By Richard Thomas.
Oyo state House of Assembly has risen in defense of governor Seyi Makinde over his move on the Ibadan circular road project which has generated controversy within the past week between the state government and the Oyo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The House noted with dismay how a contractor of the state government engaged to provide a service under a valid contractual agreement could be threatening his employer with legal action and demanding an apology from the governor for expressing his displeasure over the stage of completion and what could be described as shoddy deal in the process.
The deputy speaker, Hon. Abiodun Fadeyi representing Ona-Ara state constituency while making his submission stated that the governor has every right as the representative of the people to query any contractor who fails to deliver on the terms of the contractual agreement and to express his displeasure without fear or favour.
He said governor Makinde was magnanimous enough with ENL Consortium not to have revoked the contract after the discovery of appalling lapses in the process of executing the project. He therefore urged the House to as a matter of urgency commence a full scale probe into details of the contract which is expected to be completed and delivered by year 2020.
The Minority Leader Hon. Asimiyu Niran Alarape representing Atiba state constituency noted with caution that the said contract was based on Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) module which implies that the state government did not commit any fund to the contract as the contractor will be the one to fully bankroll it, Operate it for an agreed period and transfer the project back to the state government adding that political parties are mere vehicles to attain power.
“The interest of Oyo state is the paramount factor that supersedes individual or political interest when the issue of governance is involved.”
“The controversy surrounding the said contract was already becoming annoying and needed to be resolved once and for all.”
Hon. Dele Adeola representing Iseyin/ Itesiwaju state constituency while making his contribution aligned with the position of the Deputy Speaker adding that the move by ENL Consortium was a calculated attempt to upturn the will of the masses adding that such action is an abuse of governor Makinde’s magnanimity who has the right and power to revoke the contract based on information at the governor’s disposal over progress report of the contract.
Hon Adeola thanked governor Makinde for re awarding the Ibadan Iseyin road of about 65km for 9.9Bn with improved structures and facilities to a new contractor adding that something was fishy about the Ibadan circular road and should be investigated by a joint team of members from the Ministry of Public Works and House Committee on Public Works to be reported back to the House before further actions.
Hon. Ayo Fatokun representing Akinyele constituency I stated that regardless of the the adopted module of execution either based on direct funding or build, Operate and transfer module, the cost will still fall back on the people at some point adding that the completion stage is far below expectations considering the short time left to complete the project, he therefore aligned with the position of other lawmakers to investigate the contract before further actions.
Hon. Seyi Adisa representing Afijio state constituency spoke in line with Hon. Alarape adding that politics should be relegated to the background when discussing governance stating that the committee on public works should interface with the contractor in order to find a lasting resolution to the controversy surrounding the said contract and its stage of execution.
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanjo Adedoyin representing Ogbomoso South state constituency said that assessment of the contract performance is less than 5% as at 2019 considering the fact that the contract has just one year left for ENL Consortium.
“It should be invited alongside officials of the Ministry of Public Works led by the commissioner to appear before the House to give clarifications on the lingering controversy.
The speaker of the house, Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin in his remark noted that the fact that the contract was based on BOT module does not absolve the people from paying for it eventually adding that it should not be contrued as doing the state a favor therefore threatening the governor with a legal action.
“This implies threatening the people of Oyo state in whose interest the governor is acting.”
He therefore ordered the House Committee on Public Works to investigate the matter and report back to the House before any further action.