*We reduced expenses from N27m to N17m – Clerk
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have denied the media report alleging the Speaker, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa spent N17million monthly on the maintenance of his residence and guest house
This is even as the lawmakers described the allegation as baseless and misleading.
The Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, who called the attention of the lawmakers to the report published online by SaharaReporters on April 26, explained that the report was erroneous.
He stated that, “The sum covers the various expenditure of the full offices; the Office of the Chief of Staff, Special Advisers (Budget, Political Matters), office of the Chief Press Secretary, Special Assistant (Protocol), Special Assistant ( Research and Development), Special Assistant (Women Affairs), and 15 Special Assistants engaged to attend to the growing demand and speciality of the House.
“I must also state that these expenditures have been in existence prior to the emergence of Speaker Obasa. In fact, it is dated back as far as 2012 when it was N27million monthly and I have the document here to show that the expenditure had been in existence since 2012.
“The report by SaharaReporters was a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the House of Assembly, stressing that the media outfit.”
On the allegation that the company was registered in 2015, he asked, how come the company in question was just engaged in 2018?
While condemning the media report, the lawmaker representing Somolu Constituency 1 and Chairman House Committee On Finance, Mr. Rotimi Olowo, said SaharaReporters was not professional and ethical in their style of journalism.
In his words, “I believe if it is truly investigative journalism that the medium is practising, it should be able to get the other side of the issue before they can rush to publish lies. The medium is known to publish lies as they published recently that former House of Representatives Speaker was late.
“But this one is one that you can really see that the medium was telling lies because we have procurement law and there are procedures stated by the law. If a contractor makes an overture to the House for contract bidding, it is not just what he came with but what the house eventually agree.
“I remember in 2012, I was a member of this house and I remember the amount that was budgeted was N27m but when Obasa emerged as Speaker he reduced it to N17million”
I think SaharaReporters needs to be cautioned as it has shown that whatever that is giving them is published without crosschecking. Mr Speaker, this House has the power to sue because the lies by this medium are getting too much”, said Olowo.
Also, Hon. Temitope Adewale, Ifako Ijaiye 1, who corroborated Olowo, stated that the publisher was a presidential loser who was alleged of mismanaging his party’s campaign fund.
“The same man was the party presidential candidate and at the same time the party national chairman. We don’t need to waste our time over his publication, we can explore the legal means by suing the medium”, said Adewale.
In his contributions, Mr. Gbolahon Yishawu, Eti Osa 2, stated that SaharaReporters was trying to incite the general public against the Speaker and the House of Assembly, stressing that an attack on Obasa is an attack on the whole members.
Yishawu stated that the report was in totally published to reduce the image of the House to nothing, adding that the way at which the report was written it was obvious that the medium lacks fact.
The Chairman on House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security, Hon. Tunde Braimoh, added that the medium did not reach out to the House to get their own side of the story, adding that the report was malicious and should be totally ignored.
Braimoh who said the medium is known to be writing unbalanced reports, said that had it been the medium reach out to the House bed rushing to publish their report, they could have been better guided.
“A responsible journalist could reach out to me as Chairman on Information Committee before publishing what is not”, said Braimoh
However, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, explained that it was necessary to correct the wrong impression created by the medium to the general public by letting them know that the House is not reckless on spending and not known for frivolous expenditure.
He said that the essence of announcing the report at plenary was to debunk it as silence means consent.
“As rightly put by the Clerk, this is an expenditure that has been existing before 2015 and he has been able to trace some document to 2012, 2013, 2014, so it shows SaharaReporters and its co-travellers would not get anywhere and we are not ready to join issues with them. I agree with you that we don’t have to waste our time on them. We remain resolute”, he said.