Stop lying over Idanre Chocolate Factory —Akeredolu’s Aide blasts Senator Akinyelure

….As Govt sets records straight on privatisation of Idanre Chocolate Factory

By: Tolulope Oluwole

The Senior Special Assistant to the Ondo State Governor on Agriculture and Agribusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu has described as untrue an allegation by the lawmaker representing Ondo Central senatorial district, Senator Ayo Akinyelure that the state government wants to sell Chocolate Factory at Idanre, Ondo State for less than 100 million naira.

He revealed this to a news conference  held at the NUJ Press Centre in Akure on Friday, 27th of January, 2023.

Akinyelure had early in the week told the press in Abuja that, “I want to urge the Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Bamidele Oleyeloyun to use his legislative power to stop the Ondo State Government and or his SSA on Agriculture, Pastor Akin Olotu from selling the Industry. If at all the State Government wants to sell the industry, due process and procedure must be followed.”

However addressing in Akure, Akin Olotu, said Senator Ayo Akinyelure’s serial and baseless allegations are unbecoming of a Senator. “It is clear that his imminent loss of political relevance is inducing these mischievous outbursts. In any case, there are facts on the Chocolate Factory.”

Pastor Olotu

The Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s Aide said “The factory was an uncompleted project inherited from the immediate past administration. It was completed by this administration using the same consultant we inherited”.

“The contract the State (government) had with the consultant gave him “right of first refusal” in the privatization and running of the factory. This administration complied with that provision by entering into agreement with him. He was to roll out chocolate from the factory on April 2nd, 2020, unfortunately he couldn’t return to the country because of COVID-19 outbreak”.

“When the pandemic subsided, we continued to discuss with him on the need for him to return. However, he put up another proposal with a humonguous financial implication, demanding for another set of equipment including bringing in of many other workers from the United States”.

Olotu added that “the position of the State government was that he should begin operation with what is on ground as the procurement and setting up were 100% done by him, stressing that when he insisted, he was told to source for the fund using his company being a shareholder because the factory was 100% funded by the State Government but Akinyelure declined.

“Some Nigerians were put together to run the factory, they did exceedingly well technically, but were not having the needed fund to take it over. The leader on ground (Mr Robo Aduze) in the factory died last year and the State Government decided to advertise the factory for Outright sales or partnership, in national and state newspapers, calling for tenders as statutorily required. This was done by the investrment Agency of the State (ONDIPA)”.

“The State Asset Disposing Committee was constituted as statutorily required by the Public Procurement Law of the State with representatives of the following Ministries and Agencies: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Budget and Planning, Cabinet Office, Ministry of Lands, Infrastructure and Works, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Cocoa Revolution Agency, Bureau of Public Procurement, Ondo State Development Investment Promotion Agency”.

Olotu further stated that he was invited by ONDIPA by virtue of his position as SSA on Agric and Agribusiness, adding that his interest is to see the place running profitably, and for job opportunities for Ondo State young ones. All the meetings and processes were co-ordinated by ONDIP and not him (Olotu).

He noted that the advertisement was equally placed in the website of Ondo State Bureau of Public Procurement as the official website of the State Government. “This will enable people in the diaspora with interest to equally apply.”

He further opined that evaluation assessment was carried out by the appropriate ministry (Ministry of Lands, Infrastructure and Works) to determine the value.

“At the expiration of the period in the advert and all other needed due diligence, the two bids were opened in the presence of all committee members drawn from all the MDA’s mentioned above and also the two companies that bid.

“Extension was given to one of the companies to address the omission in his bid and was advised to visit the factory for on the spot assessment”.

“The report was collated by ONDIPA and forwarded to the Bureau of Public Procurement for further benchmarking. This is where we are to the best of my knowledge and my findings.  It is after the benchmarking which is still on-going that the report will go to the State Executive Council for consideration, approval or otherwise”.

“At this junction, it is crucial for me to mention that N10OM or even N200M was never in consideration as none of the tender was below N300M”.

“Senator Akinyelure by his petulant behavior of throwing the kitchen sink, so as to burst all pipes and flood the house should be ignored. He is proving in educable and wilfully ignorant”, Olotu said.

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