Dangote refinery: Abiodun lied on relocation, says Amosun
The immediate-past governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has described as lies, the allegation leveled against him by his successor, Dapo Abiodun, over the relocation of the $19bn Dangote refinery from Ogun to Lagos State.
Amosun, on Wednesday, spoke through his media aide, Bola Adeyemi, while reacting to the statement issued by Abiodun on Tuesday, alleging that “The then governor (Amosun), perhaps, having a personal axe to grind with the promoter of the refinery project, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, frustrated all the efforts” to have the refinery in Ogun State.
But reacting on Wednesday, Amosun said, “It is most uncharitable for anyone to churn out lies that Ogun State was in a position to unilaterally frustrate the project or was responsible for the logjam.
“With respect to all sides, it accords more with logic to appreciate the fact that Alhaji Aliko Dangote took business decisions of his own in accordance with the goals of his business strategy and risk assessment.”
Amosun explained that the Olokola Free Trade Zone was not solely owned by Ogun State but a Joint Venture from its conception in 2007.
He explained “The Federal Government of Nigeria owned the majority 51 per cent, Ondo State Government (14.5 per cent), Ogun State Government (14.5 per cent), and strategic core investors (20 per cent).
“Alhaji Aliko Dangote, according to the information available to us when we took office, subsequently bought, and took over the 20 per cent equity of the core investors. Ogun State was a minority equity stakeholder only, without proprietary strength and capacity to take sole decisions on the Joint Venture enterprise.”
Amosun said he would never have knowingly let any opportunity slip past Ogun State and its people, adding that he did his best to the satisfaction and conviction of his conscience.
Amosun said at the time, he appointed Abiodun and Mrs Kemi Adeosun, then Commissioner for Finance, “who incidentally hailed from the host community of Olokola,” to represent the interest of Ogun State.
He said, “After Mrs Adeosun was elevated and became a minister, another son of Ogun East, Lekan Onamusi, took charge and represented Ogun State on the Joint Venture.
“Based on the advice of our representatives on the project, we engaged the majority equity holder, FGN, and our joint venture partner, Ondo State Government, who were very responsive and eager to have the project in Olokola Free Trade Zone.
“We also vigorously engaged Alhaji Aliko Dangote and did everything possible to make the enterprise take off. A total of 10,000 hectares of land was made available. As a mere holder of 14.5 per cent equity interest, it is most uncharitable for anyone to churn out lies that Ogun State was in a position to unilaterally frustrate the project or was responsible for the logjam.”
Amosun said he did all to no avail to make Dangote stay, including involving “our revered elders, Baba Olusegun Obasanjo and Kabiyesi Awujale, Oba Sikiru Adetona.”
Amosun said he remained proud of his achievements as governor, as “We opened the state to genuine entrepreneurs and investors, which led to the influx of massive private sector investments.”
He said, “Over 200 industries, both local and multinational, were birthed in Ogun State. In a particular year during our time, 75 per cent of the entire National FDI in the real sector was birthed in Ogun State so much so that President Goodluck Jonathan saw the need to visit to inaugurate significant private sector-led projects at least five times.
“It is, therefore, interesting to read that the present Ogun State governor holds me responsible for allegedly scuttling the Olokola project. For the benefit of the good people of Ogun State, Nigerians and posterity, we challenge him, particularly as he was then the chairman appointed to oversee and ensure that the project was sited in Olokola Free Trade Zone, to disclose with facts, where he or the administration was remiss, and which might have led to the project being moved away from Ogun State.”