The Lagos State House of Assembly at plenary today debunked the media report alleging the Speaker, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa of spending N17million monthly on maintenance of his residence and guest house, describing the allegation as unfounded and misleading.
The Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, who called the attention of the lawmakers to the report published online by SaharaReporters on April 26, explained that the report was erroneous.
Sanni hinted that the amount stated cover a lot more, ” the sum covers various expenditure of the full offices; the Office of the Chief of Staff, Special Advisers ( Budget , Political Matters), office of the Chief Press Secretary, Special Assistant (Protocol), Special Assistant ( Research and Development), Special Assistant (Women Affairs), and 15 Special Assistants engaged to give relevant advice with respect to their area of speciality and fields of expertise for smooth operation of the legislature.
“I must also state that this expenditures have been in existence prior the emergence of Speaker Obasa . In fact it dated back as far as 2012 when it was N27million monthly and I have the document here to show that .
He added that the report by SaharaReporters was a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the House of Assembly.
The media outfit, in his view is all out to tarnish the image of the house,he notes that information if sourced through the right channel would have clarified the matter, capturing the whole rather than a bit and piece, which is misleading and disparaging.
” On the allegation that the company was registered in 2015, how come the company in question was just engaged in 2018? “, said the Clerk.
The Chairman House Committee on Information, Security and Strategy, Hon. Tunde Braimoh, faulted the medium for not reaching out to House to get their own side of the story and ensure a balanced reportage, as the report is malicious and should be totally ignored.
Braimoh who said the medium is known to be writing unbalanced reports lately, said that had it been the medium reach out to the House before rushing to publish their report, they could have been better guided .
” A responsible journalist could have reach out to me as Chairman of the House Information Committee before publishing what is not”, If Sahara Reporters have asked a question this will have been well cleared, we should ignore all this shenanigan and dismiss it in its entirety.
That report is half baked,suppressed,abridged and deliberately calculated not to capture all its intendments but just to have a kind of sensational view,the truth of the matter is there are a lot of expenditures attached to that particular vote head.
The line of the expenditure itself is not new in the annals of the Lagos House of Assembly it’s been like that even before this present Speaker took over,ten years before his dispensation in office the expenditure has been there and it was even more,it was N27m .
The reporter just gave two page fact and that is why we insist,not because anybody is hiding anything from anybody, but to get any document from any organisation it must be certified as true.
Hon.Rotimi Olowo representing Somolu Constituency 1 and also Chairs the House Committee On Finance, took a swipe on said medium citing the unprofessional and less ethical style of journalism exhibited, noting that the media outfit was known for tarnishing brand image and inciting the public by deliberately publishing misleading reports.
Olowo added ” I believe if it is truly investigative journalism that the medium is practising, it should be able to get the other side of the issue before they can rush to publish lies. The medium is known to publish lies as they published recently that former House of Representatives Speaker Ghali Umar Na’aba was late.
“This one is one that you can really see that the medium was telling lies because we have procurement law and there are procedures stated by the law . If a contractor makes an overture to the House for contract bidding, it is not just what he came with but what the house eventually agree . I remember in 2012, I was a member of this house and I remember the amount that was budgeted was N27m but when Obasa emerged as Speaker he reduced it to N17million”
I think SaharaReporters needs to be cautioned as it has shown that whatever that is given to them is published without crosschecking. Mr Speaker, this House has the power to sue because the lies by this medium is getting to much”, said Olowo.
Also, Hon. Temitope Adewale ( Ifako Ijaiye 2), who corroborated Olowo, stated that the publisher was one lost his presidential bid in time past and was alleged to mismanaged his party’s campaign fund.
” The same man was the party presidential candidate and at the same time the party national chairman.
We don’t need to waste our time over his publication, we can explore the legal means by suing the medium”, said Adewale.
In his contributions, Hon Gbolahon Yishawu ( Eti Osa 2) stated that SaharaReporters was trying to incite the general public against the Speaker and the House of Assembly, stressing that an attack on Obasa is an attack on the whole members.
Yishawu stated that the report was published with intent to reduce the image of the House to nothing, adding that the report depicts one written by a medium which lacks fact.
However, the Speaker of the House, Rt ( Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, explained that it was necessary to correct the wrong impression created by the medium to the general public, by letting them know that the House is not reckless or frivolous in its expenditure.
Obasa said that the essence of announcing the report at plenary was to debunk it, as silence means consent.
” As rightly put by the Clerk, this is an expenditure that has been existing before 2015 and he has been able to trace some document to 2012 , 2013, 2014 , so it shows SaharaReporters and it’s co-travellers would not get anywhere and we are not ready to join issues with them . I agree with you that we don’t have to waste our time on them. We remain resolute and unshakeable, we can stand and give enough documents to back up our expenditures”, said Obasa.