Returning To School, Amosun’s Commissioner Tells Lawmakers

Ogun finance commissioner Adewale Osinowo rattled state lawmakers on Thursday in response to a barrage of questions, telling them to “go for refresher courses in order for us to understand ourselves better.”

Lawmakers questioned him about details of the recently released N17. 3 billion last tranche of Paris Club Fund and delay in the payment of backlog of deductions.

His remark that they should take refresher courses turned the session rowdy for two minutes, during which the chairman tried to calm aggrieved lawmakers.

While the bedlam was on, another member representing Yewa North II, Rasak Oduntan fired back, saying, “If he (referring to the commissioner) thinks we deserve refresher courses, he should organize one for us.”

The lawmakers had been questioning the commissioner about the state’s failure to pay cooperative reductions of workers, taking over of internally generated revenue of local governments, non compliance with financial autonomy and the delay in payment of severance allowances of past political appointees.

A member representing Ewekoro constituency, Israel Jolaoso had insisted that the government had taken over council roles in revenue generation, but the commissioner denied.

The Commissioner noted that aside from the issue of signage and ticketing of commercial motorcyclists, the state has not taken any other roles of the local government.

When normalcy returned to the session, the lawmakers insisted on the need for commissioner to make full disclosure of last tranche of fund.

The Committee Chairman Victor Fasanya later saved the day when he adjourned the meeting, saying the commissioner would be re-invited on the matter.

“There are still more questions begging for answers,” Fasanya said.

Speaking later with journalists, Osinowo attributed delay in the payment of the deductions to the recall of the fund earlier released by the Federal Government.

The Commissioner said, “Actually the funds were recalled due to some certain parameters that must be fulfilled before it will be returned to individual states but that parameter and conditions has been met now which we did with the local chapter of the NLC in Ogun state. I am sure that before the end of the week or early of next week the funds is likely to be with us.

“It is being done stage by stage and we have finalized our own and we are ready to take our own back.

“The first parameter is that 50% of the funds must be for workers and while the rest of the 50% will be on the prerogative of the executive of the state. The moment these prerogatives are written and signed with the NLC in agreement, I am sure they will release the funds to us.”

When asked on the allegations that the fund had been trapped in a commercial bank, the commissioner said “that is a total lie, there is nothing of such the money is not in any bank, the money is with the central bank and you can validate my statement with the CBN.”

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