The ailing Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, approved over N7.3billion for “contingency” between July and September 2023, a copy of the state budget performance report obtained by SaharaReporters has revealed.
The governor gave the approval for the billions of Naira around the time that he was on medical leave in Germany. He had initially embarked on a 21-day leave on June 7 but returned to the country in September.
His deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, was in acting capacity while he was away on the medical trip.
The report titled “Ondo State Third Quarter (July – September) 2023 Budget Performance” was posted on the state government’s website.
The document showed that the Akeredolu-led government had in the last 9 months spent over N8,169,005,150.58 on “contingency” instead of the N1,069,000,000.00 appropriated and approved in the 2023 budget by the Ondo State House of Assembly.
This suggested that N7,100,005,150.58 was allegedly illegally spent above the budget ceiling on “contingency”.
A further check on the report revealed that N7,363,452,119.70 was spent between July and September 2023 on same “contingency”.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines contingency as something that might possibly happen in the future, usually causing problems or making further arrangements necessary.
Calls put across to Olatunde Olabode Richard, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor to explain the billons of Naira spent on contingency were not picked nor returned.
He also did not reply to text messages sent to him on why the government spent extra N7billion without appropriation or approval by the state legislature.
Speaking exclusively to SaharaReporters, a lawmaker who did not want his name to be mentioned said the governor had committed impeachable offences by the action.
“It’s glaring from what you showing me that Governor Akeredolu has violated the Ondo state’s appropriation law, and has therefore committed impeachable offences,” he said.
“Spending without the approval of the State Assembly is extra budgetary and illegal.”
Since his return to Nigeria from a three-month medical leave in Germany in September, Akeredolu has remained in his residence in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The governor had embarked on a 21-day leave on June 7 and in August, Akeredolu wrote to the House of Assembly, notifying the lawmakers that he would be extending his medical leave abroad.
However, on September 7, the governor returned to Nigeria from Germany where he spent three months.
He was welcomed by his close aides at his residence in Ibadan, Oyo State.
A day after his return, Akeredolu met with stakeholders from the state, including Olamide Oladiji, Speaker of the Assembly, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Deputy Governor, and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), at his residence in Ibadan.
He subsequently handed over his resumption letter to Oladiji and provided a copy to Aiyedatiwa.
SaharaReporters gathered that Akeredolu has however been governing the state from his Ibadan residence since his return to the country.
There has been no State Executive Council meeting since his return to Nigeria, a source told SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters exclusively reported in January that Akeredolu was treating leukemia.
“The governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu has leukemia, he is really down,” one of the sources in the Alagbaka Government House revealed at that time.
Leukemia is a cancer of the blood caused by a rise in the number of white blood cells in the body.
For sufferers, the white blood cells crowd out the red blood cells and platelets needed by the body to stay healthy.
White blood cells are potent infection fighters which grow and divide in an orderly way, as the body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces an excessive amount of abnormal white blood cells, which don’t function properly.
It is a cancer of blood-forming tissues that hinders the body’s ability to fight infections.
The types that exist include acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Treatment for leukemia can be complex depending on the type of leukemia and other factors.