Wale Adedayo, the enfant terrible vs. Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State

0
526
Advertisement

By Ogbeni Lanre Banjo
Former Gubernatorial Candidate, Ogun State

The presentation of the “breakdown of the fund released to Local Governments in Ogun for the Execution of Developmental Projects Between Year 2020 to date” by the Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo along with the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi further blew the wind that clearly uncovered their concealed rump.

When I first read the curriculum vitae of Dapo Okubadejo, I had tremendous professional respect for him, but this show of charade engaged in to protect the government mirrors unprofessionalism and perfidiousness to the public. As an Accountant and Auditor of over 35 years in practice, I feel ashamed of the professional conducts of both Dapo Okubadejo, the Accountant General who was at the press conference and the previous administration headed by a Chartered Accountant for failure to establish laws, set standards that would have prevented this sham and set a tone at the top that it is haram to tamper with local government source of revenues and their federal allocations.

When disputes arise about figures or public funds collected or spent, not in the current fiscal year but yester fiscal years, what I expect from a serious, patriotic and professional finance expert is the provision of audited financial statements, not a worthless piece of paper presented by the government officials at the press conference.

My understanding is that the accounting records of the local governments are supposed to be audited by the Auditor-General of the State. If such audited financial statements exist, the Auditor General of both the State and Local Governments should have been invited to make a presentation to the public with total amounts paid to Wale Adedayo’s local government. The fact that the Auditor Generals of both the State and Local governments were not invited to speak at the press conference nullified the statement of sincerity by Governor Dapo Abiodun and signaled that the Administration has something to hide.

It vindicates Wale Adedayo, and also buttresses Adedayo’s position that the State make the Auditor Generals of Local governments absolutely useless like they do the Executive Chairmen of Local governments. This makes nonsense of the democracy practiced in Nigeria. That Accountants, Treasurers, Auditor Generals are employed by both the Local and State governments and are not allowed to do their jobs as required by professional standards and thus compelled to violate professional ethics is a waste of public funds. When the Chief Economic Advisers with wealth of experience joined in this charade due to stomach infrastructure failed to uphold accounting and auditing standards, then the hope in nipping corruption in the bud is dimmed.

Accounting and auditing standards require that allocation from States and/or Federal Governments to local governments be conspicuously presented in a column with supplementary schedules in an audited report. Thus, it would be clear to all and sundry how much of the Federal allocations that all the local governments were paid with the supplementary schedules showing each local government’s receipts. The Notes to the Financial Statements should amplify the accounting events relating to this allocation. But, Lo and behold, the Chairmen of local governments whose rights and autonomy have been muffled, seized and watered down, cannot order the audit of financial statements without the approval of the Governor. Instead of the Councilors to enact laws to require the executive of the local government to audit their accounting records with specific due date, they are busy submitting themselves as pawns to the Governor, tying their apron string to that of the Governor, considering how they were selected to get to what is supposed to be elective. This needs to be changed if Governor Dapo Abiodun is sincere as claimed. Even when the Joint Account and Allocation Committee (JAAC) meet, the Executive Chairmen invited into that meeting are usually not allowed to leave the location of the meeting with the report given to them. That practice raises a lot of suspicion and should not be engaged in, if they have nothing to hide.

Additionally, the claim by Okubadejo that “the process is that the joint account allocation committee account is a completely separate account from {the} state government accounting process. It is managed and administered by a complete different set of staff that are involved in local government at the Ministry of local government and Chieftaincy Affairs” is absolutely nonsensical. The Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs is an arm of the State government whose accounting records must be audited, if annual audit is required and conducted. Once this accounting event is recorded in the books of the Ministry, it must be audited. The other fact is that one expects the State governor who claims to be giving “subvention” to the Local Governments to bring development to their locality, to hold the various local government responsible for the spending of such grants. But because, those at the State level often engage in corruption, they would not want to rock the boat by looking at the accounting records of the local government, unless for vindictive purpose when one is obstinate like Wale Adedayo.

The House of Assembly cannot be spared from blames. The Assembly should make the following laws immediately:
Making the position of Auditor General an elective position, frowning at religion and ethnicity. Afterall, Dapo Abiodun’s Pastor is mute on the treatment of Adedayo.

The focus of the law should be the best and competent, making intervention of the governor illegal. The only requirement should be that the person running for such position must be an indigene of Ogun State, Certified Public or Chartered Accountant with stipulated number of years of experience and does not need to be a carrying card member of any political party. I know Nigerians would bastardize a water tight system, but let’s start with that.
That each local government’s account must be audited by an Independent Auditing firm selected by an Audit Committee without the interference of the Executive Chairman and State officials.
That the local government Audited financial statements/reports and the Domestic Reports, containing auditors’ findings, should be available to the public and State government, maximum four months after the fiscal year end of the local governments.
That the State government must also be audited annually. I was on an American TV program with a Nigerian governor who boasted that he audited his account after he was about to end his 8 years tenure. I felt like what kind of character is this? Firstly, it is not his account. Secondly, he should be reporting to the citizens annually not after 8th year.

The implementation of all these recommendations would conspicuously help settle issues raised by Wale Adedayo on behalf of his coward colleagues who chickened out prostrating to their benefactors. It would also address the issue of transparency cited by the SSG, Tokunbo Talabi when he knows that the government, he represents, is not transparent.

The most ridiculous statement was made by Tokunbo Talabi who failed woefully to address why the State Government is in the business of awarding contracts for projects stated in the budget of local governments. Local governments prepare their budgets like State, submit them to the council for approval, then one knuckle head Governor and the sycophants working for him would hijack their functions. Why? Local government is supposed to be a theater where those running it is expected to prove their brilliance. When the state governments treat them like some women treat their husbands as babies, the operator at the local government level would begin to act like babies. This we must resist.

September 6, 2023

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here