- Painful That Huge Investment That Should Have Accrued To The State Was Lost -Abiodun
- Real Reasons Dangote Didn’t Site Refinery In Ogun State- Amosun
The governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, and his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun are currently at each other’s throats for losing huge investment and revenue opportunities that would have been provided by the gigantic Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant.
The Matrix had earlier reported that amid huge fanfare and celebration, the 650, 000 barrel-per-day gigantic project, the largest single-train refinery in the world was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele at the commissioning of the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals Complex disclosed that the functionality of the refinery will save Nigeria nearly $30 billion in foreign exchange savings from the reduction in petroleum imports while the nation’s economy is projected to benefit from an extra US$10 billion of foreign exchange inflow annually through the export of refined petroleum products.
Nigeria and Africa as a whole; given that favorable spillovers from this project are also expected to spread from Nigeria to other West African countries and eventually to all countries of the African continent.
It is also projected that over 100, 000 jobs would be created by the project.
The loss of all these aforementioned opportunities has irked a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Segun Sowunmi who blamed the Ogun State Government for losing the siting of the behemoth Dangote Refinery to neighboring Lagos State.
In a statement he personally signed, Showunmi said: “I cannot but wonder what explanation Ogun State has for not housing that project that sits pretty within our Ogun Development Master Plan with Olokola Free Trade Zone in Ogun Waterside!
In a bid to absolve himself, Abiodun said he was not responsible for losing the refinery to Lagos while accusing Amosun of costing the state huge revenue and investment that would have accrued to the state if the gigantic project was sited at Olokola Free Trade Zone, in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state where it was initially proposed to be sited.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said it is painful that the huge investment that should have accrued to the state was lost, especially when the mega project had been initially planned to be located at the Olokola Free Trade Zone, in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state.
“In truth, everyone knows that Segun Sowunmi is referring to the immediate past governor, Ibikunle Amosun, as the man who frustrated the efforts to locate the refinery in Ogun State.
“We are all aware that the penultimate administration made appreciable and concerted efforts to ensure that the Olokola deep sea port and other ancillary projects in the OKFTZ, become a reality, by rallying major players in the oil and gas sector, including Dangote Group.
“The present governor, Dapo Abiodun, served as the Chairman of the Committee on the Olokola Free Trade Zone projects during the first term of the immediate past governor,” the statement partly read.
Firing back, Amosun in a 13-paragraph statement signed by his media aide, Bola Adeyemi, challenged the governor to provide evidence that he (Amosun) was responsible for losing the project to Lagos.
Amosun accused the governor of churning out half-truths, and said he had been reluctant to join issues with his successor, “I am making this exception. It is my hope that this will be my final word on the Olokola Free Trade Zone and the Dangote Refinery Lagos relocation debacle.
“Our attention has been drawn to a press statement by Prince Dapo Abiodun, Governor Ogun State, where he accused Senator Ibikunle Amosun of being responsible for why Ogun State lost hosting the Dangote Refinery to Lagos State.
“Let me put it straight: The Olokola Free Trade Zone project was not solely owned by Ogun State. From its conception in 2007, it was a Joint Venture. The Federal Government of Nigeria owned the majority 51%, Ondo State Government (14.5%), Ogun State Government (14.5%), and strategic core investors (20%).
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, according to the information availed us when we took office, subsequently bought and took over the 20% equity of the core investors. Ogun State was a minority equity stakeholder only, without proprietary strength and capacity to take sole decisions on the Joint Venture enterprise.
” I am proud to put on record for posterity that the brouhaha and misconception about the true and full ownership of the project became confused for reasons of the proactive and investment-friendly disposition of our administration. Ogun State, under my leadership, went beyond and above duty and did all we could to ensure that the project saw the light of day.
As Governor at the time, I appointed two (2) carefully chosen stakeholders of Ogun East/Ogun Waterside Local Government extraction to represent Ogun State’s interests on the joint venture enterprise and advise the State.
These were Dapo Abiodun (now Governor) and Mrs Kemi Adeosun, then Commissioner for Finance, who incidentally hailed from the host Community of the Olokola project. After Mrs Adeosun was elevated and became a minister, another son of Ogun East, Lekan Onamusi, took charge and represented Ogun State on the Joint Venture.
“Based on the advice of our representatives on the project, we engaged the majority equity holder, FGN and our joint venture partner, Ondo State Government, who were very responsive and eager to have the project in Olokola Free Trade Zone.
We also vigorously engaged Alhaji Aliko Dangote and did everything possible to make the enterprise take off. A total of 10,000 hectares of land was made available. As a mere holder of 14.5% equity interest, it is most uncharitable for anyone to churn out lies that Ogun State was in a position to unilaterally frustrate the project or was responsible for the logjam. With respect to all sides, it accords more with logic to appreciate the fact that Alhaji Aliko Dangote took business decisions of his own in accordance with the goals of his business strategy and risk assessment.
“Our position was that, at the minimum, 500 hectares from the Ogun State portion be reserved for the host Community, Ogun Waterside, as against ceding the entire land of the Olokola Free Trade Zone.
Indeed, at some point and at my instance, our revered Elders, Baba Olusegun Obasanjo and Kabiyesi Awujale, Oba Sikiru Adetona were involved, where we all met to ensure that the project was sited in Olokola Free Trade Zone.
“Looking back to my time in Ogun State, I remain immensely grateful to God and the good people of our State for the opportunities availed us. Our records of achievements remain incontrovertible.
We opened the State to genuine entrepreneurs and investors, which led to the influx of massive private-sector investments. We also paid serious attention to the security of lives and properties—over 200 industries, both local and multinational, were birthed in Ogun State.
In a particular year during our time, 75% of the entire National FDI in the real sector was birthed in Ogun State, so much so that President Goodluck Jonathan saw the need to visit commission significant private sector-led projects at least five (5) times. Ogun State, under my watch, was indeed investor-friendly and investors’ destination of choice as Ogun State literally became the Industrial Capital of Nigeria. Ogun State’s economy, at the time, grew faster than the national average. No amount of concocted lies, blackmail and orchestrated falsehood will blight these unparalleled facts.
“It is, therefore, interesting to read that the present Ogun State governor holds me responsible for allegedly scuttling the Olokola project. For the benefit of the good people of Ogun State, Nigerians and posterity, we challenge him, particularly as he was then the chairman appointed to oversee and ensure that the project was sited in Olokola Free Trade Zone, to disclose with facts, where he or the Administration was remiss, and which might have led to the project being moved away from Ogun State.
“The only thing I can recall that the government insisted on, was that about 500 hectares must be set aside and protected for the benefit of our people in Ogun East, and in particular, the host community, Ogun Waterside.
” As Governor, I would never have knowingly let any opportunity slip past Ogun State and its people. I did my best to the satisfaction and conviction of my conscience.
” As I conclude, it is my hope that this intervention will give clarity to the vexed subject of the Olokola Free Trade Zone and the relocation of the Dangote Refinery controversy.
” Once again, I congratulate the Dangote group and Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the hard work, dedication, and commitment to the results that we all saw on Monday,” the former governor said in the statement.