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Lagos Assembly as mirror of state’s obtuse politics

By Kehinde Olatunji
31 December 2018   |   3:34 am
Lagos State House of Assembly presented itself as a pawn in the 2018 politics of narrow interest. It would take the next two months for members to know if they will be part of the 9th assembly after the 2019 polls.

Lagos Assembly

Lagos State House of Assembly presented itself as a pawn in the 2018 politics of narrow interest. It would take the next two months for members to know if they will be part of the 9th assembly after the 2019 polls. However, it is certain that nine out of the current 40 members in the house will not be part of the 9th Assembly either because they lost out in the party’s primary or aspirations for higher political offices in the National Assembly.

Thirty out of the 39 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers got return tickets, while the lone Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Mr. Dipo Olorunrinu (Amuwo-Odofin I), also secured return ticket on the platform of his party.

Out of the six APC lawmakers in the House that aspired for National Assembly seats, only two had their aspirations of securing the party’s ticket fulfilled while the hope of others was not actualised. The two are Mr. Lanre Ogunyemi (APC-Ojo II) who sought the party’s ticket to represent Ojo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and Mr. Bayo Osinowo (APC-Kosofe I) who also clinched the party’s ticket for Lagos East Senatorial District.

The other four lawmakers, whose ambition to represent their constituencies in the House of Representatives, which was not realised include Mr. Segun Olulade (Epe II) and Mr. Dayo Saka-Fafunmi (Ifako-Ijaiye I), Mrs. Omotayo Oduntan (Alimosho II) and Mrs. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho (Mushin I).

Meanwhile, the three lawmakers, whose desire to return to the 40-member House was dashed at the primaries are Mr. Olanrenwaju Layode (Badagry I), Mr. Dayo Famakinwa, (Ajeromi Ifelodun I) and Mr. Sola Giwa (Lagos Island I). According to APC’s list of successful candidates for the House Assembly for 2019 election, six out of seven lawmakers that defected from PDP to APC were returned except Famakinwa.

The six who returned are Mr. Olusola Sokunle (Oshodi/Isolo I) Mr. Jude Idimogu (Oshodi/ Isolo II) Akeem Bello (Amuwo-Odofin I), Mr. Fatai Oluwa (Ajeromi Ifelodun Il) Mr. Victor AKande (Ojo I) and Mrs. Mosunmola Sangodara (Surelere II). The list also revealed that only two of the four female lawmakers obtained the return ticket — Sangodara and Mrs. Mojisola Meranda (Apapa I) while Tejuosho and Oduntan are not returning.

At the onset of the 8th Assembly, there were 18 first termers, but this increased to 19 through a by-election that was held to fill the vacancy created by the death of the representative of Eti-Osa 1 Constituency, Alimi Kazeem, who was replaced by Noheem Adams. Of the 19 first termers in the outgoing 8th Assembly, only two could not secure return ticket for second term: Famakinwa and Giwa who were mentioned earlier.

Also at the beginning of the 8th Assembly, there were eight opposition members from PDP in the House, but seven of them later defected to the ruling APC, leaving the PDP with just one lawmaker, Olorunrinu. He remains the PDP candidate in his constituency, having won the party’s primary election in his constituency.

However, of the seven that defected to the APC only six got return tickets for second term. The seventh member, Famakinwa, could not make it through the primary. Sources said those who defected were promised automatic return tickets before their defection. However, it is not clear why Famakinwa was denied.

The six defectors who are returning for a second term are: Fatai Oluwa (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 11); Bello Akeem (Amuwo/Odofin 11); Victor Akande (Ojo 1); Olushola Sokunle (Oshodi/Isolo 1); Jude Idimogun (Oshodi/Isolo 11) and Mrs. Mosunmola Sangodara (Surulere 11).

While some lawmakers are coming back for a second, third and fourth term, only the Speaker of the House, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, will be returning for the fifth term if he wins House of Assembly poll in 2019.

Lawmaker’s role in Ambode’s trouble
The Assembly this year recorded a high rate of development amidst rancor between the Executive and the hallow chamber. The year brought to the fore the long perceived frosty relationship between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the lawmakers. When the ordeal of the governor started, the lawmaker’s role could not easily be forgotten, as they were quick to declare their support for the party’s anointed candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

For instance, a day to the primary election in the state, 36 of the 40 lawmakers in the state’s assembly signed a note of endorsement for Sanwo-Olu, meaning that Ambode was not a friend of the House. Also, the assembly repudiated Visionscape, a sanitation solution provider, allegedly owned by the governor. Without recourse to extant legal implications, the assembly ordered the 20 local governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state to call the Private Sector Partnership (PSP) operators in their areas back to work for refuse clearing immediately. The order effectively displaced Visionscape.

The state legislature ordered the local service providers back to work, including areas where they had been barred by the state environmental laws passed by the assembly.Also, at a point there were fears that the governor might be impeached, especially when the Speaker, Mr. Obasa, stated “The governor’s actions would determine whether he would be impeached or not.” But the fear has been put to rest, as Ambode remains the governor of the state.

Bills passed from January to December
As parts of its achievement, the House of Assembly has passed 10 bills into law between January and October this year. The bills are Lagos State Cancer Research Institute Law, 2017, Lagos State College of Nursing (Schools of Nursing, Midwifery and Public Health Nursing) Law, 2017, and Yoruba Language Promotion and Preservation Law, 2017. Others are Lagos State Cooperative College Law, 2017, Lagos State Customary Court (Amendment) Law, 2017, and Lagos State Electricity Sector Reform Law 2018 were also passed into law during the period under review.

Other Laws passed include Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018, Lagos State Teaching Service Commission Law, 2018; Lagos State Awards Scheme Law, 2018 and Lagos State Pension Reform (Amendment) Law, 2018.

In November, a Bill for a law to provide for Establishment of Lagos State Tourism Promotion Agency and for Connected Purposes was passed and the Clerk of the House to send a copy to Governor Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for his assent. Also, a bill on Land Use Reform Charge 2018 was passed into law by the House and the Governor subsequently signed it into law. This led to protests by Lagos State Chapter of Nigerian Bar Association and Joint Action Front (JAF) forcing Governor Ambode to slash some of the charges by 50 percent.

Ambode subsequently returned the bill to the State House of Assembly for amendment but during a public hearing on the matter, members of Lagos State Chapter of Nigeria Bar Association, led by its Chairman Mr. Adesina Ogulana and Joint Action Front, walked out of the public hearing on the grounds that a copy of the law was not made available to stakeholders for proper articulation before the public hearing.

In line with provision of law, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts investigated audit reports of over 200 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for probity and accountability.