Taking cars away after service is tradition, not aberration —Ajimobi’s aides

Commissioners, members of cabinet and sundry aides of immediate past governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, have said that nothing is wrong with taking cars away from government after serving in the government, claiming that it was “tradition and not an aberration.”

The cabinet members of the immediate past administration in the state, who addressed newsmen in Ibadan, on Friday, decried what they said was a “deliberate campaign to smear and rubbish the legacies of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration” by the government of Governor Seyi Makinde.

Ajimobi’s aides led by a former Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela, alleged that “smear campaign in form of lies, propaganda and falsehood by the Makinde’s government was evidenced in allegations of cars carted away, N150 billion debt accrual and award of road contract to a faceless contractor.”

Olowofela, who addressed journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Ibadan, on behalf of his colleagues, held that no car was illegitimately taken away by the former aides, saying it was a tradition for governors across the country to go away with cars officially attached to them.

According to him, some of the vehicles were either officially taken to mechanic workshops for repairs or boarded for subsequent payment into government coffers.

Consequently, he challenged Governor Makinde’s to name those who illegitimately took cars away as well as the circumstances that led to the vehicles being in mechanic workshops.

He said: “Traditionally, cars are taken away.  Alhaji Lam Adesina, ditto Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Chief Adebayo Alao Akala, took away cars attached to their office. So it is not an aberration. It’s a tradition and practice peculiar everywhere, not just in Oyo state. So we should not make issues out of non-issues.

“Some cars were boarded and it is standard practice that once you board a vehicle, that person must pay into government coffers. So, we are saying if you have found any vehicle that has been illegitimately taken away, let’s have the names of such persons.

“We are challenging Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration to tell the people of Oyo State and the whole world which mechanic workshop vehicles were recovered from? Who took such vehicles to the mechanic workshops? Were there no documentation given to the mechanic when the vehicles were received? If there were documentations, then they should tell the whole world the circumstances that led to the vehicles being in the workshop?

Also, when were the vehicles taken to the workshops?” Olowofela queried.

On allegedly leaving behind N150 billion debt, Olowofela said the figures of the National Bureau of Statistics that the state debt was N94 billion already put paid to the Makinde’s government figure.

However, he said the bulk of the said debt was tied to the $200 million loan from the World bank to address flooding challenges of Ibadan, the state capital.

Olowofela however noted that the Ajimobi administration only drew 25 percent of the loan.

Olowofela, who spoke in company of other former aides, Mr Bolaji Tunji and Abiodun Ambali, described as impossible those notions that the Ajimobi government left an empty treasury.

According to him, the former administration worked for the incumbent to get $611 million from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for the recognition of Ibadan, the state capital, as a learning city.

On discrepancies in the award of the rehabilitation of the Iseyin-Moniya-Oyo road, Olowofela said it followed due process in awarding the 67km road at the cost of N7billion.

He debunked notions of a faceless contractor noting that the contract was awarded to one M.S. Oladiran Engineering Services Nigeria Limited.

Olowofela added that government gave the statutory 30 percent upfront of contract sum which amounted to about N2billion for the contractor to begin work.

“We further advise the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde to squarely face the serious task of governance and tell where he is taking Oyo people to in four years instead of embarking on the mundane attempt to malign his predecessor in office and paint his aides in bad light among the populace,” Olowofela added.