There is no doubt that the election and subsequent swearing in of Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo State is a welcome development to the people of the state especially members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who have been in the opposition for eight years.
It is seen as another opportunity for them to taste the executive power and to let the people have a change of administration, most especially the people appeared tired of the 8-year rule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led-administration in the state.
On assumption of office, Makinde did not mince words that he has come to right the wrongs, and probe the financial activities of the immediate past administration led by Senator Abiola Ajimobi, with the declaration that the debt profile of the state was at $150 billion.
Makinde, who lamented the N150 billion debt profile of the state, also threaned that his administration would not hesitate to expose some of the sharp practices of the last administration of the former governor.
He added that his adminsitration was still looking into the state’s accounts and had found out that some of the purposes for which the debts were incured were questionable.
He said his government will look into those deals and ensure that those who have questions to answer do so, that people might occupy Ajimobi’s house if he reveals his atrocities as governor even as he threatened to reveal how the administration of the former governor allegedly ran the state into debt, if he and his All Progressives Congress, APC, continue ‘disturbing him’.
He further threatened that his administration might be forced to bring their “books out if they don’t stop disturbing our administration”.
Makinde also came up with another shocker when he revealed that the immediate past administration under awarded a N7 billion road contract to a faceless contractor.
According to him, the Moniya-Iseyin road was awarded to a faceless contractor with untraceable office address by the former governor.
He disclosed that N2 billion out of the total contract sum was paid to the contractor who he described as ‘faceless’, adding that his assessment of the job done so far on the site could barely pass for N150 million.
Initially, Makinde had accused the former governor and his aides of going away with government property including ‘stolen vehicles’. he later claimed that 14 of such vehicles have been recovered from the aides.
While warning that recalcitrant aides would be charged to court for theft, he said, some of the vehicles were retrieved from mechanics while others were recovered from some residences, and one abandoned close to Agodi Hovernment House.
Expressing his disappointment, Makinde said the road which serves as the economic route for farm and agricultural produce into the state was abandoned after the contractor collected N2 billion, with little or nothing to show for it on the project site, adding that his efforts at locating the site address of the contractor to interact with them on the level of work done despite the amount of money released, reveals that the given office address was not only untraceable but the name also faceless.
“And you saw the road that we took to this place, the road is just not in a good state even if it for us to get this functional, we can patch this road to support the Ibadan-Moniya-Iseyin road because it is a major road linking Ibadan with our production centres of Oke-Ogun as the food basket of the state and the country.
“My impression of the work done so far if I will have to evaluate and cost it, it couldn’t have been more than N150million that I will spend on it. It was a faceless contractor and we don’t even know where their offices are located. I could have stopped by to go discuss with them but there is nowhere to stop by”, he said.
The governor also came with a bang the state was technically bankrupt, saying that his administration was still looking at ways aimed at salvaging the situation to ensure the smooth running of the state.
He said the situation is so critical that if had been a public company, he would advise to wind up.
“When I came in, we were looking for ways to keep the government running because technically the government of Oyo state is bankrupt. If I take it as a private entity, I won’t lend a dime to the government of Oyo State. I will ask them to start winding up proceedings.
“So, we have been looking for ways to keep the government running, saying “we have been beaming our searchlight on areas we can get money”.
The governor while signing the Executive Transmission Bill for the establishment of the Oyo State Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), threatened to hold all permanent secretaries in the state responsible and accountable for any expenditure in their ministries.
While noting that corruption dif recognize a political party or Individual, he added that, the Bill became necessary after a lot of mismanagements was discovered in the last administration in the state, and to prevent further occurrence and to set the state free from corruption in order to restore it to a pace setter state.
Makinde however, solicited for the support from all and sundry, promising that government will never use the commission to witch-hunt anyone but rather use to set records straight, saying “all the permanent secretaries in the state will be hold accountable for expenditures of their ministries”.
According to him, the decision to set up an anti-graft body is in fulfilment of his campaign promise.
“But we will hold each and every one of you accountable for the ministries that are been administered by you and I also want to be held accountable by anyone here. I am working from the standpoint here that nothing, absolutely nothing is hidden in this whole case”, he said.
The state government has also set up 7-man committee to probe the financial activities of Local Government and local council development areas.
The probe committee is expected to commence from January 2018 to May 2019 and submit its report within 6 weeks.
The governor explained that the action became necessary due to scarcity of funds and to define means of fund activities for government and not in any way denote going after the past administration.
Rather, he explained it was to improve the standard of living of the people at the grassroot.
Makinde admonished the committee to carry out the task efficiently and ensure they get to root of any form of mis-management.
The governor also came with another shocker when he sacked and dissolved the elected chairmen of 33 local government and 35 local Council development areas and went ahead to freeze their accounts.
He did not stop there as the board of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission OYSIEC came under garner. The board was sacked as the governor promised to pay their salaries and allowances till the end of their tenure.
Though, these two actions were vehemently opposed by the Association of Local Government of Nigeria ALGON which described is unconstitutional and act of lawlessness.
Association’s chairman, Hon. Abass Aleshinloye who berated the governor’s action said that members of the board have five-year tenure.
According to him, the governor aught to have allowed the tenure to expire.
He condemned also the decision of the governor to pay members their salaries and allowances till the end of their tenure.
“The decision of governor Seyi Makinde to dissolve the board of the Oyo State Independent National Electoral Commission OYSIEC and pay members their salaries and allowances is illegal and unconstitutional.
“In fact, it don’t understand what he is going to pay them for. Pay for job or work that is not done. I don’t think he knows what governance is all about. I don’t understand if government is run that way”, Aleshinloye said.
On the crisis rocking the local government administration in the state following the sack of the council chairmen by the governor, he said the association was waiting for the governor at the Court of Appeal.
He said since the governor said he had filed an appeal “We are only waiting for the commencement of the case”.
On its own part, the APC in the state while reacting to Makinde’s outburst since assumption of office noted that the governor was not prepared for governance.
The party chairman, Chief Akin Oke said his actions have reflected his low or practically non-existent grasp of governance, reflection.
“Specifically, Governor Makinde said he met a debt of N150 bn when he assumed duty. In the same breath, he said monthly allocation from the federal government was N4.5b while salary was N5.5b leaving a shortfall of N1b. “The Internally Generated Revenue IGR was about N2b, now considering the developmental strides of Senator Abiola Ajimobi which was not in doubt, where did he think the money for all these was coming from?
“It is important for the governor to be educated on financial matters and governance issues before he comes out to make statement as if he was still in opposition and was on campaign trail”, Oke said, adding that the state was run on a prudent financial basis during the tenure of Senator Ajimobi who brought his corporate practice experience to bear in managing the state.
“A critical look at the debt profile of Oyo State when compared to other states will reflect the prudence in the financial management of Oyo State. “Considering the size of Oyo State, we can categorically say that Oyo State did not feature in the list of 10 highly indebted States in Nigeria”, he added.
However, to political observers if these actions would transform and reposition the state for the betterment of the people of the state, so let it be. But if it is aimed at tarnishing the image and reputation of the former governor or destroy his legacies which will not do the state any good, the governor should face governance.
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