Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has described the “Good Governance Tour” the Minister of Information Labaran Maku is leading around the country as a big scam.
Speaking in Benin on Friday, Mr. Soyinka commended the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, for refusing to acede to a request by Mr. Maku to fund the team’s visit to Edo State.
“I am happy that Oshiomhole told the leader of the Good Governance Tour, Labaran Maku, to go to hell. It is a big scam,” Mr. Soyinka said in response to a question from journalists who sought his views on the tour.
The Nobel Laureate fielded questions from journalists at the Edo State Press Centre after visiting the Benin Moat, a major tourist attraction in the Edo State capital.
Governor Oshiomhole had on Tuesday revealed that he had rejected a multi-million naira proposal by Mr. Maku asking him to bankroll the so-called “Good Governance Tour”.
Speaking at a seminar on tax laws in the state on Benin, Mr. Oshiomhole said he was not prepared to waste the state’s limited resources on an unnecessary project conceived and promoted by the federal government.
“It is not proper to use Edo State tax payers’ money to finance a Federal Government programme,” the governor said. “If they pay me a courtesy visit, I will receive them, but I don’t have a dime to spend on them because I do not need them to come to tell Edo people how I built roads and schools. My achievement speaks for me.”
He said Mr. Maku’s team had sent in a proposal requesting him to provide accommodation, feeding and logistics for over 120 delegates when they visit the state next week. He said he opposed the proposal when it was tabled for discussion at a Governors’ Forum meeting sometime ago.
“Whenever Edo State government officials travel to Abuja for official duties, the state takes responsibility and not the Federal Government,” Mr. Oshiomhole said.
However, the Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, denounced Mr. Oshiomhole a day later, saying the controversial exercise received the backing of all 36 state governors.
“I confirm and reaffirm that we all (governors) collectively agreed to this programme,” Mr. Uduaghan said.
Mr. Maku has been travelling with a delegation of officials, journalists and civil groups to states purportedly to highlight projects achieved by the federal and state governments.
The delegation has covered more than 15 states, and the tour, dismissed by critics as a jamboree, is continuing.