Oyo Affairs Opinion on the IUFMP Project: Governor Seyi Makinde’s Reputation Precedes him

It is generally agreed that a person’s reputation determines the weight of his words. If a person has a reputation of consistently being late for events, you will have cause to doubt him if he promises to be early next time. And so, when the news broke that Governor Seyi Makinde’s “undue interference” in the World Bank’s Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) has led to a “cancellation of the project,” many people found it hard to believe. This is not the style of the Seyi Makinde we have come to know. It certainly was not true to type. Governor Seyi Makinde has, in the past two years, consistently put the people of Oyo State first in his decisions.

We recall that upon assuming office he did not follow the tradition of his predecessors by stopping all contracts that were awarded before he became the governor. For example, the ongoing dualisation of the 7.3km Agodi Gate-Old Ife road-Adegbayi Junction with a spur to Alakia-Ibadan Airport Road construction was awarded by his predecessor. Also, in the education sector, the immediate past governor of Oyo State had gone into a flurry of contract awards a few months before leaving office for projects he knew that his administration would never be able to execute. Governor Makinde did not revoke any of those contracts.

It is also on record that some of the projects Governor Makinde should have embarked on were delayed because he gave the former contractors opportunities to prove performance. For example, the dualisation of the 7.2 km Idi Ape-Basorun-Akobo-Odogbo Barracks Road, Ibadan, was delayed for over a year. He refused to recall some of these contracts because, in his words, it would cost the state more to stop the former contractors.

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He has also been very open and transparent with state funds. The Oyo State Government budget is available on the state government’s website. Due process is followed in the award of contracts: the process is often advertised as bids are sought. In fact, the invitation for tenders for the second pool of works for the IUFMP was advertised on August 2, 2020. When contracts are awarded, the people of Oyo State are given all details of contracts, including contract sums and to whom it was awarded. Many would agree that Governor Seyi Makinde’s level of transparency and honesty in handling the affairs of the state are worthy of emulation.

So, why the brouhaha over the IUFMP? Why have accusations been made without presenting any evidence? It has been reported in some sections of the press that Governor Makinde“[inflated] the project cost” and also “allegedly changed the names of the recommended contractors, filling up the list with[his] people.” But no one has been able to present a single document to support this accusation. All we have is a vague comment found on the World Bank website about the award of the contract being delayed due to “safeguards compliance requirements” and then a subsequent cancellation of the loan.

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Oyo Affairs’ opinion is that the couching of this story in these sections of the press has shown bad faith. First, they are making it seem like the World Bank is holding back a grant when the project is based on a $200Million loan facility secured by the late Senator Ajimobi in 2015. At a time when the Naira was about N200 to a Dollar. That means that the people of Oyo State will be paying back about N82Billion for a N40Billion loan. Governor Makinde’s hesitancy in adding a further $50 Million to the already accumulated $150 Million makes sense.

Secondly, the vital issue of how the project was being executed was neither mentioned nor thought to be worthy of a footnote in the various commentaries. Governor Seyi Makinde recently alluded to the low quality of the work done by the previous contractors that led to the need for a review. Just as his administration had reviewed contracts such as the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road (now completed) and the recently re-awarded Ibadan Circular Road, to mention just two.

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If members of the opposition who have been vocal in making these accusations have evidence to back their claims, we urge them to present them. Otherwise, their assertions will be seen in the light of ‘throwing everything against the wall and hoping that something will stick.” We believe that the voters of Oyo State have grown to be more sophisticated than that. If the All Progressives Congress (APC) and their allies are to wrestle power out of the hands of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023, they have to do more strategising.

As for the IUFMP, we know that the project has not been cancelled. Instead, a loan facility has been withdrawn. We are confident that, as promised, he will do everything in his power to see that all aspects of the IUFMP are completed because when it comes to project execution and completion, Governor Makinde’s reputation precedes him.


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Oyo Affairs is an independent news media with the main focus on Oyo state news, politics, current events, trending happenings within and around Oyo state, Nigeria

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