The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has the moral right to kick against the governors’ decision to approve $1 billion from Excess Crude Account to fight Boko Haram.
Last week, state governors at a meeting of the National Executive Council announced they approved the withdrawal of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account to be used to fight the insurgents.
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State had shortly after announcement of the approval described the gesture as a surreptitious move by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government to fund President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in 2019.
He disassociated himself from the gesture, saying he doesn’t agree with the decision.
“For posterity sake, I wish to place it on record that I was not among the governors, who approved the withdrawal of almost half of our savings in the Excess Crude Account, which belongs to the three tiers of government to fight an already defeated insurgency.”
The Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who announced the resolution last week later confirmed that Mr. Fayose was absent from the meeting were the decision was taken. He, however, said it was a unanimous decision by governors present across party lines.
Reacting to Mr. Fayose’s criticism, Mr. Gbajabiamila in a statement said, “On whether Gov Fayose or any other Gov has a right to kick I believe he does.”
“Where the governors have decided to “donate” some of their funds from the ECA to fight Boko Haram, their state assemblies can kick against it that such was not appropriated by them.”
He also agreed with Mr. Fayose that due process wasn’t followed by the governors as they should have sought approval of their states before the donation.
“No matter how inappropriate, if he does not accede to the request or deduction from his state’s portion there is no amount of consensus that can bind him as postulated by the Chairman of the Governors forum because such portion belongs to his state and not to the governors forum. So he may be entitled to a refund,” he added.
Mr. Gbajabiamila also cleared the air on what he described as misunderstanding of the powers of the National Assembly over public funds and its limitations.
He said the National Assembly only has power of appropriation over monies belonging to the federal government.
“The ECA does not belong to the federal government but to the three tiers of government.”
“The National Assembly cannot query how the states decide to spend their money. The only institution that can query this is the state assembly.”