Ibikunle Amosun, former Ogun state governor, says he is not to blame for the relocation of the newly commissioned Dangote Refinery from Ogun State to Lagos state.
Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun state governor, had accused his predecessor of scuttling Ogun’s chance of hosting the $19 billion refinery project due to a disagreement between him and Aliko Dangote, the billionaire businessman.
Reacting to the allegation on Wednesday, Amosun, through a statement from his media office, denied involvement in the controversy.
Amosun clarified that the Olokola Free Trade Zone project was not solely owned by the Ogun state government.
“From its conception in 2007, it was a Joint Venture. The Federal Government of Nigeria owned the majority 51%, Ondo State government (14.5%), Ogun State government (14.5%), and strategic core investors (20%),” Amosun said.
“Alhaji Aliko Dangote, according to the information availed us when we took office, subsequently bought, and took over the 20% equity of the core investors. Ogun State was a minority equity stakeholder only, without proprietary strength and capacity to take sole decisions on the Joint Venture enterprise.”
Amosun said his administration did all it could to ensure that the project saw the light of day by choosing two stakeholders — Dapo Abiodun and Kemi Adeosun — to advise the state on the project.
Based on the advice of the committee, Amosun said: “We engaged the majority equity holder, FGN, and our joint venture partner, Ondo State Government, who were very responsive and eager to have the project in Olokola Free Trade Zone.”
“We also vigorously engaged Alhaji Aliko Dangote and did everything possible to make the enterprise take off. A total of 10,000 hectares of land was made available.”
Amosun said it is most uncharitable for anyone to churn out lies that Ogun state was in a position to unilaterally frustrate the project or was responsible for the logjam, being a mere holder of a 14.5 percent equity interest.
“With respect to all sides, it accords more with logic to appreciate the fact that Alhaji Aliko Dangote took business decisions of his own in accordance with the goals of his business strategy and risk assessment,” he said.
According to Amosun, the only bone of contention was the government’s insistence that 500 hectares from the Ogun State portion be reserved for the host community, Ogun Waterside, as opposed to ceding the entire land to the Olokola Free Trade Zone.
“It is, therefore, interesting to read that the present Ogun State governor holds me responsible for allegedly scuttling the Olokola project,” he said.
“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.”
Source- The Cable