As controversies and verbal brick-bats continue to fly between the PDP and APC in Oyo State over allegations that former office holders under the administration of Sen. Abiola Ajimobi made away with official vehicles belonging to the state, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Asiwaju Ojo Adebayo has explained why those vehicles may not be returned as ordered by the Seyi Makinde administration.
In a statement personally signed by him on Monday, Adebayo revealed that the appointees were allowed to buy the vehicles under the government monetisation policy being operated by the State and Federal Government.
Days after taking over, the Makinde administration raised the alarm that all the official vehicles used by Ajimobi’s appointees have been taken away. It then ordered them to return the vehicles or face arrest.
Over the weekend, Ajimobi himself weighed in on the controversy, advising Makinde to focus on more important tasks in the state rather than “talking about mundane issues”. The PDP replied him swiftly, rhetorically asking if theft should be classified as mundane.
Neither Ajimobi nor the concerned aides explained why the cars were not returned or whether they have to be returned.
Adebayo in his statement however disclosed that the cars were sold officially and legally to the political appointees in 2018 under the policy which he described as being extant till today at the State and Federal levels.
Describing the theft allegation as a joke, he chided the present state government for not going through records made available to it in the handover notes.
According to him, “the government policy which is still extant till today at the state and federal levels is that such cars should be sold to us at the end of our stewardship in accordance with the monetization policy of the government.
The former Attorney General suggested that Governor Makinde was not tapping from the public service experience of the Deputy Governor, Engr. Remi Olaniyan to save the government “unnecessary war of attrition.”
“Governance is a serious business and I am at a loss on the reason why the Governor is not tapping from or availing himself with the rich wealth of public service experience of his Deputy Governor , Engineer Rauf Aderemi Olaniyan, FNSE. Working closely with the suave, noble, urbane and and brilliant Olaniyan would have saved the government of most of the unnecessary wars of attrition they have plunged themselves into,” he said.
Giving a historical background to the acquisition of the cars and the decision to sell them to appointees, Adebayo said Ajimobi, “being a very shrewd person” ordered the purchase of cheaper but reliable Renault and Nissan Sentra vehicles for his cabinet members as official cars after they had struggled to get by for months without official vehicles.
“We asked for this rightful entitlement in May 2015 shortly before the end of our tenure of office, but the Governor refused to heed to our request on the ground of the downturn in the state and federal governments economies as at that time.
“He told us point blank that he will not approve the “boarding” of cars that were were 3 years and 4 months old to any political appointees when civil servants were being owed some arrears of salaries. In actual fact, the policy to monetise the vehicles or having them boarded to us were prepared by the civil servants in the Cabinet Office, but the Governor outright disapproved it.
“Some of our colleagues who had no vehicle apart from their official cars and who pleaded to be allowed just a grace of 1 month to use same had the vehicles forcefully retrieved from them by the law enforcement agencies at the behest of the immediate past Secretary to the State Government.
“It is therefore a joke taken too far and indeed a comic relief that the present government is claiming that such almost 8 year old vehicles boarded and sold officially and legally to the political appointees in 2018 are being made issues just for political capital when the records of those vehicles are available to those crying wolves when and where there is actually none.
“On my honour, if I was in the second term cabinet of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, I will not bid to buy my official vehicle as the car had become a very used tokunbo car having been on the road from February 2012 to May 2019.
Adebayo then advised the current administration in the state to apologise to the past political appointees for the embarrassment caused them, saying “anything short of that would have the net effect of discouraging others from putting in their best into the services of our state and country in the future.”