By Dayo Johnson
LEADERSHIP of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State weekend described the N117b debt allegedly left by the immediate past Governor Olusegun Agagu as falsehood and a calculated attempt to blackmail him by the governor Olusegun Mimiko.
The party which challenged the governor to give the analysis of the debt asked him â€œto settle down for the arduous task of governance as the days of campaigns and tribunals are over.
In its reaction to the governor broadcast on the position of the finances, the party at a Press Conference in Akure said, “the statement was not only far from the truth but a justification for the impending failure of the government that was not ready to impact on the lives of the people of the state”.
Its Chairman, Dr Tayo Dairo and other leaders across the state said the total amount of contract awarded by Dr Agagu and which was attested to by Dr Mimiko was N82billion and wondered how a debt of N117billion could have emanated from a contract of N82b.
â€œHaving paid up to 50 per cent mobilisation with some of the projects fully completed, paid for and commissioned, how then come the debt of N117 billion out of a total contract of N82 billion?
â€œWe hereby throw an open challenge to government of Dr. Mimiko to provide for the people of this state a detailed analysis of the debt of N117 billion. It is the right of our people to know.â€
Flanked by the former Finance Commissioner, Chief Tayo Alasoadura, Dr Dairo said even from the address of Dr Mimiko, there was no how the former administration could have left N117billion as debt profile.
We wish to state most emphatically that the Agagu administration did not leave any liability for the present administration as all contracts awarded have been mobilized and adequately secured with advance payment guarantee as performance guarantee.â€
On the controversy surrounding the payment of 50percent mobilization fees to contractors, the party chairman pointed out thatâ€ the policy was to enable the contractors purchase a lot of materials required so as to edge against foreign exchange fluctuations and stem the need for contract price variation. The value of Naira to dollar when the contact was awarded was N114 as against the present N150/N160 to a dollar.
Speaking on the alleged award of some contracts twice and money paid, Dairo explained that in the Ajagba/Iyansan road contract, it was the earth work that was awarded and since it was subject to erosion, the contract was re-awarded, this time to cover asphalt overlay.
Dr Dairo equally denied any manipulation in the sales of shares in some blue chip companies and OPL 241, Dairo said the payment of $20million by the government for the Operating Production License was directly to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and not to Oil World ltd as claimed by the governor.
According to him the 70percent share of government in the OPL241 is worth $37million as against the negotiated value of $24million with which it was purchased.
The chairman said that what the Dr Agagu administration left, the present government has enough fund to complete the on-going projects of Agagu and even embarked on fresh one contrary to the claim that it would take more than ten years to offset the debt of Agagu.
He pointed out the present government has received N28.2billion from the federation account since six months ago aside the N34.2 the governor claimed was left for him by his predecessor. The value of investment in blue chip companies is N3.6billion while N5.5billion is from OPL241 and N1.3billion from the Internally Generated Revenue.
All these amounts, he said was enough to complete the ongoing projects and begin the new one adding that the address of the governor was to distract the attention of people from the non-performance of his administration.
Speaking on the discovery of secret account, the chairman said that the party had commenced investigations into the allegation.
Dairo who called on the law enforcement agencies to bring to book the offender pointed out that the suspect was never a member of the PDP.
He declared that â€œWe take serious objection to the operation of secret account if there was any and we call on law enforcement agencies to do the needful in the circumstance.
It is our stand that anyone that defrauds government should not walk as a free man on the streets.â€