The Lagos State House of Assembly has summoned the former Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in the state, Hon. Shulamite Olufunke Adebolu to appear before the House and give a detailed account of how the money allocated for the 2019 Greater Lagos Fiesta was spent.
At plenary session on Tuesday, Chairman, House Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Saka Solaja, had, under Matter of Urgent Public Importance, informed the House of how the 2019 Greater Lagos Fiesta failed despite the huge budget allocated for the successful execution of the programme.
Solaja had noted that the past Fiesta held in the state were well organised with Lagosians, artistes commending the government on the initiative.
The lawmaker expressed regrets that the last Fiesta, apart from witnessing a low turn out of residents compared to previous years, also had many flaws due to poor planning and improper organisation.
“We allocated huge sums of money to the Ministry for this yearly programme to hold, but we were surprised with how the programme went in 2019. So many Lagosians complained bitterly and some artistes also expressed their displeasure about the event,
While contributing to the debate, members expressed sadness at how the event failed woefully in 2019. Some of them noted that the ones organised previously earned the state huge revenue.
Hon. Tunde Braimoh representing Kosofe Constituency 2 explained that, “Tourism is the future of Lagos, a public servant is a public trust, the former commissioner should be brought to account for all the budget that has been disbursed to her.”
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade explained that the intention of the Fiesta was to raise the bar of tourism in the state.
Agunbiade lamented that the 2019 Fiesta had a porous publicity, adding that, “people were asking questions to know if the Fiesta was going to hold or not, but eventually, there was nothing.
“Those who were meant to grace the occasion were not carried along and the event ended up failing, the fact that someone is or no more in government doesn’t mean he or she cant be summoned to explain some grey areas about what he or she undertook in office,’ said Agunbiade.
Other members who commented on the matter, complained that the failure of the programme in 2019 led to the loss of revenue to the state government.
They maintained that the former Commissioner must appear before them to clarify why the Fiesta failed despite the huge sums allocated to finance the event.
Others commended the Chairman of the Tourism Committee of the House for bringing the matter before the House, noting that it showed that the committee is on top of its game.
The lawmakers in their resolution also called the Special Adviser, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry to join the former Commissioner in appearing before them.
They also called on the present Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in the state, Hon. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf to come and brief them on the plans of the ministry for the fiesta in the year.
It would be recalled that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the state sacked the former Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in January over the reported shoddy organization of the Greater Lagos Fiesta in December, 2019.