Still desperately explaining the communique released after his Education Summit which raised a lot of dusts and prompted queries and questions from Ondo state indigenes and residents, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, on Wednesday, travelled with his entourage to the NNPC Towers in Abuja to sign a multimillion dollar Memorandum of Understanding with the nation’s oil and gas company. Ondo state, according to the statement released, will soon be a producer of 65million liters of ethanol per annum and will, directly and indirectly, employ over 1million Nigerians.
A reasonable Nigerian, who is used to the antics and theatrics of our political players and their everyday desperate moves to score cheap political goals, will not easily accept these bogus and unrealistic official lies and propaganda aimed to hoodwinking the unsuspecting public who, after queuing in the rains and sun to vote them in, would naturally swallow these hook, line and sinker.
A reasonable Ondo state man too will do a little comparison and relate past events to the current happenings to make informed decisions about the recent political games and governance coming out of the Alagbaka Government House.
On April 19, 2016, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the then governor of Ondo state, announced to Nigerians his government has signed a joint operating agreement with a certain Canadian firm, Liquefied Resources Limited, which will herald the exploration and exploitation of the large Bitumen reserves in the southern part of the state. A project that would produce ten thousand barrels of bitumen a day! An agreement that would result in the direct and indirect employment of over 500,000 residents! We are still waiting after nineteen months for a project promised to commence with immediate effect in April 2016!
Earlier, around this time in 2015, Dr. Mimiko told us “work is set to start on the first phase of Ondo State’s proposed 1050 megawatts Independent Power Project, as the Mimiko administration sealed a Memorandum of Understanding with POSCO E & C of South Korea for the engineering, procurement, and construction of the facility.
POSCO E & C is to handle the design, engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and testing of the 550MW first phase open cycle gas turbine power plant”. For 24 months, the project is still struggling to meet its purpose and the MoU classified dead on arrival.
In February 2014, Dr. Rahman Mimiko and his cronies went to town to inform us “Ondo State Government has taken another bold move to boost food production with its signing of a Memorandum Of Understanding with three institutions namely; the Federal University of Technology Akure ( FUTA), International Institute for Tropical Agriculture ( IITA) and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa ( FARA) .
Governor Olusegun Mimiko said the partnership would provide technical support and know how to the state’s three agriculture villages established in the state’s three senatorial districts”. I don’t know where else food is as expensive as Ondo state!
The propaganda didn’t stop there. They moved to sports. Dr. Mimiko and his cohorts, in December 2014, signed an MoU with Club Deportivo de Castellon, a club currently playing in the fourth division of Spanish football. According to them, it was a good move by the state government as it would develop young football stars, change their economic status and ultimately make more revenues for the state. It is almost three years and I haven’t seen or met an Ondo football youngster move to Castello de la Plana or playing weekend football games in the Nou Estadi Catalia.
We were told Aliko Dangote and the government of Ondo under Dr. Mimiko also signed an agreement to build a $9billion refinery, petrochemical, and fertilizer plant. It was going to change the face of the state and the phase of development. That was in 2013. The same project now sits comfortably in Lagos, a state without oil and lesser landmass.
I don’t want to talk about the January 2017 N4.9billion rice cultivation and production MoU with African Red Crest, the Tomato Paste Company in Arigidi Akoko, the Oil Palm Company at Okitipupa, the ceramic industry at Ifon, the Oluwa Glass Company at Igbokoda. I do not intend to mention the Alpha 3D Plant in Ikare-Akoko
Arakunrin Rotimi Odunayo Akeredolu is taking a cue from his predecessor. Since his inauguration, the governor has been everywhere putting pen to paper and signing endless agreements. From the unbelievable 50km Atlantic Road Construction from Ilaje area of Ondo to Ibeju-Lekki in Lagos by NDDC to the Sugar production by Concaset Nigeria Limited, MoU with Wewood Nigeria Limited to plant trees which will provide 100,000 jobs, a tripartite agreement with FUTA and Tech-Up “centred on job creation and to make all sectors ICT compliant in accordance with best practices” and recently the one million job biofuel agreement with the controversial NNPC’s Maikanti Baru who has an unresolved $26billion contract awards scandal hanging on his neck.
These countless MoUs have had no direct impacts on the lives of the people, except a few of the people in government, which has created more apathy amongst the voters. It is believed by majority of political watchers in and around the state that Arakunrin Akeredolu, who recently and publicly reneged on his promise of paying up outstanding salaries of Ondo workers, will not see to the fulfillment of the terms and conditions included in these MoUs, if there are any in the first place.
‘Gbenga Ajongbolo, a Political and Public Relations Consultant, writes from Akure.