By Oboh Agbonkhese
Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State has been urged to investigate retreats by the lawmakers and local governments officials, because if the state government is desirous of successfully mobilising Lagosians behind its tax drive for development, transparency and accountability must replace secrecy where the revenue and expenditure profiles of the state are concerned.
This was the position of Activists United Against Graft and Anti-People’s Policies, AUGAPOL, at a briefing in Lagos, with its National Coordinator, Mr. Mark Adebayo, declaring that if the governor failed to address the issue in seven days, “we will resort to both legal and mass advocacy actions to resolve it.”
Mr. Adebayo said: “We wish to call the attention of Governor Akinwumi Ambode to the negative vibes sent out by the whole budget and other policy retreats by the state’s House of Assembly members and local government officials.
“We find it economically, socially, morally and politically unacceptable for the state government’s institutions to be holding retreats after retreats in the same hotel every time outside the state.”
“The Akinwumi Ambode administration has recorded excellent feats, so it behoves the government to be circumspect on how the state’s resources and tax payer’s money is being managed.”
In a statement by Adebayo and Mr. Toyin Raheem, Chairman, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, CACOBAG, the activists said: “Retreats for government officials are desirable in achieving good and effective governance, but is condemnable and a great injustice when it is at the expense of the tax-paying hospitality businesses and the tourism potentials of Lagos State, as the state government’s institutions refuse to patronise them under non-transparent circumstances.”
The group also commiserated with the Dapchi students and their parents, noting that from recent developments, action and inaction by the Federal Government, “although the Jonathan administration can be described as a failure, the present government at the centre is a worse failure.”