PDP, Fayemi trade words over sale of Governor’s Lodge

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti is chairman of Nigeria's Governors Forum
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti

Ekiti State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party and Governor Kayode Fayemi at the weekend exchanged verbal invective over alleged sale of the Governor’s Lodge in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The opposition PDP, had in a statement in Ado-Ekiti by the Secretary of the PDP Caretaker Committee in Ekiti, Diran Odeyemi, accused the Governor of selling off the building to an undisclosed investor, an action the party described as financial recklessness and misgovernance.

It alleged that the Fayemi–led All Progressives Congress administration got the state government to buy a property belonging to him in Abuja to be converted to a new Governor ’s Lodge after selling the one in Asokoro, Abuja.

But Fayemi, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Public Communications, Segun Dipe, denied the allegations, describing it as spurious and a monumental falsehood that lacks content of validity.

He clarified his administration was just carrying out reconstruction of the lodge having been allegedly abandoned throughout the administration of Fayose thereby becoming inhabitable.

Fayemi told the opposition and those he branded as ill-informed propagandist to savour the freedom of information law of the state to investigate these facts, instead on embarking on a wild goose chase.

He added that the same property was purchased during Segun Oni-led administration from Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola when he was the governor of Osun State at the time.

According to him, the building was not so good for habitation as the lodge was structurally weak.

This he said, triggered him to order its demolition for a more befitting edifice.

The Governor argued that reconstruction of the edifice was captured in the 2020 budgets and could be verified on the state official website, saying if the opposition PDP is still “agonising” as to whether due process had been followed or not, that it enjoys the inalienable freedom to approach the court.

He, however, alleged that Fayose leased his personal apartment in Abuja to the state and collected N120 million for a period of four years.

He also alleged that Fayose illegally sold the official land acquired by the state’s first civilian governor, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo for the building of the state lodge in Abuja.

“Lest the critic might have forgotten, their party, PDP, spent four years in building a bridge to nowhere, while owing huge backlog of salaries due to workers. Fayemi is not like Fayose who shrewdly rented his personal apartment located in the same Asokoro axis to the state for his own use in Abuja, at a cost of N30 million (Plus N3 million agency fee) per year, which amounted to N120 million (plus N12 million agency fees) in four years!

“The same Fayose illegally disposed of the official land acquired by the first civilian governor, Otunba Niyi Adebayo for the building of the State Lodge.

Read Also: Ekiti PDP accuses Fayemi of selling Abuja Governor’s Lodge

“Up till now, the lodge procured has remained in private hands and the Fayemi administration is the one trying to take possession of the land in the name of Ekiti State”, he added.

In swift reaction, the opposition PDP described the allegation as false and tissue of lies, saying “when you accuse someone of committing fraud, and instead of simply defending himself with facts and figures, he goes about accusing another person, it is obvious that such a person has a lot to hide.

“In this case, what a government that do not have anything to hide ought to have done and promptly too was to lay everything about the lodge bare for public scrutiny”.

“If the property has been sold as alleged, to whom was it sold? How much? When was it sold?

“And if it has not been sold, why was the structure on the land demolished? How much was the reconstruction awarded? To which contractor was it awarded? Where and when was the invitation to tender published. All these are the explanations needed from a Government that lays claim to “open administration”.

“And most importantly, of what benefit is construction of a new governor’s lodge in Abuja to the people of Ekiti State at this time?”

On the claims that construction of the Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja was captured in the budget, the party said it was an afterthought, noting that only N250 million was budgeted in 2020, and the N250 million was a balance of the N1 billion budgeted in 2019, out of which N770.9 million was spent.

It said Governor Fayemi must explain to Ekiti people which Governor’s Lodge he spent N770.9 million to construct in Abuja last year.

“We are aware of budgetary provision of N1 billion in 2019, for construction of Governor and Deputy Governor’s Lodge in Abuja. Out of this N1 billion, a sum of N770.9 million was spent last year.

“One of the questions we have asked to which no answer has been provided is, on which construction was N770.9 million spent last year? This is because the Governor’s Lodge located at Asokoro in Abuja that they allegedly sold was demolished this year and building of a new structure started last month,”it queried.