As preparation for the 2015 general elections gathers momentum in the country, three political parties in Ogun State: the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) have begun to play political intrigues among themselves in order to outwit one another in order to covet the governorship position by 2015.
One of the major opposition parties in the state, the Labour Party (LP) which has kick started mobilization campaign throughout all the 20 local governments areas of the State through the immediate governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel alleged that the incumbent governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has destroyed the economic base of the state.
Daniel alleged that his successor has continued to plunge the state into perpetual debt by borrowing unnecessarily instead of building on his administration’s legacies, maintaining that his administration signed a contract with Dangote Group to establish the biggest refinery capable of employing 30,000 people in the state, pointing out that the Amosun-led government lost the project to Lagos State.
Daniel said “the most painful of all is that before I left government, I have signed a contract with Dangote group to establish the biggest refinery in Nigeria in Ode Omi and they’ve started the preliminary work but unfortunately, when you people made the mistake and voted for this current Governor, for one reason or the other, Ogun State has now lost the project to Lagos State. The refinery which is being planned in Ode Omi has the capacity to employ 30,000 people. We have lost that now because we don’t have a good Governor”.
He added “on Olokola LNG, the project which supposed to be in Ode-Omi, Ogun Waterside local government was supposed to be the biggest investment of LNG in the world. But what happened to us in this place, you people made a mistake, you elected a Governor who is not interested and because the Governor is not doing what he is supposed to do, the project has been abandoned since our last administration handed over three years ago”.
On another occasion, Daniel described the ongoing construction of 26 Model Secondary Schools by Amosun government as a waste of public funds and ‘white elephant projects’, saying the huge amount the government expended on the construction of the model schools could have been channeled to the provision of other laudable projects which could impact more on the lives of the citizens.
According Daniel, the idea of spending N1 billion on the construction of each model school is not well thought-out pointing out that the same amount of money could have been used to renovate and bring up to standard no fewer than twenty (20) schools in each local government of the States.
“If we spend the sum of N50 million to renovate one school each, we would have renovated at least twenty schools in each of the local governments with the N1billion they are spending to build their model Schools”, Daniel said.
The former governor equally accused the administration of Amosun of abandoning the rural communities in the state saying that since over 70% of the people live in rural areas, it is the duty of government to take care of all and not just the few elites in select urban areas.
On its part, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party South West Sensitization tour of Ogun State called on party faithful to begin mobilization of both old and new members from ward level to the state level in preparation for the 2015 general elections.
The Ekiti Governor-elect, Dr. Ayodele Fayose, while addressing the party faithful at a rally held in Abeokuta warned leaders of the party against imposition of candidates during the forthcoming elections if the party wants to win.
“Party leaders should ensure that best candidates emerge to carry the party flag in the coming elections. We should allow a level playing ground. Let us work together for the interest of the party. There should be no imposition in the party”.
Fayose charged the party leaders, who may have any grievances and had left the party, to bury their differences, come back to the party and work together for the PDP success in the state during the election.
He claimed “I am an advocate of no imposition. There should be no imposition of candidates in any elective positions in the coming elections. We must allow anybody who wants to come into the party either as fresh members or returnees”, adding that “there would be wavier for anybody that wants to join the party to be able to take active part in the election processes”.
On its part, the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun in his bids to retain his seat during the 2015 elections while reacting to the allegation of his predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel described his allegation on the ‘destruction of the state economic base’ as illogical saying that the former governor was fond of making claims from his own imagination.
Amosun, who responded to the allegation through his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the former governor is known for making frivolous and illogical statements adding that, Daniel shouted for eight years instead of providing good governance for the people of Ogun State.
“How can he say we are destroying the economy of the state when President Goodluck Jonathan who he claimed to be supporting has been in this state severally to commission industries?” he queried.
He noted that President Goodluck Jonathan, during one of his visits to Ogun State to commission a company declared that “Ogun State is the Nigeria’s most industrialized state and everyone in the state will soon find a job to do”.
“Many industries now throng the state among which is the Procter and Gamble, the biggest American investment in Nigeria outside oil and gas”, Olaniyonu said.
“May be he is seeing what the president and other investors are not seeing or people are seeing what he sees not, his argument is illogical” the Commissioner stated.
At an interactive meeting he had with civil servants in the state recently, Amosun announced the approval for car and housing loans for the workers in the state stressing that this will boost their morale and efficiency at work.
He also promised to implement 27.5 percent Peculiar Allowance for teachers as well as payment of outstanding allowances.
According to him, the approval of the loans became necessary to allow the civil servants a choice of either buying the new houses built by government or build their own at any location.
With the minimum of N500, 000 as car loan for officers on Grade Levels one to six, housing loan of N1m to the same category of workers and a maximum of N2 million and N5 million car and housing loan respectively for officers on Grade Level 16 to 17.
On the prices for the three bedroom, two bedroom semi detached and the two bedroom flats built at the Laderin Estate, the governor after due consideration of the appeals by workers reduced considerably the amount to N5.5 million for three bedroom and N5 million for two bedroom flat.
On the 2,000 workers that Daniel employed few months to the end of his administration in 2011 andsacked by Amosun when he assumed office on the grounds that their employment did not follow the due process, the governor has ordered their re-absorbment into the state civil service.
He directed that all the affected people should, with immediate effect reapply by submitting all their credentials at the office of the Civil Service Commission and Teaching Service Commission’s office, TESCOM.
It was gathered that some of the disengaged workers were employed late in 2011. “We have said it times without number that every action taken by us, will be reasonable not partisan. When we came on board and saw the way those employed then came in, the only option left to us, was to terminate their appointment and ask them to reapply. Those that we could absorb then were taken back.”
At a meeting the governor had with all the 236 Counselors in Ogun State, Amosun approved the purchase of new cars and furniture allowance, with effect from July to all the council lawmakers.
He equally directed them to come up with a proposal for a capital project to be executed in each of the 236 wards in the state, saying “he was very concerned about the people in the grassroots, whom he described as the bedrock for a thriving governance.
He challenged the councillors to see themselves as ambassadors of the people at the grassroots and charged them to have clear vision for their wards”.
He said he was not unmindful of the fact that the organ of government at the grassroots must have necessary incentives, tools and enabling environment to achieve meaningful development, adding that this explains the government’s gesture.
The governor charged them to replicate the rebuilding mission of his administration in their respective wards and explained that the proposed projects would be funded by the government and executed by the councilors.
“Governance for me is not all about a party or just the governor but ensuring that we break through political barriers to meet the needs of our people,” he stated.
On its part, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) pledged that it would offer a level playing ground for all aspirants to test their popularity in all the elective positions during the party’s primaries in order to ensure that credible candidates emerge and also ensure victory of the party in 2015 elections.
Responding to the allegation of Daniel “on the state of economy in the state”, the party through its Publicity Secretary, Sola Lawal, advised the former governor to channel his energy towards freeing himself from the web of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) rather than condemning the people-oriented programmes and projects of the current administration in the state.
“it is regrettable that pariahs, who ought to be behind bars for sundry unmitigated crimes against the people were pontificating on the way forward for the same hapless people” APC noted, addinng.
He stated that the infrastructural, health , education, agricultural and other transformations witnessed in Ogun state since assumption of office of the Amosun government and widespread endorsement of these programmes by the people spoke volume of the eagerness of Ogun people to cut a final break from a past of mesmerizing oppression by elected people.