The immediate past governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and his commissioners went away with many government vehicles and boarded off a lot more for pittance, especially new vehicles bought at the end of 2018 and early this year.
Chief Bisi Ilaka, Chief of Staff to Governor Seyi Makinde, made the revelation in an interview monitored on Fresh FM in Ibadan, at the weekend, explaining that Makinde, his deputy and himself had been riding in their personal vehicles since assumption of office because there are no vehicles to work with.
Ilaka, who was asked to confirm report of 11 missing government vehicles, said the actual number of vehicles former Governor Ajimobi and his aides went away with would be ascertained at the conclusion of forensic verification of government assets.
“We have only been in government for barely a week and a half. But from what we have seen so far, the scale of larceny by the last government is unprecedented. Everybody knows that getting cars is not the problem of the immediate past governor. Why did he take away government vehicles?
“If Ajimobi goes to a car showroom and asks to be supplied 11 cars, they will deliver the cars to him because they know they will get paid. We will take the steps we deem necessary on this.
“It is not limited to him. His commissioners have gone away with vehicles same as the heads of parastatals. There are no vehicles there and a lot of these cars were bought by the end of 2018 and early this year. Some were boarded for pittance.
“When we came in, we felt that most of us who share the political space in Oyo State are one way or the other brothers. So, we don’t want to go out as if we are witch-hunting anybody. But they are forcing our hand.
“We have a responsibility to the people of the state. We need to protect the resources of the state. If we to replace these vehicles, it will at a cost to the state. Why did they do this?
“Even the local government chairmen went away with fridges and TVs. I can’t understand their mindset. They say a fish rots from the head. If the governors had done this, what did we expect the commissioners, chairmen and heads of parastatals would do?
“We are peeling the onion layer by layer and within the next week or two, we will strive to retrieve a lot of these government properties that they have stolen. There is no other word for it. It is theft. And that is the kind of rape inflicted on the state in the last eight years. It is gratuitous,” Ilaka said.
The Chief of Staff added that some officials in the state Ministry of Justice had told him that only five or six out of the 12 Jeeps the past government said it bought for the judiciary were supplied.
He disclosed that the Director of Public Prosecution in the state would be empowered “to chase these people down any foxhole they might get into,” stressing that never again would the state be subjected to this kind of stealing it witnessed in the last eight years.
He assured the people of the state that Governor Makinde would protect their commonwealth and utilise same for their welfare as well as the development of the state.
Reacting, the Special Adviser on Media to the former governor, Mr Bolaji Tunji, challenged Ilaka to name those who bolted with their officials and stop playing politics with governance.
“Did the Chief of Staff tell you we bought a brand new official Lexus bullet proof Jeep for Governor Makinde? He should not be pedestrian. No one made away with any vehicle. They should not continue to play politics.
“Let them list the names of people who made away with official vehicles. Everything done by the Ajimobi government was done legally. Ajimobi insisted on following due process on sensitive matters. He should get appropriate advice before saying what he does not have information about. This seems to be the hallmark of their administration,” Ajimobi’s aide said.