Oshiomhole’s Diatribe: Antics of A Drowning Man
I had for some reasons chosen to ignore the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his tirades at my person, family and administration as former governor of Edo State. My dignified silence is borne out of respect for the office of a governor which I also had the privilege to occupy for eight years and also the need to allow him concentrate with the business of governance for which he was elected by the good people of the state.
But most importantly, I feel joining issues with Oshiomhole would amount to dignifying him and his outbursts and lending credence to his bogus allegations. However, his actions to say the least is laughable and utterances over this period portrays him as one not deserving of a respect due to a governor. It is on the strength of this that I came to the conclusion that governor Oshiomhole having lost touch with the people owing to his anti- people polices is now trying to save his face by weeping up sentiments and chasing shadow rather than working for the people of the state.
His latest allegation published in virtually all the national dailies on Thursday, 5th November, 2015, where he alleged through his commissioners for information Loius Odion and his Commerce and Industry counterpart, Abdul Oroh that my administration siphoned the sum of $31 million from the state coffers to say the least, is laughable. While I view all these as the antics of a drowning man, I wish to ask governor Oshiomhole why it took his government over seven years to uncover a fraud of this magnitude. Could it be that he has been in slumber all this while and has just woken up?
Nigerians know Oshiomhole and Edo people know better including his antics of trying people on the pages of newspaper. By alleging that my administration stole $31 million from Edo State government to establish a cement factory called “Avrant Cement Company”, Oshiomhole through his commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Abdul Oroh, labored to deceive Edo People to believe that I used state fund to build a cement factory for myself.
But his lies cannot go far as facts speak for themselves. In page 13 of 5th, November, 2015, the Vanguard newspaper quotes Oshiomhole’s commissioner for commerce and Industry, Abdul Oroh as saying, “The $31 million which was stolen for the transaction was designed clearly for criminal purpose. This project was called Avrant Cement company situated at Ekpe, near Ikpeshi in Akolo- Edo Local Government Area. The company was supposed to produce cement to take advantage of the large scale deposit of limestone in that part of the state. The company was registered as Abat Cement Company Limited and this Company had three shareholders. The Abat Cement Company had 75% Shares, Edo State government had 15% shares and 10% shares were reserved for other Nigerians”. Oroh went further by saying, “Although Edo State Government was given only 15% shares, 100% of the revenue invested in the company, $31 million, was taken from the account of Edo State Government….”
In a nutshell, Oshiomhole is trying to tell Edo people that I built a cement factory for myself using Edo State funds.
Oshiomhole’s aim and that of his cohorts with this skewed information is to weep-up sentiment as usual but unfortunately, he no longer enjoys the sympathy of Edo People neither is there any iota of truth in his claim. I am gladdened that in an attempt to cast aspersions on my person, Oshiomhole through his aides enumerated various industries I established while serving as governor of Edo State but I challenge him to point to any industry or factory his administration has established for Edo people in the past seven years he has governed the State. He alleged that my administration built and sold below cost price the Fruit Juice factory and the Solid Mineral Processing Company at Ehor and Ikpeshi respectively. My question here is, to what level has his government developed the Cassavita Factory at Uromi that was not sold.
My effort at establishing industries while I served as governor was driven purely by the desire to provide job opportunity to our teeming unemployed youths. On the AVA Cement Company, for that is the true name of the company they are referring to, Oshiomhole claimed that I used Edo State $31 Million to execute the project to about 90%. And for his Information commissioner, the $31 million amounted to N7 Billion. I challenge Oshiomhole to send an evaluation team to the factory and let us see what their findings would be.
As at 2006 when the AVA Cement Company project kicked off, the exchange rate for a dollar was about one hundred Naira per dollar, hence, $31 Million then amounted to about N3 Billion. So, if Edo State government invested N3 billion for a project that gulped well over N20 Billion, the question is, where did the balance N17 Billion come from? Oshiomhole and his commissioners will certainly not answer this question for fear of revealing the facts.
The Chinese partners who have 75% shares in the company provided the funds. It beats my imagination that a former Labour Leader like Oshiomhole could believe that N3 billion could build a cement factory of that Magnitude. I am not surprised though, because he has not invested a dime in industries since coming to power in 2008 and as such wouldn’t know the cost of establishing one. I make these few clarifications to set the records straight and to remind Oshiomhole not to take my dignified silence for cowardice. Moreover, the courts are open to him. Nigeria has gone past his stone age of sentencing people on the pages of Newspapers.
H. E Lucky N. Igbinedion