* Agbaje warns against plunging Lagos into crisis
A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) Thursday alleged that the Lagos State House of Assembly moved to remove the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, because the governor refused to release the sum of N100 billion the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the state demanded for electioneering.
Also lending his voice against the governor’s plan, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, urged the lawmakers not to plunge the state into chaos with the plan to remove Ambode.
The Convener of the coalition, Mr. Mark Adebayo, made the allegation at a world press conference held at the Airport Hotel in Ikeja, noting that with the removal, it was obvious that the assembly was becoming a political abattoir for the murder of democracy in Nigeria.
Coming together under the aegis of Lagos Liberation Movement (LLM), the CSOs that formed the coalition are the Campaign for Democracy (CD), United Action for Democracy (UAD), Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC)(Reformed) and Lagos People’s Assembly (LPA) with a mandate to stop the assembly from witch-hunting Ambode.
Speaking at the conference yesterday, the convener alleged that the assembly threatened to remove Ambode because he refused “to release the sum of N100 billion tax payer’s money to the party to fund political campaigns. “It has been alleged that Ambode’s refusal to hand over the state’s treasury key to the Lagos slave master-in-chief is the current cause of his travails. His non-compliance with the directive to make available N100 billion by an insatiable political godfather provoked the current backlash against the governor.
“We have already put together a comprehensive petition to the anti-graft agencies and multilateral organisations on the reckless and irresponsible waste of the state’s resources by the legislative arm of government in the state.”
He noted that the coalition was interested in knowing how the Speaker of the Lagos State Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, “has been administering N800 million “running costs” allocated to the assembly monthly.
But speaking with THISDAY on phone yesterday, the Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, debunked the allegation that the lawmakers and party leaders demanded N100 billion, noting that it was fake news, which according to him, should not be taken seriously for any reason.
Igbokwe said the allegation “is propaganda from the opposition camp. It is not true that the party leaders demanded such money for the purpose of funding our campaign. It is fake news, which no person should believe.”
He, therefore, said the allegation should be dismissed, claiming that it “is not true. I cannot react to fake news. At times, all sorts of fake news are being circulated all over the country. It is propaganda against our party.”
Meanwhile, in a statement by his Directorate of Media and Publicity yesterday, Agbaje asked the assembly and the APC not to plunge the state into chaos over moves to remove Ambode, saying the move was capable of jeopardising the smooth running of the state.
According to him of course, the way Lagos politics has been structured over the last two decades, government actions are often dictated by open and covert objectives.
“That the legislators are hinging their action on the purported delay of the budget is simply a smokescreen for a very shameful undertone that the assembly members will not want to make open. They are yet to tell us their actual motivation for this superfluous move to shame the governor.
“I received the news of the impending removal of Ambode with a lot of reservation, especially with its timing and motive. This is just 19 or so days to the federal elections, and the governorship, a fortnight thereafter. So the natural questions to ask are: Why this haste? And what is the motive?” he asked.
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