By Monsuru Olowoopejo
In apparent compliance with the transparency agenda of the Lagos State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the house, Mudashiru Obasa, has tendered evidence as proof of money spent during inauguration of Lagos state’s 9th Assembly and other contracts awarded for the smooth administration of the house.
Obasa said that the funds expended by the house on different activities since inauguration of the 9th Assembly were often subjected to scrutiny before approvals were given to prevent any misappropriation of public funds in the state.
The lawmaker gave the details following claims making the rounds that the house under his leadership approved outrageous amount to contractors for the organisation of social events and other activities that do not affect the wellbeing of Nigerians.
In a statement obtained by The Guild on Saturday from speaker’s Chief Press Secretary, Tolani Abati, Obasa explained that his action had become necessary to inform the public on how expenses were made and that Lagos should disregard any information been paraded by the critics who may be after his achievement in the state.
He indicated that the goal of his critics was to fabricate damaging information against him and clear his political profile out of ways ahead of 2023.
The speaker assured that the house under him would continuously furnish public on its activities and keep Lagosians abreast on financial dealing of elected officers.
“Let us start with the latest disparaging story about how the Speaker supposedly approved N258,835,000 to print invitation two months after the inauguration of the 9th Assembly. It can only take a gullible Nigerian to believe a story of this nature. One would think that the writer was not in his right frame of mind as he put his pen to paper.
“What was approved for the printing of the invitation card for event was just N1,130,000. But how did our critics arrived at N258,835,000 beats the imagination of any sane person. And for the avoidance of doubt, the entire inauguration of the 9th Assembly can be summed into a total of N61.3 million as the document accompanying this response shows. A breakdown of the expenses is also glaring for every discerning mind to see that Sahara Reporters is nothing but a tool for blackmail.
To clear the air on another claim made against the speaker argued that the speaker who had been an advocate of transparency and astute advocate against public officer’s sending of taxpayer’s money on personal welfare could not have approved the sum of N45.7 million for a 2019 Christmas party that was never held.
Aside from the Christmas party, Obasa noted that the said N53.7 million approved by the speaker for a trip to United State with an imaginary mistress was an indication that his critics have shallow knowledge of the House protocol.
“The event was even an opportunity to recognise and honour deserving staff who had excelled in the course of their careers”, he added.
“The event was to Georgia, United States, for the 2019 US-Nigeria Trade and Investment Global Summit which was billed to hold between 26th and 28th September 2019. As is customary, the Speaker went for the event on a different flight from the lawmakers and others.
“However, on getting to the US, the summit was discovered to have clashed with a United Nations event which took pre-eminence on Nigerian officials. Thus, the Speaker, lawmakers and staff returned ahead of an anticipated new date for the event”.
He noted that aside from the speaker, other lawmakers on the entourage were Jimi Mohammed, Nurudeen Solaja, Tunde Braimoh while, Folashade Latona and Nike Ajibosin who was the protocol officer.
“All those who attended the event still have evidences of their flight tickets and hotel reservations.
“With the facts now laid bare again, one would wonder why the purveyors of these falsehoods remain bent on further soiling its drowning image in the eyes of reasonable Nigerians”, he added.
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