The Media Office of the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has described as false, unfounded and baseless, insinuations being circulated online by a contractor who had alleged that the state committed intellectual property theft against him in respect of the newly inaugurated Park Management Systems (PMS).
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, declared that the claim by the said contractor, Moxharley Nigeria Limited, was baseless and untrue, noting that the Oyo State Government decided to set the records straight, having observed that the said contractor has started orchestrating enormous falsehood and arrant lies in an attempt to drag the name of the state and governor into unwholesome controversy.
The statement read: “We will place on record that the said claim of ‘intellectual property theft’ is hollow, unfounded and merely the orchestrated noise of a misguided claimant.
“It was discovered that the said contractor submitted his document to the Office of the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the Governor on October 2, 2019, and that the CoS forwarded the document to the Bureau of Internal Revenue the same day.
“It was further discovered that the same contractor, assisted by a friend of his, who happens to be an acquaintance of the Commissioner for Public Works, Infrastructure and Transport, Prof. Raphael Afonja, introduced the same proposal to the Commissioner, who eventually forwarded the document to the BIR.”
According to the statement, information from the Chairman of BIR, Aremo John Adeleke, however, indicated that the said proposal was first brought to his office on October 2, 2019, but that it came behind schedule because the Bureau’s memo to the governor on the PMS was forwarded in September.
The statement quoted the Revenue boss as saying: “The said document played no part in the PMS launched by Oyo State Government. We could not consider it because we had wrapped up our decision on the PMS issue in September and we communicated the same to His Excellency, the Governor. If anyone would claim originality of the PMS idea, I would say it is that Governor himself, because he discussed it with me immediately I was appointed in June 2019.
“Anytime you get to my office, you see heaps of documents behind my table. They are proposals asking us to do one thing or the other. We only deal with those that are relevant to the needs of the State.
“Besides, it should be noted that the PMS being implemented in Oyo State is markedly different from what was contained in the document submitted by the said contractor.
“It clearly amounts to a misnomer for anyone to play the victim by claiming that government stole his idea just because government is implementing its initiative to grow IGR.
“Let it also be placed on record that the orchestrated efforts aimed at blackmailing the Oyo State Government over the PMS is not only unjustifiable but baseless and cannot hold water.”
The Media Office noted that it was a reflection of faulty assumption for the said contractor to lay claim to the ownership of the PMS initiative, which is aimed at ensuring proper management of motor parks, engendering peaceful coexistence among the stakeholders in the Transport sector and raising the internally generated revenue of the state, insisting that it had always been the desire of the governor to reorganize the motor park system in order to eliminate violence and brigandage in its affairs.
The statement added that while the government would ordinarily not join issues with some people who may be bent on blackmailing it as part of a larger group of unscrupulous elements and opposition politicians, it will not condone the pull-him-down syndrome being engineered against Governor Makinde.
It advised those shouting about the unfounded intellectual property theft to channel their energies to more productive ventures.
The statement read further: “The Oyo State Government views the said contractor and owner of the acclaimed proposal as just being interested in bandying words, without having a proper understanding of the meaning or import of the words ‘intellectual property.’
“We will like to place it on record that the Oyo State Government did not and will never steal anyone’s intellectual property. Governor Makinde, as a man who believes in hard work and innovation, will never be party to any sort of theft of copyright or infringement on intellectual property.
“In this case, a company wrote a proposal that was just similar to a thousand and one others. A piece of paper that was never adopted by government cannot be dressed in the distinguished toga of intellectual property. That is not how it works. There is a great deal of difference between what was contained in the said proposal and what is being implemented by the Oyo State Government as PMS. The company proposed what it tagged OYS-P& GA (Oyo State Parks and Garages Agency, while Oyo State is running PMS (Parks Management Systems). There exists no similarity?
“The said proposal indicated that the state shall set up an agency to execute the project, while the Ministry of Works is driving the PMS.
“It’s a misnomer for anyone to depict the writer of a proposal as a victim because the state government did not adopt his proposal. What is currently being emitted and which is merely meant to poison the social media sphere is just needless and useless. The state government received hundreds of proposals on IGR generation. Many of them fell by the wayside and that of Moxharley is just one of such.
“Will it be proper for the writers of other proposals to claim theft of intellectual property whenever government decides to implement anything related to the areas of their interest? Just because a document was stamped as received at the Government House does not mean that it’s being processed for action. Every document that gets to the government registry will be stamped as acknowledged because that’s the job of the registry. It is not their business to reject any such document. This does not confer the desirable title of APPROVED on any such proposal or document.
“In any case, the Oyo State Government understands that some elements hellbent against change and progress in the management of motor parks have vowed to stop at nothing to frustrate the effort of the government. They started with threats of war and violence and when that failed, they went to enlist the services of mercenaries in what they called South-West leaders of a union, which also unlawfully issued threats and ultimatum to the government. Upon discovering that the ultimatum will not fly, the interests of the same set of people appears to be at play here as there are strong indications of a potential blackmail in the offing, thinking they could derail the good work and intentions of Governor Makinde.
“Government, will however, want to place it on record that it will not be distracted by undue noises and needless confusion being created by enemies of progress. It is our advice that these elements should, in the interest of Oyo State, join hands with the governor to rebuild the state or better still get themselves busy with productive ventures rather than seeking to pull down a popular government put in place by God and the people of Oyo State.”