The Lagos State All Progressives Congress gubernatorial candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his running mate, Femi Hamzat, on Tuesday pledged to run a transparent budgetary system if elected into office in next year’s polls.
The duo spoke at an interactive session with journalists in Lagos.
“The reality there is: what is there to hide?” Mr Hamzat, a former commissioner for works in the state, asked.
While it provides a summary of its annual expenditures and proposed incomes for a fiscal year; the Lagos State government is regularly criticised for keeping details of its budget away from the public.
The APC-led state government, which has governed the state since the return of democracy in 1999, has never made available details of its budget for public scrutiny.
“I’m surprised it’s not available,” said Mr Sanwo-Olu while responding to a PREMIUM TIMES’ question on if their government would upload a detailed budget on their website.
“I’m actually hearing it for the first time, I thought Lagos State was top on that.”
Between 2003 and 2015, Mr Sanwo-Olu, 58, has held different positions in government including the commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Commerce and Industry, and Establishments, Training and Pensions.
He was serving as the managing director of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) before his move to unseat the governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, as the party’s flag bearer in the election.
However, despite holding such high positions in government, he said he was not aware of the secrecy in Lagos government’s financial details.
Mr Sanwo-Olu’s running mate, Mr Hamzat, is also a long-term cabinet member of the state, having served as commissioner for Science and Technology as well as Works and Infrastructure between 2005 and 2015.
Mr Ambode’s aggressive reforms has seen the average monthly internally generated revenue hit N34 billion in 2018, the highest ever in the state.
The state’s internally generated revenue for the first quarter of 2018 stood at N142 billion, more than Abia State’s budget for the entire year.
But activists pushing for accountability in the government’s expenditure have continually met a brick wall.
Last year, the Lagos State government lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal seeking to set aside a high court ruling which held that the Freedom of Information Act is applicable to the state even without ‘domestication.’
The government’s decision came amidst a plethora of FOI requests by activists including ones asking for the government’s financial statements over the past five years and another seeking an account of its spendings on public schools in the state following a $90 million World Bank loan.
According to the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, only seven Nigerian states have signed in to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international mechanism that promotes good governance through openness and curtailing of secrecy in government activities.
Lagos is not among the seven states.
During the interaction with journalists, Mr Hamzat stopped short of describing the OGP and the organisation that promotes it as meddlesome interlopers.
“Why are those agencies not going to the United States to give us the budget of the Department of Defence, even Congress don’t scrutinise it,” he said.
“The reality is that there are many things the government knows that if you know you won’t sleep.
“When they said Boko Haram is coming to bomb Third Mainland (bridge), you think it’s a lie? Where’s the budget for that? So we’ll put it in the budget that we’ll fight Boko Haram with N4 billion? You can’t.
“I’ve seen people talk about various things… governor’s security votes.
“I’ve even seen a governor, who is now the vice presidential candidate of Atiku talking absolute….to me, complete ignorance.
“You wonder how that person was a governor. Saying that he saved this amount in Diamond Bank, when erosion in Anambra State is the worst in this country and you can’t solve that. And you are telling me you saved so much. As a governor, is it your responsibility to save money?”
On the perennial traffic gridlock in the state, Mr Sanwo-Olu said “creative thinking and solution” is the way out.
“One of the things I said this morning is very simple: there were areas where we were travelling today we had four lanes, here is blocked, you have the other four lanes that is empty and moving in the opposite direction.
“Why can’t we think of a solution whereby, in the morning or whenever it is that this is blocked, let’s create two additional lanes from these four lanes that are empty?
“All we need to do is look at – how do we solve the issues around enforcement and management of it: Where are the entry and exit points? Make this one six lanes in the morning when you are going, the other one two lanes and in the evening you do a reverse.
“You can solve some of these things without needing to build all of the things that are going to take you one or two years to build. It is the model we use in some of the toll plazas. It’s going to take a lot of patience and enforcement.”
Hon Prince Ned Woko donates Money to Indigenes of Anioma for Medical Treatments
News reaching Nightwatchng.com is that Hon Prince Ned Nwoko has donated some millions to cater for the medical treatment of some physically challenged Indigenes of Anioma.
The Honorable made his donations to the Medical care of the Physically challenged indigenes when they paid him a courtesy call at his Mount Ned Nwoko resort Idumuje-Ugboko yesterday.
Briefly addressing the physically challenged indigenes of Anioma, whom he called his friends, Prince Ned Nwoko admonished them to use the funds judiciously in taking good medical care of themselves while stating that his phone line remains open to them whenever they need to talk with him as always.
Responding, one of the Anioma beneficiaries who pleaded anonymity appreciated the Star Prince for always responding to their needs whenever they called on him.
According to the speaker,
“if only we have two of your kind in Anioma land, Anioma would have witnessed more massive human capital development but it is our prayers that God will continue to protect and bless you more for being a father to the fatherless and to the needy”
Hon Ned Prince Nwoko in a philanthropic bid recently donated the sum of 100million naira for the reconstruction of a federal road in Delta state and another 59million Naira as scholarship grant for Anioma and verifiable Delta state students.
His consistent positive gesture towards Humanity has put him in the spotlight and on the news of recent.
“Prince Ned Nwoko has done alot for the Anioma people and we are happy to be associated with his brand always, this is not the first nor the last time that he has been assisting us. We pray God to always bless and enrich his circle”- Madam isioma, an elderly woman who identified herself as a retired head teacher from Isele-Azagba acknowledged.
Muslim Man accuse RCCG pastor of Aborting wife’s pregnancy
His accusation is currently a topic on social media as reports of how the whole thing played were disclosed in his chat with Daddy freeze.
According to the disheartened young Man, he had just returned from the United States to meet his love interest, in their period of making out he got her pregnant with the intent of Marrying her.
He also went on to disclose that when the lady informed her parents, they seized her phones and took her to the hospital under the guise of checkup but connived with the doctor and got her baby aborted.
The young man revealed that he and the pastor’s daughter later got married at a registry without the pastor parents’ approval.
Ever since they got married, the parents of his wife have been harassing him and arresting him.
He says he’s chosen to speak out so that they will stop harassing him. The wife also wants to have good relationship with her Muslim husband and with her pastor parents.
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