APC, PDP Bicker Over Alleged N3.2bn Presidential Expenses | Independent Newspapers Limited
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APC, PDP Bicker Over Alleged N3.2bn Presidential Expenses

Posted: May 27, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Augustine Adah

Lagos-  Though the much publicised two days working visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos State has come and gone, the financial cost of hosting the presidential visit at a time the country is experiencing a downturn in economy has been a subject of criticisms.


A day after the visit, the Lagos state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the state government spent N3.2bn in preparing for the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari, who turned out to be represented by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, in the working visit to the state on Monday.


It would be recalled that President Buhari was scheduled to begin a two day visit to Lagos last Monday and commission some projects completed by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, but this was carried out on his behalf by his deputy, Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo.

Reacting to the development, the PDP said the purported preparation for the visit of President Buhari to Lagos State was “a fraud and another expose that the APC is too haphazard in governance, hence the total disconnect between the state governor and the Presidency, thereby causing the state not to know that the president had changed his mind on visiting the state.”

In a statement issued by Gani Taofik, its publicity secretary, the party insisted that Ambode must account for the over N3.2 billion claimed to have been expended in what it called “botched visit of the president”, stressing that it was a mismanagement of public funds, misplacement of priority and propaganda to have invited the presidency “to commission ordinary rehabilitation of roads, which are not even more than seven in a state with 245 Wards.”

According to the statement, “We demand that the over N3.2bn claimed to have been spent to welcome the president to Lagos be accounted for. The beneficiaries of the contracts and the costs of the contracts involved in the ceremonies must be made public for Lagosians to know. This is needless waste of public funds.”

While reacting to the allegation,  Barr. Bobs Okoroji former Lagos State governorship aspirant under All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) described the amount as outrageous and urged members of the state assembly to set up a committee to investigate it because the amount represents tax payers’ money and they need to know how such money is being spent.  He said, “You know in every allegation there is element of truth, therefore, I appeal to members of Lagos State House of Assembly to urgently constitute a committee to investigate such allegation.” Okoroji further claimed that the bogus budget for Buhari’s visit as claimed by PDP in the state may have been made with the intention of defrauding the government by its officials. The former governorship aspirant described the amount as unimaginable in the present economic crunch where average Nigerians are finding it difficult to cope with the rising cost of living.  “It is unimaginable for anybody to spend such amount of money to host a president. They claimed to be fighting corruption, but they are custodians of corruption in the country.” Okoroji lamented that Lagos is one state in the country where accountability in governance is lacking.  “There is arbitrary approach to issues going on in Lagos for the past 17 years”.  I know that majority of people are regretting for voting APC in to power and in three years to come when people would have opportunity to choose their leaders again, they would make a better choice because the present administration under APC leadership has proved incompetent in managing the affairs of the country.

However, Monday Ubani, former chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA)  Ikeja branch has urged the opposition PDP to prove the allegation. ‘The accusation remains an allegation until they were able to prove it. It is easy for somebody to sit down somewhere and assume that so much amount of money has been spent, but nobody would take you serious until you are able to bring evidence to substantiate your claim.” Ubani expressed doubt over the claim judging by the financial background of Ambode to spend such an amount of money to just host Mr. President. According to Ubani, the PDP may have directed their criticism at a wrong person because the administration of Ambode is doing a lot to transform the face of Lagos State. “If there is anybody to criticise, it shouldn’t be Ambode because the man is working very well as far as the first year of his administration has shown in the state.

I don’t believe the present administration of Ambode would spend over N3billion to host the president of the country who was represented by the vice-president.”

He further advised those making allegations to be prepared to substantiate their claim with evidences in order to convince the people.

Irked by the allegation, Joe Igbokwe, the spokesperson for APC in the state, dismissed the claim saying that the PDP is not to be taken seriously. Igbokwe claimed that the allegation only existed in the imagination of the party which wants only to be heard.

“Let them wait until they take over leadership in Lagos; until they win election in Lagos and sit in Alausa, then they can decide on what to do. Ambode is hitting every corner of Lagos, working hard in every corner of the state; they don’t know what to do. What’s their business if he spent N20bn? Lagos is working, everything is working.  “The PDP is a group of idle minds. Lagos PDP is confused, helpless and hopeless. Now, the PDP needs to get a life. If you know Governor Ambode very well, his training and public service, it will not be too hard to know that he can never waste that kind of money for just a visit.” He said.

It would be recalled that Osinbajo who represented Buhari in the visit commissioned a lot of projects in the state. Some of the projects commissioned include, patrol vans and other security kits which were handed over to security agents at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Lagos and the newly constructed Ago palace way, Okota in Isolo. President Buhari who is expected in the state after the Muslim Ramadan in July may commission other projects.