With less than a week to the end of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s tenure as the Chief Executive there was heavy drama at the Lagos State House of Assembly as the 2019 Appropriation Bill passed by the legislative chamber got missing.
It will be recalled that there was a lot of dispute between the executive and the legislative arm of government before the budget was finally passed into law after Governor Ambode presented on the floor of the leglislative chamber in February.
The legislators subsequently passed the the budget on April 29 about 8-0 days after it was forwarded to the state lawmakers.
In what seems to be an unfortunate scenario about three weeks after the Lagos State appropriation bill was passed by the legislative chamber the bill is missing and the whereabout is still unknown as at press time. The missing budget has generated concern among different civil societies and the people of the state.Image result for Lagos Assembly
Efforts and strategies deployed to find the missing budget has been an exercise in futility as those whose job is primarily to ensure that the vital bill is kept safe keep passing blames on each other from the the Speaker of the House, Rt.Hon Mudashiru Obasa , to the Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni down to the Chief Press Secretary.
When a journalist from the reliable news platform, News Agency of Nigeria asked the Chief Press Secretary, Mr Azzez Sanni about the missing budget
He disclosed that “I am a civil servant, I am barred from granting press interview. Any information you need on this can be obtained from the Chairman, House Committee on Information.
“She is the spokesperson of the House. She will give you detailed information on this.”
When quizzed if his office had obeyed the directive of the Speaker directing him to pass a clean copy of the appropriation bill recently passed to the Governor for assent on April 29, the leglislative house spokesperson insist that all information in this regard can only be obtained by the press from the House Committee on Information, Security and Strategy
He informed the News Agency of Nigeria that the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mrs Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, is the only person that can give clarification on any issue concerning the missing 2019 appropriation bill.
But calls put through to Hon. Jolaoso were neither answered nor returned as at press time.
Meanwhile an aide to Governor Ambode while speaking to the press on the condition of anonymity stated that “I do not think the budget has been transmitted to the governor. If so, he would have assented to it.”
It will be recalled that the Lagos State legislative chamber passed a whooping amount of N873. 532 billionas the state’s 2019 Appropriation Bill.
The bill was passed about 80 days after Governor Ambode presented a budget of N852. 316 billion on the floor of the chamber.
The legislative chamber approved about N393, 841, 387, 020 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for recurrent expenditure and about N479, 691, 073, 705 was approved from Development Revenue Fund for capital expenditure.
The size of the 2019 budget for Lagos State which pride itself as the country’s commercial capital is N873, 532, 460, 725 about N21.216 billion higher than the budget presented by the Governor.
The bill was passed by the legislative chamber after the Speaker, Obasa conducted a voice vote on each of the allocations of the different ministries,departments and agencies of the state government.
The Speaker then issue a directive to the Clerk of the House, Sanni to forward the bill to the Governor for assent