Lagos Speaker: No Plan to Remove Ambode, for Now

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•Says gov’s actions will determine his survival

Gboyega Akinsanmi

In an apparent response to growing public disapproval of the elbowing of Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, by political power brokers in the state, the House of Assembly yesterday said it had no plan to remove the governor from office for now, explaining that his actions would determine if it would initiate removal proceedings against him or not.

The assembly also denied the allegation by the Solidarity Group of Nigeria (SGN) and a faction of All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State, that it threatened the governor to open the treasury of the state to fund the governorship and legislative elections in 2019.

The Speaker of the assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, made this denials during plenary yesterday, noting that the reports of purported plan to remove the governor in the social and traditional media were fictitious and unfounded.

After the controversial primary election that produced the APC governorship candidate, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, there have been unconfirmed reports that the APC National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, has directed the lawmakers to commence removal proceedings against Ambode at a meeting in Tinubu’s Bourdillon residence.

The reports alleged that the APC national leader had not only initiated a plot to unseat Ambode despite his public pronouncement to support Sanwo-Olu’s candidature, but also gave a direct order to the assembly on the grounds that the governor might work against the APC.

During plenary yesterday, the speaker denied the reports that the assembly was plotting to remove the governor.
Specifically, Obasa said that the reports of some social and traditional media platforms on the matter were not true.

“I received telephone calls from prominent citizens over the alleged (removal) plan against the governor. Honestly, we had no such plan,” he said.

He lamented that the Solidarity Group of Nigeria (SGN) and factional Chairman of Lagos APC, Mr. Fouad Oki, “have been alleging that we threatened the governor to open the state treasury for them and that we threatened to impeach him if he failed to do so.
“So, nobody can threaten us, if it happens, because we are representatives of the people. We do not need the wailers to guide us in performing our duties. It is not out of place for us to do our job.”

Consequently, the speaker noted that the lawmakers “are not embarking on any (removal) proceedings against Ambode now. If there will be (removal) proceedings, it will be from the governor. If there will not be any need for (removal), it will be from him based on governor’s actions.”

He said removal was a constitutional procedural. “All over the world, many speakers, senate presidents and presidents, among others have been (removed). So, nobody can threaten us if it happens because we are representatives of the people.”

To prove the assembly never initiated clandestine plan to removal the governor, the speaker noted that if there “is going to be any impeachment proceeding, it will be done in the open. As a matter of fact, there is no (removal) plan against the governor before us.

Rather than planning to remove the governor, however, Obasa promised that the assembly had been working with Ambode and other stakeholders in the state to ensure peace and development in Lagos State.

Also speaking at the plenary, the Majority Leader of the assembly, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade buttressed Obasa’s position, noting that the constitutional procedure for removal of the governor “does not encourage secrecy.”

Agunbiade, a third-term lawmaker, said members of the public would definitely know if the assembly would initiate removal proceedings against the governor, thereby dismissing the reports of the impeachment plan.