The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, has asked the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, to rise above cheap politics in his criticisms of the state’s Prosperity Bond unveiled last Wednesday.
Adisa, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan, declared that the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has a duty to the people of Oyo State and Nigerians in general to make sound inputs into economic debates and justify that he truly merited a seat at the apogee of the Nigerian Financial sector, where he once sat as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The media aide to the governor also maintained that the terms that will be agreed to by the state, whenever discussions on the Bond issuance begin, will protect the interest of Oyo State people, as Governor Makinde has continued to show that the protecting the interest of Oyo State and lifting it from poverty to prosperity have remained his greatest goals.
The statement read: “The announcement by the Oyo State government on the issuance of a N100 Billion Bond tagged Prosperity Bond, has generated several reactions especially from the opposition. While one would not expect some members of the APC in Oyo State to see anything good with the development, it has become imperative to react to some of the inane ideas being passed off as sound economic commentaries. This becomes particularly important, seeing how the governorship candidate of the APC in the 2019 election, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, ran amok with imbalanced economic analyses on the matter in order to score cheap political points.
“We will like to state clearly to the right-thinking members of the society that in coming to terms with the need to opt for the Prosperity Bond, Governor Makinde is being guided by sound logic and scientific analyses that originate from unbiased quarters.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the 21 km Ajia-New Ife Express Road project with spur at Amuloko being constructed under the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA), a Design, Build, Finance project, at a total cost of N8.5 bn cannot be equated to the moribund and revoked Moniya-Iseyin road project awarded under the administration of the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
“The Ajia-Airport project is a Public, Private, Partnership (PPP) project which will benefit from private funds. Rather, the investor has taken the risk of tying his funds to that project because of his firm belief in the economic recovery efforts of Governor Makinde.
“It would be recalled that the failed N7 billion road contract awarded under the immediate past administration in Oyo State was never meant to be executed (as it was merely a job for the boys) targeted at raising funds for the 2019 electiion. It unsurprisingly failed to really take off and Governor Makinde was left with no other option than to revoke the contract, review, upgrade and eventually re-award it to a more competent contractor who is presently on site.
“The Ajia-Airport Road project is not only a well-thought out project but one that will signpost the determination of the administration in institutionalising the culture of Public, Private Partnership as exemplified in the establishment of the high-riding Oyo State Investment and Public, Private Partnership Agency (OYSIPPPA), which is already recording huge successes in its pioneering deals.
“It is also to be noted that the decision to turn around the corridors of Ibadan Dry Port, upgrade the Ibadan Airport and construct Iseyin/Ogbomoso road, which form the components of the Bond are clear measures targeted at expanding the economy of the state in line with the administration’s four point service agenda.
“Only a forward-looking government in Oyo State will take proactive steps to guarantee that the state’s economy takes full advantage of the benefits of the upcoming Ibadan Dry Port project, while also seeking to expand its economy via an improved Ibadan Airport.
“With improved facilities at the Ibadan Airport, Oyo State would certainly stand to benefit from the traffic and congestion challenges that are already the permanent feature of Lagos travels. Air travellers around the Western states would easily land in Ibadan, while international conferences can hold without the conferees struggling through the sea of traffic from Lagos Airport.
“We envisaged no fears of a possibility of debt overhang in this case, because the projects are bound to bring unquantifiable returns beyond mere arithmetic projections.
“The people of Oyo State are, however, reassured that their interests will never be circumvented in negotiating the terms of this Bond. They are equally free to monitor every inch of the execution process in line with the policy of transparency and accountability of the Makinde-led administration.”
Adisa, who called on residents of the state to discountenance warped analyses being put out by APC members, especially its governorship candidate, said: “It is clearly preposterous for Adelebu, who prides himself as an economist, to jump into questions of tenor of the Bond, when the process is only just kickstarting.
“It is, indeed, an insult on the integrity of the Nigerian apex bank for any of its former top officials to be seen as speaking like a layman in monetary terms, rather than an expert whose opinions should stand the test of national and international financial debates.
“It is instructive that Mr. Adelabu criticised the key components of the Prosperity Bond including the decision to expend a portion of the proposed bond on the expansion of the Ibadan Airport, the Construction of the light rail corridor and the Ibadan Circular road project.
“However, the criticisms coming from Adelebu did not come as a surprise, because he has shown over time that he lacks ideas that are capable of engineering shared prosperity even in a state like Oyo.
“Whereas the concern of Engineer Seyi Makinde as an aspirant, a candidate and governor has been the desire for general good and welfare of all, the same cannot be said of his opponent in the 2019 election, whose mindless capitalist tendencies have completely blindfolded him towards public good.
“Let us place on record that Governor Seyi Makinde is unmoved by the pedestrian analyses contained in the statement credited to Mr. Adelabu, since such base comments do not resonate with national and international economic realities.
“Whereas, the Federal Government of Nigeria has made the issuance of Bonds an integral part of the economic rejuvenation agenda in the past years, a self-styled economist in the mould of Adelabu is sitting across the table to raise hell against Oyo State’s decision to utilise that same instrument.
“His efforts in this regard are easy to discern; they are based on half-baked theories, deceptive and unconscionable. If Bonds are toxic, why did Adelabu not advise Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari? Why would he hide under unknown banners to make postulations that don’t edify the fact that he once sat at the boardrooms of the Central Bank of Nigeria? Certainly, the nation expects much more than this letdown from Adelabu.”