GOVERNOR Babajide Sanwoolu has been severely criticised by the Lagos State chapter of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for leading an entourage of officials to the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Egypt at the expense of taxpayers.
Over the weekend, Governor Sanwoolu was in Alexandra to watch the eagles beat Cameroon 3-2 in the second round of the tournament. He was one of several high profile government officials who watched the game along with Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the Federal House of Representatives.
However, the governor’s trip has been condemned by the PDP, who said that among other things, it was ill-timed insensitive, as it came at a time the state faced two tragic incidents. Taofik Gani, the publicity secretary of the Lagos State chapter of the PDP, said that at a time the state was still mourning over Thursday’s pipeline explosion in Ijegun, it was disappointing that the governor had chosen to remain in Egypt.
He added that the governor was expected to have aborted his trip to visit the site of the incident to condole with the victims and community. In addition, Mr Gani claimed that the party had it in good authority that the governor’s trip of cost the state N470m ($1.3m), which he described as a waste of tax payer’s money and was morally wrong in view of the challenges in the state.
Mr Gani said: “Pictures of Mr Sanwoolu currently at the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) competition in Egypt have gone viral on social media, thus provoking reactions from various quarters. While we are not condemning the gesture of the governor to go and watch Afcon and support the Super Eagles, we are vehemently opposed to the timing.
“The PDP expected the governor to pay visits to the families of innocent people who lost their lives to the fire disaster and we also expected him to visit those who sustained severe burns at the hospitals and pick up their medical bills. The governor’s presence in Egypt at this time of losses to boat mishaps and explosion is insensitive, and we are urging him to return home to do the needful.”
He added that the problems of bad roads, gridlock and others were begging for attention, and urged Governor Sanwoolu to give governance priority. However, Mr Gani’s comments have been dismissed by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who claimed that the governor was in Egypt as part of a federal government delegation and the trip did not cost the state a penny.
Abiodun Salami, the assistant publicity secretary of the Lagos State chapter of the APC said: “These people are not in tune with reality. How can you say the governor spent N470m on a trip when he went as part of the federal government’s delegation?
”The allegation is all lies, the trip did not cost the state a penny. Sanwoolu is a lover of sports and that must have been a reason he was chosen as part of the delegation.
”On the Ijegun fire, everybody is sad about it and I can tell you that Sanwoolu, as a responsive governor, is coordinating activities even from Egypt to ensure things are alright in the community. The PDP failed the country for 16 years and now they are raising bogus issues to smear a working government.”