Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose on Monday presented a N80.774bn budget for 2015 to the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
While presenting the budget, the governor dared the opposition All Progressives Congress lawmakers in the state to attempt to overrun the state, saying they would be dealt with by the people.
The budget christened, “Budget of Reality,” was presented to the state lawmakers amid tight security.
The budget represents 77.7 per cent of former Governor Kayode Fayemi’s 2014 budget of N103.8bn.
The APC lawmakers in the House were absent at the plenary even as the chamber was filled to capacity by members of the Peoples Democratic Party, government officials and supporters of the governor.
Fayose urged the assembly to examine the draft budget and to further articulate the needs of the electorate and appropriate public funds for their realisation.
He said any attempt to overrun the Assembly by the APC lawmakers, who had ran away from the state for over two weeks, would be resisted by the people.
“Why did you (APC lawmakers) go on self-exile? Who drove you to self-exile? Some people elected me, you are less than 30, and you can’t stop the activities of the state. That is impossible,” he said.
Turning to the Speaker, Dele Olugbemi, Fayose said, “Mr Speaker, you are the speaker, I say you are the speaker. I say it again you are the speaker. I’m saying it with the authority of the governor that the power of the people is greater than those in power.
“Any attempt to overrun this house will be resisted by the people of the state.”
In the 2015 proposed budget, a total of N48, 717bn, representing about 60 per cent was allocated for recurrent expenditure while capital expenditure would gulp N31.956 bn.
Fayose said the size of the budget was informed by his government’s desire to live within its means rather than “decorate the budget with unrealistic figures.”
Reviewing the 2014 budget performance, the governor said of the N103.8bn, the total revenue expected as at October 31 was N86.5bn out of which N67.9bn was realised, representing 78 per cent performance within the period under review.
The governor, while calling for the expeditious passage of the bill, explained that the budget would be funded by revenue from the federal allocation, internally-generated revenue and other sources.
Fayose, however, said that his government would access N6bn internal loan bond, contrary to his earlier stance that he would not borrow to run his government.
Justifying the decision in an interview with journalists after the presentation, Fayose said, “This is a different scenario. This issue of taking loan from Central Bank of Nigeria is for all states of the federation and a similar one that amount to N3bn are peculiar loans from Federal Government for Small and Medium Enterprises to be able to address borrowing with all these less privileged and market women who could not have access to loan in banks.
“Such loans are unavoidable loans and to stand as guarantee for such people to have access to such loans.
“There is a re0payment process that the government must stand as guarantor. And the fact that I said we would not borrow should not be misinterpreted. If you borrow you must pay within your tenure so that you do not involve in financial recklessness for people coming after you.”
Meanwhile, the state APC said in a statement on Monday that Governor Fayose breached the constitution by presenting his 2015 budget to only seven of the 26-member state House of Assembly.
The opposition party also put both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on notice, asking the anti-graft agencies to monitor the alleged illegal financial transactions going on in Ekiti.
The APC, in the statement by its Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, counselled Fayose to always follow legal steps in the governance and financial management of the state.
It recalled that the seven members of the PDP in the state Assembly had earlier sat to “illegally” confirm commissioner-nominees and also approved the dissolution and reconstitution of the local governments, among others.
Olatunbosun said, “The Monday illegal sitting with a full house of thugs was a new dimension to the constitutional breaches and lawlessness by the Executive.’’[Punch]