Members of the Oyo State House of Assembly today passed a vote of no confidence on the commissioner for education, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela.
Olowofela was summoned over complaints by food vendors, under the federal government feeding programme.
The vendors alleged ill-treatment by the commissioner. They also alleged that allowances to the vendors had been stopped since the last two weeks, forcing them to stay at home without serving the kids.
During the session, a lawmaker said investigations revealed that the ministry was splitting funds meant for the homegrown feeding programme into two. It was also alledged that the Ministry is playing the role of aggregators (food suppliers) by supplying the foods and deducting the money directly from the vendors’ accounts.
The motion raised by Honourable Oseni Abdul-Ganiyu from Irepo/Olorunsogo State Constituency said the food items supplied from the ministry almost spoilt before reaching the food vendors.
But speaking to journalists after the session, the commissioner, who was accompanied by some of the vendors, denied any wrong doing.
He said the lawmakes acted on falsehood.
His words: “I have the right as a representative of an institution, but then there were allegations that Ministry of Education was dividing money of Homegrown School Feeding programme into two. And the ministry has no power over the accounts of the food vendors and the aggregators, since the money is credited into their various accounts directly from the Federal Government.
“The issue is that the house did not allow me to explain myself but said I was rude. Even in the court of law, you must give a fair hearing or when you invite somebody over allegations like this, you allow him to react to the issue.
“And your conclusion (House) was you were passing vote of no confidence. Well, there are two sides to a coin. That is the way they see it.
“That was the motion moved on the floor of the House, a document which is not true. So, I have the right to protect my name and say the truth. I am saying the truth and I am standing on it.
“When issues like this occur, there is what is called temperament of the moment. Since start of this programme, it has brought about N2.7b to Oyo State and we have never asked anybody for one kobo. So, if somebody raised allegations like this in the public domain, it has to be trashed out in the public domain.
“I can give you the details of everything and the food vendors are here, you can ask them questions. But, I want to say I have respect for individuals and the House of Assembly as an institution but I must correct and I have the responsibility to correct a lie. A lie will not become a truth because it is told in the House of Assembly. We Labour Day and night to make sure this programme works”, the commissioner submitted.
In her own response, the State Coordinator of the food vendors, Mrs Toyosi Ajobo, alleged that the allegations brought before the House was a set up.
According to her, “once we collect our monies from our various accounts, we take it to Bodija market to buy foods and condiments to prepare meal for the school children. Not even, N100 recharge card we buy for the commissioner, rather, he gives us money from his pocket whenever we pay him visit. He is a caring person to all and sundry”.