July 20, 2024

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Nigeria: Edo Election – Govt, Group Bicker Over Alleged Use of Councils’ Funds for Campaigns

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A pressure group, Edo People’s Advocacy Organisation of Nigeria, has accused Governor Godwin Obaseki Administration of funding the Asue Ighodalo election campaign with local councils’ funds and called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to do a forensic audit of the councils’ finances to unravel the alleged fraud.

However, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Monday Osaigbovo, has denied the allegation saying the opposition should focus on campaigning for their candidates and leave Ighodalo alone.

The group made the allegation in a petition to the Benin Zonal Office of the EFCC signed by its Coordinator, Agbogun Monday and Secretary, Odeh Johnson , which was received by the Head, Public Affairs Benin Zonal Office of EFCC, Williams Oseghale. who reaffirmed the commission’s zero tolerance to corruption and promised that the petition would be handled professionally.

The group said: “While other states’ local government councils across the country are carrying out developmental projects, Edo State councils are allegedly busy using public funds to continue the third term bid of Obaseki by funding the Asue Ighodalo Campaign.

“We hereby demand that the EFCC carry out a forensic audit of our 18 local government areas in Edo State all in a bid to recover looted and diverted funds.

“The council chairmen should be invited to show record of the last four months expenditure immediately so as to recover looted fund channelled for funding Obaseki’s third term bid.”

Osaigbovo reacts

When contacted on phone, Osagbovo said the local government areas were battling to pay the new minimum wage and could not have been diverting public funds for political campaigns.

His words: “Our local governments are struggling to pay salaries, they are trying to pay their pensioners because the issues of the increase in the minimum wage, local government total salaries used to be a little above N1 billion but now it is over N1.4 billion, are those the people that can fund somebody’s election?

“Every chairman and councillor can be working for the PDP and its candidate but definitely not using the council funds so they should face their campaign. Did Asue get his nomination using council funds? He went round the 192 wards before he got the ticket of the party, so the allegation is false.

“Before now they accused us of withholding their funds, that has failed and they have come up with funding Asue’s campaign, it is all false.”

By  Vanguard.

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