By Mumini Abdulkareem
More details emerged last night on the alleged brawl between the former Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hajia Aisha Ahman Pategi and her counterpart in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Florence Olasunbo Oyeyemi over sharp disagreement on withdrawal of council funds.
This is coming just as Pategi who has now been deployed to man the Ministry of Special Duties told National Pilot that she has since moved on and looking forward to contributing her quota to actualise the vision and aspiration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for the state.
The two commissioners were reported to have engaged in a scuffle during the last allocation meeting held at the Ministry of Finance last Wednesday.
Since the report which has since gone viral on social media platforms in the state, the two commissioners have not rejected their involvement and they neither deny nor confirmed it when contacted on Sunday for comment.
National Pilot findings revealed that the meeting which took around place past 7:00pm snowballed to the next day after ministry and government officials present failed in their efforts to placate aggrieved parties.
A source who was privy to the incident but who craved anonymity as he was not officially permitted to speak to the press on the issue because of its sensitive nature, said the former Commissioner for Local Government became furious after she discovered that over three hundred million naira belonging to local governments was secretly been withdrawn and kept by Mrs. Oyeyemi for an undisclosed reasons for the past 7 months.
“That Wednesday, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Aisha Pategi shortly before the commencement of the allocation meeting visited Mrs Olasumbo in her office in order to be briefed about the finances of her the local government. Although they spent over thirty minutes together, the former never told her about any withdrawal unaware that she has made her findings and was armed with banks document to embarrass her at the meeting.
“It was some officials of the ministries who were apologists of Olasumbo and aware about Hajia Pategi’s findings that called her out of the pre allocation meeting with Pategi and informed her about the discovery. She was then adviced to announce the withdrawals during the allocation meeting.
“However, Oyeyemi’s announcement infuriated the former Commissioner for Local Government and the issue degenerated to use of abusive languages among them.
“Before now, she had been complaining that she will not continue to sit in an allocation meeting that only issues of workers, pensioners and staff salaries will be discussed without any other community projects that will benefit the people who voted for them”, the source added.
But reacting to the issue in a telephone chat on Sunday, Hajia Pategi told National Pilot that she has no reservation over her actions and she has moved on.
“I don’t have any reservation (about the incident) but we have to move on and the goal is to ensure that our Governor, His Excellency Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, succeeds and the state is better for it. We are one government and we are all working to ensure the success of the current administration.
“For me now, although I have not resumed, but I am looking forward to the contributing my best in line with the vision of the governor in my new assignment”, she added.
Efforts to reached Mrs Olasumbo to get her comments on the issue were not successful as several calls to her telephone line were either not answered or rejected. Response to a text message was still been awaited before this paper went bed last night.
An earlier report by online new medium, Focus Online, said the two commissioners engaged in a hot debate over the issue which degenerated to a fight before some ministry officials separated them and walked the finance commissioner out of the hall.
According to the report, “Hajia Aishat Pategi angrily rose up in confrontation with Mrs. Oyeyemi and demanded to know why she was told to apply for bank loans to augment staff salaries when such volume of fund was kept without her knowledge in the first place.
“Mrs. Oyeyemi who could not stand such hot debate attempted to walk out when Aisha Pategi drew her clothes and rained heavy blows on her before some men quickly made their ways between them and walked the finance commissioner out of the hall .
“Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq effort to reconcile the two female commissioners was not successful as Pategi reportedly insisted the finance commissioner must explain why she was not carried along in financial matters that have to do with her office or the governor redeploy her to other ministry.
“Her insistence informed the Governor’s decision to reshuffled cabinet contrary to what was released from office of the Chief press secretary to the Governor.
“Following the scuffle between the two ladies, the Director of Personnel Management of LGs met and came up with a resolution to demand immediate implementations of NFIU regulations in administration of council fund but their resolutions were turned down by Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq who insisted the state government should be responsible for management of the fund of the local governments.
“About five DPM may be facing suspension in few days time because of their stand against the Governor’s directives which outrightly negate the code spelt out by NFIU for management if local government fund”, the report added.
By Mumini Abdulkareem