By Babajide Okeowo
The duo of Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun and former governor, Ibikunle Amosun are currently trading blames over the siting of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Plant at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos State instead of the Olokola Free Trade Zone, in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state where it was initially proposed to be sited.
Abiodun had accused Amosun of making the state to lose huge revenue and investment that would have accrued if the gigantic project was sited at Olokola Free Trade Zone, in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area where it was initially proposed to be sited.
Earlier, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Segun Sowunmi had blamed the Ogun State Government for losing the siting of the behemoth Dangote Refinery to neighbouring Lagos State.
Abiodun, reacting 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 counter-statement by his media office signed by Bola Adeyemi, said the Olokola Free Trade Zone project was not solely owned by the Ogun State Government.
He countered that Dangote took a business decision by siting the refinery in Lagos after initial consideration for the Olokola Free Trade Zone.
“Our attention has been drawn to a press statement by Prince Dapo Abiodun, Governor Ogun State, where he accused Senator Ibikunle Amosun as being responsible for why Ogun State lost hosting the Dangote Refinery to Lagos State.
“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 Foreign Direct Investment FDI in the real sector was birthed in Ogun State so much so that President Goodluck Jonathan saw the need to visit to 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 remis, 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” he said.