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Campaign of Calumny against TAG, an attempt dead on arrival

 

Our attention has been drawn to several attempts at blackmailing the Transparency and Accountability Group (TAG), by paid agents of the Osun State Government who are disguising as ordinary members of the public, media researchers, online media groups and other such phony identities.

We first must inform the Osun State Government that it has no need to hire such mercenaries to respond to issues that we raise, as it is in the best interest of this government and its handlers to engage us frontally and transparently respond to issues that we put forward. TAG is not an organization formed to blackmail government; we are only interested in advancing the principles of accountability, probity and transparency in government business.

We reaffirm our conviction that a project like the proposed Olaiya flyover and any other procurement process at all, must duly conform to the provisions of the Osun State Public Procurement Law of 2015 in its entirety. This is the only way such projects can be adjudged as transparent, fraud-free and with honest intents.

The attempt to rely on the provisions of Section 59 of the Public Procurement Law to justify a jaundiced Contract Award process is one that is suspicious and calls to question the integrity of actors in the government of Gov. Gboyega Oyetola.

For the sake of educating the persons behind the ignorant posture, we will quickly raise the following points of education:

1. The opening wording of Section 59(1) is “subject to the approval of the agency…” This is a presumption that, for the provision to be operational, there shall be in existence, the Agency. According to clear provisions of this same law, the Agency cannot act without being given a direction by the Board. Therefore, as long as it is not clear whether or not both the Board and the Agency are in existence, the provisions of section 59 cannot have any valid effect.

2. Furthermore, for there to be a restricted procurement, it must first be certified and satisfied that the goods and services to be procured are available from a limited number of contractors and suppliers. Even after satisfying that clause in Section 59, the section still provides that there shall still bee invitation for bids from such ‘limited suppliers and contractors.’

3. In the instance of the proposed Olaiya flyover, the State Government has to prove the existence of a Public Procurement Agency; the existence of a Board overseeing the Agency; the existence of documents certifying that the construction of a flyover is only available from a limited number of contractors; the existence of an invitation to tender, extended to such limited contractors and proof that the person to whom this construction has been or is to be awarded, is indeed the best hand available.

TAG is not an army of disgruntled politicians; we are a group with membership including legal practitioners, construction professionals, finance experts, media practitioners and great thinkers who understand the implications of every provision of a State procurement law and will act in that light to demand accountability from the Osun State Government.

The public must also take note, that we have requested from the office of the Osun State Governor, details of the membership of the State Public Procurement Board, to justify any and every procurement activity that may have been undertaken in the last two years of this administration. An acknowledged copy of the letter is attached to this release.

It is also worthy of mention, that the elements in this government, who are making attempts to blackmail TAG are also using subtle emotional blackmail to get us to keep quiet. Several mention has been made of accident figures along the Olaiya intersection and how the flyover will solve the problem. We understand that this angle to their argument is an attempt to pitch the public against our group.

We however want to put on record, that we are well aware, as are the persons behind this subtle blackmail, that road accidents are possible on every roadway in the world – be it at-grade intersections or interchanges. In fact, a 2018 study on the Cause of Car Accidents at intersections (available on the Open Access Library Journal), identified that drivers were mostly responsible for accidents at intersections.

It suffices to say that an enforcement of traffic rules, especially at signalized intersections is the surest way to prevent accidents, as there will still be accidents even if the intersection is converted to an interchange. Accident data for other cities in Nigeria also comes out to show that there is an ever-present risk of vehicular accident at intersections, no matter the kind.

In conclusion, we state as a group, that TAG is a friend of this government. We are not out to blackmail it, but to give it a chance to prove that its actions are legal and correct for a State like Osun.

We will keep the engagements going.

Comr. Ayodeji Ologun

TAG Spokesperson

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Solomon Ogar

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