Following issues surrounding the 2019 Appropriations Bill, the Lagos State House of Assembly has threatened to impeach Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, giving the state governor and his Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, seven days to appear before the state’s legislative arm to defend allegations of illegal expenditure.
Backstory: The Speaker of the House, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa issued the summon for the Governor and his Commissioner, during a plenary session held in the House on Monday.
The issue arose from displeasure over the governor’s decision to start incurring cost on the 2019 budget, which was set to be presented before the House last week Monday, and had yet to be approved by the state’s legislative arm.
“The attorney general, finance commissioner and commissioner for budget and economic planning that ought to have advised the governor did not do so,” the Speaker said.
He further explained that while most members of the House were set on the impeachment of the Governor, it is however imperative that the Governor be given a fair trial by having the chance to defend himself before the House.
“We must give the executive a fair hearing to come and explain what happened. The point has been made that there must be something before the House before you can commence expenditure. We want to call on the Governor to come within a week to explain himself along with the relevant commissioners. We can’t start gathering signatures for impeachment. We need to exercise patience and wait till another time,” the Speaker said.
“Within a week, we can come back here and do whatever we want to do regarding those who are clamoring or who have asked for impeachment. And if by the end of the day, there is need to consider whatever response from them, then we can as well move forward,” Obasa said.
Sharing the reason why the House had refused to deliberate on the budget when it was presented on January 21, the speaker said, “Amidst all that has been said in the media, I would use this medium to clarify this: Lagos State House of Assembly cannot sit and scrutinize a budget which is already incurring expenditure.”
Following the summon, the House adjourned its sitting till February 4.
Bottom line: The assembly appears bent on impeaching the governor with just five months to the end of his tenure. Considering how the party successfully denied the governor his reelection ticket reportedly due to the displeasure of the party’s godfather, Bola Tinubu, it is hard to see how Ambode can surmount the odds against him in the assembly.