Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and the State House of Assembly has been accused of padding the 2022 budget.
www.tracknews.ng reports that the accusation was made by a former Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Dr Ade Dosunmu.
Dosunmu, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, stated that Sanwo-Olu and the Assembly padded the budget to the tune of N400billion.
The statement reads, “As a responsible citizen and patriotic stakeholder in our dear state, I feel compelled to bring to the attention of all Lagosians the budgetary disparity, hugely flawed process and impending implication of the recently passed Lagos State 2022 financial budget highlighting the state government’s display of gross irresponsibility in its handling.
“On the 24th November 2021, the governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, presented a proposal of ₦1.38trillion tagged as ‘Budget of Consolidation’ to the state House of Assembly as the 2022 Lagos State financial budget. This was welcomed by discerning Lagosians with cautious optimism.
“It is logically expected that the governance of a state (particularly Lagos State with verse skilled professionals) would have employed the whole gamut of well experienced civil service workforce across various agencies and ministries with the assistance of experts within the Budget and Economic Planning Ministry of the state to collate and review this budget prior to its presentation to the state House of Assembly for approval with non or minimal modification required.
“However, it is exceedingly shocking that the Lagos State House of Assembly passed a totally different budget criminally padded to the tune of ₦1,758,196,448,44trillion (an addition of almost N400billion over the originally proposed figure of ₦1.38trillion).
“This brings about the following nagging questions: Where, why and how did the Lagos State House of Assembly conjure an addition in excess of ₦350billion over the meticulously prepared and ratified document put together by the Lagos State bureaucracy?
“What did the governor omit in his original budget proposal to warrant such mind buggling increment from the supposed hallowed chambers of the state House of Assembly? Why did Governor Sanwo-Olu not ask any question as President Muhammadu Buhari is querying the N37billion padding of the national budget by the National Assembly? What then can we say of almost N400billion padding of a state budget?”
While accusing the lawmakers of financial recklessness, Dosunmu said the lawmakers and some vested interest are trying to steal from the state to fund the 2023 election.
“Could this be a connivance or collusion between the state executive and the legislative arm of the state to siphone a substantial portion of Lagos State budget. Could the defiant attempt to raise capital expenditure from ₦823.35billion to ₦1.166.2trillion be laying foundation for a white elephant project as 2023 elections draws closer?
“Could this apparent bastardisation of the budget be lending credence to the genuine fears across the state that there is a grand plot from the ruling party to fund the presidential campaign of its godfather with state funds? These questions are not rhetorical.
“As Lagosians, I believe we need clarification and the government of Lagos State needs to be transparent in the way our collective patrimony is being spent.
“The helpless people of Lagos State are left to wonder how the state genuinely and sincerely plans to fund this outrageous budget without recourse to another of its scandalous and potentially enslaving borrowings. Why should Lagosians be made to bear perpetually the burden of the profligacy of unpatriotic representatives, who are simply not concerned about the future of Lagos State but their personal ambitions?
“What legacy is the Lagos State Government leaving for our children? We demand an explanation, transparency and accountability.”
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