I didn’t ask LG chairmen for N1m Christmas gift – Oyebanji

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The Governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji, on Thursday, warned local government officials not to drop his name to perpetrate illegality.

He said the advice was necessary as “sometime around December 2023, I learned local government officials in each of the councils deducted N1m out of the money approved for Christmas celebration and claimed they wanted to give it to me.”

“I didn’t ask anybody to deduct any money for me,” the governor said.

“This might be true and it might not be true. If it was true, I didn’t get any money. Let me be clear I didn’t ask anybody to bring any money to me. And I didn’t collect any money. Henceforth, when you hear something of this nature, quickly contact me.

“Nobody should use my name for any fraudulent thing. I have made a covenant with God to be transparent; such will not happen under me. I am not going to touch your money, but I won’t allow you to spend it recklessly,” Oyebanji said.

The governor spoke in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, while flagging off a three-day retreat for the council chairmen and other top functionaries across the 38 local government areas and local council development areas in the state.

The retreat was organised by the state’s Ministry of Local Government Affairs.

He reassured the newly inaugurated local government officials in the state that his administration would not divert nor touch allocations accruing to them from the federation accounts.

Oyebanji warned the chairmen and other officials against dropping his name to perpetrate fraud, saying whoever was caught would face the full weight of the law.

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Oyebanji urged the council chairmen to be participatory, by consulting widely with all the communities to execute projects that would be in their interest and have a direct impact on the masses.

“Let me state here today that opportunities come with responsibilities. Those who elected you did that for a purpose. The question you should ask yourselves is, ‘How do I make a difference in the lives of the people?’ Ask yourselves, ‘How will I be remembered after this office?’ Three years is short and will soon come to an end. Will people still welcome you home or ignore you? The choice is yours,” the governor said.

The Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Folorunso Olabode, described the retreat as a way of showing that the local government was strategic to the developmental plans of Ekiti State.

A resource person at the event, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, said, “The retreat is to build a framework for effective partnership between the state and the local governments for operation devoid of division so that the citizens could have value for their money.”

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