Ogun State Road Projects: Integrity Questioned
For the past few weeks, the flagship of the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun’s campaign for re-election was the commissioning of some road projects, where he rolled out the drums to commission an existing (though dilapidated), Oba Erinwole Road in Sagamu.
No doubt, the celebration was well worth the fanfare considering the huge amount of state resources that must have been invested in the construction and to line the pockets of state functionaries, particularly the Troika Government-in-Council.
By his own admission, the governor said he must have done some 80 roads or over 400 kilometers of road. This must be deemed commendable.
Your Last-Minute Greek Gifts Won’t Return You to the Office, Concerned Citizens Tells Dapo Abiodun
At Good Governance Project, we believe accountability is also part of good governance. It is on record that for the first time in the history of Ogun State, the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led government is the first that does not disclose the cost of building its roads; how much each road has set back the taxpayers.
According to the facts available to us, a wrangle over road construction is ongoing. At its inception, Prince Dapo Abiodun, following a Direct Labour template that was run by one of his predecessors changed the nomenclature of the Ogun State Roads Management Agency (OGROMA) to Ogun State Public Works Agency (OGPWA). Therefore, all public road maintenance will be done by this agency using the expertise and local professional competencies of the Civil Service personnel.
But in practice, most of these roads were awarded to a Lagos businessman to pay back part of the governor’s election costs.
This is a case of corruption that can be seen in many governments around the world, where public funds are diverted to private individuals in exchange for political favors. This type of corruption undermines the public trust in government and can lead to the misallocation of resources and the inefficient use of taxpayer money.
Contracts were awarded to Laralek, Samvic, etc, but stickers of OGPWA were posted on equipment at sites to deceive the people of Ogun State and create the false impression that the roads were being completed directly.
Hence, the only job OGPWA does is to serve as a conduit for the payment of contractors and to avoid the Procurement procedure and Due Diligence law.
This, in our extant books, is fraud.
Other facts of the matter
All the roads awarded by the Dapo Abiodun-led administration are existing roads. They must have been asphalted at certain points but worn out due to age.
Ogun State citizens whose common patrimony is involved here deserve to know how much of their sweat went into the so-called roads. That is what accountability is all about. People also deserve to know the procedures through which those contracts were awarded; that is what transparency and integrity are all about.
It is also a requirement of the Public Procurement Act. When were the bids for those roads advertised, and how many companies bid for them? What were the procedures for selecting the cheapest but most competent bids?