Former Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State and leader of the coalition that birthed the current government in the State under Engr. Seyi Makinde on Monday advised the State Government to always cross check facts before deriding his predecessors in office.
Ladoja in a statement by his media aide, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo frowned at the recent statement by the State Government that no administration after 1995 bought a water drilling rig for the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) except the present administration.
Ladoja was Governor between 2003-2007.
According to Latinwo, “during Senator Ladoja’s administration, two rigs were donated by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a Japanese donor Agency”.
“The rigs were launched at Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government by the then Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar”.
“The whole idea was to use same to eradicate guinea worm that was an epidemic in Ibarapa and some parts of Oke Ogun and Ogbomosho zones of the State then”.
“RUWASSA formerly Water and Sanitation Agency (WATSAN) was an agency under the Governor’s office with a Project Director under the supervision of the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG), who was later Chief of Staff to Senator Ladoja, worked assiduously to make the government and people of the State proud with timeous eradication of the epidemic”.
“The epidemic was eradicated in a little over a year with awards and recognition from/by Federal Government of Nigeria, Jimmy Carter Foundation and several other international agencies,” Latinwo said.
“It need be noted that the rig donated by JICA could drill up to 300 metres and was about the best in the West Africa sub-region at that time”.
“When that is compared to the one for which approval was given, the latter can conveniently be referred to as a “toy rig”.
“If the administration could use it’s goodwill to get such a gift of two (2) complete drilling machines, why can’t your administration do same than to deride previous governments,” he asked rhetorically”.
He queried further, “If the rigs were not put to good use, why the awards and recognitions?”.
“It is those rigs that are still being used by Oyo State till recently when, as claimed by Hon. Najeem Omirinde, current chairman of the agency now Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), approval was obtained to buy another one.
“And now that the new ones were being proposed by the government, why must you castigate others for not buying rigs especially when you can use expertise, experience and connections to get rigs.
“Why buying another one, when money meant for that could be put to some other use.
“Whatsmore, when a need arose then, Air Compressor was bought by prudent (as known by people of the state) Ladoja administration,” Latinwo added.
He advised that the Governor should always make wide consultations and avoid pitfalls that could make opposition elements to continually “accuse him of running an audio government laced with innundoes on the pages of newspapers”. Latinwo concluded