Rauf Aregbesola, governor of Osun state, has appealed to civil servants in the state to exercise patience with him over the inability of his administration to pay salaries in the last seven months.
Describing the situation as an economic tragedy, Aregbesola blamed the development on the alleged poor handling of the nation’s resources by the federal government under former president Goodluck Jonathan.
He was speaking on Tuesday when Osun Action Strategy Development Group, a non-governmental organization, paid him a courtesy visit.
“No leader is happy to see what is happening. It is a harrowing experience to see workers work and at the end of the month, their work fails to translate to wages,” he said.
“The delay in salary pains me a lot and when I reflect on the travails of the people I feel sad about it.
“There are natural disasters caused by forces. There are economic disasters caused by factors above human powers.
“In our circumstance, what is available to us as allocation is less than what is needed to meet our statutory obligation however prudent we have been.
“For four years, the gross total income accrued to our state is N204bn and this can be contrasted to N206bn, which is the total statutory obligation of the state for four years.
“What this means is that even without money for capital projects and overhead cost this amount collected could not sustain the states statutory obligations.
“And we did not just wake up to find ourselves in this problem. It was occasioned by the mismanagement of the nation’s economy for six years by the past administration.”
He warned that the development should not be used as an avenue to attack his government, boasting that “no state had done what Osun did in the area of security”.
“For those who think this is an opportunity to pillory us in this economic condition, I pity them. Only God does not fail,” he said.
“We shall overcome; we shall recover from this challenge. I sympathise and feel for the workers. I appeal to them to bear with us as we work assiduously to end this problem. I assure them that the period of agony will soon be over.”
On Sunday, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) taunted the governor over the situation saying he should sell the state-owned helicopter to pay the workers.