The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje, has criticised Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for the delay in the presentation of the 2019 budget.
Agbaje, who said he was not surprised by the development, noted that Lagos residents were bearing the brunt of the “breakdown of democracy” in the ruling All Progressives Congress.
He added that he did not expect any further governance in the state until after May 2019 when a new government would be constituted.
“It is not surprising. I do not expect governance until after May 2019.
“The governor has become a lame duck. We hear that approvals are now given in other quarters. When democracy collapses in a ruling party, the people bear the brunt,” he said.
For the past 10 years, the Lagos State Government had a culture of budget presentation before the fiscal year.
The 2018 budget of N1.4trn, for instance, which was the largest ever in the history of the state, was presented by Ambode on December 11, 2017.
The 2017 budget of N813bn was also presented by the governor on November 29, 2016.
The 2016 budget of N662bn was presented on December 17, 2015.
The governor’s predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, now Minister for Power, Works and Housing, presented the 2015 budget of N489.69bn on November 24, 2014.
He presented the 2014 budget of N489.69 in October 2013.
The 2013 budget of N497.277bn was also presented by Fashola in October 2012.
The former governor presented the 2012 budget estimate of N485bn on November 14, 2011.
The year 2011 budget of N445bn was presented in December 2010.
The 2010 budget of N429bn was presented by Fashola in November 2009.
In reaction, a government source claimed that “a lot of forces outside government” were “influencing things” in Alausa.
The source said, “There is a lot of interference with the affairs of government. A large part of the running of government is being done outside, and that is why a lot of things are not working.
“Governor Ambode is struggling to stabilise himself. The man is surrounded, so he is managing contending forces and conflicting interests, and part of the fallout is the delay in the budget.
“It is unusual and unprecedented that the budget is not out by now. But I believe in a matter of time, it will be resolved and sorted out. But it is a pointer to what is going on.”
The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Abib Haruna, did not pick his calls and had yet to respond to a text message from our correspondent.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, could not be reached on his telephone line.