Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, addressed the concerns raised over the procurement process in the state, describing as untrue the allegations that he used state funds to pay N200m to lawyers who defended his election in court.
He also described as erroneous the claim that N2bn was spent by the Office of the Deputy Governor to purchase rechargeable fans, rechargeable lights, and refrigerators, among others.
But the state House of Assembly on Tuesday ordered a probe into the allegations “to establish the facts of the story.”
Sanwo-Olu, while speaking during the unveiling of the newly-built operational headquarters of the Lagos State Building Control Agency in Ikeja, said the controversy generated by the letter was unnecessary, stressing that there were “many discrepancies” in the figures quoted by the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency on its website, “which have been corrected by PPA.”
He said, “Over the weekend, we saw on social media how some people can politically turn around all of our attempts to be responsible, transparent and committed to good governance. We don’t have a problem with any individual. We, indeed, acknowledged that this is the way it should be. We appreciate the fact that people can look at us in the face and say you need to do well in this area.
“We don’t have a problem with the originator of the open letter; in short, we like him, and we thank him. Indeed, if we are seen as a government that is transparent and responsible, we should not be shy of criticism. But it is only when criticism is malicious and misrepresenting the truth, that is when there will be a problem.
Sanwo-Olu said Lagos had maintained open books for checks and balances, stressing that the state had judiciously appropriated funds for projects and services that were beneficial to the residents.
“I lead a team of dedicated public officers, civil servants and a self-motivated team of officials that will always stand tall with anyone across the world. The building we are opening today is a testament to our commitment to responsible public service. This is a building that has been built on time within the budget and judicious expenditure. This is what we stand for in Lagos,” the governor added.
Similarly, a statement on Tuesday by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, described as untrue allegations that the governor paid legal fees for personal electoral lawsuits from the state’s coffers.
Omotoso said, “A post on ‘X’ by Labour Party candidate, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on November 19, 2023, alleged – without any proof whatsoever – that the Lagos State Government funded Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s legal dispute after the March 18, 2023, election. This is not true.
“The allegation was supported by a document that neither carried the logo of the Lagos State Government nor the endorsement of any of its officials. It was simply another ploy to deceive the public about a non-existent payment of N50,000,000 to four lawyers,” Omotoso wrote.
The commissioner explained that: “There was a payment request, which was not approved by Mr Governor when the Honourable Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice drew his attention to it because it was irregular.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos State House of Assembly has ordered a probe into the report of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency on spending by the offices of the governor and the deputy governor.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, during plenary on Tuesday, said while the executive arm of government had made efforts to declare the story as untrue, it was necessary for the House to look into the issue so as the establish the facts behind the story.
“So, we call on the committee in charge of procurement to invite the agency and others mentioned and do a thorough job on this in order to establish facts concerning the publications,” Obasa said.