Edo State House of Assembly Speaker, Blessing Agbebaku, has clarified that the sum of N354 million was allocated to the Office of the Deputy Governor in recognition of Philip Shaibu’s expected reduced functions in 2024.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Agbebaku dismissed rumors of discord among members regarding the allocation.
In the budget signed into law by Governor Godwin Obaseki on December 15, various allocations were made, including N19 billion to the Governor’s Office, N8 billion to the Secretary to the State Government, N13 billion to the House of Assembly, and N968 million to the Head of Service.
Agbebaku explained that the Governor had reallocated most of the deputy governor’s functions to other offices, considering Shaibu’s significant and time-consuming aspirations during the outgoing year. The Speaker highlighted that the deputy governor’s constitutional functions were limited, and as the governor has the authority to reassign duties, the allocation reflected the adjusted responsibilities.
He addressed concerns raised by the deputy governor about reduced workload, emphasizing that the allocated funds were meant for productive work rather than personal benefits.
“Allocation has been done in a way to reflect the office. However, on this occasion, the governor stated clearly that since the deputy governor had not performed his functions in the outgoing year because of his aspiration, which he recognised to be a huge one and time-consuming, most of his functions were relocated to other offices as the governor has the powers to do so.
“All of us know that the deputy governor doesn’t have constitutional functions bestowed on him except that which are allocated to him by the governor. So most of those things that the deputy governor used to do, the governor has taken away from him.
“The deputy governor has even complained that he is no longer working, if you are not working, why allocate money to the office?
“The money is not allotted to you as a personal gift, it is given for work. So, if you are not working, naturally the money will not come and there is no way you can be working effectively when you have an ambition of becoming the governor.
“We are talking about a year where most of it, almost 11 months will be on electioneering. So, how are you now going to function properly as a deputy governor? In his magnanimity, the governor has said, ‘I don’t want to be a stumbling block to your ambition of becoming the governor of the state,” he said.
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