ONDO State government has described the rumour of invitation of its officials by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as “mere attempts of blackmail in an election year”.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Rotimi Adelola, who spoke with The Guardian, said: “Because they do not know what to say again, the opposition members are trying to create mountains out of mere molehills, probably to discredit a performing government in the eyes of the public”.
Specifically, Adelola said “rumours that the EFCC is visiting Ondo State on daily basis to pick our officials are pure lies. As the SSG, who is supposed to know these things, I am aware of only two invitations and these officials are back to their desks.
“You cannot believe it, but I too was rumoured to have been arrested, which is far from the truth. The State Accountant-General and the Chairman of the Ondo State Oil-Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) were once invited, but that is no big deal. It is not a crime to be invited by the anti-graft agencies based on petitions.
“All these things are allegations until they are proven guilty. All these are pure lies and political propaganda. But we know that somebody somewhere was beating this drum because of politics. Thank God that we are on top of the situation”.
The SSG also urged opposition to the desire of the state to seek financial assistance from the money market in form of bond to finance some capital projects. Some political opponents were said to have described the bond as “uncalled for in an oil-producing state”. But Adelola said “it is not out of place for governments to borrow money for specific projects all over the world. Governments borrow from money and capital markets and even in Nigeria, we are not the only state.
“Lagos State, despite its financial buoyancy, borrowed more than N100 billion; Rivers State, another oil-producing state, has got its own and even Osun State is now looking for N60 billion”.
Describing the opposition to the bond as mere politics, Adelola said “one of the lies is that we have borrowed N50 billion whereas what we took was only N27 billion, which will be sufficient for our needs”.