The former administration in Oyo State has denied claims of mismanagement of funds the new government made against it.
Ajimobi’s aides made the clarification at a Press Conference, tagged: ‘Enough of Lies, Propaganda and Outright Falsehood,’ held in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
Former Commissioner for Education, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela, who represented all ex-commissioners; former Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, Mr Bolaji Tunji, who who stood in for all former special advisers; and former Special Assistant (Political), Abiodun Ambali, who represented all ex-special assistants, all addressed the press.
Olowofela said; “It has come to our notice and our investigation has also revealed that there is a deliberate smear campaign against the immediate past administration in the by the apologists of the present administration. This is in order to destroy the legacies of the immediate past administration and to individually and collectively malign us.”
He accused the present administration of falsely alleging that the State had a debt profile of N150 billion, which he said has been confirmed to be incorrect by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Debt Management Office (DMO).
The former Commissioner said; “The total Domestic Borrowings at the end of the Ajimobi administration was just over N90 billion, of which about 35 percent constituted provisions for arrears of pensions and gratuties of civil servants.”
Olowofela noted that the remainder of the amount was made up of bailouts and interventions extended by the Nigerian Government to all states of Nigeria, to assist government alleviate the pains experienced by the populace, as a result of the global economic depression and the fall in oil prices.
“These include N18 billion salary bail out of 2015, N10 billion Infrastructure loan and N18 billion budget support facility. The debt amount also included a N4.3 billion provision for salary, which had since been paid,” he explained.
In Olowofela’s explanation, the actual government borrowings were the state capital bond of N3 billion, almost since paid down, and N8 billion commercial bank loan, which had been converted into a bond by the Nigerian Government.
Loan from World bank
He argued that, “A bulk of the debt is tied to the $200 million (N72 billion) loan from the World Bank which makes up the so-called debt profile. Before its tenure ended on May 29, the World Bank had only disbursed just over 25 percent of the loan.”
The former Commissioner said that disbursements were are only after clearances have been made and no objections are issued, under the most stringent World Bank Guidelines and only to Project Milestones.
“The projects under the loan are world-class, evident all over Ibadan and has ensured that the devastating flooding that had hitherto claimed precious lives and property, has finally been checked for the first time in the history of Oyo State.
“The carefully-orchestrated propaganda started a few weeks ago when the former administration was accused of awarding the Iseyin-Moniya-Oyo road to a faceless contractor at a cost of N2billion per kilometre which had been debunked,” Olowofela stated.
He explained that the 67 kilometer road contract was awarded for N7 billion, stressing that it is statutory for government to pay contractors 30 percent of a contract sum and the past administration had paid the contractor 30 percent.
According to him, many contractors bidded for the contract, before it was eventually given to M.S. Oladiran Engineering Services Limited.
Governor Makinde had said the Ibadan-Iseyin Road was awarded for N7 billion and a total of N2 billion was released to the contractor, while the actual work done by the contractor is about N150 million.
Olowofela disclosed that the former aides and ex-political office holders decided to also respond to the current “smear campaign” about vehicles alleged to have been recovered from some aides and political office holders.
He asserted that the claims were orchestrated campaigns of calumny and cheap propaganda, aimed at rubbishing the well-known giant achievements of the Ajimobi administration.
According to the former Commissioner, the current administration had been challenged to come up with names of people alleged to have taken vehicles away illegally or without justification but nothing has been done.
Olowofela said; “We are challenging the Seyi Makinde administration to tell the people of Oyo State and the whole world which mechanic workshop these vehicles were recovered from, who took such vehicles to the mechanic workshop, were there no documentation given to the mechanic when the vehicles were received? If there were documentations, then they should tell the whole world the circumstances that led to the vehicles being in the workshop. Lastly, when was the vehicles taken to the workshops?”
When asked if former aides to Ajimobi actually took away some government vehicles, Olowofela answered in the affirmative, saying it is the tradition in the State and other states for principal officers of an administration to legitimately go with their vehicles as rewards for meritorious service rendered.
He stated that ”the current administration has allegedly embarked on the recruitment of social media personnel to step up “this smear campaign. We want to advise and state further that propaganda and outright falsehood will not benefit the administration and the generality of the people of Oyo State.”
He challenged the Makinde-led administration to desist from the deliberate campaign of calumny which could lead to the breakdown of law and order and derail the evident peace and security that have hitherto been enjoyed in the State in the last eight years.
Olowofela added; “We want to further advise the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde to squarely face the serious task of governance instead of embarking on the mundane attempt to malign his predecessor-in-office and paint him and his aides in bad way.”