Oyo State government has debunked insinuations that his principal is spending public fund on party politics in other states, declaring that the Governor Seyi Makinde-led admimistration is running the state with ingenuity and also delivering incisive governance.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr Taiwo Adisa, made the declaration while speaking on a radio programme in Ibadan, the state capital, on Saturday.
He said Governor Makinde has been spending the state’s resources to benefit the people of the state, noting that that was why a lot of efforts have been going into turning around the infrastructure of the state across, health, education and other sectors.
He said the administration’s innovative project funding approach is bringing about an ongoing massive turnaround in the infrastructure deficit of the state, notwithstanding the global setback occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Adisa, the introduction of the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA) by the administration, which allows contractors to raise funds to execute critical infrastructure while the state pays at a later period, has enabled the government to substantially bridge the worrisome infrastructural deficit it inherited in 2019.
He also revealed that works on the establishment of the Oyo State Anti-Corruption Agency, which bill was passed to the House of Assembly and assented to by the governor, has now reached an advanced stage.
He added that the state government had instituted a painstaking process to search for persons of “impeccable integrity” to man key positions in the agency and disclosed that the State Executive Council has ratified some of the things the agency will work on.
He also said that the economic and political sagacity with which Governor Makinde has been running the state is commendable.
According to him, criticisms coming from the opposition party in the state over volumes of loans or planned bond issuance were needless and mere distractions, adding that the state government could not fold its arms and say that, because there is COVID-19, it would not plan for the future of the state.
He stated that infrastructure projects, including the ongoing 21 kilometre Ajia-Airport road, remodelling of the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba and the construction of the four transport interchanges, among others, were parts of the innovative plans of the administration to turn things around and expand the economy.
“Immediately the state government, in playing to his own chosen line of openness, announced its intention of going for a N100 Billion bond, the noise came up in huge volume from the opposition party.
“They were saying that the government wants to plunge the state into debt when they don’t even understand the issue at stake; when they don’t even know the difference between ordinary borrowing and the bond; when they have not even interrogated the agenda that we have put up for raising the issue of the bond and when they have not also looked at the benefits that will accrue to the state.
“They have not interrogated anything other than to play politics and play to the gallery. The truth is that a lot of people are afraid when you talk about debt. But it is modern-day political management, modern-day economic management that Governor Makinde is into in Oyo State. It is incisive governance.
“So, when we talk about the bond, we released the issues that are going to be addressed by that bond, and what I expect from the opposition is to address those issues.
“We talked about upgrading the Ibadan Airport and they should ask if we need that in Ibadan. We talked about fixing the corridors of the Dry Port. Do we need to keep the place for the state to be able to derive enough benefits from it when it becomes operational?
“Also, we talked about the train that is going to terminate at the Dry Port. We talked about the Iseyin/Ogbomoso Road corridor that will also be opened up. But nobody is talking about those issues.
“When you have a business that is not running well, how do you reflate it? Is it by sleeping or going to learn from people like Dangote, who is the richest man in Africa and, at the same time, owing a lot of banks, corporations outside there, and around the world?
“Are you going to borrow ideas from people whose businesses are successful, or you subject yourself to a moribund idea? Will you stick to an idea that ran for eight years and brought nothing to the table?
“No, we are not going to be cowed by noise in the marketplace but will be objective and focused on real and incisive governance. That is why the state government highlighted what it will do with the bond.
“The processes of getting the bond are ongoing and we have not collected any amount. Every kobo that will be borrowed is tied to infrastructural development and they are highlighted at every point in time,” he said.
The governor’s aide further said that part of the projects that will benefit from the N100 billion, when it is eventually issued, is the Ibadan Airport, stating that the government has already facilitated some improvements including the lighting system, the runway to an extent and some other things put in place by the government.
“Recently, the Airport was not going to be accredited to start operation after COVID-19, but the state government intervened and is still intervening to make sure that the international standard we are talking about is maintained (at the airport).
The Federal Government approved Akure, Ilorin Airports after COVID-19 restart but Ibadan Airport was not immediately approved. But because the state government has intervened, the Airport came back within the same week.
“So, we are focused on what we want to do and won’t be swayed by the noise here and there. And we are going to tell anyone making noise to look at what we are doing and stop shouting,” Adisa added.
On why the government is remodelling the Adamasingba Stadium despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited attendance at stadia, Adisa said the Makinde administration is already looking beyond the pandemic and planning for the future.
He said: “Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, built the stadium in the 1950s. At that time, the population of Oyo State should be under two million and then, the people did not ask if the stadium was a priority.
“Some 44 years ago, Adamasingba Stadium was built and allowed to go to ruins. How do you prepare for tomorrow when you leave today in ruins?
“It is because we are preparing for tomorrow that we don’t want to allow COVID-19 to keep the world down longer than necessary anymore; that we want to build youth and investment capacity; to make sure we have a thriving stadium that we can use to pull out the energy of our youths once again in all aspect of sports so that they can compete nationally and internationally,” he added.