FORMER Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, on Thursday, said his predecessor-in-office, Chief Bisi Akande, awarded the construction of a government house in his last days in office, after he lost the election in 2003, and paid the contractors the entire contract sum of N800 million in advance.
This was disclosed in a statement on Thursday, where he reacted to various allegations against him in the autobiography of Chief Akande, entitled, ‘My Participations.’
Oyinlola said he found it strange that Chief Akande, who boasted of being prudent and honest as a governor, would award the construction of a government house in his last days in office and paid the contractors in full.
“Chief Akande confirmed this strange payment on page 393 of his book. This was a man who said there was no money to pay workers and pensioners but he had enough to pay a contractor in advance for a government house after losing his re-election.
“In any case, the state already had an ongoing Government House started by the military government which Akande refused to complete. I completed the project and added chalets plus a presidential lodge.
“Everything was completed and commissioned within my first year in office. The state has continued to use the structures till date. Akande, in his book, condemned my decision to opt for that project instead of his own idea. Further details on this are in my forthcoming book,” the statement read.
Speaking on the 2003 election which Akande claimed was rigged, Oyinlola said the truth is known to everybody in the state that Akande lost the state shortly after he took over in 1999 and started fighting everyone in the state.
“Akande sacked thousands of workers and did not pay their entitlements. In some instances, the retrenched persons included husband, wife and children. He owed those who were not sacked months of unpaid salaries which I inherited and paid. He deducted 20 per cent of workers salaries to fund his projects.
“He fought obas, chiefs and religious groups and leaders. He sacked the press from government activities, blocked the only access road to NTA Osogbo and locked the gate of the Government House against even press correspondents in the state.
“He had no word of succour for his victims. These were the ingredients that cooked his defeat in 2003. But it is convenient for him to blame his defeat on everyone else apart from himself. I defeated him comprehensively in all local governments in the state apart from his home council area. Again, the details are in my forthcoming book,” he said.
Oyinlola recalled the counsel he gave Akande when he visited him in Okuku at the beginning of the administration in 1999, “that the easiest way to destroy a government is to draw a wedge between a governor and his deputy. I told him to watch out and prevent this from happening. He told me anyone dreaming of coming between him and his deputy, Iyiola Omisore, would be wasting their time. The rest is history.”
He expressed worry that Akande keep on blaming former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, for every step he took that he [Akande] did not like, adding that it was an irony that Chief Akande was Obasanjo’s favourite and that the former president always said this to members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) then.
On the Bola Ige House contract, Oyinlola said he did not level any false charges against Akande, adding that when he came into office in May 2003 and discovered that the Governor’s Office complex which Akande commissioned for use after he lost the election was really not completed, he asked the contractor to come back to site and complete the work.
But the project consultant shocked everyone with his claim that part of the payment was taking back to finance the 2003 re-election bid of Chief Akande. The consultant said the contractor could not go back to work unless he was paid his full dues.
“One of Akande’s own appointees confessed collecting money from this contractor for Akande’s re-election. I consulted Chief Akande on this. He denied having any deal with the contractor and the consultant. Some people were subsequently taken to court on a seven-count criminal charge.
“Stakeholders in the state and Alhaji Arisekola Alao later intervened. I have the details of who collected how much in my forthcoming book,” Oyinlola added.