- Civil Society Groups Threaten Showdown With Lagos Assembly
The Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has asked members of the House of Assembly and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) not to plunge the state into chaos over moves to impeach Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Reacting to reports that lawmakers this week issued Ambode a seven-day ultimatum to defend his supposed inability to submit the 2019 budget to the House, Agbaje sued for peace, saying, the move was capable of jeopardising the smooth running of the state.
Agbaje said: “Of course, the way Lagos politics has been structured over the last two decades, government actions are often dictated by open and covert objectives. That the legislators are hinging their action on the purported delay of the budget is simply a smokescreen for a very shameful undertone that the Honourable assembly members will not want to make open. They are yet to tell us their actual motivation for this superfluous move to shame the Governor.”
The governorship hopeful, who made this known in a statement issued by his Directorate of Media and Publicity on Thursday, added that the timing of the planned impeachment was wrong with elections just a few weeks away.
“I received the news of the impending impeachment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode with a lot of reservation, especially with its timing and motive. This is just 19 or so days to the Federal elections and the governorship, a fortnight thereafter. So the natural questions to ask are: Why this haste? And what is the motive?” Agbaje said.
He stated that although the Legislature reserved the right to perform oversight functions, “such a responsibility should not be abused. It should be carried out in a manner that places the citizens’ interest above any pecuniary benefit to a vested interest.”
Calling on Lagosians to note what he termed an unfolding tragicomedy, Agbaje urged them to choose his party, PDP, as a viable alternative to the ruling APC that had proved incapable of putting its house in order.
He noted: “Governance has ground to a halt owing to the schism between the two arms of government, both of which are dominated by APC. From all indications and from the findings that I have conducted, the action of the lawmakers is nothing but self-serving as dictated to them by the cabal ruling the state.”
Agbaje carpeted the state chapter of APC for allowing the schism between both the Executive and the Legislature to fester for this long, saying, residents had been made to bear the brunt.
“The situation, in which we Lagosians find ourselves, calls for prayers. But more than that, the people of the state should take the practical step of voting PDP into office as the viable alternative,” Agbaje said.
Civil Society Groups Threaten Showdown With Lagos Assembly
Meanwhile, a coalition of civil society groups under the auspices of Lagos Liberation Movement (LLM) on Thursday threatened to occupy and shut down the Lagos State House of Assembly should lawmakers proceed with the impeachment moves against the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, describing the action as anti-people and treasonable.
The lawmakers had threatened to commence impeachment proceedings against the governor over alleged gross misconduct particularly with regard to the 2019 budget of the State.
But addressing a world press conference at the Airport Hotel in Ikeja, the groups which include Campaign for Democracy (CD), United Action For Democracy (UAD), Centre for Public Accountability (CPA), Democracy Volunteers (DV), Ajegunle Collectives, Lagos People’s Assembly (LPA), Oodua Peoples Congress (Reformed), Yoruba Revolutionary Assembly (YORA) and Ohanaeze Youth, Lagos, said with the development, it was obvious that the Lagos Assembly was becoming a political abattoir for the murder of democracy in Nigeria.
LLM Convener, Comrade Mark Adebayo specifically accused a national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as being the architect of the impeachment saga, and urged all Lagosians and genuine compatriots across the country to strongly resist the move by the Lagos lawmakers against the governor.
He said it was obvious that the whole saga was a direct assault by a few political marauders determined to supplant democracy and jeopardize peace and development in the State, and further perpetuate their political dynasty.
According to Adebayo, “It is public knowledge that some days ago, members of the House commenced what is tantamount to a game of shame and senselessness, the results of which are predictably destructive by the ill-advised commencement of impeachment process against Governor Ambode.
“The question that most Lagosians are asking is ‘why?’. However, the reasons are not farfetched: It is fundamentally the handiwork and retrogressive machinations of political forces of evil determined to keep Lagos State in perpetual bondage of a man playing God over more than 20 million Lagosians with a view to perpetuating a political dynasty of lootocratic recklessness, marauding corruption and a relay regime of nepotistic subjugation accentuated by an intractable malaise of primitive accumulation of the most deadly genre, spearheaded, commanded, guided and goaded by Asiwaju Tinubu we daresay.”
He said the coalition and indeed the vast majority of Lagosians were convinced beyond reasonable doubts that the allegations against the governor by the lawmakers were unknown to the constitution, but a move basically propelled desperately by few persons to have unrestricted access to the state’s treasury to squander on their political protégés running for public offices in the forthcoming general elections.
While alleging that the current backlash against the governor was over his refusal to comply with directive by his political godfather to release several billions of naira for elections, Adebayo warned Ambode never to contemplate leaving the state littered with uncompleted projects, saying he still had enough time to complete most of them before the expiration of his tenure on May 29, 2019.
He also accused the lawmakers of having nothing to justify the huge sums collected from government for constituency projects, just as he revealed that a comprehensive petition had been put together to anti-graft agencies and multilateral organizations for the Assembly to account for the N800million being collected as monthly running costs, aside from their weekly and monthly allowances.
He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on Tinubu not to proceed with the impeachment plan as such would be self-destructive, saying it was important for the APC to sort out its internal conflicts without putting the whole state into crises.
“We like to reiterate that Ambode is the governor of Lagos State and not the governor of the APC. If they have internal issues within their Party that should not be allowed to negatively affect the smooth running of government and make people suffer. The whole state cannot be reduced to the parochial shenanigans of a highly corrupted political family.
“The office of governor of Lagos State is beyond Ambode and as such any further humiliation, disrespect and embarrassment from any quarter will be utterly resisted by the people. Lagosians are unequivocal in their view that Ambode is a performing governor based on his style of governance and project execution, and as such, any further attack on him will be tantamount to attacking the people. And no one can win against the people,” Adebayo said.