Daniel ‘sold' Olumo rock before leaving office, says Amosun
Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun yesterday told an audience of shocked traditional rulers that his predecessor, Gbenga Daniel had "sold" the famous Olumo rock to a private manager under a concession arrangement that would last fifteen years.
Mr Amosun dropped the bombshell while addressing the state's traditional rulers at the Oba's Complex located at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, which is a stone throw to the governor's office. He also informed the gathering that due to the debt inherited by his administration, his government might not be able to pay the N18,000 minimum wage.
"The number one tourist centre in the state, ‘Olumo Rock' was concessioned for 15 years," Mr Amosun told the royal fathers "Other state resources are concessioned for between 25 and 60 years. I begin to wonder why somebody will sign all our patrimony. To make matters worse, all of them were made without the laid-down procedure. It did not go through the State Executive Council, not even the Assembly." He, however, said his government was resolved to look into all of these and review them.
"If it affects any of you our Kabiyesi, it is nothing personal, it is about the state. I am not here to witch-hunt anybody," he said.
Lamenting the financial position of the state, the governor added that the legacies of the founding fathers of the state had been handed out by the last administration, saying the state government's property on Victoria Island was leased out for 60 years.
He, however, disclosed that he was not interested in probing his successor.
"I am not interested in any probe. I don't want to use my good time to chase what I know is bad. They said they left N50 billion. They are looking into our debt. But at the appropriate time, we will tell you what we met on ground," Mr Amosun said. "I will even be happy if what we met on ground is N50 billion. Ogun is the most indebted state in Nigeria. Lagos borrowed N250 billion and Rivers is N150 billion. Lagos generates N30 billion per month. Rivers generates between N12 and N15 billion. What we generate is N900 million to N1 billion and you have a loan of N50 billion."
Mr Amosun said the financial position of the state is bad and that the state needs to borrow about N4 billion to pay its salaries.
"If civil servants wants N18,000 minimum wage, we will have to borrow about N6 billion. All our assets have been concessioned," he said.
Ready for correction
He also dismissed the power plant project embarked upon by the Daniel administration, saying the technology behind the power project is 1970s.
"A totality of N15.9 billion has been expended on it. The state has paid 50 percent to contractors and the percentage of work is just 20 percent. They are refurbished and to think that those are the asset that put us in debt. I know it is bad, I never imagined it is this bad."
He said he decided to address the traditional rulers to carry them along in the business of governance. He said his administration would renew the urban areas, which will affect some buildings.
"We will be stepping on toes in trying to rebuild the state, but we have to," he said. "In all we do, we will not allow our people to suffer. We will provide alternative. It is not to demolish for demolishing sake, our people have suffered a lot, we will not add to their problems. We will take briefing from you. When we veer off the track, feel free to correct us."