Edo 2020: Obaseki’s deseprate second-term agenda drains state finances

Edo 2020: Obaseki’s deseprate second-term agenda drains state finances

…disquiet among civil servants over non-payment of salaries

When Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State defected to the PDP days ago, the financial account of the party got a major boost following reports of a hushed payment of six billion naira by the embattled governor to the leaders of the party for his membership and the dismissal of other cleared aspirants to pave the way for his emergence.

However, though excitement and jubilation broke out in Wadata Plaza over the new windfall supplied by the defecting cash-cow, the reverse was the case across Edo state as civil servants lamented non-payment of salaries.

The governor’s second-term agenda and the procurement of the PDP’s ticket have both taken a huge toll on the state’s treasury and the consequences have now extended beyond the halt of governance and projects, to non-payment of salaries to civil servants.

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In the past few days alone, Governor Godwin Obaseki crisscrossed the country with his allies to attend political meetings brokered to rescue his dwindling political career using expensive private jet services paid for by the state government, sources have confidentially reported.

Similarly, political actors within Edo State and beyond have seized advantage of the governor’s desperation and apparent weakness to demand large sums in exchange for support, especially after he was left with no legs to stand on when his takeover attempt in the APC failed and he was disqualified in the race to obtain the party’s ticket.

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Governor Obaseki’s private friends have reportedly deserted him to avoid being caught in the crosshair of the political fire and left with no choice, the embattled governor, for period spanning months, has been funding his political activities with state funds in an elaborate corruption scheme involving other senior government officials who now want out of the heist.

His recent payment to the PDP has been described as overkill for the state’s finances, a situation that has prevented the state from being able to pay salaries of civil servants.

Although there is a general disquiet amongst the civil servants, their protests have been concealed thus far to avoid retributive actions from the embattled governor who routinely unleashes violence on perceived opponents in the state.

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Already, for two years now, government projects across the state have been halted over non-payment of contractual dues. To put up appearances, the Obaseki-administration has made it a habit to award contracts to shelf companies owned by his friends who receive funding but reroute the same back to special accounts created for the Governor’s second term bid after carrying out what is commonly referred to as ‘surface dressing’.

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