7th January, 2014
Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Ben Akabueze has replied Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s recent attacks on Governor Bababtunde Fashola on the state’s 2014 budget, describing it as a feigned attack.
According to Akabueze, the former Nigerian ambassador to Ghana is not an economist or financial expert and so he is dabbling into a subject he does not fully understand.
Akabueze said Obanikoro’s recent article on the Lagos State 2014 budget is just as sloppy as the earlier article he wrote on the Lekki Concession Company, LCC, transaction that was full of inaccuracies and shallow theoretical analysis.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to an article purportedly written by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro. I know Sen. Obanikoro is not an economist or financial expert and so I suspect someone wrote this piece for him. If my suspicion is right then the author did him great dissservice.
“If, however, Obanikoro wrote this himself, then he will need a lot of education on the subject of public sector budgeting if, as I suspect, he still aspires to govern today’s Lagos State.”
Akabueze said further that Obanikoro’s ‘critical review’ of the State’s budget is replete with phantom figures so much so that it would amount to a waste of time to try to address the inaccuracies individually.
He, therefore, challenged Obanikoro to a public forum to debate the LCC buy-out transaction, the 2014 budget and any other matter relating to management of Lagos State’s economy.
“Obanikoro’s speculative comments about the amounts and timing of Bonds issued, as well as increase in the 2014 recurrent expenditure are very pedestrian. His criticism of the residents registration exercise is dumbfounding as anyone with elementary understanding of economics will appreciate the need for accurate demographic data for planning.
“And by the way, Obanikoro and his shadowy writers would be welcome to a public forum to debate the LCC buy-out transaction, the 2014 budget and any other matter relating to the management of Lagos State’s economy after they have hopefully done their homework.
“The fact is that Lagos State Government operates at a level of financial management that the likes of Obanikoro and his phantom writers must work very hard to fly to,” Akabueze said.