Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State took a swipe at the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the last election, Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka saying his view about development was too narrow for Ogun State.
The governor in a statement signed by the commissioner for information in the state, Yusuph Olaniyonu was reacting to a statement credited to Isiaka where he described the proposed light rail project in the state as a misplaced priority.
The government also described the views expressed by Isiaka as a reflection of ignorance and narrow world view about developments, even within the country.
The government stated that the light rail project whose contract it signed with the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) last week was a contractor-finance arrangement which will open the state economy to massive investment and create employment opportunities for the youths.
According to the government, any economy where goods and services cannot be easily moved from one point to another is doomed and the rail system has proved to be the best means of mass movement. It is equally the easiest way to preserve, safeguard and complement the new road network now emerging in Ogun State.
It added that with the federal and neighbouring Lagos State governments commencing the construction of a light rail network , Ogun State needs to quickly key into it so as not to be deprived of the resultant benefits.
“Ogun State, by signing the contract with CCECC is only joining a network that both the federal and Lagos governments are about to create. That is why we are using the same contractor as them. This will save money, time and ensure compatibility.
“We are surprised that Mr. Isiaka did not know about the proposed light rail until last week. We publicly signed the Memorandum of Understanding in 2013 so that the contractor could prepare the design for us. The design was in fact featured prominently in the 2014 state calendar and other publications of the state government”, the government said.
It then advised Isiaka to always check his facts well before rushing to make public statements which, according to the statement, were unbecoming of a man who aspired to govern the state.
The government said there were minutes of the Executive Council and other records which indicated that the administration had done elaborate preliminary studies and held necessary discussions before embarking on the project.
The state government added that the statement by Isiaka describing the rail project as a misplaced priority was only a reflection of his myopic world view which would have kept Ogun State in her 1976 state if the PDP candidate had been elected governor.
“We are a forward – looking, progressive administration. Our plans is to create a modern, agro-based, industrialised and developed state. The light rail project is central to achieving this. However, we need to remind Mr. Isiaka that constructing a rail project does not disturb investment in other social services. Our rebuilding mission in all other areas will not be disturbed in any way. That is why as late as last month, we still commissioned a new block of classrooms in Arepo town, Obafemi Owode local government area.
Mr Isiaka had during a press conference last week said the $3.2 billion projects should not be the priority of the state for now, “as there were schools and health facilities that had decayed and needed urgent attention.”
He noted that there were many things the governor did not tell the people of the state about the project.
He said, “one wonders where and when the government conceptualised the project. Was it debated at any state executive council meeting or budget retreat? Was it advertised or bided for? What is going to be the economic and environmental impact upon the economy and the geography of the state respectively?
“How would such humongous project be funded and under what repayment terms?”

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