Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, The Osun State Governor, has said that he deserves commendation for building the Moshood Abiola International Airport at Ido-Osun, Osun State, for N11.5bn.
A consultant to the state government on information, Mr. Sunday Akere, who spoke on behalf of the governor, said this in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Tuesday.
He said the contract was not inflated to siphon the state’s resources as alleged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said the increase in the contract sum was necessitated by the inflation caused by the fall of the naira.
Akere said, “The PDP in Osun should be ignored, they are just seeking relevance. They should find out how much PDP states like Akwa Ibom, Gombe and others built their airports.
“When former President Goodluck Jonathan was in power, he said he added an additional airstrip to the Nnamdi Azikiwi International Airport, Abuja with N36bn. We should be commended for building an airport with N11.5bn.
“If we are building a complete airport with a hanger and other facilities for N11.5bn, then we should be commended. The governor deserves commendation.”
Akere also said the initial cost of the airport was underestimated.
But the PDP accused the governor of increasing unilaterally the contract sum of the airport from N4.5bn to N15.5bn.
The Director of Media and Strategy of the Osun PDP, Mr. Diran Odeyemi, said this in a statement on Sunday.
The statement read, “We are aware that Governor Rauf Aregbesola, on January 8, 2016 through a letter with reference number SP/S96/1/vi/348 re-awarded the airport contract to the same contractor and a payment of N472m was paid as take-off sum.
“The same company had earlier been paid N2.7bn for the same project without any serious work done on the project.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also accused Mr. Rauf Aregbesola of inflating the contract sum so as to embezzle the bailout funds it got from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The opposition party, PDP lamented that workers in the employ of the state were languishing in hunger as a result of unpaid salaries.
The party had said, “We are calling on the President and anti-graft agencies to send a secret team to the site of the so-called Moshood Abiola International Airport, Ido-Osun, to confirm what the government and the airport company had done with the N2.7bn taken from the purse of the state on December 14, 2012.
“Out of the amount, N2.5bn was sourced as a loan from a bank to be repaid monthly at N100m from the SURE-P funds. That loan is now part of the N88bn restructured for the state by the Central Bank for repayment till the year 2034.”