Olatunde Olabode Richard, the Chief Press Secretary to Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has said that his principal’s spending of over N7.3billion for “contingency” between July and September 2023 without budgetary allocation “signifies nothing.”
According to Olatunde in a message to SaharaReporters on Monday, the extra budgetary action will soon be normalised by the Akeredolu-led government during budget virement.
A budget virement is a request for legislative approval to move monies around certain subheads.
“Contingency vote is often money whose nature and amount cannot be determined when the budget is prepared but may be absolutely necessary during the year. Example is the palliative spending that was not envisaged as of last year when the budget was crafted and it has to be charged somewhere before anyone could touch it,” he said.
“That is what constitutes the bulk of the spending as reported. Normally, this type of spending will be normalised during budget virement. It signifies nothing except the ignorance of those making a mountain out of the mole hill.”
the governor spent over N7.3billion for “contingency” between July and September 2023.
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.
According to a report titled “Ondo State Third Quarter (July – September) 2023 Budget Performance” posted on the state government’s website, the Akeredolu-led government 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”.
Speaking exclusively to SaharaReporters, a lawmaker who did not want his name to be mentioned had 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 had 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.