My attention has been drawn to a scurrilous and patently false recorded message circulated widely via social media in respect of the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund.
The said recorded message by one “Kunle Ologundudu” contained wilful allegations obviously meant to assassinate my character and damage my reputation and standing in the reckoning of reasonable members of the public.
It is obvious that this bare-faced campaign of calumny, targeted at Ondo State Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu, is propelled and driven by the sinister motive to smear him and adversely affect his chances in the forthcoming October 10, 2020 Ondo State governorship election.
While the vile recorded message left no conscionable, discernible, and right-thinking person in doubt that it was a sponsored hatchet job, I make bold to say that this is politics carried too far by political jobbers lacking in integrity and conscience.
My concerns, however, are the references made in the recorded message to my person, image and reputation which I had laboured to build over the years, as well as my pedigree which I value, cherish, and hold dear more than gold.
The malicious distortion of my patriotic role in the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee must also not be allowed to go unchallenged – and also unpunished in the long run.
For the avoidance of doubt and to set the records straight – as well as expose those behind the said recorded message for the base elements they are – I aver and state as follows:
1. That contrary to what the faceless recorded message said, I, Segun Olugboyegun (formerly Fagboyegun) was not, and is not, the Chairman of the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee. The Chairman is no less a personality than distinguished Mr. Kayode Falowo, Esq. who is the chairman of Greenwich Trust Limited. I was just one out of six other members of the committee, excluding the Secretary.
2. That contrary to the fake allegation that the Covid-19 Response Fund Committee received N700 million from the World Health Organization (WHO), US$2million from the United States of America, US$1million from China, and a total of US$7million, no such donations were received by the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee.
3. That the about N700million donations received by the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee in cash and kind will shortly be made public.
4. That some members of the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee, my humble self inclusive, also made donations to the Fund.
5. That the members of the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee worked pro bono (or FOC, free-of-charge, as they say) and did not collect salary, remuneration, sitting allowance, perquisites or anything whatsoever from either the Ondo State Government or the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee.
6. That to ensure probity, openness, transparency and accountability, the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee appointed a reputable auditing firm, SIAO Partners, whose Managing Partner is Mr. Itua Ighodalo, as auditors and Ernst and Young (now referred to as EY), a leading international professional services firm, as advisers.
7. That to further demonstrate openness and transparency, the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee responded promptly to a Freedom of Information Act request by an Abuja-based organisation called “Connected Development” requesting for
“information on Covid-19 donations/interventions under the Freedom of Information Act 2011”. This request was made on 20th July, 2020; the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee quickly and appropriately responded to it a few days later, specifically on the 24th July, 2020, laying all the records bare. It must be noted that the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee is the first of such committees in the entire country to make such disclosures publicly, issuing a report on funds collected and the expenditure of same. I stand to be corrected.
8.That because of the zeal, passion, and enthusiasm with which the members of the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee discharged their assignment, Ondo State recorded the second highest Covid-19 Response Fund contributions in the entire country, coming after Lagos State.
9. It is, therefore, most unfortunate when highly placed persons who, by dint of their own hard work and the grace of God upon their life, having attained heights where they feel they owe it a duty to give back to society, are maligned and vilified for doing so.
10. It is a sad day indeed when those driven by the passion, zeal, and enthusiasm to serve the public interest are abused and called names they do not deserve by malevolent elements serving selfish ends and playing base partisan politics with a matter like the Covid-19 pandemic, which involves life and death.
11. Without the timely intervention of the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee, which worked assiduously to fill the identified yawning gaps in the Ondo State healthcare delivery system, especially with regards to its response to the novel Covid-19, I shudder to think what the figures of fatalities arising from the pandemic would have been in Ondo State.
12. The step-by-step and stage-by-stage interventions by the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee, with verifiable evidence of the projects and programmes implemented, are being made public in a phased manner to highlight progress as well as completion of projects.
13. To ensure that Ondo State had value for money, an open, transparent, and competitive bidding process was adopted by the committee where quality, competence, and competitive pricing were employed.
14. As a member of the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee, I have been compelled to volunteer the above information because of the patent falsehoods contained in the malicious recorded message under reference.
15. It is important for me to so act in order that my silence may not be misconstrued as the admission of guilt.
16. The so-called “Kunle Ologundudu” can run and hide under pseudo-names but he will not be able to do so for too long. Efforts are on to unmask him and once his identity is unravelled, he will be made to face the full wrath of the law to pay for his evil as well as serve as deterent to others.
Monday, 21 September, 2020.