Day Ikuforiji Kicked Against Lagos Slogan


Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, is known as one who  could hardly hide his emotions. On several occasions, he has hit hard on Nigerians,  including the highly placed.

Adeyemi Ikuforiji

His emotional challenges were once again brought to the fore when he nailed the Eko oni  baje slogan that has become part of Lagos and its political community.

The Speaker, after reacting fiercely to a letter sent by the Executive arm of the State  Government to the House seeking clarity and understanding over the latter’s rejection of  the N46 billion supplementary budget sent to it. Before taking his seat, he said the  normal: Eko o ni baje ooo, but immediately the other members responded with obaje ti,  Ikuforiji flared up.
“It is like this idea of obaje ti is too arrogant and that is what is causing all the  friction that we have now. I have never and will never support the idea. It is arrogant,  it is sheer arrogance.

“Eko oni baje, we should be praying to God ko ma baje, but instead we continue to say  obaje ti as if it is in our power. This is a big trouble,” he concluded.

The letter dated 2 September, 2010 had caused the House to summon the State Commissioner  for Economic Planning and Budget, Ben Akabueze, to appear before it and explain grey  areas in the supplementary budget.

The letter written by Governor Babatunde Fashola to the Speaker, titled “Re: 2010  supplementary budget” was read by the Deputy Clerk of the House, Sola Ogayemi.

According to Fashola in the letter, “I acknowledge the receipt of, and refer to, your  letter of August 30, 2010 on the above subject, whereby you communicated Lagos State  House of Assembly’s wholesale return of the 2010 supplementary budget proposals.

“Your letter attributed to ‘anomalies noted in financial requirements of the state  particularly on sources of fund’ but omitted to provide any specifics to enable us to  address them.

“Nevertheless, I wish to call your attention to the continuing growth in the state’s  population which has also created an ever increasing demand for public goods and  services.

“This has meant that the size of the state’s budget has grown substantially over time,  although we have deliberately tried to manage the rate of growth in the recent past.

“Unfortunately, the growth in government revenues has not matched the growth in demand  for public goods and services.

“This in turn has caused the State Government to operate deficit budget since 2001. The  difference between estimated revenue and expenditures in each budget cycle has  traditionally been funded by borrowings”.

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The governor said the supplementary budget was in line with what is happening in other  states of the federation and even in other countries of the world.

“I have directed the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget and his colleagues to  make themselves available to address the anomalies you referred to in your letter if you  will kindly direct that details be made available to him.

“They also have directive to provide the clear justifications for the carefully  considered revenues/expenditures included in the supplementary budget. In the meantime,  in accordance with the tenor of your letter, I am constrained to re-present the  supplementary budget and to make the strongest appeal for your expeditious consideration  of the proposals. I do so with every sense of responsibility to avert any disruption in  the activities of government.

“This is because the existing provisions for critical items like allowances for security  personnel; road maintenance/rehabilitation; governor’s office; medical treatment for  Government officials/citizens; general utilities/maintenance and staff  salaries/allowances have been severely depleted as a result of the original reduction  made by the House to the tune of N40bn when the main budget was presented and considered.

“Specifically, with respect to staff salaries/allowances, you will recall also that the  LSHA had reduced the Personnel Cost Budget by N10bn without taking cognizance of ongoing  negotiations regarding implementation of a 15% furniture allowance for civil servants and  a 27.5% salary increase for teachers.

“The consequence of this is that if the request for supplementation is not granted,  government will not be in a position to pay its employees later in the year,” the letter  read.

The lawmakers were, however, not happy with the tone of the letter which, they claimed,  seemed to have heaped the blame for the state’s recent predicaments on them.

They further accused the governor of trying to blackmail them into signing the  supplementary budget without investigating the former’s spending  and that the House  returned the budget because it saw no need in approving it when the governor had enough  money to play with.

Ikuforiji, while reacting, said: “I am not unaware that the state has been inundated with  misinformation emanating from the other side trying to blackmail the House into doing  what the House should not ordinarily do; trying to instigate our constituents against us,  but we shall at all times stand by the truth and when every Lagosian gets to know the  truth, the truth shall set them free.

“Nobody is fighting our governor. We brought him out when nobody knew him, we promised at  inception to support him and we’ll continue to do that, but we won’t do it at the  detriment of Lagosians.

“The governor is surrounded by people who consider themselves smarter (than members of  the House?), but tell everyone around the state that we here will not spend the state  fund on nothing, we’ll do the business that we have been elected to do and we’ll ensure  that the funds of the public is not wasted.

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