From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
As the campaign for election into the Ekiti State number one seat formally kicked off last Sunday, a former state governor and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate for the June 18 poll, Asiwaju Segun Oni, has said if he is elected, he will secure the resources of the state, utilise it to grow the state better than what his predecessors had done.
In another development, a United State of America (USA)-trained Sociologist and Public Procurement expert, Dr Bayo Arowolaju, who was Special Adviser on Due Process and Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), during the first term of Segun Oni, said the Segun Oni-led administration was the most transparent and focused in the political history of Ekiti State.
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Oni, who was responding to questions by the Ekiti Build Back Better (EBBB), led by its spokesman, Idowu Adelusi, at his Ifaki Ekiti country home, on Tuesday, reiterated that he was not looking for what to eat and neither was he desperate to come for a second term.
He said rather, he was moved out of pity for the impoverished Ekiti people who insisted that he ought to come out to free them from servitude.
Oni said while in office, he ran a transparent government, managed the state’s resources well to develop the state and that he left no debt for his successor.
Reiterating the financial prudence of Oni-led administration, the former BPP boss said, “neither the former governor nor any member of his cabinet was ever invited for questioning by either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). There wasn’t also any record of other investigation agency of the government inviting a government agent for questioning.
“This was due to the proper implementation of the processes and procedures of public procurement mechanisms and the determination of Oni to judiciously deploy the meagre resources of the state to grow it economically, socially and politically,” Arowolaju said.
The former BPP boss said Oni did not borrow a dime from anywhere throughout his tenure as Ekiti State governor, adding that he left over N10 billion in government’s coffers, plus two months federal allocations and security votes.
All these, Arowolaju said, were left for the Kayode Fayemi-led administration “that used the judiciary to remove Oni from office.”
Responding to a question on his schedule of duty, Arowolaju said, “my office was to ensure transparency, integrity openness and timelines in the public procurements of goods, works and services, including consultancies without sacrificing quality.
“All procurements were vetted and scrutinised to ensure that they met all the due process of laws before the certificate of award signed by me was issued to the awarding MDAs, as my office did not award contracts.”
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When asked if his palms were greased by contractors to pave the way for easy approval of papers, Arowolaju said, “there was no room for the contractors and I could not interact with them.
“I didn’t know them. I only worked on their papers like BOQs and qualifications for the job they were applying for.
“Every Ministry, Department and Agency (MDA) of the state was trained in the processes and procedures of the procurement mechanisms and lapses and lack of due process in any form or shape not tolerated.
“To back that up, a law was enacted by the State House of Assembly to give teeth to the system.”
He also described Oni as “a honest, transparent and incorruptible gentleman with high level of integrity and with his life centered on improving Ekiti State and making the lives of the people better, saying that Ekiti would have been better off economically, socially and politically, if his administration had not been removed courtesy of ‘the Salamigate judgement.”
Arowolaju said during the time of Oni, the local governments in Ekiti got their revenue allocations as sent from Abuja without the state government tampering with them, “which is what local government autonomy is chiefly about.
“Oni still believes that the revenue coming from Abuja for the Ekiti local governments will still be sufficient for the running and development of the third tier of government, including the newly-created Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).”
Arowolaju continued that “the local government autonomy, which the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government could not achieve in almost seven years in office was what Oni did within three years in office as governor and also granted same autonomy to the legislative and judicial arms of the Ekiti State government. But the Fayemi-led government cancelled everything.
“The same good governance was extended to all other sectors of Ekiti State. That is why the difference is now clear between Segun Oni, the candidate of the Ekiti people, and the stooges of Fayemi and Fayose who may be seeking a third term for their sponsors and bosses,” Arowolaju submitted.