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A very strong indication has emerged that juju scare might be a major reason the incumbent governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun stayed away from his official residence, the government house.
By PLATFORM TIMES calculation, as at Monday, January 9, 2023, the governor has shunned the government house located at Isale-Igbein, Abeokuta for three years and seven months, equivalent to 1,316 (one thousand, three hundred and sixteen) days.
Finding has shown that the 46-year-old gateway state had produced five democratically-elected governors and eight military administrators since it was created in 1976.
PLATFORM TIMES gathered from the available resources that the first military administrator, of the state, Saidu Balogun who governed between 1976 and 1978 lived in the government house which was constructed by the District Officer in charge of Abeokuta province.
Beating the record of past governors, the incumbent governor of the state, who became the fifth executive governor of the state in 2019, had since he took over from his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, shunned the designated Government House with an excuse of renovation.
Several speculations from public quarters have hovered the cause for the governor’s abandonment of his official residence, ranging from dilapidated facilities and buildings, fears of fetishism from his predecessors, nonchalance and lack of respect for the state government provided facility.
The monumental government reserve building has however, according to a source in the vicinity, been on a running cost of habitation with heavy security personnel on standby, efficient power supply, facility maintenance amongst others.
Unlike Amosun who stayed in the Presidential lodge for over two years before moving into the official residence after his spiritual cleansing, Abiodun shunned it for three years and seven months and stays in the Presidential lodge.
Sometimes in 2020 during the first nine months of his tenure, Abiodun, through his Special adviser on Media and Public Communications, Remmy Hassan, explained why he had abandoned the government house and rather stay at his Iperu Remo private residence, which is 45 kilometers away from Abeokuta, the state capital, to shuttles daily to the Governor’s Office to perform his official duties.
Hassan had claimed it was due to the renovations of the executive lodge.
Hassan stressed that it was not only the governor that was yet to occupy his official residence but also his Deputy, Noimot Salako, and the commissioners.
“All residences of government officials in the state are going through renovations due to old age,” explained Hassan in a telephone interview.
“As of now, the Deputy Governor also is yet to occupy her official residence because it is not proper for any of those involved to stay in the residences while the renovation is going on,” he added.
Findings by PLATFORM TIMES revealed that since May 29, 2019, When Abiodun assumed office he had yet to move into the government house but had stayed in the presidential lodge.
Attempts to get the fresh reason for staying away from the government from the government officials failed as Hassan refused to comment on the issue when contacted by PLATFORM TIMES.
… Historical Fact About Oke-Igbein Govt. House
PLATFORM TIMES gathered that the government house was constructed by the District Officers who were the colonial masters in charge of Abeokuta province.
The state had produced five civilian governors including Abiodun since its creation in 1976.
Further findings revealed that from Saidu Ayodele Balogun who governed in 1976 lived in the government house.
Speaking on the historical significance of the government house, Gbesan said “the historical side because that place has an historical dimension.
“This is a place where the first governor of Ogun State, Ayodele Balogun lived. This is the bed (former president Olusegun) Onabanjo slept on. So, it’s a privilege to be in this bed, so, it becomes a kind of historical attachment which people will now just want to experience
“Indeed, when it can also be a selling point, in terms of Tourism, that we would have said that, oh, this table has been used for the past 100 years, it could also be a big place where you try to create a model for the younger generation and then say I opened before them to come to us. After all, people go to the White House on a tour, they take their children, they may see something to model, and so and say one day I’d love to be a governor.”
Topographically built at the center of Abeokuta by the colonialists to monitor the old rail stations, post offices, and lots more. And finally materialized as the seat of power residence of whoever emerges as the governor of Ogun state since its creation in 1976.
Development and restructuring had taken place at the government house seat by most elected governors of Ogun state at isale-Igbeyin axis of the state capital from administration to administration.
The veteran said “but, for a few years now, the place that occupies a large portion of land crossing between Isale-Igbeyin Abeokuta and Ijeja axis of Abeokuta has been a place to revisit.
“Aside from the mosque, church, hall, and personnel quarters within the premises, the seat of power residing there has been questionable. The most uncelebrated issue about this monument remains that Governors that had occupied it in recent times were abusing the advantages this seat of governance occupied.
“Though former governor Olusegun Osoba during his tenure did a lot of renovation and rebuilding on the Outlook by refacing the place to make it more befitting, it took him months as governor to move in and operate from there as governor.
“Gbenga Daniels came on board and also did lots of additional renovations to make it more befitting for “executive” governors to stay in.
“Then Governor Ibikunke Amosun took charge and did his section out of the large mass land and made the place the armory of the state. Available evidence showed that Amosun shunned the government house for over two years after which he organized a spiritual cleansing exercise and occupied the Presidential lodge performing moving into the official residence afterward.”
Meanwhile, most Military Administrators in the state lived in the official government house, while former civilian governors like late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo also lived there
Another media veteran, Dele Ayodo, Osoba, Amosun and Abiodun were guilty of the act.
He said that Osoba, during his tenure did not sleep in the government house ,rather , he used his Ibara GRA private residence as government house .
According to the finding by PLATFORM TIMES, Osoba also lived more in Ibara GRA which was his private residence. That was where we often used for press conferences. In fact, that was where the state executives took-off in those days.
Ayodo who has spent over three decades in journalism, said Amosun used the government house longer than others past and present governors.
He added that Daniel lived in the house for his first term in office, but, moved in to his Asoludero private residence in Sagamu.
He said “after they finished ‘Asoludero quarters in Sagamu that was when it became the official residence.”
On renovation, Ayodo said “Daniel built Valley view, many of the past governors contributed their own. The past military governors built the mosque and the church in the premises.
Also speaking on the government house, former Sport Editor, Fatai Akinbola said Presidential lodge which had been turned to governors’ residence, was built during the tenure of the first democratically-elected president of the country, Sheu Shagari for the president to lodge instead of lodging at hotels.
He said the lodge was not meant for governors. The presidential lodge is meant for president to lodge when he pays visits.
Ayodo said “Abiodun lives more in Lagos and Iperu and most times on official functions and other things are done in Iperu.
“The current governor never spent to renovate, but the other three renovated. Osoba, Gbenga Daniel and Ibikunle Amosun renovated the place, but, this one (Dapo Abiodun) never renovated the place.
“Maybe because he never went to inspect the place.
On why they stayed away from the hoise, Ayodo said “they are the ones that will be able to tell us what their fears is. That place is an age long place, it used to be the District Officer of the colonial master. It was the office of the white men who were in charge of the Egba district or Egba nation.
“I think, the first construction was done by Sam Ewang who began the construction, then, Osoba renovated it into a proper government house where official functions were carried out.
“Abiodun never lived there. He lives more in Lagos and Iperu. Why they ran away from the place remains a mystery.
… Staying Away From Government House, A Dent on Economic, Historical Heritage
A Veteran Journalist, Gbenga Gbesan has said Abiodun’s action is a dent to the economic growth and historical heritage of the government house.
He said the cost of maintaining the residence without being used could have been put to good use that will profit both the government and the taxpayers.
He emphasized that instead of keeping the government house with running costs, it could be converted into a tourist center, saying, “the government house could have been heritage and historical attachment and. a selling point for tourism.
“Staying away has taken the historical heritage of the government house. Government events that are supposed to be carried out on the premises are being done elsewhere. Where then is the heritage?
“Now, the challenge is that when the government doesn’t stay, do we spend the money that was supposed to be spent on the government house on his house? What it simply means is that we incur more cost of fuel, and wear and tear offer the vehicles.
“Rather than if he stays in Abeokuta, it’s a shorter distance to get to the office. Secondly, all those paraphernalia of staff, all those staffs that are also going with him, are taking an allowance or not if they are not taking an allowance fair enough.
“I understand that he stays at the presidential complex, and since it is also a state facility. Well, it is just a question of, I’m not sure those will be turning any cause because the presidential complex can still be maintained by the state.
“So the facility would probably be maintained by the state. But overall, what I think is that if somebody like him is from out of town and doesn’t find any need to use the government house and he’s still able to perform his duties. Then why do we need to retain the government house? We could have just said anybody that becomes the governor will pay you accommodation allowance.
“So you can come in from, whether it’s Ijebu-life, the longest distance to Abeokuta probably will be three hours or four hours. So if it’s not finding it and it’s convenient for you to do your job if you are from Ipokia, go and stay in your Ipokia house.
You Are Giving Too Much Power To Your Predecessor- Oni
A public analyst, Paul Oni, who described Abiodun’s staying away from the government house as an aberration said Abiodun gives too much power to his predecessor by shunning the government house, saying, it is an aberration for executives to abandon the official quarters that they are supposed to occupy but this is because of our backwardness in this part of the world we belong to.
He added that the action exhibits a lack of in-depth life and immaturity. He said the action represents backwardness, fetishism, and primitive nature, saying “maybe he is apprehensive that he must have planted something there for him. But I query that. Where is our faith and thoroughness in the so-called innovation? Wherever he is staying cannot measure up with the facilities provided for him in the government house as the first citizen of Ogun state.
“No governor has ever stayed away for almost a whole term of four years. Where is the Lord Almighty whom he claimed to believe in being a Christian that he is so afraid to move into his official quarters? Moreso, when the government house is supposed to be the trademark of the executive governor of the state.
“This shows his backwardness, fetishism, and primitive nature. Does it belong to Senator Amosun? Whatever he might have suspected Amosun planted there, he could have gone there to pray like Amosun did before he moved him.
“I see this act as myopic and a dent in him. Would he have abandoned Aso Rock if he was to be the President and reside in his hometown or where he is residing? Why will you stay away from your official residential suit for almost four years? It would have been reasonable if it were to be a year with the renovation or spirituality as an excuse, we would understand. Even the President who claimed he was killing rats in his official residence for some time is back there.
“This is unlimited before the Almighty God. It shows shallowness, lack of belief, and thoroughness. He is dualizing efforts and expenditures. And apart from all that, activities of the executive that are supposed to be carried out in the government house won’t be possible with him not residing there. Who will not be proud of that structure on a hillside and at the top of a hill?
“Why did he become the governor when he cannot use the facilities of the government? Why then is he using the office? This shows a lack of maturity and an in-depth understanding of life. He is giving too much power to his predecessor. If elected for the second term, he spends eight years outside the government house, wasting taxpayers’ money. He should have made the place a museum and we all move there to see what the place is and even make money from it.”
“And then we stop incurring costs on this government house so that any government that comes to any government doesn’t worry us, because if you maintain it, the wear and tear on the property.
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