Following the accusations and counter-accusations between the immediate past and present political administration in Oyo State on recovered government vehicles, Ex-Governor Abiola Ajimobi has urged his successor in office, Governor Seyi Makinde to beam his searchlight on the activities of civil servants and those working in government instead of accusing his officials of carting government property after the expiration of their tenure.
Ajimobi said the advice became imperative on the repeated claims of the present administration and its efforts at tarnishing his (Ajimobis) image and that of his aides on the missing property, especially vehicles.
The former Governor spoke on Sunday while addressing journalists in his Oluyole, Ibadan residence after observing the Eid-el-Kabir prayer at the Ansar-Ur-Deen prayer ground, Liberty Area, Oke Ado, area of the capital city.
The two-term governor who recounted that he did not meet anything in terms of home appliances, furniture up to kitchen utensils at the Government House upon his election in 2011, said he tried to avoid a repetition of the same because he worked till the last day of his tenure in office on May 28, 2019.
He added that, the lessons he learnt which necessitated the move was that government workers took advantage of Ex-Governor Christopher Alao-Akalas leaving the government house few days before the legitimate expiration of his term as a governor to loot and plunder the entire official government residence.
However, he said, like it is done all over the world, even in corporate organization where people are allowed to leave positions they occupy with their official vehicles, he also allowed his predecessors in office leave with their official vehicles, adding that his administration took the decision to advise people pay for such vehicles before leaving with them.
Ajimobi was flanked by his wife, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, the APC governorship candidate in the 2019 election, Mr Adebayo Adelabu, the APC state secretary, Mr Mojeed Olaoya, embattled chairmen under the aegis of Association of Local Governments of Nigerian (ALGON) who were led by the Chairman, Mr Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, former Media Adviser, Mr Bolaji Tunji among other aides, party chieftains and members.
He said Again, if we are talking vehicles, I think papers have been written. When you are in government, there are policies to be taken. There are decisions taken. Weve took the decisions that anybody using vehicles at that time should pay and take it away. And that was what we did. Go to every state, federal Government and all other state, there is nowhere in the world that people will work and not take away their vehicles when they are leaving.
Bayo Adelabu, our governorship candidate who will still be the governor by Gods grace, they gave him 14 vehicles from the corporate organisations that he left. I left my last corporate organization with eight vehicles, and that is not even in government, it is from the private sector where we used to work. So, what is the issue with this noise on vehicles. When I got there, did I see any vehicle?
My brother Alao-Akala took his vehicles, I didnt talk or make noise about it, so, what is this noise about it. More so, they are all old vehicles and it is a minor thing. And let me tell you something, there are also people in government, government officials, who, the moment politicians are leaving, they will steal everything.
So, let them go and check many of those people in government, the civil servants. When I moved into the Government House, Agodi, I didnt see any furniture, they took the whole curtains, furniture, chairs, tables, televisions, home appliances up till the last table spoon. Ask Governor Seyi Makinde if they took anything from the Government House when he got there, up to spoons and knives, I left them there. But you know why, it was because I worked up till the last day in office.
But Akala left few days before I came, so the civil servants cleared everything. So, all those buses they are showing on the television that they met in the mechanic workshop and the rest, who took them to the mechanic workshop if not civil servants. So, that is what they do and let someone not come and rubbish us.
Asked if he had any regrets after leaving office, the former Senator said his only regret was that he tried to be perfect in an imperfect world but that if given the chance again to govern, he would take the same policies decisions he took again and again.
The former governor also used the opportunity of the season to call on all aggrieved members of the party to return and start the rebuilding ahead of the next election, noting that although some of those who left had genuine reasons, many others left the party for selfish reasons.
To ensure the reconciliation yield the desired results, Ajimobi said he had made efforts to reach out and called personally those he felt were genuinely aggrieved but that some others he would expect that they will come on their own and that he would not call them as a sign a respect for his position as the party leader in the state.
Ajimobi however used the opportunity of the celebration to solicit for support for the Makinde led-government, promising to give him any kind of support anytime to succeed, saying I pray that he (Makinde) succeeds. His success is our progress in Oyo state. If he succeeds, it is good for us, if he doesnt succeed, what do we gain? Some people will come and say they dont want the new governor to succeed, why not? I pray that he will succeed and anytime, I am ready to support him to succeed because in supporting him, we are helping the state.
Author: Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan