Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, said on Wednesday, that his administration was ready to retrieve the billions of the state’s funds looted by officials of the previous administration.
The governor, who made the vow while kickstarting the construction of the 21km Ajia-Airport-New Ife Expressway road, in Ajia town, said that his administration was ready to put measures in place to retrieve all looted funds to develop the state’s infrastructure.
The 21-kilometre Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road, with spur to Amuloko, was awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a total cost of Eight Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty Million, Nine Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six Naira, Forty-One Kobo (N8,520,919,776.41).
According to the governor, unlike the previous government, which, he said, preoccupied itself with how to corner the state’s funds on a daily basis, his administration would drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in the state within the shortest possible time.
He added that it’s only in doing so that the state can be positioned on the path of economic growth.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the 21-kilometre road construction being launched was a product of the administration’s strategic way of reducing the state’s infrastructure deficit, which is known as the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA).
He said: “Our administration means business. We will drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in Oyo State in the shortest possible time. And this is how economies work: investors will only go where they can be assured of profits. If we do not develop basic infrastructure like roads, it will affect the cost of production which, in turn, means less profit for investors. So, we cannot be seriously discussing attracting investments into Oyo State when a majority of roads and other infrastructure are in a state of disrepair.
“In order to achieve this, we must strategize on how to increase our spending on infrastructure, because what we collect from Abuja every month from federal allocation is not even enough to pay the salaries. So, the new strategies on how to increase our spending on infrastructure is what we are doing here in Oyo State.”
While explaining the reason the Airport-Ajia road costs more per kilometre than the 65 kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road, the governor said there are more hydraulic structures on the Airport-Ajia road than the Moniya-Iseyin road, and that a lot of expansion and rehabilitation will be done on those bridges.
The governor also used the opportunity to explain the APFA approach through which he said many projects will be executed in the state, stating that it is the administration’s way of funding some infrastructural projects in the state, by having the contractors fund the projects with their own money while the state repays them over a period of time.
“What this entails is that the contractor carries the projects’ risk. At the same time, we get quality delivery and quick completion of projects. They will be bearing the risk of getting this project done in a timely manner, while we pay them over the next twenty-nine months. That comes down to roughly N300 million a month. So, while they will complete the project in one year, we have the option to repay in over twice the time.
“We will continue to actualise capital projects through budgetary allocations and have the additional option of carrying out other infrastructural projects outside of the budget, using the Alternative Project Funding Approach. So, you can look forward to other projects under this approach.
“Let me state that even when we are forced to look outside Oyo State for persons to execute the projects under APFA, we still put the interests of our people first. For example, Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd has agreed that the construction labour will come from Oyo State, and we are holding them to that agreement.”
He added: “So, for projects under the APFA, because of the nature of spending on the projects, we decided that it would be best to open up the bidding process a little more so that contractors outside of Oyo State can bid as well.
“We reached this decision because we are looking for private entities who have the wherewithal to complete the projects on schedule, while at the same time, passing the tests of quality assurance.
“When we approved this project at EXCO, social media became agog with all sorts of insinuations. Those ones that you rejected during the last general elections were saying Seyi Makinde promised that he would give contracts to those within Oyo state. Indeed, I made that promise that Oyo state money must remain in Oyo state.
“Some have said the company we awarded the contract to is from Asaba in Niger Delta and that we want to take Oyo State’s money to my wife’s state. First, let me put it on record that my wife is not from Delta but from Rivers State. “Second, the representative of the company we awarded the project to, Engr Abel Adeleke, has spoken here today. He is from Osun State and they are using their money to start this project.
“We also opened the opportunity for all. Even if they had approached us and brought the money they stole while in government to fund this project, we will allow them. We all know there are certain construction works that their expertise may not be with a local contractor. If we want to construct a bridge and it is awarded to Julius Berger, they will also say Julius Berger is not from Oyo State. So, that is to tell you they have nothing to do. One thing I know is, if we build this road the way we are supposed to, on time and on budget, what concerns the people going to the airport, whether Julius Berger constructed the road or whether the contractor is from Osun or Oyo? Our major concern is that the road is constructed.”
Addressing the criticisms trailing the announcement of N100 billion bond issuance by the state, the governor stated: “I heard somebody criticizing us on radio concerning the N100 billion bond and was of the opinion that this administration wants to put the state in debt. I think our people need to start telling them that Governor Makinde is not like that. For the period of eight years they spent in office, they were only preoccupied with how to corner N1 Billion monthly into their private pockets everyday they went to the office.
“They spent 96 months in office, that means they have Oyo States N96 billion with them. We will retrieve every fund that belongs to Oyo people for the purpose of infrastructure development.
“So, tell them that the EFCC of Oyo State is coming for them. I want to assure you that we will retrieve the stolen money of the state from them and use the funds to build infrastructure like this.”