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).
Lagosians host Tinubu as he promises massive youth development
by Bola Akinmodiro
The Lagos city that hosted the first All Progressives Congress (APC) convention after the party was formed in 2014 – became a beehive of political carnival on Saturday.
A mammoth crowd thronged the main bowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, as the ruling party returned to the city for its inaugural 2023 presidential rally in the Southwest region.
Clad in various shades of APC-branded vests, caps and Ankara brocade, a mass of the party’s supporters, who filled the 24,000-capacity stadium to the brim, defied the searing heat from the sun to receive the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima, members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) team.
At 12:45, Tinubu’s motorcade made a grand entry into the venue, moving the crowd into a spontaneous excitement. The APC presidential candidate arrived in company of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and members of Progressive Governors’ Forum led by their chairman, Gov. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.
The huge turnout at the rally again confirmed Tinubu’s popularity at his political base. The APC presidential candidate hails from Lagos and was a two-term Governor of the State.
Sanwo-Olu opened the floor with his short remarks, thanking Tinubu for laying the foundation for the physical and socio-economic growth being witnessed in Lagos since 1999.
The Governor, who described the APC presidential standard bearer as “architect of modern Lagos”, said Tinubu’s vision, character and tenacity stood him out among presidential contenders, urging Lagosians to elect the candidate with unprecedented number of votes at the polls.
Sanwo-Olu said: “Tinubu is the builder of the modern Lagos we are all enjoying today. For implementing his vision through character and tenacity, and pushing his ideas to what we can physically see, our candidate is the best choice for the president.
“Aside being a visionary leader, Tinubu has also been an advocate of unity and a figure who has stood firm in support of national cohesion. We are all witnesses to all outstanding achievements to his name. His reputation stands tall among his peers And he is the right man for the job.”
Tinubu took to the podium to share message of “Renewed Hope” with the mass of young people at the rally. He said his administration’s priorities would focus on improving human capital development and harnessing energy of the youth through job creation to accelerate economic growth.
His capacity to lead the country, the APC presidential candidate said is not in doubt, noting that Lagos’ growth trajectory from a State in deficit to one of the six largest economies in Africa best demonstrated his ability to drive the needed change to put the country on the path of prosperity.
When elected, Tinubu said he would do his best to change the country’s fortunes, but noted the task would not be easy at the start.
He said: “I stand before you all with a solemn promise that when we are elected next year, we will continue and build on the progressive path laid forth by our party since 2015. We have clear agenda for the future of the country and with your support, we will work to achieve a better future for you and your family.
“Nobody will be forgotten when we roll out our development plans. We have great plans for our youths in education and employment. You will not be forgotten. Economic growth is one of our biggest priorities. We will do our best to solve the contemporary challenges facing us, but it will not be easy at the start.”
Tinubu, again, took a swipe at Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, calling on the electorate to use their votes to retire him finally. The APC presidential candidate said PDP spent 15 years of excuses and forgot the mandate given them to better the lives of Nigerian in the era of boom.
Under the PDP, Tinubu said major infrastructure projects were left to rot with no plan for their rehabilitation, including Lagos-Badagry Highway.
“Rejecting Atiku with your votes and retiring him will be the final step to take in burying PDP for life,” Tinubu said.
The APC National Leader passed a vote of confidence on Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, saying the Governor had become symbol of good governance.
Tinubu said PDP would repeat another outing of failure in Lagos gubernatorial election, stressing that the opposition party did not have enough strength to stop Sanwo-Olu’s re-election
PCC Director-General and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, described Tinubu as a “consummate manager of people and resources” with capacity to change difficult situation.
Lalong said Tinubu’s greatest success as former Lagos governor was his ability to groom brilliant successors that expanded his ideas to the next level.
Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said Tinubu’s winning the party presidential ticket took him out as the most investigated politician the Fourth Republic.
Despite series of wild allegations being bandied against Tinubu, the Speaker said none had been proven to be true. The APC presidential candidate, Gbajabiamila said, would win the election with convincing margins.
He said: “This is not the main rally for Lagos. We are energising the base with this large turnout witnessed here today. When the main campaign is held, it will be the double of the crowd we see here today.”
APC set for mass rally in Lagos
by BOLA AKINMODIRO
All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos state, has expressed its readiness to hold campaign rally for its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Saturday.
The party made this known on Wednesday at a press conference held in Ikeja, Lagos.
Addressing journalists, the Director General of the State Campaign Council, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, discllsed that the rally would be held at the Teslim Balogun stadium.
Solomon said that the rally would be homecoming for Tinubu, adding “The rally holds a promise for mass attendance by members of our great party and members of the general public because of the popularity of our Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has remained the most consistent, the biggest contributor and the most visible democratic icon since the advent of this dispensation in 1999″.
He added “You may wish to recall that Asiwaju Tinubu excelled as a Senator of the Federal Republic representing Lagos – West Senatorial District, and as the Governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007. Therefore, the event is like a homecoming for our leader and mentor who has become a national pride.
” As a responsible political party, it is imperative to seek the cooperation of members of the general public as regards the need for temporary diversion of traffic and mass movement of supporters within the vicinity of the rally
” We need to reassure you that the Nigerian Police Force, LASTMA, and other law enforcement agencies will be fully mobilized to ensure an event devoid of the security infractions and traffic disruptions.
” It is also important to enjoin all participants to be of good conduct and display our characteristics peaceful conduct at our party.”
On security measures regarding the rally, the state party chairman, Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi, said that the party would put in place measures for adequate security for all attendees.
“On the issue of security, we will try to make the venue very conducive for all. The question of number being anticipated is very simple. This is a homecoming for our national leader. This is also the first time Lagos state will be presenting a presidential candidate who has become a household name not only in Lagos state but in Nigeria.
” We are not ruling out a huge number of attendees. We can assure you there will be a massive turnout and adequate security for all attendees. You just come and see the love the people of the state will show to Asiwaju Tinubu.
” Lagosians want to hear from the presidential candidate of the party. We have made adequate arrangement for everybody that will be at the rally”, said Ojelabi.
Also, the State Publicity of the Lagos APC, Mr Seye Oladejo, said that the police, LASTMA and other security agencies would be mobilised to ensure the rally was devoid of all infractions.
Oladejo said “There will be formal accreditation for journalists. We believe we should have an orderly event. The accreditation will be held tomorrow. We have learnt from previous campaigns we have held and we are paying attention to the wellbeing of all attendees.”
The National youth leader of the party, Dayo Israel said, “The national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu and other chieftains of the party will be in attendance.
“In Lagos on Saturday we have a duty to turn up for Asiwaju Tinubu. A victory for Tinubu is a victory for Lagos. We can show the world that Lagos is for Asiwaju a hundred per cent
PDP assembly candidate, Giwa promises purposeful representation
by BOLA AKINMODIRO
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Assembly candidate for Ifako-Ijaiye constituency 2 Chief Dr.Adeshola Giwa in the 2023 general election has vowed to bring about quality representation, describing previous representatives as mere placeholder.
Giwa made this disclosure in a chat with newsmen ahead of the commencement of his campaigns,he maintained that the ruling party’s style of governance have not been a purposeful one.
He also cited the dearth of state government developmental impact in the constituency which prides itself as the tenth largest council area in Lagos State with a population well over 500,000 residents.
The PDP candidate-Chief Giwa popularly known as SG Omo Adugbo,who boast of having lived over 30 years in the locality highlighted the abject neglect suffered by the constituency and constituents thus far, on account of representatives who really care less about the people welfare.
“Ifako-Ijaiye local government is the tenth largest in Lagos state and also the highest producer of protein as well as the major source of water supply in the state,yet nothing good to show.
“We need good representation, not one that will only be handed the seat for pecuniary gains alone.Ifako-Ijaiye has been neglected for far too long,all the bridges around fall within Agege-Alimosho axis and the other in Agege.
“Our people need to know, we are suffering and really need a break, we are located on the fringe of the state which ought to translate to better development as link points into the state.
“Instead all we got is deplorable roads, no bridge in the heart of the constituency, no electricity, no potable water all this must change.
“Imagine Ifako-Ijaiye constituency II only has two secondary school complex this is a far cry from what is needed.
“We promise true representation with deep sincerity rather than a government void of purpose like the one in power now. Technology will be profusely used to give better access to our constituents once we get there across the constituency,” Giwa said.
Also commenting on the personality of the PDP’s presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubarka the Waziri Adamawa, Giwa took a swipe on the ruling party for the show of lack of purposeful governance.
He noted that if Atiku emerges President major problems confronting Nigeria will be surmounted within the shortest possible time, as he who was the brain behind privatisation during the era of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, with the reins of power in his hands he will do the needful and reposition Nigeria for good.
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