Reacting to the rumour and allegation that has been going round in town regards to the delay in the passage of the 2009 budget of Ika South Local Government Council, and that the Legislative Arm was requesting for million Naira from the Council Chairman, Hon. Hilary Ibude before they will pass the budget, the Legislative Leader of the Council, Hon. Alex Azeru on Monday, 16th March 2009, stated that nothing of such is happening and that the rumour is false and the allegation was not true.
He bemoaned the rate at which rumours and false stories are spread just to tarnish the image of others. He stated that the whole thing became alarming when they got a letter from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ika South Chapter which alleged that the councilors where requesting for N1m from the Council Chairman and so have refused to pass the budget. He also stated that CAN warned that if they do not pass the budget, they will go into a 21-day fasting against the councilors. Hon. Azeru also lamented that the Agbor Stakeholders Forum also brought this allegation before the councilors of Agbor extraction at a meeting. He lamented that the ugly story and allegation have spread to every part of the LGA, a situation that has cast doubt on the integrity of the councilors.
?Please help us tell them that we are not asking for N1m from the chairman before we will pass the budget but that since after the presentation of the budget proposal and the subsequent change of leadership, the Legislative Arm had not been able to sit, in order to pass the budget.? He said that the first sitting he would have presided over was adjourned because of the presence of cult boys in the council premises. Adding that the 2nd sitting was cancelled because of the Councilor?s National Forum held at Oghara and that the next was adjourned because of the four-day seminar for councilors that was held at Abuja. He expressed regret and discomfort that the councilors have been unable to sit and perform their legislative duties but emphasized that it was most painful to him that this delay, which is beyond their control, has been used by members of the public as a weapon to tarnish the image of the councillors.
Hon. Azeru said that the main amendment to the budget is on constituency projects for the councillors, and that this has already been handled by the chairman. He said that the chairman on Monday, 16th March 2009, brough the list of constituency projects to him. He therefore stated that they would sit coming week and pass the budget by God?s grace.
Speaking later with the chairman, Agbor stakeholders forum, Chief JP Igumbor in his office on Odozi street on Wednesday, 18th March, 2009, Ika Weekly gathered that the meeting which the Agbor stakeholders had with the councilors of Agbor extraction was the normal routine meeting. Chief Igumbor denied getting wind of the N1m bribe demanded by the councilor and also holding a meeting to wam the councilors to the desist from the act. He said that in the meeting, they advised the councilors to keep to their duties and be diligent.
Speaking also with the C.A.N. president, Ika South Chapter, Rev. Akokotu on Thursday, 19th March, 2009, he affirmed that he heard of the N1m bribe which in turn made him to write the letter to the councilors. He confirmed that he wrote and signed the latter where he waned the concillors to pass the budget and threatened that CAN will go into a 21-days fast for the councilors to pass the budget.
Ika South Chairman, Hon. Hilary Ibude who could not be reached earler by Ika Weekly to give his comment was later spoken with on Monday, 30th of March, 2009 in his office where he told Ika weekly that it is an internal matter to which he does not wish to comment on the matter. On the comment that the rumour which has spread around town is not internal issue anymore and that people are accusing the councilors for not sitting because they don?t want to pass the budget, Hon. Ibude replied that the budget is not an easy thing to pass but one that needs proper scrutiny and time before a budget is passed. He cited the federal government case where president Yar?adua presented the nation?s 2009 budget since December 2008 but was only passed by the senators few weeks ago. He stated that what is happenings in the passage of the budget in his council is very normal because the councilors have to see that every sector is included in the budget before it is passed.
Speaking later with the Hon. Leader, Hon. Alex Azeru said that the budget is still undergoing some amendments and will be passed when all the amends must have been taken care of.