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Re: The Fallacies, Misconceptions And Realities About Oyo Debt Profile | Abubakre Ajao

An article published by your esteemed medium and written by an author with the name Mujib Dada–Qadri is of interest and certainly needs clarifications.
The said author had attempted to put into perspective some revelations made by the governor of Oyo State, Engr Seyi Makinde, during his meet-the-people programme on June 29 and other engagements afterwards.
Before Dada-Qadri came up with his statistics-laden write-up, a few interests, including the Oyo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had expressed similar sentiments, a development that appears like some persons are afraid of their shadows.
I am very much of the view that the statements made by Governor Makinde in respect of the debt profile of Oyo State should leave no one in doubt. Governor Makinde stated during the media interaction that the verified debts of Oyo State so far stands at N150 billion. He did not delve into any rigmarole that analysts like Dada-Qadri are now belabouring themselves with.  The governor also restated the facts while addressing members of Oyo State branch of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners. He simply said that the verification process is ongoing.
But the article by Dada-Qadri and a few comments from some like-minded individuals are already taking the message beyond the original boundary. Whereas the governor was giving a descriptive situation report of the job he just resumed into (he has said that he begged to apply for the job and is ready to deliver on promises), the commentators were already insinuating propaganda and such worthless ventures.
A commentator on one of the social media platforms recently said that he would not like Governor Makinde to toe the line of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC, which according to him, spent four years demonising the government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and had nothing to show as its own achievements four years after. To that person and the like of Dada-Qadri, I think it should be clear by now that Governor Makinde meant everything he said when he declared that he had drawn the line on activities of Oyo State prior to May 29, 2019. It should even be clearly stated that even in drawing the curtain on an outgone era, nothing should stop the new office holder from asking obvious questions.
Running a government is like engaging in research work. Like a researcher, you go into the field with an open mind. You draw research questions, probing questions that look into the future. Those questions won’t stop you from taking the necessary steps that could further the course of the research. Unlike those who jump at propaganda mode just to fill the void of cluelessness, and merely buy time, Makinde’s declarations are purely descriptive of the situation he met on ground. Before a pilot embarks on a trip, he tells the passengers the situation of the flight and the possibility of a smooth or bumpy ride.
From the declarations so far made by Makinde, who got to power as a result of his humility and commitment to the people, as evident in his victory over the candidate of a party that has ruled the state for eight years, it is clear that they were not to raise hell, engage in needless scare-mongering or attempt to further a cause of propaganda.  He has told the people what he called the sad aspect of the story. He has, however, told the people not to fret, because he knew he was not called to manage wealth already starched in a storehouse but to provide direction that will navigate a bankrupt state into prosperity.
 The question well-meaning people should ask Dada-Qadri and others like him are: Which reasonable Chief Executive would get to an office and keep quiet after discovering a fishy N2billion payment to a company which disappeared after delivering a job worth only N150 million? Which CEO will cover up the acts of his predecessor which led to the filtering away of over N60 billion into private hands? What of the illegal “free of charge” allocation of government vehicles and property to agents of the immediate past executive, as reported by some online media?
Dada-Qadri’s write-up sold him out as an amplifier of the APC rejoinder to the governor’s interview, which the party hurriedly withdrew though not after it had been sighted on one or two news media in the state. But if that writer will condone evil in the name of statistics, even when doing so portends danger and ruins to the state, I don’t think well-meaning people of Oyo State who are bearing the brunt of the actions and inactions of the Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s eight-year rule will toe that path.
When we were in school, we were told that statistics could be a double-edged sword. You can use it for good or for bad. The kind of statistics reeled out by Dada-Qadri in support of his claim that Governor Makinde was engaging in “fallacies” were not just deceptive but diversionary. If the government of Senator Ajimobi had increased the state’s Internally Generated Revenue by over 100 per cent, he should receive credit for that. If his government has also increased the state’s debt profile by over 100 per cent, he should receive the blame. You cannot cherry-pick by diverting to the realm of local or foreign debt. What is the difference anyway?  Whether foreign or local, debt cannot be a badge of honour, especially when it is not commensurate with the achievements after eight years in office. I am also sure that Oyo State residents whose businesses and means of livelihood were destroyed by the past government, artisans and local engineers who were sidelined by the government in favour of expatriates and faceless contractors will certainly not clap over the statistics reeled out by Dada-Qadri.
Dada-Qadri also went on a merry-go-round, comparing states, their IGR, their level of indebtedness and even the level of social infrastructure in eight years. He mentioned states of the North and others. One should ask him what was the status of those states he mentioned or their regions when Chief Obafemi Awolowo was raising the bar in the South-West?  It should be clearly that Governor Makinde’s government has adopted Chief Awolowo’s type of pacesetting standards as its measure. It does not seek to be counted among the same of the same. Oyo State is not just known as Pacesetter for nothing but largely because it was the direct recipient of the many firsts recorded by leaders of the Yoruba nation in the days of Western Region.
Dada-Qadri also said that the debts of Oyo State are staggering but “not sour or too bad” in view of what he called some social infrastructure projects executed by the immediate past government in Oyo. I doubt if a Development Expert properly designated would be proud of the series of abandoned and ill-executed projects that litter the state as of May 29, 2019. I also doubt if the window-dressing venture of constructing roads at entry points to a few major cities in the state embarked upon by the past administration can qualify for infrastructure development.
One needs to put to rest this deceptive succour some economists are used to propagating these days. They talk about debt to GDP ratio and at the state level, they talk of increasing IGR as against the percentage of debts. These are at best mere window dressing for, as a debtor, a percentage of your earnings must go for debt servicing at the end of the day. Imagine if you could keep that to further development.
Without belabouring the argument, the situation Governor Makinde met Oyo is bad, but he has assured the people he has taken that as a challenge to do well and lead the state to prosperity.  We can only advise the like of Dada-Qadri to pocket their unhelpful statistics and face the reality of the situation in Oyo.
Abubakre Ajao, an agriculture expert, writes from Oyo
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