Characters in the politics that cost Ogun state the siting of Dangote refinery have turned toxic tongues throwing tantrums. While the states IGR begins to suffer, none of the actors wants his head to be used to break the proverbial coconut, reports Adeola Yusuf
The siting and commissioning of Dangote’s $18.5bn Refinery could have been held on Ogun state soil. And so, it became a reopened wound on Monday, May 22, 2023, when the refinery in Lekki played host to five presidents from West African countries, top diplomats from across the world, politicians, business tycoons and the global media. Some characters whose actions led to the loss of the largest single-train refinery in the world returned to the trenches as they launched verbal attacks on one another. No one seems ready to volunteer his head to be used for the breaking of the proverbial coconut.
Lagos Gain, Ogun Loss
The $18.5 billion monumental investment was to be sited in Ogun State before it was moved to its present location in the neighbouring Lagos State.
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Shortly after the commissioning of the project on Monday, some stakeholders in the state rued the loss of the project to Lagos.
Like the proverbial bird perching on a dangling rope, some major actors in the circumstances that led to the Ogun loss and Lagos gain over the project have turned toxic tongues trading tantrums
Segun Showunmi, governorship aspirant of PDP in the 2023 election, blamed the loss on “bad politics.”
Showunmi in a statement he personally signed said “I cannot but wonder what explanation Ogun State has for not housing that project that sits pretty within our Ogun Development Master Plan with Olokola Free Trade Zone in Ogun Waterside!
“It is time to have a law that punishes economic sabotage occasioned by bad politics! No one should be allowed to set back a state on the altar of winning an election, which more than likely has queried integrity.
“No state can make a steady process if that nonsense is not punished to prevent a repeat.”
He congratulated Aliko Dangote and the Lagos over the refinery, saying “Thank God Dangote did not take the project outside the country, which would have provoked me beyond words.”
In a swift reaction, Governor Dapo Abiodun said he was not responsible for the loss of Dangote Refinery to Lagos.
He said it was a disagreement with former Governor Ibikunle Amosun and the business mogul, Dangote, that cost Ogun to lose the monumental project to Lagos.
Platforms Africa reports that Abiodun was the chairman of the Committee on the Olokola Free Trade Zone projects at the period when the project was lost to Lagos State.
Not me, blame Amosun, Abiodun Reacts
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Abiodun admitted serving as the chairman of the committee and “did everything possible to make sure the project saw the light of the day.”
“As we are all aware, the penultimate administration made appreciable and concerted efforts to ensure that the Olokola deep sea port and other ancillary projects in the OKFTZ, become a reality, by rallying major players in the oil and gas sector, including Dangote Group.
“But, the successive governments between 2011 and 2019, for reasons best known to it, killed the project and frustrated the promoter of Dangote Refinery out of the state.
“The then governor, perhaps, having a personal axe to grind with the promoter of the refinery project, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, frustrated all the efforts of Governor Abiodun and his committee.
“Having become governor in 2019, it is on record that Governor Dapo Abiodun had always rued the missed opportunity, and he’d embarked on efforts in reawakening the OKFTZ. At different forums, the governor had made it known that the Olokola project is a gold mine waiting to be tapped by the state.”
Ogun state has already lost the refinery project’s location to Lagos. Lesson is learned.
Political economy is certainly a global phenomenon. Both concepts of politics and business are intertwined, but careful consideration of the people is key when politics crosses the line of business.