- Government has spent N3bn so far
Osun State government is committed to complete MKO Abiola International Airport, Ido Osun, spokesman of the government has said.
A statement by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Adelani Baderinwa, said that the project has suffered a ‘temporary setback’ due to the failure of the concessionaire to deliver.
“We state that the Aregbesola’s administration is still fully committed to the airport project and all efforts are being channeled towards making the project a successful reality,”
He also said that the present administration of Mr. Rauf Aregbesola had spent about N3 billion public funds on the airport, and committed to complete it, some months to expiration of his tenure in office.
The project had been awarded twice and failed consecutively, but boasted that talks are ongoing with new investors with aim of completing it.
Mr. Baderinwa was reacting to a two-series of investigation and report published by one of Nigeria’s best investigative newspapers, Premium Times.
“The government of the State of Osun will like to state that the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola is still very much positive and focused on having the project done and that the temporary setback suffered cannot be the reason for anybody to declare the airport project as a failure.
“In fact, with a sense of pride, we say that the project has not failed, it will not fail with the kind of attention it gets from Governor Aregbesola.
“Rather, we say with utmost sense of responsibility that it is the concessionaire, All Works of Life International Limited, (AWOL) that has failed in living up to its responsibility and the picture of its stated capability and competence.
“Government of the state of Osun, under Aregbesola meant so well in having the project executed and completed in the bid to complement its set agenda of promoting the state’s infrastructure to ensure fast economic development of Osun has been the basis for its pursuit abinitio,” the information commissioner was quoted as saying by Premium Times.
He said the state government has started discussions with interested investors, one of them is African Development Bank (AfDB).
It’s unknown whether the new investors will be able to complete such a huge project within a short period of time.
“May we note that many rational and reasonable local and international investors who appreciate the essence of the project have been showing sufficient interest and these include the Afrian Development Bank (AfDB) with whom official discussions have begun with a view to ensure that the airport project was achieved and made to provide the needed services for the good of the people and the growth of the state.”
Premium Times findings had observed that the MKO Abiola International Airport was awarded to a company AWOL that has never handled an aviation project, and was also awarded without recourse to the state public procurement law.
The information commissioner debunked the report, saying, “To start with, government states that all necessary procedure and due process were followed in the concession arrangement between the state government and AWOL.”
Election to elect a new governor in the state will hold on September 22, and Nigeria has a culture of abandoning project which were started by their predecessor.
But the All Progressive Congress governorship candidate in the election, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, has better chances of winning due to several breakups within the PDP, a party that is seen as a major contender.
While APC is planning ahead of the election, PDP members are busying themselves with internal litigation.
Civil servants in the state has also threatened to vote for opposition party, but Mr. Aregbesola had been rumoured to have said that market women are better voters.
September 22 is less than a month a way.