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2016 Budget Scam: Sacking Govt Officers Not Enough, Withdraw Budget, Fayose Tells Buhari

By Lere Olayinka
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Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has said that controversies surrounding the Federal Government 2016 Budget cannot be addressed by mere sacking of the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation and appointing a new one, insisting that the budget must be withdrawn from the National Assembly and a new and error free one represented.

Governor Fayose, who also queried the request by the Minister of

Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for a “special funding

arrangement for public media organizations to enable them to scale up

their sensitization campaign against insurgency in the North-East,”

said Nigerians need further explanations as to why special fund will

be needed on Boko Haram that he (Lai Mohammed) said had already been

defeated.
In a release issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications

and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said what the

controversial 2016 budget required was a holistic approach, not just

making one person scapegoat, adding that; “the President must take

total responsibility for the budget scam and apologise to Nigerians

for the government’s embarrassment caused by the display of gross

incompetence.”
Governor Fayose maintained that padding of the budget with strange

figures, now being denied by Ministers was a clear intention to steal

in advance, adding that; “Though it is good that the President

listened to my call for the punishment of those responsible for the

national embarrassment, mere sacking of officers at the Budget Office

will not remove the stain splashed on Nigeria by the shameful budget.”

He likened blaming an imaginary “budget mafia” for the padding of the

budget to a driver blaming someone else for not applying the brake

when it should have been applied, saying; “the bulk stops on the

President’s table, he can’t blame anyone apart from himself for this

national shame.”
The governor said; “Sacking one or two persons on this budget scam is

just like using some people as cover-up for the national embarrassment

caused by the President himself. Even the President himself signed a

letter wrongly as October 22, 2016 and one is tempted to ask who the

President will sack for these avoidable errors.
“In my own opinion, it is necessary that those handling the President

should bring it to his consciousness that he is not God that cannot

make mistakes and this budget scam must be seen as part of the

mistakes that President Buhari is capable of making.

“By doing this, the President will be provided with another

opportunity to represent the Budget because I wonder how Nigeria can

operate on a budget already disowned by notable ministers, including

the government’s spokesperson.
“Or what remedy can anyone do to a budget in which 2015 budgetary

allocations of an agency was reproduced verbatim? Even N180 million

was discovered to have been allocated to NIMET twice.”

While calling on the Minister of Information to explain to Nigerians

why he required special budget for public media organizations on Boko

Haram insurgency, Governor Fayose said; “What they told us was that

they have technically defeated Boko Haram. What then do they need

special fund for? Even last year, there was no such special fund.

“To my mind, there could be more to this clamour for special fund for

media on ‘already defeated’ Boko Haram than meet the eyes.”