Mr. Kunle Somorin, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun has exonerated his boss from the blame game over the relocation of Dangote Petroleum Refinery from Ogun State to Lagos State.
He alleged in a statement that the immediate past governor Ibikunle Amosun frustrated the effort to establish $19bn Dangote refinery in Olokola, Ogun State.
This is coming after a PDP stalwart, Segun Sowunmi, heaped blames on the administration of Abiodun for allegedly failing to host the refinery.
As he put it, “Our attention has been drawn to a report credited to a PDP stalwart, Segun Sowunmi, heaping blames on the successive administrations in the state for losing an $19bn Dangote Refinery to the neighbouring Lagos State.
It said, “Any true born Ogun indigene will sincerely be pained by the huge investment loss, especially when Ogun had been marked as the most suitable natural location for the mega project in Olokola Free Trade Zone, in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state.
Th statement reads “In truth, everyone knows that Segun Sowunmi is referring to the immediate past governor, Ibikunle Amosun, as the man who frustrated the efforts to locate the refinery in Ogun State.
We are all aware that the penultimate administration made appreciable and concerted efforts to ensure that the Olokola deep sea port and other ancillary projects in the OKFTZ, become a reality, by rallying major players in the oil and gas sector, including Dangote Group.
But, its successor between 2011 and 2019, for reasons best known to it, killed the project and frustrated the promoter of Dangote Refinery out of the state.
The present governor, Dapo Abiodun, served as the Chairman of the Committee on the Olokola Free Trade Zone projects during the first term of the immediate past governor.
Governor Abiodun, as the chairman of the committee and a big player in the oil and gas industry himself, did everything possible to make sure the project saw the light of the day.
The then governor, perhaps, having a personal axe to grind with the promoter of the refinery project, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, frustrated all the efforts of Governor Abiodun and his committee.
A former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun was then a commissioner and served on the committee, which engaged Dangote on the mega project.
Aliko Dangote is still very much around and can be asked to shed more light on Gov. Abiodun’s role that he alluded to in his testimonial at the commissioning.
He is alive to speak on how he was frustrated, despite Prince Abiodun’s pleas and multiple interventions that fell on the deaf ears of the then governor.
Instead of showing enthusiasm towards hosting the project in the state, the former governor brazenly opposed and obstructed the efforts of the Abiodun-led committee in ensuring that the OKFTZ came into fruition
Having become governor in 2019, it is on record that Governor Dapo Abiodun had always rued the missed opportunity, and he’d embarked on efforts in reawakening the OKFTZ. At different forums, the governor had made it known that the Olokola project is a gold mine waiting to be tapped by the state.
Apart from that, he has continued to shop for would-be investors to bring the project to life. His administration has not relented in bringing net-worth players in oil and gas as well as maritime, to ensure that the natural resources in OKFTZ such as bitumen, natural deep seaport, marine and natural gas are tapped for the economic development of Ogun State.
Even before Aliko Dangote declared on Monday at the official commissioning of the refinery in Lagos that Ogun was the next port of call, Governor Abiodun was already wooing Dangote to reconsider the Gateway State.
Indeed, Dangote has been a resourceful partner in the “Building our future together” agenda of Prince Abiodun. This is evident in his partnership on the reconstruction of the Sagamu Interchange – Papalanto – Obele Road and the provision of an alternate road from Epe to Ijebu-Ode
Conclusively, Governor Abiodun-led administration can never be held either directly or vicariously responsible for the loss of Dangote Refinery. All Ogun State indigenes know the administration that worked against the economic development of the state, all in the name of bad politics and shenanigans.
Rather, Governor Abiodun’s government should be applauded for working to revive OKFTZ.