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Audit institutions need autonomy to check governors, leadership body insists

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•‘Supreme Court ruling on Oyo councils to check further excesses’

The Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) has harped on the need for autonomy of audit institutions at the state level to check mismanagement of public funds by state governors.

Its Executive Director, Olusegun Elemo, during the virtual presentation of the 2020 sub-national audit efficacy index report, regretted that 50 per cent of states do not have a modern audit law that guarantees independence of auditor generals to enhance stakeholders’ engagement in the audit process.

He said: “We want to see a situation whereby an auditor-general produces an audit report and comments on the financial expenditure of the state and when there are irregularities, he/she is able to spotlight it for the public accounts committee to take up for the executive to explain.

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Elemo expressed sadness that these important officials, who supposed to oversight the states, end up applauding governors and turning in financial statements instead of audit reports due to lack of independence.

He also harped on the autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary to enable them deliver their mandates effectively.

The Sub-national Audit Efficacy Index for 2020 to assess the 36 states against public finance management practices and accountability mechanisms revealed that 12 states, including Delta, Jigawa, Kaduna, Lagos, Niger and Rivers, had the most potent audit process in Nigeria, having scored 70 per cent.

Also, Anambra, Borno, Yobe, Katsina and Gombe occupied 13th position with 60 per cent while the Oyo, Sokoto, Imo, Benue and others ranked 25th with 40 per cent score point.

Elemo observed: “PLSI undertook the data integrity exercise to ensure that information used in assessing efficacy of public audit in each state were drawn from reliable sources.”

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IN a related development, counsel to the 68 sacked chairmen in Oyo State, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), has said weekend’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of his clients was a further move to check governors’ overbearingness.

Speaking yesterday in Ibadan, the senior lawyer said members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state had tried sabotaging his efforts in getting justice.

Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had sacked the council helmsmen on assumption of office. Continuing, Akintola, who is an APC chieftain, said members of his party wrote against him, asking for debrief while the litigation was ongoing.

He spoke when the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), led by Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, paid him a thank-you visit at his Agodi GRA residence for handling the case on a pro bono basis. Akintola urged the reinstated chairmen to remain with the party.

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