FORMER Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and his successor, Governor Dapo Abiodun, yesterday, traded words over the alleged relocation of the $19 billion Dangote Refinery from Olokola Free Trade Zone, in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area, to Lagos State.
Amosun, in a statement by his Media Officer, Bola Adeyemi, said it is most uncharitable for anyone to churn out lies that Ogun State, a mere holder of 14.5 per cent equity interest, was in a position to unilaterally frustrate the project.
The statement reads: “The Olokola Free Trade Zone project was not solely owned by Ogun State. From its conception in 2007, it was a Joint Venture. The Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, 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).
“Aliko Dangote, according to the information availed 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.
“I am proud to put on record for posterity that the brouhaha and misconception about the true and full ownership of the project became confused for reasons of the proactive and investment-friendly disposition of our administration. Ogun State, under my leadership, went beyond and above duty and did all we could to ensure that the project saw the light of day.
“As governor at the time, I appointed two carefully chosen stakeholders of Ogun East/Ogun Waterside Local Government extraction to represent Ogun State’s interests in the joint venture enterprise and advise the State. These were Dapo Abiodun (now governor) and Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, then Commissioner for Finance, who incidentally hailed from the host community of the Olokola project. 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.
“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. Concerning all sides, it accords more with logic to appreciate the fact that Dangote took business decisions of his own by the goals of his business strategy and risk assessment.
“It is, therefore, interesting to read that the present Ogun State governor holds me responsible for allegedly scuttling the Olokola project.”