Oyo government debunks claims of smear campaign

Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan

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The Oyo State government has declared that there is no iota of truth in the claims, by officials of the immediate past administration in the State, that the present government has embarked on a smear campaign against the former government.

The declaration was made public in a Press Release signed by the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr Taiwo Adisa, following a Press Conference addressed by aides of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi, where it was said that all vehicles taken away by the officials were boarded and sold to them legally.

The Press Release reads: “The attention of the Government of Oyo State has been drawn to a news report at the weekend which indicated that some officials of the immediate past administration in the State raised issues about the manner in which the State is retrieving vehicles illegally carted away by some of their colleagues.”

According to the statement, some officials of the Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led government had, at a Press Conference in Ibadan alleged that the incumbent government in Oyo State was embarking on a “deliberate smear campaign” against them as they claimed that it was the “tradition” to take away government vehicles after a tour of duty in the state.

Debunking such claims as untrue, the statement notes, “The Government of Engineer Seyi Makinde had sworn itself to a commitment to probity and accountability. The Governor has also showcased himself as a practical believer in what he preaches by publicly declaring his assets. A measure that is far above the constitutional requirement in such matter.”

Adisa noted in the statement that if the Governor could subject himself to public scrutiny that way he had done, it should be taken for granted that he would not be a party to covering up any untoward act by anyone or group, be they his party loyalists or members of the opposition.

The release states, “It would be recalled that the incumbent Government in Oyo State issued an ultimatum to officials of the immediate past administration who illegally carted away government vehicles and other properties to return such or risk being reported to the security agencies.”

Disclosing that the decision was informed by the monumental impunity the new administration in the state has uncovered so far, the Press Release says, it was so bad that even on Inauguration Day, the inauguration committee had to scamper here and there to source vehicles for the new Governor and his deputy.

Adisa revealed through the statement that till date, Governor Makinde, his deputy and other government officials appointed so far, are compelled to rely on their personal vehicles for use as convoy cars, in the discharge of their duties.

The Press Release states: “And that is despite the records which show that huge sums were expended on the purchase of new cars in the last year of the immediate past administration. Indeed, a number of such cars were purchased about three months to the end of that government.”

The statement says the government would not permit anyone to mix up facts in an attempt to defend a strange tradition of “vultures in governance” which is diametrically opposed to the Service Agenda of the Makinde administration.

Adding that there is a clear difference when a vehicle is boarded and the appropriate amount is paid, the CPS said the records at the disposal of government clearly demarcate the illegally taken cars from the boarded vehicles.

Affirming that the officials charged with recovery of the said cars and the security operatives have been very civil in their procedures and no fewer than 19 cars have been recovered, Adisa claimed that television cameras were on the toe of the officials who recovered the last set of five vehicles and those who took the cars away are well documented.

The Press Release states, “There is no government instrument or law of the State House of Assembly that permits vehicles to be taken away “free of charge” or in the exercise of “discretionary powers” as shown in a memo elements of the past government secretly leaked in a bid to blackmail the incumbent government.”

Adisa declared, through the Press Release, that the government in place in Oyo State is all about probity, openness, and accountability and it will not condone attempts to seize public property or distribute them like a Father Christmas, in the twilight of his trade.

He said: “It is disheartening that some persons who have had the opportunity of serving our Dear State, a state of Omoluabi would openly defend any absurdity or propensity to loot government property in a manner that debases the true Omoluabi culture that defines us here.”

Omolayo.A