The former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has reacted to a claim credited to his successor, Dapo Abiodun, on the $19 billion Dangote Refinery project.
President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the 650,000 barrels per day refinery located in the Lekki area of Lagos last Monday.
Abiodun had in a chat with journalists blamed his predecessor for the relocation of the project from Ogun to Lagos State.
He said the Ogun Central senator denied the state the chance of hosting the refinery over a disagreement with Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
However, in a statement issued by his media office on Wednesday, Amosun stressed that he was not to blame for the relocation of the refinery from Ogun to Lagos.
The former governor said his administration tried its best to ensure the project remain in Ogun by engaging Abiodun and former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, to advise the state on the project.
He added that problem however occurred when the government insisted that 500 hectares from the state portion be reserved for the host community, Ogun Waterside, instead of ceding the entire land to the Olokola Free Trade Zone.
Amosun stressed that the Olokola FTZ project was not solely owned by the Ogun State government.
He faulted Governor Abiodun for blaming him for the state’s failed bid to secure the hosting right for the facility.
He, therefore, challenged the governor to prove his claim on how the state lost the project to Lagos.
The statement read: “From its conception in 2007, it was a Joint Venture. The Federal Government of Nigeria owned the majority 51%, the Ondo State government (14.5%), the Ogun State government (14.5%), and strategic core investors (20%).
“Alhaji Aliko Dangote, according to the information availed us when we took office, subsequently bought, and took over the 20% 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.
“Based on the advice of a committee the government set up to look into the matter, 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.
“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.
“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.”
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