Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has blamed the inability of states to meet their financial obligations to workers and contractors on the Federal Government’s directive to financial institutions not to grant credit facilities to states, in spite of the dwindling allocation from the centre.   
The governor said this during the inauguration of the state Chief Judge, Justice Munta Oladipo Abimbola, at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office, Ibadan on Monday.
For instance, he said allocations to the state from the federation account had been reduced by more than 40 per cent in the last seven months, thereby forcing the state to device ingenious ways of meeting its financial obligations.
“This is indeed a hard time for all of us in this country. Like other states, allocation to this state has been reduced by more than 40 per cent in the last seven months. In spite of this, the Federal Government directed financial institutions not to grant credit facilities to the states.
“This has painfully led to our inability to meet our obligations to contractors and workers. We have a monthly wage bill of about N5 billion and we are receiving an average of N2.9 billion monthly from the federation account, thus leaving a shortfall of N2.1 billion.
“But, we have to look inwards by devising ingenious ways to ensure that workers do not suffer untoward hardship because of this. We have been striving to pay workers’ salary as at when due in spite of the dwindling revenue,” he said.
The governor commended the judiciary for its exemplary conduct and understanding in the face of dwindling revenue allocations to the state.
Acknowledging the ability of the new Chief Judge to steer the ship of the state judiciary successfully, the governor said the new judiciary helmsman had paid his dues in the private and public sectors before rising to his new position.
He implored the Justice Abimbola to discharge his duties in accordance with his oath of office by ensuring that his personal interests did not influence his official conducts.
“We have made the right choice. We will have the fullest cause to congratulate ourselves very soon for this choice. But, I must emphasise that you should not allow your personal interest to influence your official conducts.
“I can say that the new CJ is honest and forthright. On the bench, he had delivered many judgments that were upheld by superior courts. I’m convinced that he has the ability and capability to perform creditably in his new office”.
Responding after taking the oath of office, Justice Abimbola promised to partner other judges in the state to put fresh initiatives in place that would enhance the administration of justice in the state.
He promised to discharge his duties in line with his oath of office and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, assuring the governor and the people of state that the state judiciary would rank among the best anywhere in the world during his tenure.
“With other judges, we are going to put in place a lot of initiatives to take Oyo State judiciary to the next level. The people of Oyo State should expect the best practices and we will operate under the rule of law,” the new Chief Judge said.
Dr. Festus Adedayo
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media