The accusation of Four hundred and Fifty billion naira wastage of Ondo State funds against the Agagu administration not only has great intrinsic merit, but patriotic instincts; and it deserves an objective analysis. I am therefore happy to take this opportunity to reprise it.
Characteristically the accusation came from the well-oiled propaganda machine of the opposition Labour Party and by Jove they may be right after all. May be, if it were a Labour Party/Mimiko government, or my prudent self, we could have spent it differently.
It is safe to assume that the N450b being referred to is the total revenue accrual to Ondo State government since Dr. Olusegun Agagu assumed office in May 2003, till date, a total of 5 years.
Now let me proffer my own analysis of how the money has been wasted. For a period of 66 months, the Agagu administration spent close to N100b paying salaries, pensions, gratuities and other emoluments including arrears, of serving and retired public and political office holders, not once throughout this period were they owed. Well this to me and I guess probably the Labour Party too, is a waste, in fact a big waste. I probably can’t fathom why these people deserved to be paid, and as at when due for that matter, and if they were to be paid at all, maybe they should have been owed between 18 – 24 months salary.
In the education sector, amongst others, Agagu has wasted another N100b constructing over 2,000 blocks of State of the art classrooms in primary schools all over the State. This in fact is the most annoying form of waste and I am sure the Labour Party shares this opinion too. What is the need, why not leave the dilapidated government schools built over 50 years ago to collapse, since there is high surge of private schools now. Whoever cannot cope with the archaic state of government schools can leave, at least there are other options (private schools of course).
I am also dead sure the Labour Party does not see the need for the upgrading of the Adekunle Ajasin University at Akungba Akoko and the establishment of the new University of Technology in the southern senatorial district. This is another wasteful spending.
AAU can at least do with its former glorified secondary school status, why waste over N20 billion on facilities and buildings? Why must Agagu emulate Awolowo in building one of the finest (to date) Universities in Africa (OAU)? Cant the students attend lectures in the mushroom classrooms the institution inherited? Or to use the local parlance na building we go shop? And if there is any need for the establishment of a new University at all, it should have been sited in Ondo town, then that will not be a waste.
Now for the waste in the health sector; for crying out loud, the flag-bearer of the Labour Party in the governorship election was a two-time commissioner for health in Ondo State and he later served briefly as the Secretary to the State Government under Agagu. So, Dr. Mimiko will certainly be an expert in how not to waste money on the health sector. But I read an advertorial by Dr. Awolowo – Ajaka, (once one of his (Dr. Mimiko’s) Co-traveller), recently in Oodua voice assessing his (Mimiko’s) two term tenure as Commissioner for Health under the Olumilua and Adefarati administration.
I recommend the advert for everyone to read. That is, if you believe in the saying that no one can assess somebody so well than his close pal. Now see how Agagu wasted billions on the health sector. Establishment of General Hospitals in all the Local Government Headquarters, establishment of two Specialist Hospitals in each of the three senatorial districts, maternity/clinics in all the two hundred and three wards in the state, Festival of Surgery (free) etc. What a waste!
In contrast, the Labour Party government would have expended these billions of Naira on its flag bearer’s pet projects, the award winning (?) HEALTH RANGERS SCHEME. There will not be any need for building hospitals, (specialist or General) not even clinic or maternity, health services will be made available inside specially built thousands of HEALTH RANGERS trucks and vans, and it will be delivered at our doors steps. This sure will revive the now moribund metal construction company in which the big shot in the Labour Party has interest and was effectively used for building Health Rangers trucks/vans during Adefarati’s administration.
One area the Labour propagandists could not fault Agagu’s administration is his commitment to improving the road network in Ondo State. To them, even though he is trying, he has not done enough. Recently, there was this controversy over the concentration of developmental projects in the southern senatorial district.
The Labour Party had accused the Agagu administration of wasting several billions in constructing bridges and roads in the riverine area. These are total waste they argued. And guess what, alternatively the Labour Party propagandist says the Agagu government should have done, because the Federal Government is not forthcoming and Ondo State Government is so buoyant, the Agagu government should have embarked on the dualization, from the Ilesha, the Lagos/Ibadan/Ife/Ilesha expressway straight to Benin.
Furthermore, because the money is inexhaustible, Agagu should have embarked on the re-surfacing and Asphalt laying of Benin/Ore expressway from the Ondo/Ogun boundary right to Benin. Of course, that will not be a waste, and what a beneficial way to spend Ondo State’s money on her citizen. I pray the people of Oke-Aro, Iro, Isinkan, Odopetu and several other communities in Akure Kingdom do not hear this wastage theory. For anybody to come and tell them that all the money expended by the Agagu administration in giving them asphalt laid roads in all their nooks and crannies is a waste, then God save that person from their wrath.
We can go on and on reprising this wastage syndrome. What of the new modern Akure Stadium, is that what Akure needs now?
Since the creation of Ondo State, Akure, the State capital has been without an modern stadium, yet to the Labour Party, for Agagu daring to put his name in eternal gratitude book of the Akure people, just like Awolowo did when he built the Liberty Stadium for the Western region, he has committed a sacrilege, and he should be hanged for the sin of wastage. Well I have been cracking my head on how alternatively the money should have been spent. What of the Akure/Erekesan market? This also is a waste. The numerous poverty alleviation schemes, the skill acquisition centers, micro credit Agency loans.
On tourism, the complete turn-around of the Idanre Hills to a World’s Tourist site, the Golf Course, the Five Star Hotels (two each) in the three Senatorial Districts; in commerce, and the revival of the Okitipupa Oil Palm industries, and many others.
My God, this Agagu sure does know how to waste money, and he will go down in the history books, or perhaps, the Guinness Book of records as the person who wasted Government funds to contribute most meaningfully to the growth and infrastructural development of Ondo State and to become the best Governor Ondo State has had till date. And bet you, I am in love with that style of waste and so do the good people of Ondo State as well.