Probe: Why Lagos State Lawmakers Are After Abode, the Immediate Past Governor

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

For daring to pose as a threat to Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state  and  national leader of All Progressive Congress, APC, regarded in political circles, as a godfather , the state Lawmakers appear  not to  have forgiven  Akinwunmi Ambode, the immediate past governor.

 They are determined to make life uncomfortable for him  despite being frustrated  in his first term in office  to ensure that he did not fulfill his electioneering Campaign promises which is in line with the  party manifesto.

Signs that the former  governor would have problem  with the lawmakers for daring  Tinubu, their political mentor and sponsor, began , last August when the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, dragged him  to Court over alleged   discovery of   a huge  inflow of about N10 billion  from the state account  into a First City Monument Bank, popular, FCMB, account  on September 17, 2018.

Note that that the  Mudashiru Obasa led House of Assembly  may have  known about  some the Capital project transactions which was undertaken by the Administration but  not approved by them  that when  they House passed the N873.532 billion 2019 budget , they refused  to transfer it to him to sign into Law to forestall  him from spending  out of it. More so, they were said to have   threatened him with impeachment to force him to soft pedal  on his insistence on signing the budget which was prepared by his government into Law.

  The Lawmakers , according to sources were said to  foot dragging on the budget   in order  to give Babajide  Sanwo-Olu, his successor  and the godson of Tinubu, an opportunity of signing  the  budget into Law,  when he resumes duty  on May 29, 2019.

The worry of the  lawmakers  was that the former governor had a hidden agenda over the implementation of the N873.5 billion 2019 budget. This si evident going by the N21 billion 2019 extra   budget which was said to have been  prepared by the Administration  and passed by the House. They may have had their way as Sanwo-Olu, the governor they  have been were  waiting for was said to have  finally signed the N 873.5 billion into law , more than one month after it was  passed into law during Ambode’s  last year in office.

 Many had had expected that after the House had denied  the former governor of his Constitutional role of signing the state 2019 budget  into Law  , the party refusal to endorse him for a second term  in office and the EFCC harassment, to give him a breather but that is not to be.

Akinwumi Abode: Former Embattled Governor of Lagos state

Barely three  months after leaving the plum office,  the Lagos Lawmakers  who have  never been  happy  with him  over  some of his capital expenditures, particular, the purchase of the 820 mass transit  buses , estimated at  about  N45 billion, were said to have set up a Committee to investigate the transactions. Note that the former  governor  had bought  the  buses ,which are parked in undisclosed location for the state mass transit project. 

The Value News learnt that the then Ambode government had proposed to spend N17 billion  to purchase the mass transit busses which was turned down by the  Obasa led House of Assembly in 2017. It was gathered that in the 2018 and 2019  budgets, the government also  proposed  to spend  N24 billion  and N7 billion on the purchase of the buses but  it could not scale through the House, an indication that it was not approved.

Political watchers believe that the Tinubu boys  in the House may have been angered  that Ambode  went ahead to import the 820 buses . A Sources informed The Magazine  that until he left Office on May 29, 2019, 300 of the mass transit  buses have been delivered by  the oversea  suppliers while 520 are still awaiting  clearance  at the sea port.

This may have informed why the Obasa  led APC controlled House of Assembly, in what people regarded as bottled anger , to  invite the former governor  to appear before  an ad-hoc Committee that was set up ,  to explain  all that he  knows  about some  of the financial transactions  that took place his close watch.

Some of the special financial transactions, according to the  Committee  include, unauthorized discounting  of Promissory Note, purchase of 820 buses without approval,  Misappropriation of Special Expenditure funds, Improper Implementation of the Appropriation Law and non-adherence  to the Financial Regulations of the state.

The lawmakers may have shown that  they are all  out to make a mockery of the former governor, who  many believe is in the good book of Lagosians  as being in the class of  Raji Babatude Fashola,  a former governor of the state and minister of Works and Housing regarded as a performer, by asking him  to ‘’furnish the Committee with 15 Copies  of all relevant documents  relating to all the issues being investigated by the ad-hoc Committee,  on or before  Tuesday ,October 29, 2019.

Political watchers knew that  the former  governor would not not honour the invitation in first instance  because of the issues involved which he considers laughable.  They believe that the  way and manner  the Obasa led House of Assembly had handled the investigation  may have given Ambode the ammunition  to sub the Committee and dam the Consequence on the first invitation.

A source close to the Speaker  informed the Magazine  the House Speaker  was not happy that the former  governor could not  honour  an invitation of a legitimately set  up ad-hoc  Committee, describing  it as an insult to the House.  This may have informed why the House was determined to get at him by all means.  In spite of the refusal of the former governor to appear before the Committee, he never stopped them from  doing their work as mandated by the House.

Mudashiru Obasa: Speaker, Lagos State House Of Assembly

Going by the Committee findings, the Ambode Administration  had  used the  refund  of the Paris Club to the state  for the ‘’purchase of the 820 buses  without  the approval of the House. The Committee was said to said to have further uncovered in their investigation that that over N48 billion  was spent on the purchase  of the buses  and  additional N22 billion spent on import duties.  The Committee may not have bothered to find out the  Company contracted by the government  to  process the  buses import document at the port and the cost of clearing.

The Committee may have suspected something fishy about the whole transactions  when  the state Accountant General  disclosed  that the purchase of the buses was based on the approval of the then governor  but could not provide  the vouchers to back up the payment of the buses.

It is not surprising why the Committee has threatened  to arrest the former governor and  four Commissioners who server under his government  because of their alleged roles in the purchase of the buses, described as a big fraud. The former may not have wanted his family member to witness  the humiliation he is going through  since he left Office May as he was said  to have relocated  them abroad.

 Whether Ambode, who had snubbed the House ad-hoc Committee at first invitation to would appear before it on this second invitation remain to be seen.

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