Ogun Govt, Adebutu Differ Over Handling Of N64bn LG Fund By Gov Abiodun - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Ogun Govt, Adebutu Differ Over Handling Of N64bn LG Fund By Gov Abiodun


By Ayobami Ife,  Abeokuta

Former  member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, and the Ogun state government  on Tuesday  differed over the handling of cumulative  N64bn local governments funds in the last two years by governor Dapo Abiodun's administration.

While Adebutu who was a People's Democratic Party(PDP) governorship aspirant in the last general elections  accused governor Abiodun of diverting the N64 billion from allocation meant for the Local Government Councils in the state, the State government through the local government and chieftaincy affairs ministry, said Dapo Abiodun - led government did not divert councils's allocation. 

On the contrary, it said it even augmented the funds for the 20 local governments with N2 billion between January and May this year to enable them meet their respective financial obligations.

Adebutu who hailed from the same Iperu town in Ogun East Senatorial district as the incumbent governor, claimed that the N64 billion which was disbursed by the Federal Government in 21 months was allegedly taken over by the state government under the close watch of Dapo Abiodun.

The ex - lawmaker who is said to be nursing an ambition to govern the Gateway state, spoke in Abeokuta, the State capital, shortly after meeting with chairmanship, Vice-Chairmanship and councillorship candidates of PDP in the just concluded July 24 local government election.

He lamented that while the anormally of the alleged diversion of N64bn lasted,  only salaries were paid to the affected 20 LGAs, alleging further that the LGAs are today almost in comatose as there is no single project to show for the allocation received.

He said: "What has resulted is an exhibition of crass truth that for the sake of appropriating fund belong to the third tier of government, 64 billion naira in 21 months belonging to the third tier of government essentially ended up with the state government. 

"According to the Bureau of Statistics, 64 billion naira was disbursed nearly, only for the third tier of government to get salary and we have nothing to show for it. 

"All the 20 LG in Ogun state were virtually under lock and key, no project you could see upon that in 21 months, Ogun state suffered."

The PDP chieftain in the State attributed the alleged misappropriation of the LG allocation as responsible for an alleged irregularities noticed in the just concluded council election in the state. 

He claimed  that the Abiodun APC-led government deliberately orchestrated a process that ensured there was no free and fair poll so as to have total control of the LG councils in the state. 

Adebutu further alleged the State electoral body of instigating crisis in PDP to undermine her place as a viable opposition in the LG poll. 

"PDP as a party was practicable of creating viable opposition, and deliberately they created a situation whereby PDP was excluded from that competition. 

"But the good thing about it is that the deciding electorates in the state refused to participate in the sham and we have a selection process rather than election process. 

"For the sake of the nation, there have to be credible elections for people to vent their aspiration. When people cannot vent their aspiration, when people cannot seek government that reflect in their genuine needs, they will seek power by other means and the devil finds work for idle hands," Adebutu concluded.

But responding to the allegation, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Afolabi Afuape, described Adebutu's claim as a "figment of his imagination." 

Afuape whose ministry oversees the 20 LGAs,  explained that the state have been having Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) meetings which is statutory and required by the law. 

He said :"We have been having JAAC with all the 20 Chairmen of all the 20 local government areas of the state, the journalists, people  the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Local Government Service Commission, Councils of Chiefs, Teachers, Pensioners, among others where local governments' funds are always accessed and shared.

"For us to share any money, we have some amount of money that we call the first line charge, which is the money we use to pay teachers' salaries, pensions, traditional councils of chiefs, among other expenses, that are very crucial to good governance. 

"We then release the remaining funds for the local governments. I can tell you that the 20 local governments require about N150 million on monthly basis to remit to the State government as Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) but we couldn't deduct it because the money coming from Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) is not always enough. 

"In fact, Ogun state government augmented local governments' funds with N2 billion between the months of January and May, 2021 in order for them to meet up financial obligations. 

"I don't know why Hon Ladi Adebutu and PDP will whip up unnecessary sentiments on that. I challenge him and his party - PDP to come on air with me, I am ready with them. Ogun state government will come up with facts and figures about how local governments' funded are being collected and managed. 

"Meanwhile, Ogun state government will also publish very soon, the comprehensive financial reports of 20 local governments domiciled in Ogun state in the national dailies."

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