Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has come under heavy criticism after approving ₦7.5 million for the replacement of liquid fragrance in his office and ₦3 billion to purchase rechargeable fans for the office of his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.
This high expenditure comes at a time of high economic hardship is hitting Nigerians very hard.
The state’s Public Procurement Agency (PPA) granted additional contracts during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2023.
Notably, approval exceeding ₦440 million was given for the acquisition of a new Lexus LX 600 Bulletproof Sport Utility Vehicle designated for use within the Chief of Staff’s pool.
In a separate allocation, the Chief of Staff’s office received ₦18.5 million for the procurement and distribution of 2,000 chickens across various local government areas and wards in the state.
The government also sanctioned an expenditure of ₦152 million to restore the water supply at Iduganran Palace, the official residence of the Oba of Lagos.
Furthermore, financial records indicate a budget of ₦581 million allocated for the renovation of Saint Andrews Anglican Church in the Oke-Popo area of the state.
Within the scope of the deputy governor’s office, a sum of ₦30 million was earmarked for the monthly outreach programme benefiting indigent citizens, led by the deputy governor’s wife.
Additionally, the same office secured another ₦30 million for an empowerment programme.
In response to these developments, Funsho Doherty, the 2023 governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC) in Lagos, expressed concerns about certain aspects of these contracts.
Doherty formally communicated his questions and concerns through an open letter to Sanwo-Olu, urging a review of specific projects.
“I just wrote an open letter to the governor on Public Procurement awards reported by LASG for the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2023, highlighting a number of issues for further scrutiny and remedial action.
“Judicious use of public funds is always important and is especially so now,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Public policy expert, Dr Abimbola Oyarinu, said “it is sad that the government is enjoying jumbo packages while asking the people to endure the suffering in the land”.
He, however, said Nigerians were living with the consequences of their actions.
“The truth is, I don’t blame the government; I blame the people. The people will always get the leaders they deserve.
In spite of the inflation and the fact that an average Nigerian can no longer eat as a human any more, our government has refused to adapt to the reality.
“You can no longer blame the government; the people are culpable. It will be business as usual because people don’t realise the implications of this mismanagement.
Religion And Government
“Rather than hold the government accountable for lack of basic amenities, we have chosen to blame the devil because religion and government are in the marriage of defrauding Nigerians.
“The next election will come, these same people will wipe up ethnic and religious sentiments,” he said.
A social crusader, Olufemi Ajayi, said the contracts showed the government’s insensitivity to the plight of the people.
“How can you budget over ₦7m to buy air fresheners at a time when the people you are leading are struggling to eat?” he queried.