By Abdulrahaman Taye, The Informant27
Following the completion of Oke-Oyan Basic Healthcare Center in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, a 17.5 KVA soundproof Perkins generator was given to power the facility. The generator was received by Jide Ashonibare, acting chairman of Ifelodun Local Government Area in 2022. But an investigation by The Informant27’s Abdulrahaman Taye has shown that the generator was never installed at the health centre as Ashonibare refused to release it despite pleas from members of Oke-Oyan community.
Among the equipment supplied to the newly constructed Oke-Oyan Primary Health Centre in March 2022 was a 17.5 KVA soundproof Perkins generator. The construction of the health center and the supply of the equipment was financed by the federal government.
The equipment for the hospital, including the generator, was received by Jide Ashonibare, the Transition Implementation Committee Chairman of the Ifelodun Local Government Area. Members of the Oke-Oyan community were present during the presentation of the equipment for the health center.
But more than one year after the equipment was received, the generator is yet to be installed at the health center, depriving the facility of power.
Alasi Sikiru, secretary of the Oke-Oyan community told The Informant 247 that the chairman Jide Ashonibare had refused to release the generator to the health centre.
Sikiru listed other equipment that came alongside the generator including mattress, table, bench, and plastic chairs. While the rest of the equipment was delivered to the health center, he said the chairman held onto the generator.
“I and other community elders went there and took a video of the equipment, including the generator,” Sikiru told The Informant247, adding that he saw three generators, including the one for Oke-Oyan health center.
“When we went there to carry the equipment, including the generator, we discovered that the generator was not there anymore,” Sikiru said. “When we asked the chairman why the generator was missing, he said they tested it and found that the three generators were not working, hence the need to take it back for repair.”
Sikiru said the community members faulted the chairman for taking such action without informing the community. “I told him that the government wouldn’t buy substandard materials,” he said. “I made the chairman understand that he has already signed that the items are in good condition,” Sikiru added.
In an effort to retrieve the generator, members of Oke-Oyan petitioned the state’s House of Assembly. Then the leadership of the House of Assembly set up an ad hoc committee which instructed the chairman to resolve the issue by December 2022.
But despite the intervention of the state’s House of Assembly, the chairman never released the generator
Sikiru told The Informant 247 that the chairman claimed that the community would not be able to maintain the generator if it were handed over to the health center.
Sikiru said the health center had not operated since it was completed because of the absence of the generator.
When The Informant 247 contacted the chairman Jide Ashonibare on phone to ask about the generator, he retorted “Who are you to ask me such a question? I don’t know you, and you’re here asking me. Ask those who told you I’m holding up to it to tell you where to meet me to ask about the generator’s state.”
A legal practitioner Ramadan Yahaya told The Informant 247 that: “It’s quite shameful and unfortunate that many Nigerian public office holders convert government’s properties to personal use during and after their tenure in office.”
Yahaya added that “this is clearly against the code of conduct for public officers. It’s a criminal offense which any public officer found guilty of will be prosecuted for.”
This report was published with the support of Civic Media Lab