A former aide to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Maiyaki has urged the governor to forget the idea of selling 50 per cent stake in the state-owned Azura Power project, saying such sale will have negative legal implications on the state.
Maiyaki who was Obaseki’s pioneer Chief Press Secretary said since a duly constituted state Assembly was not in place to consider and approve such divestment, there was no basis for the governor to go ahead with the planned exercise.
In a statement made available to The Nation in Abuja, Maiyaki said the ambition of the Governor would end in futility because of the processes that is involved in the divestment of state’s equity.
He said “First is process – Understanding that the money in question belongs to the state implies understanding the bureaucratic protocol of accessing and determining the best value and usage of public funds. This, therefore, requires the painstaking involvement of state lawmakers who must preside, commune and brainstorm on this idea as presented by the executive arm.
“This way, they supervise and determine if indeed, it is a worthy ambition. But in Edo state, as popularly known, there is no legally constituted legislature to sit on the case. This opens up and presents the second problem which is that of execution.
“If the process of supervising and assessing the executive ambition is intrinsically fraught with crisis, what assures upright devotion to the pursuit of the laid claims made by the Governor? And this worry is given more validation by the historical record of the present administration. Known for its characteristic attitude of making, but not fulfilling promises, sometimes even denying them, how can the public cast their truth on this ambition, believing that Obaseki’s administration has the interest of the people at heart?
“It should then be recalled at this juncture that the administration aims to divest 2.1 billion naira into a 200billion dollar project. By mere proportion, the incoming fund is like a drop of water in an ocean. But the most expedient question it invites is that of the original plans of the Industrial project. If the Industrial Park project needs such fund that is paltry when compared to its budget, then where and what really originally funds the project?
“But worse fear exists: where is the money really going and for what purpose? The Governor may have in his speech repeatedly rehearse his administration’s keenness to invest the money into the industrial sector of the state in an aim to shock and reinvigorate the sector for the employment and productive benefit of Edo state and her citizens. Yet there are validated reasons for fear and some quarters have suspected that the fund will be hijacked.
“Two things again stand out. First is that Governor Obaseki has created a frightful reputation, one that lacks the currency of trust, hence undermining himself whenever he proposes a-money-involved idea. This can be said, was brought upon himself by no other person than himself. In the months he spent creating an image of himself, subtly announcing through his actions, that no heartless disposition is beyond him, he sows a seed; now fully germinated and blossoming, he must reap its fruits.
“Obaseki throwing the legislature into crisis has therefore eliminated the chances of having his ambition legally asserted, and for this, he is made a man who has shot himself in the foot, and now, he must remain rooted to a spot, not progressing, not making or finding peace, his past sins haunting him until the time comes for him to go home—and then he will be voted home to rest”