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The Oyo State Government and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have disagreed over Governor Seyi Makinde’s plan to borrow N100 billion to finance some road projects in the state.

The Oyo State Executive Council had on Tuesday approved the issuance of a N100 billion private bond tagged “Oyo Prosperity Bond” to facilitate the execution of priority projects “that will further drive economic development in the state”.

Information commissioner, Wasiu Olatubosun, who made this disclosure after the state’s weekly executive council virtual meeting, said the fund would be raised in two tranches of N50 billion each.

They would be for the construction of the 50 kilometre Iseyin-Ogbomoso road, the Ibadan Circular Ring-Road and Ibadan Airport upgrade.

The fund will also cover the development of Ibadan Dry Port and rail corridor which he said would serve as economic hub of the state.

He said the state would construct and upgrade one government hospital in each of the three senatorial districts of the state.

“Considering the infrastructural needs of Oyo State to enhance its economic potentials, the state government has approved the issuance of private bond tagged “Oyo Prosperity Bond” to facilitate the execution of priority projects with a view to raising one hundred billion Naira, which is to be raised in two tranches of fifty billion Naira each.

“The state government has approved Oyo State Prosperity Bond to allow for quick completion of these iconic priority projects. The construction of Iseyin – Ogbomoso Road is very important because when completed, it will serve as a link road and help to save many hours spent on traveling and the lives of commuters, who daily experience vehicular accidents on various roads that link the already dilapidated Ogbomoso Road,” he said.

APC kicks

But the major opposition political party in the state, the APC, has kicked against the decision.

Its publicity secretary, AbdulAzeez Olatunde, said the loan plan is “laughable, misleading and undoubtedly shows signs of no foresight.”

Mr Olatunde asked the state government to “liaise with the federal government” instead of borrowing money.

His statement reads in part:

“Here was a Governor who promised to take Oyo State finances away from relying on federal government monthly allocation within 6-12 months of assumption of office.

“This is the Governor who bragged in his inauguration address of exporting maize to Botswana to attract foreign exchange to boost Oyo State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and infact a lot of campaign lies to get people’s votes.

“There’s nothing bad in borrowing inasmuch there are commensurate projects that will fund the debts. How do we explain seeking N100 billion bond when we are yet to see anything tangible to point to for the already accrued N39.5 billion debts.

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“Oyo State Government’s decision seeking to finance projects in the magnitude of the Ibadan Circular Road by directly seeking for loan is laughable, misleading and undoubtedly shows signs of no foresight.

“Interestingly, there was a contractor in place as at 29th of May 2019 when Governor Makinde took over. The company, ENL Consortium, has committed about N7 billion to the Ibadan Circular Road project. Why revoking the contract which is based on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model, and the government attempting to seek for loans to finance the same project?

“Retrospectively, the governor who demonstrated his naivety in the business of governance on one of his visitations to the sites last year, ordered the contractor, ENL Consortium to stop work. It was when he was schooled that a government does not have power to stop work on a project it’s not financing, that the he had a rethink.

“The federal government recently through the Minister of Works, H. E, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) gave a standing order that the state governments shouldn’t undertake projects under the federal government’s purview, else the state concerned won’t be paid for the projects. One can begin to ask, is Oyo State Government another Father Christmas, seeking to fund a project it won’t be getting payment for?”

State government reacts

Meanwhile, Mr Olatubosun has described the criticism from the APC as “another exhibition of open hatred for the people of the state.”

He said the bond will cover the development of Ibadan Dry Port as well as the upgrade of state hospitals in each of the senatorial districts in Oyo State.

He said the statement from the Oyo APC showed the insensitivity of the party leadership to the needs and yearnings of the people of the state.

”It is so unfortunate that the APC that people massively voted against because of its selfish and mercantile approach to governance, claimed the federal government has stopped all states from embarking on federal projects when they know it is our people that are suffering for it.

”The Ibadan Circular Ring-Road, upgrade of Ibadan Airport and the development of the Dry Port are for the promotion of commercial activities in the state; whereas the APC administration could have done it when it was in power, but, instead, decided to emulate the ‘slave-driver’ approach which turned the people against it.

”Governor Seyi Makinde was voted in with massive votes from the common people who believed and still believe in him and not mercantile, cash and carry approach which failed the APC.

“The governor has always toed the path of honour in his programmess, policies and actions; he has the interests of the common masses at heart; and these projects are representative of that fact. How easy could it have been if COVID-19 had not affected the global economy.

“Oyo APC is in the know about the humongous borrowings by the federal government, purportedly, to support infrastructural projects but do not see anything bad in that. Governor Makinde has turned the corner in the pursuit of good governance and, therefore, would not be deterred by baseless and asinine criticisms.”

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