Sola Adeyemo reports on the claim by Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, that his predecessor, Abiola Ajimobi, awarded a N7 billion road contract to a faceless contractor, which has rekindled the rivalry between them
Upon the declaration Engr. Seyi Makinde as Governor-elect of Oyo State over his contender, Chief Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the March 29, gubernatorial election, his first unofficial assignment was his visit to the then incumbent, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in his office.
In the euphoria of the landslide victory, Makinde, who contested the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), displayed an uncommon trait of camaraderie, promising not to probe the administration of his predecessor.
The duo exchanged pleasantries amidst handshakes as Ajimobi congratulated Makinde, admitting frustration of the party’s dream of elongating the already unprecedented and unbroken eight-year, two-term administration in the Pace Setter State. He also promised the incoming administration all the supports needed.
But, no sooner had the victory-induced excitement was savoured than the unexpected started rearing its head. This soured the veneered display of sportsmanship by Ajimobi and the earlier no-victor, no-vanquished stance of Makinde.
The Ajimobi administration, which then had about three months to pack out of the government house, and which was owing workers of tertiary institutions for some months, coupled with about N63 billion unpaid pension and gratuities of retired primary school teachers and local government workers, suddenly embarked on a foray of award of fresh contracts, which reportedly amounted to about N40 billion.
Award of the contracts was announced at the executive meeting and within two days money was speedily released, thereby igniting the suspicion of many people that the intention was to strangulate the incoming government, financially.
Miffed by the development, Makinde, who had pledged not to probe Ajimobi’s administration, had to make a detour, vowing to review every contract awarded between the period of his victory and his inauguration on May 29.
Aside the contract award, an x-ray into the financial records of the administration soon revealed to Makinde that series of underhand dealings had been executed, laying financial landmines for his administration.
In the course of assessing the state of series of road contracts previously awarded, Makinde, last week discovered that the Moniya-Iseyin road in the Akinyele Local Government Area of Ibadan was awarded to a “faceless contractor,” whose office address could not be known.
He discovered that the past administration had paid a take-off sum of N2 billion to the faceless contractor for the road construction which was awarded for a whooping sum of N7 billion, the execution assessment of which he said was just in the region of N150 million.
The governor made the disclosure after he had embarked on a tour of the road leading to the Pacesetter Quarry and Asphalt plant, located at Km 25, Ojedeji area of Moniya in Ibadan.
Explaining his level of disappointment, the governor lamented that the road, which serves as the economic route for farm and agricultural produce into the state could be abandoned after the faceless contractor had collected N2 billion, with little or nothing to show for it on the project site.
He said his effort at locating the site address of the contractor to interact with him on the level of work done despite the amount of money released, revealed that the given office address was not only untraceable, but the name was also unascertained.
The governor complained that the road, which should serve as an access for transporting farm produce from the Oke Ogun zone of the state was in a deplorable state.
His words: “My impression of the work done so far if I will have to evaluate and cost it; couldn’t have been more than N150 million. It was a faceless contractor and we don’t even know where their offices are located. I could have stopped by to go and discuss with them, but there is nowhere to stop by.”
Reacting to the allegation, the Oyo State chapter of the APC through its Publicity Secretary, Dr. Azeez Olatunde, faulted the governor’s claim.
The party in its response titled: “Oyo State gaffed,” said it was “surprised by the deliberate falsehood being dished out by the clueless government in Oyo State led by Engr. Seyi Makinde.”
The statement added: “APC Oyo State is surprised because of their humpty dumpty, Kamikaze approach to governance in a state governed in the past by brilliant stand-out performers like Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Premier of Western Region; late Chief Bola Ige, an orator cum multi-linguist; Alhaji Lam Adesina of blessed memory and just recently Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who is being given post governance awards here and there by who is who in the affairs of Oyo State.
“One would want to believe that the accolades being showered on Senator Abiola Ajimobi is the root cause of headache that Seyi Makinde’s government is now searching for spurious and frivolous issues to discredit the good works of Senator Ajimobi in the court of public opinion.
“However, we may offer our advice to Governor Makinde that he has spent one out of his forty-eight months mandate with nothing to show for it, chasing shadows.
“The Oladiran Engineering and Trade Nigeria LTD, which the Makinde government claimed to be faceless is on the website http://oetnig.com. The company is validly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria. That is the little assignment we are going to give to the lazy kitchen handlers of the governor.
“When they visit the website, they will have their office address and their contact details, as well as, the company’s year of incorporation and other projects they have and are handling.
“The dark side of blind-voting is voting a governor who hasn’t got the capacity for the office voted, is what Oyo State is experiencing under the government of Engr. Seyi Makinde, who continues to campaign, two months after being sworn-in to office.
“It beats one’s imagination for a governor who claimed that his state is ‘technically bankrupt’ yet wants to be paying a statutory board of Oyo State Independence Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) and perhaps constitute another board, double payment, when common sense of an insolvency is to manage little resources for maximum goals.
“We are not surprised because Seyi Makinde has been committing impunity and constitutional breaches since day one of his inauguration.”
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