that evening and that gave a sense of fulfillment, being his first task in office.
However, he noted that he would rather focus on ensuring good governance in the state than pre-occupy himself with the actions or inactions of his predecessor in office.
“We have by far too many things to do than to begin to be bogged down by what someone did or what he did not do or what he left behind,” he said. “I cannot begin to describe in the open to you the Ogun State that we inherited. I cannot begin to describe it to you. I will not because I have made up my mind that publicly and privately, I will not discuss anything about the past administration.
“We have resolved to draw the line and to move forward from there. We need to be focused. We are going to rebrand and re-launch the security trust fund.”
The governor later held a closed-door meeting with the APC chieftains.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the Publicity Secretary of the party’s caretaker Committee, Tunde Oladunjoye, said the governor called the meeting to brief them on the activities of his administration in the last one month.