By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
The All Progressives Congress(APC) in Oyo State on Thursday, said it has uncovered fresh plots by Governor Seyi Makinde to add to the debt profile of the state through what it called needless borrowing of N100 billion styled bond by the governor to finance some projects.
But the state government, in a swift reaction, said the APC was frustrated and has exhibited its mercantile approach to governance.
The war of words came on the heels of Governor Mankind’s approval for the issuance of N100bn Private bond for circular road, Iseyin-Ogbomoso road, Ibadan Airport expansion.
However, APC, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary in the state, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olatunde, noted that the governor on his assumption of office was shouting on the rooftop of meeting debt from his predecessor, in the early hours of assumption of governance, thinking that his own government would not add to the debt profile of the state at all.
The party opined that, in the business of governance, there was nothing bad in borrowing in as much there are commensurate projects that would fund the debts.
APC said further: “Oyo State Government’s decision seeking to finance projects in the magnitude of the Ibadan Circular Road by directly seeking for loan is laughable, misleading and undoubtedly shows signs of no foresight.
“Interestingly, there was a contractor in place as at 29th of May 2019,when Governor Makinde took over. The Company, ENL Consortium has committed about N7billion to the Ibadan Circular Road Project.
“Why revoking the contract which is based on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Model, and the Government attempting to seek for loans to finance the same project?
“Retrospectively, the governor who demonstrated his naivety in the business of Governance on an occasion of one of his visitations to the sites last year, ordered the contractor, ENL Consortium to “stop work.”
“It was when he was schooled that a “government does not have power to stop work on a project it’s not financing, that he had a rethink.
“World over, PPP is the order of the day, especially for projects which can’t be funded by government 100%. It was in that wisdom, that the Abiola Ajimobi’s Government adopted the model of PPP in ensuring that the Ibadan Circular Road Project got commitment in funding as deserves.”
“The project is to be operated on “Build-Operate-Transfer” (BOT)Model where ENL Consortium will source for the funds, toll it upon completion and transfer it to the Government having realised their investment fund without interference.
“It’s this same model that was used for the Lekki-Epe Road and other projects of such magnitudes in Lagos and other enlighten States and abroad.
“Aside the Ibadan Circular Road Project,the Oyo State Government is seeking to commit part of the Bond to financing the Ibadan Airport. This is quite laughable and another insensitive move.”
“If Oyo State Government is really committed to the upgrading of the Alakia Airport, lobbying of the Federal Government through FAAN should be the best approach.
“The Federal Government recently through the Minister of Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola(SAN) gave a standing order that the State Governments shouldn’t undertake projects under the Federal Government purview, else the State concerned won’t be paid for the projects.
“One can begin to ask that,is Oyo State Government another Father Christmas, seeking to fund a project it won’t be getting paid for?”
“At a time we are yet to see the value of the N7.6billion loan for Akufo and Eruwa farm settlements. At a time we are yet to see the impact of the N22. 5 billion infrastructure loan, seeking a bond to the tune of N100billion is the most insensitive step at this stage, committing Oyo State treasury to refund N100billion loan whether in short term and long term is amateurish, especially as it concerns public finance.
“Finally, if the Government of Engr Seyi Makinde eventually cornered the N100billion loan, his government would have successfully increased Oyo State Debt Profile by adding N139.5 billion within two years.
“How much debt would the government of Governor Makinde plunge Oyo State to before winding down?,” APC queried.
While responding on behalf of the state government, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, described the criticism from APC against the administration’s decision to embark on some major projects, deploying what was called ‘Oyo Prosperity Bond’, as inhuman.
The commissioner said: ”It is so unfortunate that the APC that people massively voted against because of its selfish and mercantile approach to governance, claimed the federal government has stopped all states from embarking on federal projects when they know it is our people that are suffering for it.
”The Ibadan Circular Ring-Road, upgrade of Ibadan Airport and the development of the Dry Port are for the promotion of commercial activities in the state; whereas the APC administration could have done it when it was in power, but, instead, decided to emulate the ‘slave-driver’ approach which turned the people against it.
”Governor Seyi Makinde was voted in with massive votes from the common people who believed and still believe in him and not mercantile, cash and carry approach which failed the APC.”
“The governor has always toed the path of honour in his programmes, policies and actions; he has the interests of the common masses at heart; and these projects are representative of that fact.
”How easy could it have been if COVID-19 had not affected the global economy.
“Oyo APC is in the know about the humongous borrowings by the federal government, purportedly, to support infrastructural projects but do not see anything bad in that. Governor Makinde has turned the corner in the pursuit of good governance and, therefore, would not be deterred by baseless and asinine criticisms,” Olatunosun said.
The commissioner pointed out that the statement from Oyo APC showed the insensitivity of the party leadership to the needs and yearnings of the people of the state.
Continuing, he asked: ”Are they saying our people do not need quality healthcare facilities? Must the state remain in the stupor and economic stagnation they left behind, even when they spent the resources of the state to rub the ego of their ‘foreign’ masters?”
‘Governor Seyi Makinde has seen the need to boost the local economy where these projects are sited, employment opportunities will be multiplied and people will be the better for it,” he posited.