Oyo Local Govt Finances: APC Lawmakers Fault Adhoc Committee Preliminary Report
The Oyo state assembly was on Tuesday engaged in a serious legislative argument during its plenary which saw the house divided along party lines as both Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers and the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers fault each others claims in what could be described as fierce legislative debate during its second sitting in year 2020 after resuming from its last recess on 28th of January.
Chairman of the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon. Olusegun Popoola (PDP) while presenting its Adhoc committee preliminary report on local government and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) account from year 2018 to 2019 noted that many irregularities emanating from duplication of projects, inflation of project costs, and abandonment of projects by the last administration were uncovered.
Sunrise Bulletin recalls that the speaker, Rt. Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin had before the commencement of its last recess charged members of various house committees to expedite actions on their activities in order to report back to the house for further legislative actions, and upon resumption during its first sitting, Rt. Hon Ogundoyin ordered all pending committee reports to be reported back to the house on or before Feb 4th.
Hon. Popoola stated that the committee met with Heads of Local Administration (HLAs), directors, and other relevant stakeholders during the investigation in order to have what could be described as a round table understanding of objectives of the investigation which include accountability, transparency, compliance with due process and provisions of the law among others.
Hon. Seyi Adisa representing Afijio state constituency (APC) while making his submission faulted the report by describing it as ‘just a blank comments’, he questioned the depth of the investigation by the committee and called for a more thorough investigation.
He said “A few things that were raised in the report that I want to address personally and I ask that we are all guided with this report, you see a lot of the things that were mentioned are functions of people that have been elected into office.
“I don’t think it is a crime they want to rehabilitate roads, I don’t think they are out of order to do boreholes, I don’t think these are things outside the power that was given to them but when you read the report you see things like there were duplications, my question is, is it the HLAs that told them or did they actually go to these places and did not see the rehabilitative work? did they actually go and not see a borehole? did they actually visit these places and not see what they said they used the money for?
“You can not procure things without going through due process, the local government has an auditor general, these are things that are there to make a system work and so, when I see this sort of report that made blank comments I get very concerned.”
Honourable Dele Adeola representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju state constituency (PDP), in his argument commended the adhoc committee members for a job well done.
He stated that posterity will not be kind to the lawmakers if they fail to do the right thing in the interest of the people they all represented.
He said the report was not to indict or put anybody in trouble stressing that the house of assembly is saddled with the investigative responsibility therefore, a spade must be called a spade when things are not done properly as they are expected to be done.
He said duplication of projects with different titles were uncovered in the course of carrying out investigation and when those at the helms of affairs at the local councils were invited for clarifications they could not provide answers to most questions raised which demonstrated how corrupt the system runs.
He stated further that some of the projects spots were visited citing an example of a claimed executed road expansion project at Itesiwaju local government which was visited by the committee only to discover that it was still a virgin land with nothing on it adding that the same non existing road project was executed for about N2.7m (two million seven hundred thousand).
Hon. Ashimiyu Alarape, the minority leader of the 9th assembly representing Atiba state constituency also commended the committee members for a job well done.
He said that government is continuum and from the content of the report there was no indictment of any sort, and therefore called for calmness.
He added that since government is a continuous process whatever is done by the present administration could as well be subjected to future scrutiny by another administration stressing that political office holders work as a team with civil servants and whatever indictment made against political office holders would also affect the civil servants that worked with them.
Hon. Alarape cited some instances in the report where there were repetition of titles describing it as also a duplication adding that anything could have happened in the course of compiling the report which according to him could be error of originality, typographical error noting that an error is error regardless of where it is reported as no human being is deemed perfect.
The speaker, Rt. Hon. Ogundoyin, in his remark said that the report was long overdue because the house has been expecting the report since 2019 stressing that the report has nothing to do with local government tussle in the state adding that it was merely coincidental.
He said “They say God works in mysterious ways maybe this is God doing his work.”
He declared that the present administration has shown its zero tolerance for corruption in order to build confidence and trust that will endear foreign investors to the state stressing that the house will not be perturbed by any parochial sentiments from any quarters in the discharge of its duties.
Hon. Ogundoyin wondered how local government chairmen would fare if or when granted the sought after local government autonomy with such attitudes of misappropriation noting that partisan sentiments should be left aside when issues that bother on public interest is being discussed in order to set good precedence for the future.
He however suggested that the committee report be subjected to a forensic analysis for further revelations and clarification alongside other resolutions as contained in the report which the house unanimously agreed and approved.