Council chairmen exonerate Governor Dapo Abiodun of allegation of zero allocation to local government

The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) Ogun State Chapter on Tuesday denied the allegation that the state government had been diverting their funds, resulting in zero allocation to them, just as the Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun said he was disturbed by the baseless allegation against him.

Penpushing reports that the association led by the chairman Hon. Emilola Gazal profusely apologized to the Governor and prostrated for him to tender an unreserved apology, as they accepted that mistakes had been made.

The association boss who doubles as Chairman of Ijebu-Ode Local Government accompanied by Wale Adedayo who alleged the Governor of starving the local governments, and other chairmen, acknowledged that the Governor had at no time interfered in the distribution and sharing of local government funds from the federation account

Penpushing further reports that Gazal noted that the Governor was bound to be insulted, but he must forgive and forget, admitting that Abiodun has been passionate about the development of the state, adding that no previous administration can claim the same success recorded across the state in the last four years.

‘We have only come here to beg you as a father that you are. As a father of all in this state, Your Excellency we beg yo to forgive us. Your Excellency if you don’t pardon us, who are we to go meet. On behalf of all of us here. I am taking this apology on behalf of Wale Adedayo. Your Excellency Please pardon us’, Gazal pleaded

The association in same vein acknowledged that in May, N4.5billion was shared by the 20 local governments, as well as in June, N4.4billion was shared, while July also saw the sharing of N4.4billion, and in August, N5.2billion was shared.

Penpushing also reports that the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) confirmed that during the coronavirus pandemic, the Governor was augmenting their allocation to the tune of N1billion monthly.

The chairmen admitted that because of insufficient funds from the federation accounts, they have been unable to pay the mandatory Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to the state, and as a result, they are owning the state, several billion.

Penpushing reports that Gazal during an interview pointed out that all the grey areas in the contending issue have been resolved, adding that the meeting with the state officials provided the chairmen the opportunity to get a briefing on what the state government has been doing to ensure smooth running of the council areas.

‘We have seen the lighter sides of the grey areas and all those issues have been resolved amicably. The governor has assured us that local government will continue to witness development till the end of his tenure”, he emphasised

The Governor in response to the chairmen during the apology visit to him in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, expressed surprise at the allegation, noting that rather than starving the local governments, he has made several interventions on their behalf to lessen their burden.

Penpushing further reports that Abiodun said he has always been supportive of the councils because they are an integral part in the march towards the development of the state, adding that when he read the report of the allegation, he finds it difficult to believe.

‘Where there is no information, there is misinformation. When I read in the news media yesterday that I Adedapo Abiodun, the privileged Executive Governor of this State for the second term, is being accused of diverting funds meant for a local government. I say to myself perhaps it must be another Adedapo Abiodun and not me’, he stated.

‘God knows that this job, I am doing it with every iota of sincerity of purpose. I continue to ensure that I am guided by all the promises I made in the course of my journey to the governor’s office. I continue to remind myself that I am holding this public office in trust as a trustee for and on behalf of all sons and daughters of this state and I will continue to be dogged, irrevocably committed to developing every part of this state equitably and fairly’.

“I will continue to respect that besides the state government, there is also another tier and we are charged with the responsibility of building the future of this State. So, I began to wonder how could anyone possibly begin to imagine that I would divert funds meant for another tier of government when my party, the APC, had formed government 100 per cent in that tier particularly. It is not as if I am trying to punish some council chairmen who are not in my party. State government and local government are all one family”, he stated

Penpushing also reports that he said his administration worked tirelessly to ensure the emergence of the council bosses and therefore could not engage in any act that could retard development at the grassroots, disclosing that he, along with two other Governors had impressed it on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to help with separate intervention funds for the local governments.

“I know what I committed to ensuring that we are all successful when you were contesting either at the primary level or at the general elections. So how will I be able to explain to my conscience that having done all that, having vowed, having pledged, having been committed to the development of this State, as evidenced across the length and breadth, how would I justify stifling the local government?’, Abiodun said

“I know what myself and two other governors advanced before our president in the last two weeks about the need for the Federal Government to provide separate interventions just for the local government. So naturally, I have been taken aback’, Abiodun said.

Penpushing reports that he acknowledged the place of disagreement in human relationships but added that there should be roundtable discussions to find solutions to any vexed issues instead of resulting in misrepresentation and character assassination.

“Our preoccupation should be to continue to join hands together to build the future of this great state. I restate my commitment to ensuring that your tier of government is given all the support that you need to make the best of the opportunity that your people gave you. As you will be entering the last few months of your administration, it will be a joy and delight to ensure that you all have legacies that define your tenure in office’, Abiodun assured.

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