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Obasa Appears Before House Investigative Panel, Says My Enemies Are At Work

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Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudaahiru Obasa has told the panel of enquiry raised by the Assembly that the  corruption allegations against him by SaharaReporters were handiwork of his enemies.

Speaker Obasa appeared before the 9-man Fact Finding Panel of the House headed by Hon. Victor Akande (Ojo Constituency 1) on Saturday 6th June.

Responding to questions from members of the Committee, Obasa stated that all the allegations made by SaharaReporters in its reports were unfounded. 

The Speaker stressed that the vehicles bought for the members of the House and other expenses made by the House were done with the approval of the House and that of the Fund Management Committee (FMU) of the House headed by him.

“We bought Land Cruisers for Principal Officers of the House. The cars we buy for Principal Officers are always higher than those of other members and we followed the due process in the purchase. 

“We went through the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) and others and the vehicles were distributed appropriately. 

“It was agreed at the parliamentary meetings on about four occasions and the Clerk of the House is the Secretary. 

“Also, it is not true that my wife collects N10 Million monthly from the House. Anyone who says she does should come with proofs and evidences. 

“My approval limit as the Speaker of the House is N100 million. Anything above that would have to be approved by the Fund Management Committee. On Prado Jeep that we bought for the members, we followed the due process like we did in that of the Principal Officers,” he said.

Obasa also debunked an allegation that N258  million was spent for the printing of invitation cards for the inauguration of the 9th Assembly.
He stressed that the whole event cost N61 Million and that  N1.1 Million was spent to print the invitation cards. 

“It is not possible to spend N258 Million to print invitation cards. We are not involved in such a frivolous expenditure,” he added.

On the expenditure of N80 Million as estacode for the training of women in Dubai, the Speaker said that wives of 20 lawmakers attended the event and that he was there to declare the event open. 

“We gave N4 Million to each of the participants for air ticket, hotels, feedings and local travel. 

“Air ticket to Dubai alone is about N2 million. Some of these allegations were raised for a crusade to get the Speaker out of office. 

“The House of Assembly is above common standard of excellence and we have to train people, and this comes with a cost. Learning is not cheap and I have never collected N80 Million for estacode at a go before,” he said.

Defending the purchase of eight Hiace buses for committee works in the Assembly, Speaker Obasa said that it was discovered that the House was spending a lot of money to repair vehicles, which he said was why the House decided to buy the buses and that the buses were there for everybody to see with documents to defend the purchases.

The Speaker also denied the allegation that he spent N53 Million for a trip to the United States of America with his mistress. 

“We were invited by the Consular General for a programme in the United States. Later, the programme was postponed,  but I had gone ahead. I had to return home and I told others not to bother to come until the postponed dates. 

Obasa told the committee that it was not possible for him to spend N17 Million for cleaning of his guest house as against the allegation made by SaharaReporters. 

“They only remove documents and fly them around to please themselves. All our payments go through certain procedures. 

“The expenditure had been there before I became the Speaker. There was no way I could have spent N17 Million on cleaning my guest house. 

“On the issue of awarding contracts to companies belonging to me, they should come and show evidence of where I awarded contracts to myself,” he said.

On the report that he tricked former governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state to spend N350 Million for hosting a meeting of Conference of Speakers, Obasa said told the committee that this was not possible.

He maintained that such was not possible since Ambode is an accountant, who rose to be the Chief Accountant of the State.

“There was no way I could have tricked Ambode to release such money anyhow. We had a meeting of the Conference of Speakers, who came with three members each and we had subcommittees who were given N2 million each. 

“We paid for the tickets of each Speaker, we pay for their hotel accommodation, feeding and souvenirs. 

“We also provided local transportation for them. All these allegations are deliberate actions of my enemies to achieve their aims that they could not achieve in the House to remove me as the Speaker of the House, which was why they came up with such reports.

“On N60 Million spent for social influencers, I did not sign such money. I don’t even know the companies they are talking about. The BVN they are flying about is not correct.

“Whatever I have done as a Speaker, all the approvals I gave as Speaker were given based on collective approval of the members of the House,” he said.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, who also appeared before the panel denied attending meeting in Dubai as against the report of SaharaReporters.

Also speaking, Chairman of the House Committee on Information and Strategy, Hon. Tunde Braimoh, said that while a media parley was held by the House, he didn’t know how much was spent on the event since different people handled different aspects of the event.  

“We provided hospitality for the few the people that came. The event involved other things, there were catering and others that were given to other people to handle.

“It is most uncharitable to say we spent N47.5 Million for social media influencers. We spend money on publicity and public relations. 

“We have programmes that we pay for on TVC and LTV 8. We have a magazine that we produce and we print 40,000 copies quarterly and distribute to schools and other places and we pay for the content, design and production,” he said.

The Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni also defended the  estacode for the trip to the United States of America, saying that it followed the standard procedure, and that the programme was budgeted for under conferences and seminars.

“We did not buy 11 buses, we bought eight Hiace buses for committee assignments. 

“The cost exceeded N100 Million and it was approved by the Management Committee of the House. It was also approved by the Public Procurement Agency and the Ministerial Tenders Board and we got a Certificate of Compliance for the purchase. 

“The buses are in place at the car park. We have budgetary provision for the vehicles.

“The women trip to Dubai was also approved for in the budget. The Speaker was there, the wife of the Deputy Speaker was there and wives of 17 other lawmakers. Each participant got money for air fare, local transportation and others,” he said.

Sanni also cleared the air on N258  Million for printing of invitation card, saying that the money for the whole event was N61 Million and that only N1.1 million was spent for the printing of the programme for the event. 

He confirmed that 80 cars were bought in 11 months for the 8th and 9th assemblies. 

“We bought 40 Corolla Cars back-up vehicles for the 8th Assembly.  

“The purchase was approved by the Management Committee led by the Speaker with Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh, Saka Fafunmi, Hon. David Setonji and others as members.

“In the 9th Assembly, we bought Toyota Prado for members and this was approved by the Funds Management Committee headed by the Speaker. 

“The issue of the vehicle was discussed at the various parliamentary meetings and it was unanimously agreed by the members. 

“We bought 36 Prado Jeeps for members and it went through the PPA and we have Compliance Certificate for the purchase.

“We also bought six Land Cruisers for the Principal Officers approved by the FMC and PPA with Certificate of Compliance.

“On women empowerment programmes. We raised a submission for the programme and it was recognised by the Assembly budget. It was not paid into the account of the wife of the Speaker. The facility manager has no relationship with the Speaker of the House,” he said.

The Clerk of the House, however said that some documents might have been released to SaharaReporters “through some disgruntled staffers of the House.

“We have been taking steps on that and we have transferred some staff. 

“The files go through many tables and there is no doubt that some devilish staffers take pictures of some of these documents and send to these people. 

“The staff have taken oaths and this attracts dismissal. Unofficial disclosure of information attracts dismissal in the civil service,” he stated.

Two officials of Zenith Bank;  Mr. John Olorundare, Chief Compliance Officer, Mr. John Olorundare, Zonal Head of  Alausa, Mr. Sanni Idowu Awe also appeared before the panel.

The bank officials stated that an individual could only have one BVN.

They confirmed that different account names could not be used for one BVN and that Speaker Obasa had only six accounts with Zenith Bank.

According to them, only two of the accounts are operational; one savings and current, while the rest are dormant.

Present at the meeting were other members of the committee including Hon. Yinka Ogundimu (Agege 2), Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2),  Hon. Lukmon Olumoh (Ajeromi Ifelodun 1)  and Hon. Ajani Owolabi (Lagos Mainland 1).

Others are Hon. Mojisola Alli-Macaulay (Amuwo Odofin 1), Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu 1) and Hon. Akeem Shokunle (Oshodi/Isolo 1).

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POLITICS

Lawmaker Tunde Buraimoh is dead

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The lawmaker representing Kosofe constituency 2 at the Lagos state house of assembly, Hon. Tunde Buraimo is dead.

Although details of his demise remain sketchy as at the time of filing this report, his colleague at the assembly, Hon. Sanni Ganeey Babatunde Okanlawon representing Kosofe constituency 1 confirmed it on his Facebook wall.

We shall bring you details as they unfold

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POLITICS

“Igbos unity; prerequisite for more political benefits in Lagos” -Lawmaker

As Idimegwu emerges new apex leader of Ndigbo APC

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The lawmaker representing Ibeju Lekki at the state house of assembly, Hon Mojeed Fatai has urged Igbo communities in Lagos to unite in forming a formidable team toward achieving a common goal in the present administration.

Mojeed made the remarks during the presentation of Hon Jude Idimegwu, the new apex leader of Ndigbo APC in Lagos state at the palace of Eze Christopher Offia, the Eze Ndigbo of Ibeju Lekki and its environs.

According to the lawmaker, the Igbo communities are a strong force in Lagos due to their business acumen, as well as the huge population strength they usually display during elections. He said they need to unite more and support the ruling party to achieve their goals in the state.

He further explained that Igbos have benefited from the present administration led by the national leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu, so much that they (Igbos) held some sensitive positions in the state, citing the likes of Joe Igbokwe, Jude Idimegwu etc.

Hon. Fatai added that despite this, the Igbos have not demonstrated enough unity needed to support the governing party during elections. He congratulated the new Apex leader and stressed that it is a right step in a right direction, emphasizing that with hon Jude Idimegwu , the igbo communities will be stronger with one voice.

Speaking in the same vein, the Eze of Ibeju Lekki, Chief Chris Offia assured the lawmaker that the Igbos are on the verge of a new dawn in APC Lagos state.

He said: “With the emergence of hon Jude Idimegwu, unity is of priority and we will reconcile all aggrieved igbo groups in Lagos state and ensure that they return to the fold,”

“A lot had happened to the Igbos in Lagos state, under different groups which have made the ruling party in Lagos see us as anti government but now we are all coming together to suport the ruling party, our national leader and also abide by the laws of the land.” He said

In his comment, the apex leader of the Ndigbo in Lagos state hon Jude Idimegwu (Oshodi Isolo) appreciated the his colleague, hon Fatai Mojeed for believing in the Igbo communities, while assuring him that Igbos in all the 57 communities and their Eze will stand firm with the APC in Lagos state and also be loyal to the National leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

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POLITICS

LAGOS EAST SENATORIAL SEAT: APC chieftains lobbying us for ticket, PDP claims

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The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that some top shots of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have already approached it for likely deals to have them fly the flag of the PDP in the forthcoming Lagos east senatorial district election.

Opposition Spokesperson, Barrister Taofik Gani, while speaking to a national daily newspaper claimed that although the PDP is planning to field a very strong candidate that will give APC a run for their popularity, a number of APC members were already lobbying the opposition party.

In his words: “What is operating in the PDP Lagos now is that we are set for any election. For the Lagos senatorial district by-election, we want to field our strongest candidate who will not be rejected by Lagosians. There are seven aspirants already.

“We are also happy to note that a lot of the APC chieftains are making plans to have us as a platform. We are aware that the APC national body is endorsing somebody and other aspirants are aggrieved. So, our doors are wide open for them to take advantage of it.”

Already, there are reports that at least, seven members of the opposition party have indicated interest in running for the vacant seat. They include among others, former governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party who recently rejoined the PDP, Babatunde Gbadamosi; daughter of the immediate past Ayangburen of Ikorodu – Oba S.A.A Oyefusi who was PDP candidate in the same election last year, Princess Abiodun Oyefusi; and a public relations expert, Adedipe Shobajo.

The Lagos east senatorial seat became vacant at the death of Prince Bayo Osinowo (popularly known as Pepperito) on June 15, 2020.

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