The Conference of Local Government Executive Secretaries in Lagos State has debunked an allegation by the former Minister of Works and chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Adeseye Ogunlewe accusing the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of causing under-development in the grassroots by deducting 80 percent from funds accruing to Local Governments in the State.
The Executive Secretaries, in a press conference on Thursday, described the allegation by Ogunlewe as a “blatant falsehood” which is nothing short of “an act of gross irresponsibility and a clear evidence of desperation of a man whose political diminution has inflicted an advanced state of abnormal behaviour”.
Executive Secretary of Bariga Local Council Development Area (LCDA) and Chairman of Conference of Local Government Executive Secretaries, Hon. Alabi Kolade David, who addressed journalists alongside his colleagues, recalled the shameful role played by Ogunlewe in the past against the people of Lagos, and wondered where the former Minister “suddenly and mischievously discovered his love for Lagosians so much that he felt it was his responsibility to raise false alarm”.
“For the information of teeming Lagosians, it is on record that in 1999, the people of Lagos East Senatorial Constituency voted Senator Seye Ogunlewe on the platform of the progressive party, Alliance for Democracy. In a classic case of betrayal of trust, he crossed to the rival PDP and became the Minister of Works”.
“As Minister, Senator Seye Ogunlewe actively conspired with other members of the PDP to withhold the funds due to the Local Governments of Lagos State for 23 months in violation of an order of the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land”.
“Through the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, he (Ogunlewe) unleashed mayhem on Lagos motorists and engaged our Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) in a war from which many still carry the scars till today,” David recalled.
The Executive Secretaries said in the last five months, they have had the opportunity of working with Governor Ambode, whose deep passion for the autonomy of the Local Government is immeasurable, adding that the respect which the Governor has for the political and administrative personnel is equally exemplary.
While urging the public to disregard the allegation, the Executive Secretaries said rather than deduct from the funds of LGs, Governor Ambode instead elected to empower the twenty LGs and 37 LCDAs in the State.
They added: “Governor Ambode’s 23 years in the Local Government service enabled him to see the strength which lies within while others see only the weakness. Governor Ambode has resolved to promote, protect and propagate the autonomy of the Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas, in the conviction, that the old system of looking down on management of councils is unhelpful and unsustainable”.
“For instance, his insistence that Local Governments and their management must take charge of the forthcoming construction of two roads per each Local Government is an eloquent testimony to this ideology”.
While assuring that the LGs and LCDAs in Lagos are up to the task of speeding up development and responding to the demands of Lagosians, the council bosses emphasised that it is on record that since the administration of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Lagos has never defaulted to pay salaries to all teachers and staff.
Besides, the Executive Secretaries urged the National Assembly to legislate the 37 LCDAs in Lagos into Local Governments and allocate one percent of the revenue of the federation to Lagos, which is the highest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product.