The senator representing Ondo-North senatorial district, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, has called on the Federal Government to verify a claim by Governor Olusegun Mimiko that the state spent N11bn on federal roads in the state.
Boroffice, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, asked the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to publish the report and recommendations on federal roads in Ondo for public scrutiny.
In a statement issued by his media aide, Kayode Adeniyi, on Saturday, the senator said the amount presented by the Ondo State Government was conflicting and deceitful.
“It should be noted that there is a widespread jubilation in the camp of top government officials and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State as N11bn is being expected from Abuja with which they intend to fund the 2016 Ondo State governorship election,” Boroffice said.
He said that a painstaking audit of the reportedly rehabilitated roads would reveal the roads that were either not reconstructed or badly rehabilitated and are presently deathtraps.
Boroffice noted that Mimiko claimed in November 2015 that the state government was owed N7bn which it expended on federal roads.
He added that the governor’s aide, a few months earlier, had said that N11bn was spent on the federal roads.
The senator, therefore, asked Mimiko to reconcile these conflicting figures in the spirit of transparency.
The senator said, “I salute the bold move by the Federal Government to reimburse state governments for their expenses on rehabilitating and reconstructing federal roads across the country. This is a sharp departure from the awful past when the Federal Government paid lip service to such demands from state governments.
“However, it is quite crucial to state that the claim by Governor Mimiko that the government spent over N11bn on federal roads within Ondo State is conflicting and deceitful.
“Although the people are aware that a team led by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, paid a courtesy visit to the governor over the issue recently, the people believe such a verification exercise cannot be wholly determined by a courtesy visit.
“Hence, the Ameachi-led team should make its report and recommendations available to the public.”
But in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, dismissed the allegations levelled against the government.
The commissioner said it was unfortunate that Boroffice, who is aspiring to be the governor of the state, could also be working against the interest of the state by making a false claim.
Akinmade said there was no federal road repaired by the state government without the approval of the Federal Government.
According to him, part of the N11bn incurred by the state government had been paid three years ago with a N9bn balance yet to be paid.
He said, “The committee set up by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, has been working on this and has confirmed the government’s claims. Even before the recent visit of the minister, a technical team from the Federal Government comprising officials of the Federal Ministry of Works, state ministry of works and the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission came for verification and confirmed that even the state has also worked on some other federal roads recently which are yet to reflect in the submitted claim.
“Senator Boroffice is exhibiting ignorance by dabbling into what he knows nothing about. His reaction towards the demand for a refund by the state government has shown that he is only being blindfolded by his hatred for Ondo people. He should know that engineering is about precision and measurement; that road construction is not the same as space technology that could develop wings and disappear into thin air.
“But for his ignorance and penchant for criticising for the sake of it, he should have discovered that the amount in question is a cumulative figure from 1999 till date and not limited to the Mimiko administration alone.”