Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State has said that his pronouncements on the “empty treasury” he inherited, were for the purpose of placing on record the situation he met on assuming office.
He told heads of media establishments in Bauchi on Saturday night that he never intended ridiculing anybody, but must protect the interest of the people, as he had sworn to do so.
He reiterated that what he met was terrible, adding that apart from the empty treasury, even some facilities that were needed to conduct the affairs of government, were “carted away”.
“I had to delay my written speech for days, cross-checking my facts to be sure that whatever pronouncements I made on the financial situation of the state, were correct.
“Apart from inheriting an empty treasury, properties that would have assisted in running the affairs of government, were carted away.
“Brand new vehicles, some of them worth N20 million, were given to cohorts.
“The situation was so bad that I had to draft my personal vehicles into my convoy while engaging in official function”, the governor, who had earlier accused his predecessor of leaving a debt of N125 billion on the state, said.
He stressed the need for those entrusted with leadership responsibilities, to use their discretion judiciously.
Commenting on the issue of unpaid salaries, he said that he inherited three months’ salary arrears, and had settled one month’s.
He described as unfair, some comment against his administration on the issue, adding that the burden of settling the salary arrears he inherited, rested on the previous administration, which failed to do so.
He wondered why those passing negative comments on the issue, maintained sealed lips when the regime that was supposed to pay the salaries, failed to do so.
The Governor clarified issues on the promise by the Federal Government to assist states pay backlog of salary arrears, adding that although something was in the pipeline, the governors were yet to receive a kobo.
He said that clarification became necessary as some people who thought the governors had received bail-out funds, sent messages to him through the social media, urging him to settle the arrears.
Mr. Abubakar pledged to do his best in running the affairs of the state, adding that, as a human being that could make mistakes, his doors were open for “constructive advice and criticisms”.
“The governor is a human being like anybody. The only difference is only his responsibilities as a leader”, he said.