The Lagos state government has firmly denied claims made by the Labour Party’s governorship candidate in the state, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu utilized state funds to pay his legal team handling petitions challenging his election victory.
In a statement released on Sunday, November 19, Rhodes-Vivour questioned the state Ministry of Justice for reportedly allocating funds for Sanwo-Olu’s legal team at the election tribunal. Taking to his social media account, Rhodes-Vivour asserted, “We sued Mr. Sanwolu, Mr. Hamzat, APC, and INEC. We did not sue @lagosstategov. Why should the state fund his legal fees? Why should citizens’ taxes be used to pay for his legal representation? This is why they are always so quick to say ‘Go to court’ because they are so irresponsible and cheap, to not even pick up their legal bills.”
Responding to the allegation, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, unequivocally denied the claim and clarified that the document shared by Gbadebo neither bore the state government’s logo nor the signature of any authorized official. He further emphasized that no such transaction was ever authorized or carried out by the Ministry. Omotoso took to his social media accounts to declare, “SANWO-OLU NEVER PAID LAWYERS FROM STATE FUNDS.”
He further elaborated, “A post on social media by Labour Party (LP) candidate Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on November 19, 2023, made the unsubstantiated allegation that the Lagos State Government financed Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s legal dispute following the March 18, 2023, election. This is false.”
Omotoso stressed that the allegation was based on a document that lacked both the Lagos State Government’s logo and the endorsement of any of its officials. He characterized it as another attempt to mislead the public about a nonexistent payment of N50,000,000 to four lawyers.
While acknowledging the importance of public scrutiny of the Lagos State Government’s finances, Omotoso emphasized that the outcome of such scrutiny must always be grounded in verifiable facts and nothing but the truth.
Omotoso categorically stated that the transaction referenced by Mr. Rhodes-Vivour never materialized. He clarified that there was a payment request, which was promptly rejected by Mr. Governor upon the Honorable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice drawing his attention to its irregularity.
To dispel any lingering doubts, Omotoso asserted, “For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will never misappropriate public funds in violation of his Oath of Office.”