BY SEGUN OBAYOMI
The people of Ondo State must by now be wary of the gradual creeping of Mbadiwenism (with due respect to late Dr. Mbadiwe, Nigeria’s first Republic Minister) verbosity and indigenous word coinage unknown to English dictionary but well understood in the Nigerian context.
In this particular context, one would want to refer to Ondo States megaprojects which vary from the ‘Dome’ through primary schools, Akure City Stadium to roads in principal urban centres including Owo, Ondo and Akure .
In support of the so called megaprojects, the Ondo State Government has to also obtain mega loans. It is on record that no government in the history of Ondo State, old and new, civil or military ever inherited as much as the N38 billion inherited by the current Labour Party administration in Ondo State.
It is arguable whether they, altogether ever inherited that much at their inception! It is also clear that in all preceding political Party-based civilian governments in the history of Ondo State, none has overstretched its luck as much as the current administration in the state.
It is instructive that we have had three civilian governments that ran in full their first four year term in office, viz, Ajasin’s UPN (1979-1983), Adefarati’s AD (1999-2003) and Agagu’s PDP (2003-2007) respectively. It is also on record that the draconian commodore Otiko had no logical or compelling reason to abandon projects left in the pipeline by the Ajasin-led UPN government.
Whatever debts in terms of staff salaries and sundry payments left unpaid by the incorruptible Ajasin Administration were taken in and settled by successor governments. This scenario was repeated by the Adefarati led AD administration.
Hence when Agagu came on board, he found it expedient to continue with virtually all the projects after negotiating the contract sums downwards to slash off the ‘political’ component of the value.
The situation was very different in the change of baton between the incumbent Dr. Olusegun Mimiko led L.P. government and its predecessor government of Dr. Olusegun Agagu.
Whereas, Agagu, known for his intellectual excellence, meticulous planning and forensic attention to details had spelt out details of his program in his famous Roadmaps, all of which are elucidated in the regular approved budgets and backed with cash at the point of implementation. Agagu asserted that he left N38 billion in the state’s coffers specifically to ensure that all existing ongoing projects are not handicapped by cash constraints.
In breach of the tradition of his predecessors, the LP government, through Governor Mimiko, claimed that Agagu left a whopping debt of N117 billion in irrevocable and irreversible contracts But he admitted belatedly that Agagu actually left as much as N34 billion naira only but without admitting that the fund was tied expressly to ongoing projects.
It is against the background of financial abundance that the current Ondo State government chose deliberately to abandon ongoing projects inherited by it without resort to evaluation as to their desirability or opportunity costs!
The government not content with abandoning the ongoing projects, chose to embark on gargantuan projects tagged ‘Mega’ which by their share scale and magnitude could not be contained within the budget of any single year or even the entire budgets of the four year term of its legitimate existence.