Gov Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state has blamed a former governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun, for obstructing the $19bn Dangote refinery project which led to its relocation to Lagos state. Abiodun, who confirmed that he was Chairman, Olokola Free Trade Zone, in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state during the administration of former governor Ibikunle Amosun, said he was not part of the moves that frustrated Dangote out of the state.
The governor, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, on Tuesday, said he should not be blamed for the loss. Dangote had initially chosen Ogun State for the site of the refinery, which was inaugurated on Monday, in Lagos, but discussion broke down between Ogun State government and the billionaire businessman, leading to the relocation of the project to Lagos.
In the statement on Tuesday, he said his predecessor, Amosun, should be blamed for Ogun losing the opportunity to host the mega refinery.
“Any true born Ogun indigene will sincerely be pained by the huge investment loss, especially when Ogun had been marked as the most suitable natural location for the mega project in Olokola Free Trade Zone, in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state,” the governor lamented.
Explaining his role, he said, “Governor Abiodun, as the chairman of the committee and a big player in the oil and gas industry himself, did everything possible to make sure the project saw the light of the day.
“The then governor, perhaps, having a personal axe to grind with the promoter of the refinery project, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, frustrated all the efforts of Governor Abiodun and his committee.
“The immediate Chairman, Board of Directors of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who was then a commissioner, served as the secretary of the committee, which engaged Dangote on the mega project.
“Instead of showing enthusiasm towards hosting the project in the state, the former governor brazenly opposed and obstructed efforts of the Abiodun-led committee in ensuring that the OKFTZ came into fruition.”
Abiodun’s statement was in reaction to a former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Segun Sowunmi, who blamed the incumbent governor for the loss of the $19bn Dangote refinery.
By Bayo Nelson