The All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State has accused legal luminary, Afe Babalola, of misleading the public on the budget transparency award honour given to Ekiti State by the Civil Resource Documentation Centre, a civil society group that conducted budget appraisal and transparency tests among all the 36 states of the federation on 2014 budget implementation.
The party said the Senior Advocate of Nigeria was wrong to have continued to praise Governor Ayodele Fayose in the media for winning the award though CIRDDOC’s award was on the basis of the 2014 budget appraisal.
The APC noted that it was former Governor Kayode Fayemi that drafted and implemented 2014 budget up to October of the same year.
The party said it was therefore “a height of mischief to take honour from whom it is due and hang it around the neck of another fellow who holds honour in contempt as could be seen in all Fayose’s official engagements”.
In a statement by the Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, the party said it would not have responded to the lawyer’s claim in the media praising Fayose for the honour, “particularly in his Tribune column of December 10 where the senior lawyer was making reference to 2015 budget”, but it decided to make a public declaration “because the lies told so often are always misconstrued to be the truth”.
The statement added: “Let us thank God that CIRDDOC stated clearly in its report that it obtained its data between July and December 2014. The result was the outcome of budget planning and implementation for 2014 by Governor Fayemi. Fayose did not prepare that budget, neither did he implement it, but regrettably Chief Babalola has seized the media to mislead and misinform the public on the honour won by Fayemi in his 2014 budget implementation.
“The budget for the period between July and December 2014 was prepared by Fayemi towards the end of 2013 and he ran that budget from January till October 2014 before Fayose took over as the governor.”
Olatunbosun said CIRDDOC stated in its report that the basis for the award was the participation of the people directly affected by the budget, including open bids for government’s contracts and observance of due process in government’s business, which Fayemi followed to the letter in the implementation of 2014 budget, noting that Fayose hated such practice.
He added: “Fayemi visited all the 177 wards in Ekiti State towards the end of 2013 to seek people’s inputs into 2014 budget. It was the people who chose the projects they wanted in the budget and that is one of the criteria set by CIRDDOC in giving the award. Fayemi did it faithfully while Fayose’s approach to budget planning and implementation is a one-man show in the corner of his room.
“The result of Fayemi’s initiative is what CIRDDOC released to the public praising Ekiti State for budget transparency and we wonder why a man noted for direct opposite of what Fayemi stands for is the one Chief Babalola is helping to appropriate Fayemi’s achievement.”
The party advised Babalola to be conscious of his place in the history of Ekiti State, saying his current interventions in Ekiti State politics left much to be desired.
Olatunbosun said: “Chief Afe Babalola has elevated Fayose to the realm of a Pope who can do no wrong, even though the governor has no record of transparency as can be explained in his N1.3b poultry project fraud case pending in the Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti.
“The senior lawyer saw nothing wrong in Fayose pursuing an airport project that was not included in 2015 project and we wonder the basis for his celebration of Fayose in this clear case of impunity and breach of budget law neither did he see anything wrong about Fayose assuming the powers of the Speaker by passing his own budget with a gavel right inside the Assembly chambers.
“This is the same way Chief Afe kept quiet when Fayose desecrated the judiciary, the constituency from which Chief Afe earned his fame and made fortune. It was okay for Chief Afe when Fayose ran opposition APC members out of town during the last general elections. Up till now, Chief has no comment on the mind-boggling expose on the Ekiti State poll fraud called Ekitigate perpetrated by Fayose.
“When Fayose sacked the Speaker of Ekiti House of Assembly with seven PDP members in the Assembly of 26 members and passed the 2015 budget with the same number, Chief Afe was at peace with Fayose’s brand of democracy even though the whole world rose in condemnation.
“Yet it is the same Fayose that Chief Afe accused of plotting his assassination in 2005, including sundry alleged crimes that claimed Fayose’s governorship through impeachment.
“We have watched Chief Afe’s complete reversal of attitude to Fayose even though the governor himself has not reversed those traits that made the eminent lawyer took up arms against him during his first term.”
The party also said that while it praised Babalola for the role he played in the creation of Ekiti State, it noted that several Ekiti sons and daughters also played their roles to ensure the creation of the state instead of the lawyer claiming sole glory in his Tribune column.
It counseled Babalola to live up to his status as a statesman, saying his current partisan interventions in Ekiti State politics was a threat capable of robbing him the status of a statesman.