PDP, Ondo government disagree over N5bn daycare renovation, N18bn loan

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PDP

The Ondo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, on Wednesday, accused the state government of a plan to obtain N18bn loan and renovate a daycare facility with N5bn in its 2024 budget proposal.

The PDP quoted an online news medium, the Sahara Reporters, to prove its claims.

But the state government, through the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Emmanuel Igbasan, denied the plan to squander the money.

He, however, confirmed the amount as alleged by the PDP to have been written on a page of the budget, saying it was a typographical error.

Igbasan, who apologised for the error, said the government did not have such an amount in its budget for daycare renovation.

The commissioner, in a statement, said, “The Ondo State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget wishes to profoundly appreciate Sahara Reporters for their diligence and bringing this error to our notice in time.

“The N5bn provision was meant to reflect the expected drawdown from the Nigerian for Women Project (World Bank Supported), which had earlier been captured under the capital receipts of the document referred to by Sahara Reporters.

“The N18m reported on the Nigerian for Women Project is meant for the renovation of the daycare project.”

Describing the error, he added, “This is a regrettable printer’s interpolation error that occurred during the process of preparing the document for publication.

“This error would have remained almost undetectable were it not for the eagle eye of Sahara Reporters because the Ondo State budget system is e-based and the correct figures are reflected on the portal.

“Hence, at the operational level, this error will not materialise and is almost impossible to detect. The ministry takes full responsibility for this error and we have immediately set in motion the machinery to have the error corrected.”

A statement issued by the publicity secretary of the PDP, Kennedy Peretei, however, said the apology was not tenable.

The party alleged that the scheme was part of the plan by the state government to use state resources to execute the November 16 governorship election for the All Progressives Congress candidate, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa.

The statement read in part, “What is regrettable about a document that went through several layers of screening and vetting before being forwarded to the Ondo State House of Assembly?

“At the Assembly, the House Committee on Appropriation invites government officials who take turns to defend the same budget. Is it the case that nobody spotted these regrettable errors?

“The People’s Democratic Party, Ondo State chapter, wishes to state unequivocally that the Aiyedatiwa government planned to swindle the people through the daycare renovation project that was thwarted by the eagle-eyed media.

“Therefore, a mere apology is not enough. All those connected with this fraud must be brought to book. The governor, as a matter of urgency, must clear himself to dispel the allegations that he is desperate to mop up funds from the Ondo State treasury to bankroll his election come November 16.”