Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun has slammed Femi Fani-Kayode and others who have been criticizing him for granting exemption to Dangote trucks to move around during this period of COVID-19 lockdown.
We reported yesterday that the former Aviation Minister, Fani-Kayode, berated Gov Abiodun, for exempting Dangote trucks from the restriction order.
The state government had, through a letter by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, Saturday,
told security agents to exempt Dangote trucks from vehicles that would be barred from moving on the road.
The letter reads: “This is to confirm that Dangote Plc. trucks are exempted from the restrictions of movement and total lockdown of the state as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“You are requested to permit the trucks to move freely within the state because of the essential multi-sectoral services the company renders to the public.”
On Monday, we quoted Fani-Kayode as saying:
“Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state ought to explain this. Are some more equal than others? It is a crying shame that a few sons of the South West bow, quiver and tremble before their masters.
“Are Dangote’s drivers and trucks immune to Covid 19? Will you give similar exemptions to southern businessmen and traders? Shame on you!”
But, Governor Abiodun in his reaction, said he would not understand why there are so much cries about the exemption he gave to Dangote Group of Companies, owned by Aliko Dangote.
According to him, Dangote remained the richest man in Africa and the largest employer of labor in Nigeria.
Abiodun recalled the roles played by Dangote in stopping the Coronavirus pandemic in the nation, saying it cannot be overemphasised.
The visibly infuriated Governor said if anybody felt Dangote did not deserve the exemption he gave his trucks to move across the state during the lockdown, such person “can choose to become a Dangote and I will give you that exemption as well.”
Abiodun sought to know how many Dangotes are in this nation or in the African continent, saying, however, that he was not the only company granted an exemption.
He explained that other companies producing essential food items and water have been exempted from the restriction order.
Abiodun called on those criticising him over the issue, one of whom was Fani-Kayode, to desist from playing politics with same.
His words: “I really wondered what the people were crying about. Dangote is not the only one that we gave approval to conduct their businesses, because we have identified them as critical stakeholders in the state.
We’ve done the same for Lafarge and a few others as well.
“First of all, Dangote is the person leading the private sector and CBN initiative to support the entire country during this exercise and that group today has raised about 20 billion naira.
So, when people start saying things like this, I don’t know how many Dangotes are there in this country or in this continent. As far as I know, Dangote is the African richest man today.
“So, if I give Dangote an exemption and you think he did not deserve it, you can choose to become a Dangote and I will give you that exemption as well.
Dangote in Ogun state has up to five thousand employees. That is a fact, let’s call a spade a spade and let’s stop making jest or politics about this situation, unnecessarily.
“We have given him an exception because he is offering critical services.
Some of the things we are doing are non-stop because this pandemic will come and go.
We are building roads, houses and we are trying to ensure that some of those critical things are ongoing because we cannot wake up one day and Corona is gone and we are nowhere.
So, Dangote is providing us salt, seasoning, sugar, oil and so many other commodities.
“What I have done is not only in Ogun State, Lagos State has given exemption to so many people.
We have done the same thing for our tailors, poultry farmers and those that are contributing to this particular lockdown.
“I don’t know why everybody is bringing an issue out of it and I hope this my explanation will put this to rest.”
Source: News update