Ambode inaugurates 8th State Assembly
• Seeks cooperation of lawmakers
• Obasa emerges as new Speaker
• APC to PDP: Mind your business
Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday inaugurated the Eighth Session of the Lagos State House of Assembly, urging the newly elected members to put Lagosians at the centre of their conducts.
The 40-man House, now headed by Mudashiru Obasa, has 32 members from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and eight on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
At the inauguration, which held at Lagos Assembly Chamber, Alausa, beginning from 10:35am Monday, Ambode reminded the 40-lawmaker House that the task ahead of them was huge and would be demanding.
Prior to his proclamation for the holding of the first session of the 8th Assembly, in accordance with 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the governor said his administration would be relying on their support in line with the standard exhibited by the last Assembly.
He assured them of his commitment to ensure that all policies of government were legitimized by the House, even as he is bound to work, collaborate and respect their views and opinions irrespective of the party that they represent.
According to him, while we must recognise the principle of separation of powers, a cornerstone of the presidential system of government, it is significant to also recognise the imperatives of interdependence among the three arms of government. We shall have our moments of deferring opinion and views, however, when such occur; it must always be resolved quickly and in the best interest of our people.
As the electorates’ “servants,” he urged the lawmakers to always make opinions of the people count.
“It is in this regard that I urge you to maintain close relationship with your constituencies. This is the only way that their aspirations can be gauged and harmonised into laws and policies.
“A great opportunity beckons on our state and our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), providing leadership at the centre. As you already know, President Muhammadu Buhari, during his campaign tour in Lagos, promised the collaboration and support of the Federal Government in ensuring that Lagos remains a viable commercial hub.
“I intend to take advantage of this opportunity and also engage the Federal Government on very pertinent issues that have valuable interests to the ordinary people of Lagos state. Dear members, our time is already counting, we need to get down to work and give our people the very best service we can offer. The people of Lagos deserve no less.”
Shortly after the governor’s departure, lawmaker representing Agege I Constituency, Mudashiru Obasa, was nominated for the seat of Speaker, by Olanrewaju Osun, Lagos Mainland II constituency and seconded by Sola Giwa, Lagos Island II. Obasa is the consensus candidate of the APC lawmakers and their party at a shadow election held at the weekend.
With none other nomination on the floor, Obasa was invited to accept the nomination, take oaths of office and of allegiance, hence his presentation as the Eighth Assembly Speaker.
After his were other principal officers also elected and sworn into office. Deputy Speaker is Lagos Assembly returnee, Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, Lagos Island I Constituency. Rotimi Abiru, Somolu II Constituency, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip, Omotayo Oduntan, representing Alimoso II Constituency,
Lawmaker representing Ikorodu I Constituency, Sanai Agunbiade and his counterpart from Apapa II Constituency, Olumuyiwa Jimoh were elected Majority Leader and Deputy Majority Leader, in that order.
Elections for the seats of Minority Leader and Deputy Minority Leader were postponed for the next sitting.
Born on Nov. 11, 1972 and a lawyer by qualification, Obasa is a fourth timer in the House and former House Committee Chairman on Budget and Appropriation.
Obasa in his acceptance speech, said it was an honour to have been elected as Speaker, being the pinnacle that any state legislator can aspire.
He said the task before him and his 39-member was to keep Lagos working, for which they could not afford to fail.
According to him, “Our ultimate success will be seen when Lagos keeps working. Our people do not want excuses. I therefore call on governor Akinwunmi Ambode to unleash cooperation with us in the interest of Lagos that is more prosperous and safer.
“I want to assure you all that the doctrine of separation of power will be our watchword; as the foundation for the principle of checks and power. Never shall we encroach on the powers of Judiciary or of the Executive. So, we expect that our legislative boundaries shall be respected. We will collaborate with members of the Executive Council, when constituted,” the Speaker said.
Clerk of the House, Ganiyu Abiru, in his welcome address, apologized for the postponement in the inauguration date, from June 4, to June 8, 2015.
Abiru reminded the new lawmakers that the business of lawmaking is a serious one and requiring the best of attention to sustain the legacies already laid by the last Assembly.
Meanwhile the Lagos chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has advised the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to exert its energies on how to rebuild its crumbled house.
It accused the PDP of stepping out of its bounds by asking APC National Leader Bola Tinubu to call leaders of the party in Lagos to order in the selection of a Speaker for the Lagos House of Assembly.
The PDP spokesman in Lagos, Taofik Gani, had in a statement, accused some unidentified APC leaders of meddlesomeness in the selection of House of Assembly leaders in the state.
According to the statement, there were confirmed moves of lobbying and coercion of members of the House in order to vote in favour of a particular member not likely to represent the interest of the masses but the interest of his godfathers.
But reacting to the allegation, APC spokesman, Joe Igbokwe, said the lawmakers would select their leaders without being teleguided by external forces, adding that it was unfortunate that the PDP was dressing itself in a borrowed robe.
Igbokwe said: “The PDP lacks the pedigree and the moral latitude to give such advice. The House will choose its own leaders without external interference. The PDP will not tell an APC-dominated Assembly, who to pick as Speaker and Principal Officers.
“It is rather unfortunate that a party that has just suffered a devastating electoral defeat is not planning how to rise and rebuild its crumbled empire. The leaders, as loyal party members and like every party faithful, have the right to show interest in who steers the House affairs.
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