Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has denied a statement by factional chairman of retirees in the state, Omoniyi Ilesanmi, that his government paid N50 million to each of the political office holders that served between November 2010 and November 2014 as severance allowance.
Aregbesola, in a statement by his media adviser, Sola Fasure, on Thursday, said the allegation is preposterous, malicious and false in its entirety.
“It is absolutely unreasonable and ludicrous for anyone to suggest that a state government will give each political office holder a N50 million severance allowance at this period when every available kobo is being mopped to pay salaries and pensions, provide infrastructure and social services and run a modest government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the severance allowance of political office holders has been set in accordance with the State of Osun Public/Political Office Holders and Revised Remuneration Package Law 2007, section 4 (1) and (2) schedule (B) which recommends 300 per cent of basic salary as severance allowance.
“This recommendation was also taken on advisement from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) which recommends 300 per cent of basic salaries.
“However, the State of Osun law referenced above has a proviso of beneficiaries having successfully completed a full term or on pro rata basis, after a minimum of two year period of tenure.
“With this arrangement, only the governor and his deputy are entitled to N6.6 million and N6.3 million respectively. However, the governor returned his cheque to the treasury, having waved his right to earn salary since he assumed office.
“Two principal officers qualified for N4 million each, 15 political office holders received N3 million each, and while 18 others received N2.8 million each. This was over a year ago.
“Governor Aregbesola demonstrated sensitivity to the financial situation in the state when he did not constitute a cabinet for more than two years. When he eventually did, he put ALL political office holders on half salary.
“How then could he have paid N50 million to each to political office holders as severance allowance?
“Mr Ilesanmi and his ilk have embarked on a campaign of calumny against the government, hiding under the plight of pensioners, telling barefaced and egregious lies, making outrageous claim and inciting the people against the government.
“He moves around with a motley crowd and they parade themselves as representing the whole company of dignified and respectable retirees in the state.
“He has constituted himself into an insidious political opposition, riding on the sentiment of the sympathy and respect the larger society has for retirees and senior citizens.
“Mr Ilesanmi and his group openly campaigned for the opposition party candidate in the 2014 governorship election in the state, hiding under the cloak of retirees.
“He used the same platform to openly campaign for the candidate of the same opposition party in the last senatorial election in the state, curiously only in the cities where election held.
“This is an abuse of privilege and he should desist from this less than honourable path. As a private citizen, he is at liberty to join any political party and exercise his freedom of association and political participation as he deems fit.
“He should however not drag the respectable, decent and cultured Omoluabi retirees into his filthy political waters. If he has any evidence that the State Government paid any sum beyond what is quoted above, he should bring it up for the benefit of the public.: