A member of the PDP Caretaker Committee in Osun State, Mr. Bamidele Salam, in an interview with our correspondent in Osogbo on Monday, described the increase of the contract sum through a concession agreement, which will last 30 years, as a “highly suspicious transaction.”
Salam said, “This is one senseless, needless and highly suspicious transaction that the state government is entering into. For a government which has not been able to provide potable water, good road network, functional education and affordable health care, going into this highly exorbitant project is the height of rudderlessness.
“The continuous upward review of the sum from the initial N4.5bn to N69bn is certainly unjustifiable. When was the concessionary contract advertised? How many companies put in their bids? What technical evaluation supports a 30-year concession? These and many other questions beg for answers.
“Considering the fact that the administration has just about 12 months left, one cannot but wonder if this is not an attempt to deepen the state financial mess ahead of a new administration.”
Another leader of the PDP, who is a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr. Niyi Owolade, said the concession agreement was another ploy by Aregbesola to plunge the state into more debt.
Owolade, while speaking with our correspondent on the telephone, warned the contractors and the concessionaire to be aware that the project would be revisited after the expiration of Aregbesola’s tenure.
He said, “I am just laughing about this new arrangement by this government to further plunge our state into more debt. The company should be aware that the whole thing will be revisited after the end of their tenure.”
Meanwhile, the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to focus on how the state government allegedly mismanaged the huge amount of public funds meant for the project.
The Coordinator of the group, Mr. Suleiman Adeniyi, said the governor came up with the idea of a concession after the failure to account for earlier spending on the project.
Adeniyi said, “As a formidable group and stakeholder in Osun State projects, we would not fold our arms and watch a prodigal government like Rauf Aregbesola’s administration sell our property to its friends, associates and cronies.
“We have concluded arrangement to approach a court of competent jurisdiction to stop this illegal concession arrangement of the M.K.O. Abiola International Airport to AWOL Investment Company because we have discovered a lot of impropriety in the arrangement.”