Facts have emerged on how former Governor of Ondo State Dr.Olusegun Mimiko and the former Governor of Ogun Ibikunle Amosun, allegedly frustrated the citing of Dangote refinery in their respective states.
It was gathered that the $20 billion Dangote refinery was initially scheduled to be located in Olokola Free Trade Zone, Ondo State.
Findings from our correspondent revealed that the local chiefs of the community and then the former governor of Ondo State, Segun Mimiko, were making unrealistic demands from Aliko Dangote.
According to Chukwudi Inwuchukwu, it was discovered that when Dangote was overwhelmed with the demands by then Governor and the local chiefs, he approached the former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who offered a better deal to him, and then rallied the local chiefs of Epe and Ibeju Lekki in 2014 to support the mega investment.
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“If that refinery had not been taken away , it would have been the magic wand that would have changed the fortunes of the good people of Ondo State and then grown the state’s GDP overall.”
It was gathered that the project was initially planned to be sited at the Olokola Free Trade Zone in the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, but was later taken to Lagos State
However, although the former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has denied the allegation that he caused the state to lose hosting the Dangote crude oil refinery to Lagos State because he demanded a bribe from Aliko Dangote, he did not also state why Dangote relocated to Lagos state even as people still insist the former Governor is economical with the truth.
It can be recalled that in 2022, Mimiko’s Special Assistant on Media and Digital Communications, Mr John Akinduro, had issued a statement describing such claim as false and mischievous.
“We state for the umpteenth time that Mimiko did not make any personal demand, cash or kind, or receive any personal gratification that led to the location of the factory in Lekki instead of Olokola.”
In a related development, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, in 2021, revealed that predecessor lost bid for Dangote refinery to Lagos due to what he described as break in discussion between the Amosun government and Dangote.
Governor Dapo Abiodun was the Chairman of Olokola Free Trade Zone under the former administration when the State lost Dangote refinery to Lagos, expressed disappointment that the State could not achieve having the refinery sited in Olokola.
The governor did not also state the roles he played in the discussion between Dangote and the immediate past administration.
“I worked as chairman of Olokola Free Trade Zone that was meant to have the Dangote refinery sited in Ogun Waterside, however, discussion broke down between Dangote and the then administration which led to the loss of that project to Lagos State; a sixteen billion dollars was lost to another State.”
LEKKI TIMES can recall that the refinery was initially slated to be sited in Ogun, following the efforts put in place by the Gbenga Daniel administration at the Olokola Free Trade Zone.
In 2011, when Senator Ibikunle Amosun assumed office, the administration failed to reach an agreement with Dangote, and the project was moved to Lagos for yet-to-be-identified reasons.
It has not been established which of the states did Aliko Dangote approached first for citing of the refinery.
Also, a governorship aspirant in Ogun State, Segun Showunmi, has called for punishment for those behind the relocation of the project from Ogun to Lagos.
While congratulating Lagos State and Dangote on the commissioning of the refinery, Showunmi said: “I cannot but wonder what explanation Ogun State has for not housing that project that sits pretty within our Ogun Development Master Plan with Olokola Free Trade Zone in Ogun Waterside!”
Meanwhile, on Monday May 22, amid encomiums from eminent personalities, including President Muhammadu Buhari and presidents of five other African countries, founder and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, expressed optimism that the newly commissioned 650,000pbd refinery would employ over 100,000 Nigerian youths and generate over $21 billion in revenue.
He said: “Beyond today’s ceremony, our first goal is to ramp up production of the various products to ensure that within this year, we’re able to fully satisfy our nation’s demand for higher quality products.”
According to him, the accomplishment is to enable Nigeria to eliminate what he described as the tragedy of import dependency and stop “once and for all” toxic, sub-standard petroleum products from being dumped in Nigeria’s market.
“Beyond this, we intend to ensure that our plants are run at the highest capacity of utilisation and the highest efficiency to enable us to export competitively to other markets, especially in the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS and wider regions in which 53 countries of 55 are dependent on imports to meet their petroleum products’ demand,” he added.