The Special Assistant to Gov Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Mr Sola Balogun, has expressed worry over the level of rot in the Nigeria system inherited by President Muhammadu Buhari, after sixteen years rule of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
Balogun, who stated at a press conference organised by the department of Mass communication of the Crescent University, Abeokuta, said that President Buhari’s experience was similar to that of Gov. Amosun when he took over the mantle of leadership of the state in 2011.
“There can never be today without yesterday… Baba inherited lot of rot.. Buhari applied and got the wrong job, because people of his age grade needs enough and adequate rest, but the Nigerian job is not giving him the healthy life he deserves.
“Amosun also inherited bad situation in Ogun.
“Nigeria was about to fail before the emergence of Buhari as the President and that was why Nigerians rejected Jonathan,” Balogun lamented.
He recalled that former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), now the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, alerted Nigerians about the precarious situation of the nation, but that the then Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngos Okonjo-Iweala criticised him for the revelations.
The governor’s aide also spoke on issues of fuel scarcity, corruption, poor state of Nigerian economy, travail of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Chief Olusegun Osoba’s return to the All Progressive Congress (APC), urging Nigerians to support the change mantra of the APC-led government.
On fuel scarcity he described it as “a deliberate sabotage and it signifies the friction of evil against light as some people are trying to obstruct changes…the man meant well for Nigeria”.
While speaking on corruption, Balogun said “the future of Nigeria is on me and you, let us stop corruption, don’t let corruption stop Nigeria because the money made from 1999 to 2015, if well utilised, would have been enough to turn around Nigeria”.
According to him, corruption is the reason why Nigeria is a failing State.
He bemoaned a situation whereby the federal government approved and release fund for the reconstruction of Lafenwa-Ayetoro and Osiele-Ibadan road but the projects were not executed.
“Corruption is the major problem we have in our society and it is the major reason why our nation isn’t moving forward economically, politically and financially.
“Irrespective of how one has stolen, irrespective of who has bribed to get an unmerited favour, as long as they don’t contravene with their superior, they will get away with it. That’s the Nigerian formula of corruption,” he said.
Fielding questions from students on the travails of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Balogun asked the Senate President to resign saying “the person who will make law for the country must be above board”.
He declared that it was Saraki’s past that is catching up with him, citing a situation where when was declaring his asset as the governor of Kwara State, put what he referred to as ‘anticipatory declaration’.
“Our National Assembly is lacking in credibility in the way they conduct themselves and controversy they have enmeshed themselves in.
“When all of us are complaining that there is no money, they decided to buy luxury cars despite being given allowance for that purpose. They refused to reduce their salary despite the cash crunch and harsh economic situation in the country,” he submitted.
On the fight against corruption, Balogun advocated for the adoption of the Japan’s model, whereby the government will monitor how individuals, especially public officials, acquired their wealth to ensure that they pay appropriate taxes and confiscate their estate, if illegally acquired.
Balogun, who is the former correspondent of ThisDay newspaper, highlighted the achievements of the Gov. Amosun as including turn around and revolution in the infrastructural development, bringing peace to the state and uncommon approach to governance.
He however identified lack of fund and people’s misunderstanding of the intention of the governor as the greatest challenges confronting the Amosun-led administration.
“There is no corruption in Ogun State, there is no money to steal and Ogun is part of the eight states that do not owe salaries.
“Ogun is corruption free; the money available is not enough for the full administration of the state.
“Peace is far more than wealth. Before now, the state is living in a state of fear, when you have cultists as special advisers and commissioners.
“Before we came in, banks were closed, they could not operate because of arm-robbers.
“But Gov. Amosun has ordered 13 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) from the US and Jonathan play politics with it; we acquired 2,000 guns, five million bullets, bullet proof vest, communication equipment, 1000 armed vehicles and logistic support for security agencies in the state,” he added.
He maintained that Amosun-led government was successful in combating crime and restoring peace to the state because he did not appoint criminals and cultists to his cabinet and neither gets returns from them.
According to him, the state government empowered the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and that Amosun is governing the state with sincerity of purpose.
“Amosun has passionate reason to develop Ogun State. The next man, who will take over from him, will have problem in satisfying people.
While bearing his mind on the decision of former governor in the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba’s re-entry into the APC after leaving the party for the Social Democratic Party shortly before the 2015 general election, Balogun insisted that Osoba and his supporters only re-united with former governor Bola Tinubu and not with the state’s APC.
He explained that the rift between Osoba and Amosun dated back to 2010 when they were fielding positions for the 2011 general election.
The governor aide revealed that Sen. Amosun considered defecting to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) after he was offered the gubernatorial ticket of ACN while the positions of the three senators, nine House of Representatives members and the 26 House of Assembly seats were allocated to Osoba and his supporters.
He added that the governor decided to ‘fight back’ by appointing his loyalists as commissioners into the State Executive Council, saying that it was not accepted for Osoba to have 100 per cent control and expect the governor to fund the party.
According to him, Osoba was embittered and thereafter evicted the party from the secretariat, left the APC and swore to God not to return despite intervention by top party officials and traditional rulers.
“Osoba just de-mysterified himself by leaving APC. Life hates vacuums,” Balogun said.