A former chairman of the Apapa-Iganmu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos, Adesola Adebayo, has denied reports that he was on the run over an investigation the Lagos State House of Assembly is conducting into alleged corrupt sales of the council’s properties during his tenure.
Mr Adebayo, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES from Canada, where he claimed to be holidaying, on Tuesday, said the report that he was on the run was false and orchestrated by his political enemies bent on a witch-hunt.
The P.M News on Monday had published a report alleging that Mr. Adebayo fled to Canada after he refused to honour the invitations of the assembly’s Committees on Public Accounts for Local Government, and Local Government Administration.
The report stated that Mr. Adebayo was invited to explain how the council’s properties in highbrow Ikoyi and Victoria Island were leased for a fraction of their real value during his administration.
The committees had invited Mr. Adebayo following petitions they received from unnamed individuals from the council.
According to the P.M News report, Mr. Adebayo allegedly leased out a storey building on 15 Temple Road, Ikoyi, for between N190, 000 and N200, 000 annually.
He also allegedly gave out a block of six flats on 37b Glover Road, Ikoyi, a bungalow in Igbo-Efon Village, Victoria Island, a storey-building shopping complex on Payne Crescent, Apapa for prices way below the market price.
“All the leasing was done in such a shady manner that raises a lot of questions which he must clarify. How can you lease out such buildings in major areas of the country for such low prices and for between 17 and 20 years?” the newspaper quoted an unnamed member of one of the committees.
Mr. Adebayo, in a telephone chat with PREMIUM TIMES, said he was being witch-hunted for supporting a different faction from Muyiwa Jimoh, the member of the House of Assembly representing Apapa-Iganmu constituency.
He said the problem was political and there was an agreement that it required a political solution. He wondered why they were unearthing the allegation after two years. He said he had planned to return to the country on Friday but would move his arrival date forward if he could.
He added that he had honoured the invitations of the committees voluntarily on three occasions and wondered why he would choose to abscond because of this new invitation.
He also threatened to sue P.M News for alleging that he was on the run.
“Some people want the APC chairman of the local government to go. They no longer want him. Hon. Muyiwa Jimoh, the deputy majority leader, from the Apapa-Iganmu is on a different faction concerning the resolution of the crisis. He is on the side of people who wants the chairman to stay. I want the chairman to go. They know I have a strong followership there so they took up a matter that has been in the assembly for almost two years now and that we agreed that it was a political problem and it needs a political solution.
“He is just using his temporary power to cause problem there. It is just a pity that in a country like that people will use their positions to harass other. And because I have had issues with him he is now using the house to harass me. It can’t work that way.
“They said they asked me to come to the House of Assembly, I have been there more than three times and I went there voluntarily.
“They want to use the house to blackmail me. There is no worry. I am not in the country right now but if I can change my ticket, I will come back to come and face them and then I will sue the PM News for that kind of libellous information.”
He suggested that he could not be held responsible for the lease of the properties and they followed due process and other officials also approved the lease to go ahead. He wondered why those other officials are not being probed.
“There are so many wild allegations that they made there? If they are hoping to probe a former chairman, are they just going to probe a section of it? If the chairman is the head of the place, can the chairman alone disposed of the council’s property without an estate or surveyor or the council valuer? Are there no council managers there? Are there no lawyers there? Are there no treasures there?” he asked.
“I plan to be back on Friday. But if I can change my flight I will be there tomorrow.”
He said before he travelled for holiday a week ago, he did not get any letter of invitation from the House of Assembly.
“I didn’t get any letter. If they had a letter, who did they give it to? Who received the letter on my behalf? Who received from them? It is just a case of using the house to witch-hunt me because I don’t agree with what they are doing. I will come back. I can’t run away from my country. They should not use the house to spoil people’s name.”