Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, said on Thursday, 27 February, 2020, that his administration has started reaching out to former office holders in the state, who have been discovered to have withheld state’s resources, to return same or risk being reported to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
The Governor, who gave the hint while receiving the chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye and his management team in his office, said that the state government “expects that the former office holders would cooperate with it and return funds traced to them.”
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying: “We are not here to witch-hunt the past administration or individuals. That is probably why you (ICPC) have not seen a lot of petitions coming from us. But as we have progressed, what we have seen is that some of the resources were mismanaged.
“We have been talking to the people involved. If they return those resources, then, we probably won’t need to come to ICPC, because the whole idea is for you to help us recover those resources of the state that had been stolen. If they refuse to cooperate, I am just putting them on notice now, then we will come to ICPC for assistance.”
The Governor, who promised that he would equally declare his resources openly after his tenure just like he did when he assumed office, added that he would keep insisting on accountability.
“We have taken corruption as a cankerworm that we know can destroy all of us if not checked. Most importantly, for the leaders, you have very few of us that decided to hold ourselves accountable. That is why upon resumption of office, I publicly declared my assets. I did not want people to start going through FoI (Freedom of Information Act) channel to have clarity of where one is coming from.
“At the end of my tenure of office, I also will come out to declare my assets publicly. I strongly believe that, even if we are able to reduce the amount of transactions with elements of corruption, we may just reduce it by 30 to 40 per cent. It is a huge amount that will become available to develop our country and our state.”
He further stated that he decided to set up an anti-corruption commission in the state so as to guide against theft of state’s resources, besides the fact that anti-corruption agencies at the federal level don’t have limitless resources to tackle corruption.
He said: “Also, we have anti-corruption agencies, including EFCC and ICPC at the federal level. So, people have asked me why set up our own agency at the state level? I said to them that if the federally-allocated revenues are being chased around by the federal agencies, we do generate revenues locally as well. We also need to chase after how they are being spent. And quite frankly, if you look at the federal agencies, they don’t have limitless resources and you have all these corrupt tendencies and cases all over the place. So, we felt the closer the anti-corruption efforts get to the people, the better the resources we are going to get at the end of the day.”
While speaking during the courtesy visit, the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Owasanoye said that the commission was ready to cooperate with the government of Oyo State, especially in the area of systems review.
He also asked the government to allow the commission help nurture its upcoming anti-corruption commission, adding that the ICPC would readily assist the administration to fight and prevent corruption.
According to Professor Owasanoye, the ICPC has commenced a system review at the subnational level, noting that the commission “does not want Oyo state to be left out of the process.”