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Oyo Assembly spends N121 million on a 2-week trip to London

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Jumoke Sunmonu
The Oyo State legislature blew a whooping N121 million on a two week " legislative training  "tour of the United Kingdom, abandoning victims of the recent flood that ravaged the city of Ibadan. This amount excludes the amount paid to the organizers of the " training" in London.

Another drama is also unfolding.  The legislators are at war with  the Speaker, Jumoke Sunmomu, because she has refused to share  the 20 per cent commission, she got from the travel agency which sold the tickets to them.   N25 million  was used to purchase  return air tickets to London for the 33 lawmakers. She  was the one who brokered the air ticket deal, which comes with a commission. sources hinted that each legislator got N660,000 as estacode, while accommodation was N1 million each , while the air tickets gulped N25 million for the House.

It was learnt that the trip which the opposition and political observers have  tagged" wasteful", was partly financed by the state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Sunmomu, gathered,  ,drew the ire of her colleagues when she decided to singlehandedly negotiate the air transportation of the legislators to and from London where the refresher training for the legislators took place.

According to sources in the state assembly, the Speaker had quietly organized for the travel agency responsible for the lawmakers' transportation to London, negotiated with the company and pocketed the commission from the agency without informing her colleagues. learnt that On their return, they realized from some of the agency staff that Sumonu brokered the deal and got a cut. So they stormed her office to demand their share

 The  development made the Speaker to go underground sending political emissaries to her colleagues, with a promise to make the commission available for them all to share.

Efforts to get the reaction of Sumonu proved abortive as she was not available each time our correspondent visited  her office while her personal telephone line was not picked.

Sources disclosed that the foreign training for the lawmakers had been in the pipeline for sometime until the embassy approved the visa to fast track the tour.

 Shortly after the polls, the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria {ACN} had organized several retreats for its legislators. The ACN in Oyo state held a retreat for its 13 lawmakers as well as other elective political officers at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture [IITA], in Ibadan, only for its members while there was a similar one organized by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] elsewhere for the lawmakers elected on its platform.

There was yet another retreat at Ada, Osun state which embraced all of them,the 13 ACN, 12 PDP and seven Accord lawmakers and exposes all of them as members of the seventh Assembly in the state to the same tutorials on lawmaking business.

Both the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria {ACN} and the Peoples' Democratic Party {PDP} expressed divergent positions on the trip with the PDP describing the trip as uncalled for and ill timed while the ACN maintained that there was nothing wrong with the timing as the lawmakers in the sixth assembly made some frivolous foreign trips in the days of former governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala.