We Can’t Be Intimidated Over Rejection Of 17 Cabinet Nominees – Lagos Assembly

Wale Jagun

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has said that the House cannot be intimidated for rejecting 17 out of the 39 cabinet nominees sent to the Assembly by Governor Babajide Sanwo – Olu, for screening, stating that the House remained an independent body empowered by the constitution to perform its duties.

It was revealed during the plenary session on Monday, that there are plans to attack the Speaker and other lawmakers over the matter, but the Speaker stated that it would not succumb to threats and intimidations.

Recall that the Lagos State House of Assembly cleared 22 nominees and rejected 17 last Wednesday, a development which is unprecedented in the history of the state legislative function.

Obasa, who presided over the House, said that he has been reliably informed of the plan to attack him, adding that the House is not in a fight with the Governor or the executive.

“There is this erroneous belief that we are waging war against the Governor. There is no basis for me and the House to fight the Governor. I will continue to say that the Governor is a brother and colleague in the Lagos project and service to the people of our State’’, Obasa said.

“The Governor and I have been around in the system for long. While he was Special Adviser to the former Deputy Governor, Femi Pedro, I was in this House as Chairman, Committee on Rural Development. He was SA on Establishment and Pensions, and I was Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (Local Governments). While he was heading LSDPC, I was Chairman, Committee on Economic Planning and Budget. Then, I became the Speaker and when he became the Governor, I remained the Speaker. So it’s been a long journey together.

“But I wonder why anytime the House says no to a particular request of the Governor, it is taken by some people to mean there is a fight with the Governor. This House has passed so many resolutions that the executive arm refused to carry out, but people don’t see that as something to talk about, and the House does not raise eyebrows. So, I don’t know what brings the erroneous belief that the House is fighting the Governor who is our brother and who we will continue to work with.

“However, we have a constitutional responsibility. Just as the Governor has the responsibility to inform the House about his nominees, the House has the responsibility to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, which we have exercised by confirming some and denying some and we have our reasons for saying ‘no’ to some of the nominees.

“The House, as a body, has refrained itself from exposing what it discovered during the screening exercise, and we are not going to be forced to spill them to the public”, Obasa said.

Speaking on the rejection Prof. Akin Ababyomi, former health commissioner, whom many believed performed during the first term of Sanwo – Olu, and safely piloted the state out of the COVID 19 era, Obasa said that considerations went beyond his efforts in the fight against COVID-19, which he described as an isolated issue in the challenged health sector of the State.

“Before Prof. Abayomi, there were Leke Pitan, Dr. Jide Idris and others. COVID-19 was an isolated case that was considered. Before COVID-19, we had Ebola which was also taken care of under Babatunde Fashola.

“Beyond all these, we are the representatives of the people, their mouthpieces, eyes and ears. The health sector of Lagos is not just about COVID-19. We have general hospitals and other health care centres around the State. What can be said about them?

“Before Engineer Aramide Adeyoye, we also had Engineer Ganiyu Johnson and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat as Commissioner for Works and under whom the Ikoyi-Victoria Island link bridge was built, while Babatunde Fashola was Governor. Under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as Governor, there was massive infrastructural development too.

“So, we must stop making allusions concerning something we do not understand. They mentioned the former Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho and his experience, but how about actions in office?” Obasa asked.

Obasa said that as members of the ruling party, the interests of the people is paramount to them, while urging groups planning protest to do so within their constitutional means.

“The civil society that is threatening to protest should do so because it is a constitutional right. But we are not going to be threatened or intimidated. We have said no, but if there is a convincing or germane reason for us to reverse our decision, we will, but not by threats.

“It is because we are successful as politicians that is why the technocrats are being appointed. And to our own estimation, if they have not done well, we have right to say no, and we have said no”, he said.

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