The Lagos State House of Assembly has been told that it lacks any basis to initiate any impeachment proceeding against Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and must therefore desist or face a mass revolt of the people.
The warning was contained in a statement issued on Friday by a civil society organisation, Legislative Probity and Accountability Project (LPAP). The NGO had on Tuesday, issued a press release that later went viral, challenging the leadership of the state House of Assembly to account for the N28.8billion they have collected as running cost under the Mudashiru Obasa leadership of the House without doing anything.
In its latest statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Olu Fajana, LPAP said it was ridiculous for the lawmakers to ask the governor to appear before a committee to defend allegations against him or be impeached. While urging the governor to ignore the summon or send his appointees, the group said there is no basis for the harassment other than selfish interests.
“We have studied the pretentious allegations for which they have been ridiculing and desecrating the office of the Lagos governor. We dare say that if indeed the lawmakers know their work or take time to study the constitution, they will understand that they cannot hold the governor for going ahead to spend part of the 2019 budget, which they have deliberately refused to consider and approve over two months after the budget proposal had been sent to them.
“Section 122 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, says expressly that: ‘If the Appropriation Bill in respect of any financial year has not been passed into Law by the beginning of the financial year, the governor may authorise the withdrawal of money from the consolidated Revenue Fund of the state for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the service of the government for a period not exceeding six months or until the coming into operation of the law, whichever is the earlier.”
And this has to be “provided that the withdrawal in respect of any such period shall not exceed the amount authorised to be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state under the provisions of the Appropriation Law passed by the House of Assembly for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding financial year being an amount proportionate to the total amount so authorised for the immediately preceding financial year.’
“We believe this is clear enough and has removed any doubt whether the governor has the right to spend from the 2019 budget, which the Assembly has in pursuit of its predetermined agenda held back with the sole purpose of crippling the government and making it incapable of delivering good governance to the people. This is barbaric and uncivilised politicking to say the least.”
The group further asked the lawmakers to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the constitution, which allows the governor to delegate executive powers to his appointees.
“We will also like to draw the attention of these lawmakers to Section 5(2) of the constitution on the delegation of executive powers as well as Section 188 that deals with impeachment procedure. This is necessary so that they can save themselves from further embarrassment and relieve the people of Lagos of an impending confrontation between the forces of light, that is the masses and that of darkness, which has for long feasted rapaciously on the commonwealth of the people of Lagos.”
According to the group, “we still want to remind the Mudashiru Obasa-led House of Assembly about our challenge to them to account for the N9.6billion they have been collecting each year as running cost, and pocketing so far N28.8billion. We insist that out of this sum, the entire members have been paid only N2.4billion in three years. Where did the remaining over N26.4billion disappear to? This is the question the Lagos House of Assembly must answer and fully account for these taxpayers’ fund.”