Ondo state Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said that his administration has uncovered a grand plot to blackmail his son, family members and the State Government with fabricated details and spurious allegations.
Akeredolu was reacting to allegations by the Ondo State Concerned Timber Merchants (OSCTIM) that the State Government planned to hand over the state forest reserve to a firm linked to Babajide, a son of Governor Akeredolu
The group, in a statement by its State Coordinator, Alhaji Olawole Idris, said the Ondo Governor wants to siphon all resources of the State before leaving in February 2025.
Idris alleged that Babajide has been using one Ilesanmi Ademola a.k.a Brainbox as his front man for the shady deal.
Idris said the ban placed all activities in Ondo forests on August 31, 2021 was to enable it to perfect all necessary documents before the new consultancy company begins operations.
According to him: “We are concerned about the recent activities in the state forest reserve and we believe it is pertinent for us to raise alarm before our state becomes insecure and bankrupt mainly because of the activities of a person who is hell bent on milking the state dry.
“We won’t allow Akeredolu and his son to cripple the sunshine state. He has given the power to his son to an extent that he (Babajide) now determines who and who would serve in his cabinet.
“We are aware that the new commissioner that may likely be in charge of the ministry of natural resources has already pledged his loyalty and also keyed into the new criminal arrangement”.
But Governor Akeredolu, who spoke through his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, said those he termed unscrupulous individuals have perfected plans to use his family as a target of their smear campaign.
He said the business of government is handled with utmost respect and accountability adding that his decision to ban all logging activities and subsequent lifting of the ban were in the interest of the State.
“The plan, which was hatched and orchestrated by these individuals, particularly, targeted the Governor’s son, Babajide Akeredolu, on allegations of high handedness and interference with serious government decisions, especially as it relates to the economic activities at the government reserves.
“Succinctly, the purveyors of this heinous plot have perfected plans to lie against the
Governor and his son of attempting to take over the management of the forest
reserves so as to corner the resources for personal gains.
“This government is exploring all avenues and blocking loopholes to shore up its Internally Generated Revenue so as to ensure that more funds are brought into the government coffers to drive development in the state.
“We will not fold arms and allow disgruntled elements ruin the gains that have been recorded and being consolidated on, in the state.
“Under this administration, we have recorded significant progress and growth in our IGR. For a government that has shown accountability and readiness to explore all economic angles for the progress of the state in the past four year, it is not only laughable but preposterous for any disgruntled group to suggest that Governor Akeredolu’s son was planning to man the ministry of natural resources for personal gain,” the statement reads.