LAGOS ASSEMBLY CRISIS DEEPENS OVER RECONSTITUTION OF COMMITTEES

Emmanuel Oladesu

The crisis rocking the Lagos State House of Assembly has deepened, following the reconstitution of the House Committees.

According to the aggrieved lawmakers, the pre-existing crisis foisted on the House by the suspension of two lawmakers and deposition of two principal officers should have been resolved before reconstituting the committees.

According to the suspended lawmakers, Moshood Oshun and Raheem Olawale, the suspension violated the House Rules.

However, a lawmaker, Bisi Yusuf, who represents Alimoso Constituency 11, urged caution, saying that political solution was necessary.

On March 9, Speaker Mudasiru Obasa had suddenly announced the removal of two principal officers of the Assembly; the Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru (Somolu II) and Deputy Majority Leader, Olumiyiwa Jimoh (Apapa II) and the indefinite suspension of two other members, Moshood Oshun and Raheem Olawale.

The two principal officers and suspended lawmakers were accused of misconduct and insubordination as well as acts capable of causing disunity in the House

However,  when reporters asked him to shed light on what constitutes ‘misconduct’ and ‘insubordination’, the spokesman of the Assembly, Tunde Buraimoh, dismissed the enquiry, saying; “the reconciliation committee set up by the Assembly would resolve all that.”

Curiously, the reconciliation committee referred to by the spokesman headed by Ibrahim Layode from Badagry was prematurely dissolved last week by the Speaker during plenary.

The Speaker blamed the dissolution on a newspaper interview granted by one of the demoted principal officers, Abiru. According to the Speaker, there was no need for reconciliation after the press chat granted by the suspended lawmaker.

The Speaker also declared at the same plenary that there was no going back on the action taken against the four lawmakers by the House.

However, some political observers are of the opinion that some of the Lagos Assembly’s decisions since the imbroglio started were in clear breach of legislative norms in a democracy. To them, the culture of robust debates and constructive engagements is dying in the House of Assembly.

The irregularities that had since defined the conduct of the business of the Lagos Assembly became apparent with the circulation of an internal memo on Friday 20th March, which announced the reconstitution and reshuffling of standing committees of the Assembly.

In the memo issued by the Clerk of the House, Azeez Sanni, the ‘demoted’ Deputy Majority Leader, Olumuyiwa Jimoh, was assigned to chair the Committee on Central Business District (CBD) while his counterpart, who was removed as Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru, is now the Chairman of Inter-Parliamentary Committee.

In addition, the suspended Oshun who was removed from the Chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (State) is now named Chairman of the Committee on Legislative Compliance, while the other suspended member, Nurudeen Saka-Solaja is now the Chairman of PAC (State).

According to the memo, Kazeem Adewale Raheem, another suspended member, is now the Chairman of Establishments, Training and Pensions having been moved from his earlier position as chairman of the Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations.

Some lawmakers complained during the week that the standard norm seemed to have been turned upside down.

Reflecting on the crisis, Bisi Yusuf, said the political solution will end the conflict.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.