Ogun State government says some persons are intimidated by the rising profile of the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, hence the concerted effort to tarnish his image.
The state government said this in reaction to a report by an online news medium that the governor was paying $50,000 to his former aide, Bidemi Rufai.
Rufai has been indicted in internet and wire fraud in the United States and has been standing trial since last year.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abiodun, Kunle Somorin, on Sunday, the government noted that the report of the governor paying $50,000 to Rufai each time he introduced people to him is untrue.
The statement added that Rufai, who was appointed by the governor as his Senior Special Assistant on Housing, never had any close relationship with the governor, prior to his appointment.
The statement further faulted and denied the claims in the report that Rufai was being paid $2,000 as his salary, which according to it is not only “outrageous but baseless”.
Salaries and wages are fixed and no member of the government is permitted to any other allowances not known to law.
Somorin added that records in the state never showed that Rufai, while serving in the state, brought a single investor or facilitated any investment from the United States of America, wondering how the former political aide would then be paid $50,000 for a deal that never took place.
“Bidemi Rufai was appointed as a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Housing, and was nominated for appointment barely three months before he was arrested.
“He had not resumed formerly and had no official office to transact business.
“He wasn’t part of the Ogun State Economic Management Team and have got no input into the state government activities.
“His appointment was based on his activities in his ward. He didn’t sit in the State Executive Council meetings and couldn’t have had inputs in policies of the state government.
“The governor had no deal with Rufai on any transaction. He brought not a single one. They can check with the US embassy,” Somorin noted in the statement.
The CPS noted further that Governor Abiodun, being a law-abiding person and respecter of the rule of law, immediately suspended Rufai after his arrest for fraud in the USA and later terminated his appointment, even before his conviction for the crime by the US court.
He stated that Nigeria is currently in the political season, which is an auspicious time for unscrupulous politicians to attack or sponsor attacks against the incumbent, hence, timing of the concocted and untrue news.
The statement informed that the political enemies of the governor, who are perhaps not happy with his rising profile, particularly in terms of huge foreign investment drive and infrastructure development of Ogun, might want to play up the issue of Rufai to tarnish the governor’s image.
Somorin called on the people of the state to disregard the report as a mere “attention seeking” gambit.
He added that Governor Abiodun would not rather be perturbed by the report, but remain focussed on his mission to position Ogun as number one investors’ preferred destination in the country.
He added that Governor Abiodun will continue to be just, fair, accountable and equitable governor he promised to be.
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