â€¢ Legislature is first casualty of coup, says Ambode
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bola Tinubu, has joined the multitude of Nigerians warning against military incursion into politics, vowing that any attempt at staging a coup dâ€™etat will be resisted by Nigerians.
Also, in apparent reference to speculations of a coup, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, said the militaryâ€™s incursion into governance is antithetical to constitutional democracy.
The duo made the remarks Monday at a special parliamentary session organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly to mark the stateâ€™s 50th anniversary.
President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s absence from the country over an undisclosed medical ailment has fuelled speculations of a military plot to overthrow the democratically elected government in the country.
The speculation was given legitimacy last week, when the Chief of Army Staff (CAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, raised the alarm of attempts by politicians to influence his officers and soldiers to carry out acts against their professional calling.
Reacting to the unfolding developments, Tinubu said Nigerians would never allow the military to rule the country again, adding that Lagos and indeed Nigeria would resist any coup attempt.
He said: â€œI want to lend my voice to this speculation. The news was everywhere that some people were trying to entice the military out of the barracks to stage a coup. Such move would be resisted.â€
He said those who think they can scuttle the democracy for which many had died and sacrificed their lives, are surely mistaken as Nigeria has gone too far for such a thing to happen.
Tinubu noted that Lagos State, in particular â€œwill never provide a fertile ground for coup plotters to hatch their evil ideasâ€, adding, â€œLagos will resist coup plotters.â€
He said such anti-democratic forces would not find the fertile ground â€œto plant their seeds in Lagosâ€.
â€œWe will not buy their product. It is a bad product. In Lagos, we will definitely reject it. Lagos will resist it and move away from it,â€ he said,
The former Lagos State governor also charged the state House of Assembly not to neglect its oversight functions, noting that the assembly should ensure that no money is spent without due approval.
He said all executive actions must have the authority of the law. â€œBefore any money is spent, the assembly must approve it. The assembly must exercise its power within the ambit of the law.â€
During his tenure as the governor of the state, Tinubu said the interface between his administration and the House was very cordial, which he pointed out was one of the reasons his government succeeded.
He said: â€œWe succeeded in taking Lagos to enviable heights. We set the agenda for progress and today that progress is being felt because the executive and legislature co-operated.
â€œThis has continued from Babatunde Fashola to Akinwunmi Ambode. This cooperation does not erode on your oversight responsibility.â€
Similarly, Ambode cautioned against military incursion into governance, which he said would make the legislative arm its first victim, with the suspension of the constitution against the wishes of the people.
He said: â€œIt is on record that military incursion into governance has always made the legislature its first victim by suspending the constitution with all powers against the wishes of our people.
â€œTherefore, the legislature could be said to be the most exposed in the governance model in the current democratic dispensation, if we have to give its true meaning and relevance in a representative government.
â€œWe are celebrating the contributions of the state House of Assembly, particularly the Eighth Assembly in the last two years, to the true principles of democratic governance through the passage of bills that advance the principles of governance and promotion of social welfare of the people within the ambit of the law.â€
Ambode said in spite of the chequered history, the First to Eighth Assemblies of Lagos State have been the benchmark for assessing legislative business in governance of the Nigerian state.
He said the Eighth Assembly, particularly, has been responsive and innovative in fulfilling its constitutional obligations and meeting the aspirations of Lagosians for the dividends of democracy.
â€œThe performance of the Eighth Assembly, including previous assemblies, can be attributed to the quality of leadership that has been produced through a mature and democratic process with the purpose of providing a democratic process that would benefit our people.
â€œOver the years, the legislative arm of government in Lagos State has been a shining beacon of democratic independence and responsiveness. It has never shirked its assigned role or responsibility even in the face of provocation.
â€œIt has continuously engaged the electorate in the process of making laws through interactive engagements and contributions to the making of laws,â€ the governor noted.
Ambode said the synergy between the three arms of government, particularly the executive and legislature, has become the benchmark of the democratic process in Nigeria, saying that as government celebrates the last 50 years of the creation of Lagos State, it has laid the building blocks for the next 50 years.