…I stopped Ajimobi’s govt from squandering N7.6 bn loan – Makinde
From, Toluwa Agboluaje, Ibadan
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has berated Governor Seyi Makinde and Speaker Adebo Ogundoyin over expressed approval of a fresh N7.6 billion loan aimed at reviving two farm settlements in Ido/Ibarapa East Federal Constituency of the state.
The Assembly on Thursday had approved the governor’s request to borrow the sum three months after a similar request to obtain a N10b “infrastructural loan” was granted, bringing the total to N17.6b.
The approval was granted amid opposing voices by legislators who wanted the loan to be applied to farm settlements across the state.
The APC, in a statement by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Prince Ayobami Adejumo, condemned what it described as the “conspiracy of bad governance” between Makinde and Speaker Ogundoyin over an alleged disrespect for the opinion of majority of his colleagues who had questioned the rationale behind the fresh loan request at the plenary on Thursday.
“The current governor has succeeded in bringing the whole machinery of local government administration to a halt completely and to further demonstrate his resolve to drag Oyo State backward by many years within the shortest period of time, we have again been made to see the need for the concerned citizens to beam their searchlight on the PDP administration of Engr. Seyi Makinde as financial indiscipline is now the order of the day in the business of government.
“As much as we would not even like to dwell much on the futile attempt by Gov. Makinde’s media handlers to change the narratives on the controversial fresh loan, the whole world has realised that the present administration is here to mismanage resources and enmesh the state in an inimical debt crisis. Without a clear cut action plan, the Makinde administration has made itself a good customer to many financial institutions as it gets all forms of loans
“Unfortunately again, most of these loan transactions are done covertly and to the disadvantage of the good people of the state.
“The latest N7.6 billion loan, as announced, by the state legislature, was different from the N10 billion obtained three months ago even as tongues are already wagging on what has become of the whopping over N17b billion which came into the state government treasury in the month of June alone.
“Apart from the statutory payment of salaries to government workers, nothing concrete has been done by the PDP government since May 29, 2019.
“The orchestrated Light-Up Ibadan City project and purchase of 100 security cars have not come to any fruition even when bogus amount of state funds had been expended on them without any due process.
“Oyo has a governor who would always singlehandedly design capital projects and approve funds for their execution without any recourse to State Executive Council.
“As if this was not enough, he has found an ally in the Speaker who overrules his colleagues at will only to dance to the tune of Mr. Governor.”
Nonetheless, the Oyo State government said there are certain misinformation, misconception and outright mischief in the interpretations being given to the N7.6 billion Agriculture loan.
Media aide to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, yesterday indicated that the government had equally noticed the deliberate misconceptions and misinformation on the loan facility, saying it was an attempt to colour the truth to confuse the unsuspecting public.
He maintained that the administration of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi had obtained the said loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria and that Governor Makinde, had, in the interest of Oyo State, prevented the past government from squandering the loan at the twilight of the administration.
His statement read: “The misconceptions and misinformation that Governor Makinde was going for a loan of N7.6 billion is a deliberate attempt to colour the truth and it is an indication of a political move by certain commentators who are exhibiting apparent amnesia on the matter.
“Governor Makinde is not seeking for a fresh loan. The action that was taken by the House of Assembly of Oyo State on Thursday was to give the legislative nod to the State Government to access the fund that had already been domiciled with the government since the days of ex-governor Ajimobi.
“The Governor’s decision to approach the House of Assembly was a mark of his belief in due process, the rule of law and its processes. Ordinarily, some state executives would just have proceeded to spend the funds since it was already in the coffers of the state, but Governor Makinde won’t do that.
“You may wish to recall that sometimes in 2017, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had approved some funds under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACs) for disbursement to four states including Ekiti; Osun; Oyo and Abia.
“Somehow, the immediate past administration of Governor Ajimobi chose to delay access to that money until April 2019, when the governorship election of 2019 election had been won and lost. That government intended to expend the said money on the purchase of “Agriculture equipment” in less than two months to the end of its tenure. Allowing access to that money within a month of Ajimobi’s exit could only be counter-productive for the people of Oyo State.
“It was the spirit of activism in Engineer Seyi Makinde that prodded him to smell a rat in the plan to access that money in the twilight of Ajimobi’s administration and that informed the suit filed by then Governor-elect Makinde at the High Court of Oyo State to secure an injunction restraining the then Governor from accessing that money. The suit, dated May 7, 2019, is referenced M/284/2019.
“It is a well-known fact that the immediate past administration in Oyo State had spent millions of Naira on the purchase of agriculture equipment including excavators and tractors, whose locations cannot be ascertained just a year after the purchase.
“Besides, no one could estimate the value (if any) of the expended huge public funds
“In effect, the decision by Engineer Makinde to stall the access of Ajimobi’s government to the N7.6 billion was not only well-considered but completely in the interest of the people of Oyo state.
“As the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Makinde had taken his time to x-ray the best way the loan can be applied in view of the four-point Service Agenda of his administration.
“He has, therefore, come to the inspired decision to devote the said loan to the reconstruction and standardization of the Farm Settlements in Eruwa and Akufo areas of Ibadan.”
According to the statement, the two farm settlements are to be built into Farm Estates in line with the vision of the Makinde administration to ensure the full utilisation of the Agriculture value chain for economic expansion and to boost of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“It is expected that when the two Farm Estates fully come on stream, the output therefrom would easily offset the loan secured while also providing the seed money for the reconstruction of the remaining seven Farm Settlements.
“The administration of Engineer Seyi Makinde has emphasised a Four-Point Service Agenda, which encompasses Education, Health, Security and Economic development using Agriculture value chain, its focus on this agenda for a quick turnaround of Oyo state’s human development index remains unshaken.”
A development economist and former consultant to the World Bank,Dr. Samson Olalere,said it was a right step.
Dr. Olalere said:”It is a step in the right direction, given the fact the Governor in his campaign promises, promised to focus on the agricultural sector to revamp the economy of Oyo State. If the loan is properly deployed, we should envisage a situation wherein the state is taking advantage of its land resources, an area where she has comparative advantage over many other states. The chain effect of effective deployment of the loan includes enhance food production, raw material provisions For cottage industries as well as provision of employment opportunities for the teaming youth population in the State.
“Development of the farm settlements with provision of needed facilities will attract the youths to agriculture, this will be followed by reduction in rural-urban migration, thus decreasing the urban population hence reduction in crime rates and increasing criminal tendencies due to increased unemployment. As the project is said to be a pilot project, it is hoped that it will be properly managed in other to open up further opportunities and thus make provision for the government to exploit to its fullest the land potentials it is blessed with.
Governor Makinde a couple of months ago said the last administration left a whopping sum of N150 billion debt.