By Fumnanya Ojugbana
Lagos State House Assembly insisted on Wednesday that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and some of his commissioner it invited to explain infractions on the state budget must appear before it.
They said that it is only where the infractions continue that the House would apply the constitutional provision of impeachment on the governor.
Sanai Agunbiade, Majority Leader, stated this while briefing House correspondents after an emergency parliamentary meeting by the lawmakers on Wednesday night.
He said that nobody was witch-hunting the governor as it was being insinuated in some quarters, but that the infractions were serious issues the House can not overlook.
Agunbiade said that the House decided to correct some wrong information and misconception being bandied around by the House resolutions on Ambode on Monday.
As a fall out of the massive protest at the Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday by concerned Lagosians against the planned impeachment of Governor Akinwunmi by the Assembly, members went into an emergency parliamentary meeting immediately.
Majority leader, while referring to the earlier protest, said that the House was not saying that Ambode should end his tenure. but that due to issues surrounding the 2019 budget, he was summoned by the House.
According to him, the major contention was that he had started spending from the 2019 budget which had not been laid before the House which is against constitutional provisions.
“The budget is supposed to have been laid before the commencement of another fiscal year, which has always been the practice in the state, and unless it is laid you can not spend from it but the governor has gone ahead to make expenditure from the budget.
“There are also some infractions the House observed about the 2018 budget, expenditures made outside the budget, which necessitated the invitation the House extended to him and some commissioners to come and explain things.
“It is not witch-hunting as people believe, to make expenditure from the budget you must have laid it before the House, for now we don’t have the budget so you can’t spend. As legislators we must do things properly”, he said.
Agunbiade also corrected some misconceptions, which he said, are being tied to the Ambode issue, that it was not true that the lawmakers are after Ambode because he refused to fund their campaign.
“We want Lagos to flourish but we cannot compromise the regulations or constitutional provisions concerning appropriation.
“If we wanted war, we would not have written to him to come and explain, what we said was that where the infractions continue we would apply the constitutional provisions which is impeachment”.
He assured that there was no crisis or problem, but that because majority of the people didn’t understand the workings of the legislature they misinterpreted the its actions.
The Assembly had adjourned sitting till Monday, February 4, but suddenly summoned members for an emergency meeting on Wednesday after the massive protest by pro-Ambode supporters appealing to the Assembly not to impeach the governor.
The Assembly had accused Ambode of alleged gross misconduct and spending money from the 2019 budget that had not yet been laid or approved by the House and spending outside the 2018 budget.
Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the House, had told members, who wished that Ambode should be impeached to start collecting signatures in readiness for the impeachment.
Earlier today, hundreds of supporters loyal to Ambode stormed the Assembly to protest the planned impeachment.
The protesters marched into the Assembly and caused traffic gridlock.
The protesters carried placards, saying that any move to impeach Governor Ambode would disrupt the forthcoming election, adding that the governor should be allowed to complete his tenure.