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Lagos lawmakers threaten to impeach Ambode

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Lagos state House of Assembly has threatened to impeach Governor Akinwunmi Ambode over his failure to present the 2019 budget to the House.

A source at the Assembly, who pleaded anonymity, told The Guardian that the House might make move to collect signatures from lawmakers to remove the governor from office if the budget is not presented soon.

Ambode lost his bid for re-election in October after the former governor of Lagos State and national leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress Bola Tinubu refused to back him for a second term because he deviated from the master plan created for the development of the state.

Tinubu also accused Ambode, whom he supported in 2015, of alienating those who ” contributed so much to our development”.

“Whenever a government departed from this plan without [a] compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence of the improper departure,” Tinubu said.

Apart from this, the governor and the House publicly disagreed over the engagement of Visionscape, a private foreign-owned waste management company, contracted to manage waste disposal in the state.

The new arrangement meant the governor dumped the LAWMA-Private Sector Partnership (PSP) arrangement put together by his predecessor, Babatunde Fashola. A source said many APC members who benefitted from the arrangement were put out of business. Moreover, Visionscape proved to be incapable of functioning where the PSP operators had enjoyed moderate success.

The state assembly finally found its voice in May 2018 through the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, who described Visionscape as a ghost organization in the state, insisting that the organization would not be recognized by the House.

“We are seriously working on it and the PSP will soon return. Visionscape remains unknown in Lagos State, it is a ghost in the state and we are not going to embrace it,” said Obasa.

Eventually, the PSP-operators were ordered back to work by the Assembly.

The seeming face-off between the governor and the House got to its peak during the governorship primary, with members of the House throwing their weight behind Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The presentation of the 2019 budget presented both parties to flex muscles.

Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Olusegun Banjo, On January 3, said the state’s 2019 budget proposal, which Governor Akinwunmi Ambode forwarded to the House of Assembly on December 24, 2018, was N852.317 billion.

But the state assembly denied receiving the spending plan because it was on a recess when the commissioner claimed the document was sent.

A source told The Guardian that Ambode moved to present the budget on December 28. But the House was already on recess.

It was gathered from reliable sources that the governor was supposed to present the budget on January 21. But the clerk of the House, Azeez Sanni, said there was no message from Ambode to that effect.

Sources close to the governor told The Guardian that Ambode had contacted the lawmakers that he was set to present the budget, but was not given the opportunity.

While a senior staff in the state civil service said the Assembly may deliberately frustrate the governor by not allowing him to present the budget.

“He is suspected of funding some opposition members in the coming general elections,” the source told The Guardian on Monday evening.

“By not allowing him not to present the budget, they believe he wont have access to funds to bankroll the opposition.”

The source insisted that Governor Ambode may not be allowed to present the budget until after the elections.

As it stands, the governor can only present the budget after the assembly resumes on February 4.


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