The Chief Consultant on Media to the governor of Ogun State Dapo Abiodun, Hon. Kayode Akinmade, on Wednesday, said that the allegation of diversion of local government allocations against the governor by the impeached chairman of Ijebu East Local Government, Mr Wale Adedayo, was politically motivated.
Akinmade asserted that contrary to the false claim, the governor had augmented several shortfalls in allocations to local governments in the state from the federation account to the tune of N17 billion from the inception of his administration in 2019 till date.
Speaking in an interview on Raypower FM programme: ‘Facts File,’ as well as the Yoruba version on ‘Faaji FM,’ Akinmade averred that Adedayo was out to tarnish the image of Governor Abiodun for parochial political motives.
Noting that allocations to local governments remain practically inaccessible by any state governor, going by the recent amendment to extant laws regarding allocations to the third tier of government, the former Special Adviser on Media to former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Dimeji Bankole, said that this followed agitation by some local government chairmen.
The media expert explained that a special committee, known as the Joint Account Allocation Committee, JAAC, which comprises all the 20 local government chairmen across the state, members of the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE; Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT; and traditional institutions among others, were statutorily saddled with the responsibility of deciding on the sharing formula without any interference from the governor.
Akinmade copiously reeled out the sequence of allocations to local governments since the inception of the Prince Abiodun-led administration in 2019, indicating a series of interventions by the governor to augment several shortfalls, occasioned by shortfall in federal allocations, contrary to the claim of diversion by Adedayo.
He said, “The reduction in allocations to states is not peculiar to Ogun State and I can tell you with facts and figures that between 2019 till 2021 and 2022, Governor Abiodun had to augment the shortfall in all allocations to local government to the tune of N17 billion.
“For instance, in July 2019, allocation to Ogun State was just N3.4 billion and the first line charges were N3.5 billion, while the pay-as-you-earn, PAYE, that was supposed to be paid to government was N146 million. The government had to augment it; ditto for August, September and so on. In August of that year, the allocation was N3.2 billion, while the wage bill was N3.3 billion. A shortfall of N900 million had to be paid by the government.
“The government continued to augment these allocations to ensure that workers in the local governments were not left out from regular payment of salaries, until recently when the new administration came on board in May, and there was the removal of subsidy and the allocation improved to the range of N4.5 billion.”
Reacting to the question of a possible communication gap between the governor and Adedayo, which perhaps informed his actions, Akinmade said the impeached council chairman had unrestricted access to the governor, based on their long-time relationship.
He continued, “I have known the governor and Adedayo since 1996. He presented Governor Abiodun as his brother to me; that they both came from the same place.
“I later came to realize that Adedayo is one of those people the governor loved so much. He first made him his media consultant before supporting him to become the chairman of his local government. He is one of those who can call the governor three times a day.
“Also, among the 25 meetings of JAAC held since Adedayo emerged as chairman, he attended 15, so, he can’t claim not to be aware of how allocations were distributed, he was always part of the process.
“Also, this is the man who collected N3 million every month as security vote and despite that, he could not account for the sum of N5.2 million he collected from the council to execute a project, which led to his impeachment by the council’s lawmakers.
“Meanwhile, let me make it clear here, that on the false allegation he made against the governor, he must come up with evidence to prove his claim. After all, he is a journalist. He knows very well that whoever makes an allegation must be ready to prove it.
“If he fails to come up with evidence and prove the allegation he made against Governor Abiodun, he should be prepared to face the consequences.”