Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, yesterday called on his successor, Governor Seyi Makinde, to beam his searchlight on the activities of civil servants and those working in his government instead of accusing officials who served in his administration of carting away government properties after the expiration of their tenure.
He said the advice became imperative because of the repeated claims of the present administration and its efforts to allegedly tarnish his (Ajimobi’s) image and that of his aides over missing government properties, especially vehicles.
The former governor made the call while speaking with journalists at his Oluyole, Ibadan residence, after observing the Eid-el-Kabir prayer at the Ansar-Ur-Deen prayer ground at Oke Ado area of the capital city.
There had been accusations and counter-accusations between the immediate past and present political administrations in the state over missing government vehicles.
Ajimobi, who recounted that he did not meet home appliances, furniture, kitchen utensils among others at the Government House in 2011, said he tried to avoid a repetition of the same because he worked till the last day of his tenure in office on May 28, 2019.
He added that, the lessons he learnt which necessitated the move was that government workers took advantage of former Governor, Christopher Alao-Akala’s leaving the Government House few days before the expiration of his term as a governor to loot and plunder the official government residence.
However, he said: “Like it is done all over the world, even in corporate organisation where people are allowed to leave positions they occupy with their official vehicles, he also allowed his predecessors in office to leave with their official vehicles, adding that his administration took the decision to advise people to pay for such vehicles before leaving with them.
According to him, “Again, if we are talking about vehicles, I think papers have been documented. When you are in government, there are policies and decisions to be taken. We’ve taken the decisions that anybody using government vehicle at that time should pay and take it away. And that was what we did. Go to every state of the federation, there is nowhere in the world that people will work and not take away their vehicles when they are leaving.
“Bayo Adelabu, our governorship candidate, who will still be the governor by God’s grace, was given 14 vehicles by the corporate organisations that he left. I left my last corporate organisation with eight vehicles, and that is not even in government. So what is all the noise about vehicles? When I got there, did I meet any vehicle?
“My brother Alao-Akala took his vehicles and I didn’t talk or make any noise about it, so what is this noise about it? More so, they are all old vehicles for that matter.
“So, let them go and check many of those people (civil servants) in government. When I moved into the Government House, I didn’t meet any furniture; they took the whole curtains, chairs, tables, televisions, other home appliances even table spoon. Ask Governor Makinde if they took anything from the Government House when he got there-even spoons and knives-I left them there, because it was because I worked up till the last day in office.
“But Akala left few days before I came, so the civil servants cleared everything. So who took all those buses they show on television to mechanic workshop, if not civil servants
When asked if he had any regrets after leaving office, he said his only regret was that he tried to be perfect in an imperfect world, but that if given the chance again to govern, he would take the same decisions he took.
Ajimobi also used the opportunity of the season to call on all aggrieved members of the party to return and start the rebuilding ahead of next election, noting that although some of those who left had genuine reasons, many others left the party for selfish reasons.
To ensure the reconciliation yields the desired results, he said he had made efforts to reach out as well as called personally those he felt were genuinely aggrieved, but that for others, he would expect that they come on their own.
Ajimobi, however, used the opportunity of the celebration to solicit for support for the Makinde-led government, assuring the governor that he would give him support to succeed, saying: “I pray that he (Makinde) succeeds. His success is our progress in our state. If he succeeds, it is good for us, if he doesn’t succeed, what do we gain? I am ready to support him to succeed because in supporting him, we are helping the state.”