Stop Selective Amnesia on Ajimobi’s Projects, Aide Warns Oyo Govt

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Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde

The Oyo State Government has been warned to desist from its continued selective amnesia and falsehood on the giant strides of the immediate past administration of the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the only two-term governor in Oyo State in areas of infrastructural development.

This warning was given by the former Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy to the late governor, Mr. Bolaji Tunji, who was reacting to a statement credited to the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Seyi Makinde.

Tunji argued that the Makinde’s administration should rather focus on clearing the mess it had created with the World Bank on alleged inflation of contract over which the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) had allegedly petitioned the Bretton Woods Institution.

He stated that Makinde’s administration had alleged that the Ajimobi’s administration frittered away millions of taxpayers’ money in the award of the Akobo bridge contract.

According to the former Special Adviser to Ajimobi, the current administration in Oyo State has continued to elevate falsehood to statecraft, a cue taken by minions in the administration from their boss who would rather grant interviews without cross-checking his facts, thus looking foolish in the eyes of the discerning public.

“We thought this anomalous situation had stopped until this latest falsehood and selective information dissemination. One would have expected state government officials to present unadulterated facts to the public and allow the public to form an opinion rather than being selective in the information that is pushed into the public space. It was this same person who went on radio to state that the Ajimobi’s administration constructed only 400 kilometres of road in eight years, when the entire state has continued to nostalgically appreciate the giant achievements of Ajimobi in infrastructural development, two years after the administration had left the stage”.

Tunji said the contract was awarded at a cost of N3.6billion to cover Idi Ape-Ashi-Bashorun- Akobo to Odogbo barracks junction of which the Akobo bridge was an integral part, adding that as at the time Ajimobi was handing over, the contractor had submitted a certificate of job completed to the tune of N1.8billion out of which the sum of N1.5billion was paid.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the bridge was part of the contract that was awarded. It is thus surprising that Governor Makinde, through his media aide, is holding back from telling the truth about this contract but would rather single out the Akobo bridge. Even if officials of the administration have not been passing through that route from Idi Ape to Bashorun because it was Ajimobi that constructed the road, members of their family still pass through or should we say the selective amnesia is due to their state of inebriation at the point that they pass through and were thus unable to appreciate the work done. How else would we now describe the State government’s statement that no tangible work had

been done by the contractor? It is obvious to discerning people why the state government is breaking down contracts and thus has contracts within contracts. We know such tricks are being employed in order to re-award; ostensibly inflate, which is possible when the contract is broken down in bits”.

According to Tunji, governance is like a race. “Once you are done you hand over the baton to the next person, believing that he should continue with the race. This sadly has been the exception in this case. When the road was awarded, expectedly, the new, incoming administration was supposed to continue where its predecessor had stopped by servicing all necessary obligations and continuing with ongoing projects, which it failed to do. Even at that, one would have expected the purveyor of the falsehood to tell the public the connection between the Idi Ape and the Circular road. “For the benefit of the public, the contractor handling the Circular road is the same one that handled the idi-Ape- Bashorun –Akobo-Odogbo barracks junction road. “No dime was paid for the construction of the Circular road. However, the present administration, in its confusion had sought to muddy the water by deceiving the public that the contractor was paid for the Circular road, until the Contractor had to take them up and was ready to sue the state over the falsehood. With the award of the Idi-Ape- Akobo road to the same contractor, the Oyo State government then was thus going to take advantage of two roads while paying for one while the contractor was mandated to seek funding for the Circular road. So which administration is more prudent with limited resources? A government that has mortgaged the state for 50 years in awarding the Agbowo Shopping Complex over a contract of N4.9billion or the one that is getting two roads while making an immediate part-payment for one. Obviously, the ignorance and inexperience that has been the hallmark of this administration have percolated to the lower level of governance”.

“The administration had declared that it was adopting the Alternative Project Funding Approach which we know is actually the Alternative Project Fraud Approach or how does one justify the fact that in the State government’s approach, the State government will supply the Contractor who will approach the bank for fund, determine the charges and rates and load the contract to the hilt. It does not stop there; the contractor would then be issued an ISPO (Irrevocable Standing Payment Order) by the State Government, meaning that years after leaving office, the succeeding administration must continue to pay from its allocation even if the contract was not executed. All these are known and would be made known to the public in due course.”