Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday stated that with the emerging revelations as well as the confessions by the Lagos State Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, the leadership of the state Assembly has irredeemably lost the integrity to preside over legislations or make appropriations for the people of the state.
The PDP, which urged the speaker to surrender himself to the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation, further stated that the state Assembly has become incurably smeared with issues of corruption, misappropriation and allegations of embezzlement of funds meant for the welfare of the people of the state.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, “Our party notes that the revelations at the fact-finding panel of the state Assembly on corruption allegations against the leadership of the state legislature are incorrigible.”
The party insisted that the Speaker should clear his name by surrendering himself to the EFCC for investigation, instead of limiting his defence to an in-house committee of the legislature, which he also presides.
Ologbondiyan said Nigerians are still in shock over the revelations at the panel of how funds meant for the welfare of Lagosians were dissipated on luxurious Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), frivolous foreign trips and funding of expensive and wasteful lifestyles of certain lawmakers and their relations, while the people are neglected and abandoned to a life of squalour.
The party described as heartbreaking, the confession by the Speaker that public fund was disbursed to finance a trip of wives of lawmakers to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
According to the PDP spokesman, “Our party holds that the attempt by the Speaker to justify the purchase of expensive air tickets, paying for hotel accommodation, feeding and local travel for wives of lawmakers in Dubai from funds derived from levies and taxes foisted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the state on poor Lagosians, including widows, is to say the least, sacrilegious.
“The admission by the Speaker that ‘we gave N4 million to each of the participants (wives of the lawmakers) for air ticket, hotels, feeding and local travel-air ticket to Dubai alone is about N2 million’, exposes the impunity and recklessness with which funds belonging to Lagosians are squandered.”
The PDP challenged the Speaker to show Nigerians how much he had approved for hard working Lagosians, especially the youths, who had continued to be denied opportunities for scholarships, economic empowerment, employment and sponsorship to excel in various fields of endeavours.
PDP also challenged the Speaker to show what steps his legislature had taken to uplift the living standard of the downtrodden Lagos women who had continued to bear the weight of poverty and heavy taxes imposed by the APC administration in the state.
Moreover, the party said the state Assembly is still burdened with issues of reported discovery of 64 accounts allegedly linked to the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of the Speaker, which is said to be operated with multiple names in various banks and used to siphon public funds, among other sundry allegations.
“Our party holds that such is a huge allegation for which the Speaker should clear his name before the EFCC and not before an in-house panel of the legislature,” the statement stated.
The PDP, however, charged members of the state House of Assembly to redeem the image of the legislature by immediately returning all misappropriated funds, including the largess given to their wives and apologising to the people of Lagos State.
It also called on the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to speak out on the issue and condemn the recklessness in the Lagos House of Assembly.