UNENDING WAR OF WORDS IN OYO
BY OLA AJAYI
EXCEPT the transition from one administration to the other is of the same party, it is on record that new administrations especially if it is formed by an opposition party, always point the accusing finger at their predecessors for not doing one thing or the other properly.
The same scenario is unfolding here in Oyo State between the immediate past governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and his successor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Gov Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala
Ajimobi, had previously sounded a note of warning to then outgoing governor he should leave some of the decisions he was taken at the end of his tenure for the in-coming administration. But Alao-Akala ignored the warning.
So, it was not surprising that when Ajimobi assumed the mantle of leadership, he started reeling out perceived financial recklessness of the Alao-Akala's administration.
First, Governor Ajimobi alleged that Akala had emptied the state treasury by hurriedly withdrawing a whooping sum of three billion Naira five days to the end of his tenure.
The money was said to have been part of the proceeds made from the sale of some government quarters, which attracted negative comments from members of the opposition especially those claiming to be Awoists.
To them, they see the quarters as part of the enviable legacies left behind by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and anybody who sells them is nothing but a prodigal son, who wasted the resources of his father. Responding, Prince Dotun Oyelade, initially denied the allegation saying, 'Akala's administration did not withdraw N3b as alleged by the new administration in the state.'
However, he later explained that 'what happened was that the money was paid to contractors upon the presentation of certificates for job done and certified by the monitoring unit, the State Ministry of Works and the Due Process unit. This is the conventional way of paying for projects executed. The onus is therefore on Ajimobi to prove that the money was wrongly applied or prematurely released.'
Oyelade did not deny that the money was taken from the account which his government had earlier assured the people that he would not tamper with. He said it was meant for the pension scheme.
Just some few days after when the transition committee set up by Ajimobi submitted its report, his administration, again, raised another alarm that Akala spent N24billion on road construction in 2010 alone.
The said projects, he claimed, were not properly awarded. This revelation was made by the transition committee led by the former Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Busari Adebisi.
He said contracts for the projects were awarded with impunity and consultants were engaged without due process. Among the projects the committee said were not done as expected included the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso.
According to the 30-man transition committee, the resultant effect of this disregard for quality and maintenance was 'that most of these roads are in various stages of disrepair.'
Dr. Adebisi said in the course of his committee's activities, it was discovered that appointments and promotions were made within the higher echelon of the civil service without regard to vacancies or need.
Expectedly, Akala, who spoke through Oyelade, said the allegation was not well-thought-out and served narrow political end rather than any serious government concern.
He threw a banter that one month into his administration, Ajimobi had not deployed a hoe let alone a grader on any road in the state, adding that the Governor should stop preparing the ground for an excuse for a barren 100 days.
'Rather than Akala wasting government money, Ajimobi is wasting precious time on pathetic shadow boxing. This administration plans to paint a woeful treasury so it can go for bond and put the state in the pocket of his financiers. We will resist any enslavement agenda,' he said.
On alleged needless recruitment and promotion of civil servants, Akala expressed sadness that a government that professed a worker-friendly environment was now allegedly turning to be their Albatross. 'Ajimobi promised to create 20,000 jobs in his 100 days in office, but his negative disposition to workers won't let him neither will his penchant for less home work,' Akala said.
As things are now, some residents in the state, especially workers, are expressing worry over alleged diversionary tactics of the former governor, which some claim were distracting Governor Ajimobi.
Though, observers say the government would not let the people down going by the antecedents of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos and other states in the South West, they feel it should not allow its opposition to make it lose focus.
Consequently, They urged the governor to face governance squarely instead of trading blames because it would be foolish to think that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had just lost power would keep quiet. And given the serious opposition the ACN mounted against it, they said the PDP had not done enough criticism of the present government.