A former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu, has described the planned probe of his administration by the current governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko, as a sad one.
Agagu told Saturday PUNCH via a telephone interview that his administration thrived on transparency.
He stated that Mimiko was the Secretary to the Government during his tenure and was aware of all transactions made in the state.
Agagu said, “If it is true that the desire to probe me is from the Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, I will say it is a sad commentary on the quality of leadership that is emerging in Nigeria. This is because Mimiko was my secretary to government when all the tenets, programmes, rules and regulations on financial matters in Ondo State were being put in place within the first month I was sworn in as the governor of the state.
“Mimiko was the person who circularised the financial guidelines that governed our administration throughout my tenure. Mimiko knows what he did and if he is now trying to cast aspersions on it, then it is sad that he is doing that.”
The former governor said that Mimiko knew what he said was wrong and it was sad that for politics sake, he would want to tell lies.
“Our administration was fashioned along the path of ultimate transparency. Starting from when resources are allocated to the state in the beginning of every month. I had a fund allocation committee, a practice that had never been put in place in the history of Ondo State.
“Usually, the governor and his commissioner for finance at the end of every month would sit, look at the finances of the state and plan how it would be disbursed. In our case, we had a fund allocation committee that had the governor as its chairman, the Deputy Governor, Secretary to Government, the Head of Service, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Chief Judge of the State, the Chairman Council of Obas, the Leader of the Labour Union, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance as the secretary; all income allocated to the state are tabled and how it would be spent is detailed,” Agagu said.
He stated that every Wednesday, the Commissioner of Information gave details of all transactions that went on at the SEC where contracts were awarded, to the media.
Agagu added, “No contract above N1m was awarded in Ondo State without the approval of the SEC, commissioners, special advisers and all civil servants who are attached to it. Part of the financial regulations of the state was that an audited account of state finances, how much came in, how it was spent and how it was audited, is supposed to be submitted to the state House of Assembly on the Sept. 30 every year.”
The ex governor said that in the last three years before he became governor in 2003, no audited account by the state Auditor-General had been submitted to the House of Assembly.
Agagu stated that he had cleared this backlog. “If you need to check, the transactions, records of the state house of assembly would be there. All the five years I was governor, by Sept. 30 every year, the audited account of the state was placed before the house of assembly and for five years, there was no query about our transactions,” Agagu said.
He alleged that since the Mimiko administration got there, not one audited account in three years had been sent to the state house of assembly.