I’m proud to call Dangote my friend, Oshiomhole fires back at Ize-Iyamu

From left: Wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Iara Oshiomhole; President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State at the groundbreaking of the $1 billion Okpella Cement Factory in Edo State, on Sunday, April 10

Governor Adams Oshiomhole has told a gubernatorial aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu that he is proud to call Alhaji Aliko Dangote his friend while Ize-Iyamu’s can’t boast of his friends and associates as some of them have been convicted of looting the state’s treasury.

Ize-Iyamu, who was Secretary to State Government during the administration of Lucky Igbinedion as Governor of Edo State, had in a press statement published in some newspapers said “with the touted relationship with Dangote, it is just a few months to the end of his tenure that he could attract him to lay foundation stone for cement factory in Edo State”.

In a response by his Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria, Oshiomhole said “I’m proud to associate myself with Dangote, and I’m proud to say my friendship with Dangote has yielded a $1 billion investment in the state in the form of a brand new Okpella Cement factory which will offer close to 50,000 direct and indirect jobs to people of the state.

“My friendship with Dr. David Ladipo yielded another $1 billion Azura Power Plant. My friendship with Captain Hosa Okunbo has yielded a $750 million Wells and Carlos Farms which is set to employ over 85,000 people.

“I’m proud to say that under my stewardship as governor, investors now find Edo State very attractive and they are coming down here in droves. Already a Chinese Steel Company, Yongxing, is in full production and is already seeking ways to expand its operations; another Chinese Company, Time Ceramics Limited is also into full production and already into the second phase of expanding its operations.

“Also, more Chinese companies are planning to set up their factories in different parts of the state, these are my friends, those are my records which I am proud of.

“Now, there is a popular saying ‘show me your friend and I will tell you whom you are’. Who are Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s friends? It is on record that some of his best friends have been convicted of looting the state’s treasury.

“What are Ize-Iyamu’s records as SSG in Edo State? How many of his friends was he able to attract to invest in the state? None. Rather than bring in investors to the state, they siphoned the state money and established phoney companies: Ehor Juice factory, Cassavita Company, AVA Cement factory all of which were designed to fail from the beginning and which they eventually sold to their cronies at give-away prices.”

While accusing the Oshiomhole-led APC government of not having a master plan for the development of the state, Ize-Iyamu said a PDP government will change all that, adding, “The economy of our state must be diversified.”

The governor, however, said “PDP will never again reverse the development train of the APC government in Edo State and come 2018, another APC government will continue from where we stop on November 12, 2016, and will commission the $1 billion Okpella Cement factory and many other industries which my friends have signified interest to establish in Edo State.”

He ended with the affirmation: “Yes, Aliko Dangote is my friend,” asking Ize-Iyamu, “who is your friend?”