Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who recently admitted “we can make mistakes” took N10,490,473,775.50 from the state treasury to run the “Office of the Governor” between July and September 2023, a copy of the state budget performance report analysed by SaharaReporters has revealed.
According to state budget performance report on Page 15, from January to September in 2023 alone, the governor has spent over N35billion to run his office, which is apart from other sundry expenses and activities as captured in the report.
Meanwhile on Page 40, the Sanwo-Olu’s administration spent N11billion on a curious item listed as “servicing of meetings” from January to September 2023. The actual amount recorded is N11,449,295,411.71.
The Lagos State government on Page 42 listed some of the public infrastructure projects it carried out within the third quarter of the year (July-September) and it was observed that the “construction and provision of public schools” gulped N501million, while the “rehabilitation and repairs of public schools” also took N1.5billion in three months.
Governor Sanwo-Olu was in the eye of the storm earlier in the week, after state procurement records showed he approved N7.5 million to replace liquid fragrance in his office and N3billion to purchase rechargeable fans for the office of his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.
The deputy governor later claimed N2million was paid to his office for same facilities.
Other contracts awarded by the state’s Public Procurement Agency (PPA) in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2023 include approval of over N440 million for the purchase of a new Lexus LX 600 Bulletproof Sport Utility Vehicle for use in the pool of Office of Chief of Staff.
The government also approved N152 million for the restoration of water supply at Iduganran palace, the official residence of the Oba of Lagos.
Records also showed that the state spent N581 million to renovate Saint Andrews Anglican Church in the Oke-Popo area of the state.
The 2023 governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC) in Lagos, Funsho Doherty, who first raised questions about some of the contracts, had written an open letter to Governor Sanwo-Olu to review some of the projects.
The Lagos governor after several backlashes and public outcry had broken his silence while admitting that
“we can make mistakes on some items” and “we are open to criticisms.”
The governor, while reacting to the released procurement record, had assured that the government would continue to publish its spending and keep it open for public scrutiny.
“We appreciate criticism. We appreciate the fact that people can look at us in the face that we need to do well in the state. So we don’t have a problem with the originator of an open letter. In fact, we like it and we want to thank him, and that’s to say that indeed, to be a government that’s firm and responsible, we should not shy away from criticism.
“But it is only when criticism is malicious, unintended and it is to misrepresent the truth and that’s where there’s a problem. Some officers in Lagos have all come out to say that indeed we can make mistakes on some lines of items. I heard of a particular one that an item was meant to be N2million but it was written as N2billion.
“All we want to do is to serve the people of Lagos, and serve the state with every iota of strength and commitment we have, and believing Lagosians can truly see the benefit of our service.
“I just want to make this point, and put it to rest. The website will continue to work. We’ll put all our numbers there and we’ll continue to pride ourselves at all times that indeed we can make mistakes but it is not any intention for us to be unmindful of what public goods are, and to ensure that public goods is what will continue to be respected,” he had said.