By Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has berated Governor Oluseyi Makinde and the Speaker of the state assembly Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin over express approval of a fresh N7.6 billion loan aimed at reviving two farm settlements in Ido/Ibarapa East Federal Constituency of the state.
The state House of Assembly had on Thursday, 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, the party condemned what it described as the “conspiracy of bad governance” between Gov. 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.
It read in part: “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 realized that the present administration is here to mismanage resources and enmesh the state in an inimical debt crisis. Without a clearcut 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 now 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.
“It is on record that no significant programme was put in place for the celebration of the Nation’s 59th Independence anniversary this year because the governor was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Gov. Makinde who has been ruling the state from unknown destinations in the past three weeks, got the Speaker to do a hatchet job on the fresh loan which was hinged on the revamping of two farm settlements which are closely located in the same federal constituency. We urge the state legislature to revisit the matter and act in the overall interest of the entire citizens of the state.” APC said.
Reacting, however, Makinde described the loan approval as victory for the people of the state. He pointed out that the loan was in pursuit of agricultural sustainability and economic emancipation of the Makinde administration.
In a statement through his spokesman Mr Taiwo Adisa, the governor, who described the decision of the state House of Assembly to grant immediate access to the loan facility, said the loan was borrowed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for “agricultural equipment” by the immediate past administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Governor Makinde had, in May 2019 when he was still governor-elect, moved to prevent the misappropriation of the funds by approaching the Oyo State High Court in Ibadan to get an injunction restraining the Ajimobi-led administration from accessing and spending the loan few days to the end of the tenure.
Governor Makinde maintained that contrary to insinuations that he was obtaining an additional N7.6 billion loan after an initial approval for N10 billion loan facility for infrastructure development, the N7.6 billion loan had already been approved by the CBN before he got to office.
He added that the apex bank had begun to deduct money from Oyo State’s Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations from source to repay the loan.
The governor stated that his administration had only approached the House of Assembly to seek approval to change the purpose of the loan facility so that it could be put to better use in developing farm estates in Eruwa and Akufo farm settlements in the state in a pilot scheme that will be used as a model for the state-wide farm estate initiative of the administration.
Makinde further explained that limiting the scope of the project to Akufo and Eruwa Farm Settlements, which were in the same federal constituency, was to allow for effective planning, monitoring, evaluation and coordination for the pilot scheme, adding that the project would extend to other settlements across the state, as his administration will remain fair to all zones in the state.