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3 Feb 2019

Governor Ambode: Heat Turns On Lagos Assembly To Explain N28.8billion Running Cost

Speaker under fire By Charles Kumolu, Deputy Features Editor The threat by the Lagos State House of Assembly to impeach Governor  Akinwumi Ambode for allegedly spending unbudgeted funds   has not only put the governor on the spotlight but beamed searchlight on the activities of the House.

The turn of events seems like an anti-climax for the impeachment moves since the threat was aimed at making the governor respond to the allegations.

More surprising is that rather than attract sympathisers, the threat to democratically remove Akinwumi appeared only admired by those behind it.

For a governor, whose inability to get the re-election ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), notwithstanding what could pass as general approval, the outpouring of sympathy over the latest development provoked this fundamental question: What has changed? Whether the grounds upon which he lost the second term ticket are still valid or not does not matter here.

The issue is that Ambode is being accused of spending unappropriated state funds, an action described as an aberration.

Citing the 1999 Constitution, the Assembly said the alleged offences demanded the resignation or impeachment of the governor.



While the lawmakers’ action are within the ambit of the law, Sunday Vanguard has since discovered that the issue is one of the strands of the high wire politics involving Ambode and vested some interests in Lagos.

It is purely politics of survival and relevance at play. And the lawmakers as principal actors are using their area of influence to achieve a preconceived result.

Such result, it was learned, may not be the outright impeachment of the governor but an end that could totally render him worthless in the coming days.

Sources close to both camps told Sunday Vanguard last Wednesday that the impasse was mainly informed by the resolve of superior forces to render Ambode irrelevant, and not so much about the issue of the spending of unbudgeted funds.

The issue, impeccable sources said, is not unconnected with sustained efforts at making Ambode inconsequential since last October when he was denied re-election ticket.

At the heart of the matter are several conditions allegedly given to the governor, which he considered unrealistic in the interest of the state.

Prominent among the alleged conditions was the order to stop all projects he was working on before the governorship election primary.

In addition is what was described as the lawmakers’ infidelity to a pre-budget passage tradition between them and an incumbent governor.

It was alleged that Ambode had provided N500 million to the lawmakers in accordance with the annual practice of doing so before the defence and passage of a budget.

However, the lawmakers were said to have deviated from the familiar path with the allegations they made against the governor.

One of the sources familiar with what is going on said it was obvious the lawmakers were acting a script, given the manner they were going about what he termed as baseless allegations.

The source said: “The governor’s rising profile despite what they expected is something that ruffled them.

I can tell you for free that they thought Ambode will become irreverent having denied him the return ticket. But Ambode saw the conspiracy against him as an opportunity to offer more services to the state”.

“He was given difficult conditions which are against the interest of the people of Lagos State. The governor, who is committed to his social contract with Lagosians, was even asked to stop all projects.

Does that not sound ridiculous? The legislators are being unreasonable because there is no basis for what they are doing.

They had passed all the budgets in this administration without any issue, why are there issues now?   They are even doing all these after the governor had given them the money which precedes the passage of the budget in the state,” the source added.

Continue Reading: Vanguard

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