Ex Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Olusegun Banjo and his Energy and Mineral Resources counterpart, Mr. Olawale Oluwo in the administration of former Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode have rubbished reports that they indicted Ambode before an ad-hoc committee of the State House of Assembly.
The commissioners said the reports was untrue in different statements, noting that it was only an intentional misrepresentation of what happened during the proceedings of the investigative committee probing the Ambode administration.
Reacting to the news, Speaker Obasa said the Ambode government did not seek the approval of the House for the procurement of the card and ordered the committee to summon Banjo and other top functionaries who were involved to disclose their roles in the purchase.
At the proceedings, reports said that Banjo indicted the ex-governor and that Ambode sidelined his ministry in the controversial purchase of 820 mass transit buses.
He added that the way the ministry was structured under Ambode did not allow him (Banjo) to function properly.
In a recent statement, however, Banjo rejected the reports, saying that he said nothing before the committee to blast or ridicule the Ambode government which he served as the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning between February 2018 and May 2019.
His words, “To answer some questions on the purchase of 820 buses as they relate to the function of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget headed by me during the last administration.”
Banjo added that the bus issue did not come up in the budget he managed.
He continued, “I am deeply saddened and disappointed by such sensationalism by sections of the press and by its uninhibited and deplorable abdication of a basic tenet of professional journalism- impartial reportage.
“I wish to state that I am not in a position to know what exactly transpired on the issue of the buses as I was not in government when the issue was tabled and approved by the State Executive Council and neither was I drafted into the bus steering committee on assumption of duty in February 2018.
“My response to questions asked by the committee under oath was intended to explain technical issues pertaining to the operations of the ministry and explain the anomalies they noted and seek explanations to, and nothing said by me there was intended to or said in any manner as to condemn or indict anyone.”
“It is pertinent to note that these observations had earlier been included in my handing over note to the new administration and as it affects all arms of government and not the executive alone. I was therefore, contrary to the impression sought to be portrayed by the press, not saying anything new that had not been said before.”
In his own statement, Oluwo said he was present at the second session of the committee proceedings on October 15 alongside former Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Toyin Suara, noting that reports in some sections of the media were not true.
His words, “Suara and I were called into the conference room at the same time. The lawmakers asked both of us questions in the open. While Suara was asked questions about Lagos Rice Mill Project in Imota, I was asked questions about the LED-UK streetlights installation, a UK Exim bank funded project.”
He said it was strange “to read reports that Suara and Oluwo said many of the projects including Oshodi Transport Interchange and others were never captured in the state budget. This is rather strange.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I reiterate that I did not and could never have indicted former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. I am a committed democrat, a loyal team player and a strong believer in the principle of collective responsibility.”
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