Wherever he is, Professor Anezi Okoro, one of Nigeria finest fiction writers and author of the seminal coming-of-age book, One Week, One Trouble, must be wondering at the uncanny similarities between his protagonist, Wilson Tagbo, and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. But while Tagbo’s weekly troubles were majorly run-ins with his secondary school authorities, Ambode’s is with his political leaders who have denied him a second term ticket and are now determined to ease him out of office before the expiration of his tenure in May.
Earlier in the week, the Lagos State House of Assembly threatened to impeach Ambode for allegedly spending funds which were not appropriated for and subsequently asked him to appear before it within one week. The major contention is the 2019 budget, which has caused disagreement between the two arms of government. Advising a fair hearing for the governor, Speaker Mudashiru Obasa said, “The attorney general, finance commissioner and commissioner for budget and economic planning that ought to have advised the governor did not do so. The most important thing is that we should let the people know that a budget that has yet to be approved was being spent, which was why we could not attend to the governor on the budget on Monday, January 21,” Obasa said.
One of the lawmakers, Dayo Saka-Fafunmi, said, “Public funds do not belong to any of us, it belongs to the people of Lagos State. Section 120 subsection 2 states that no money should be withdrawn from the accounts of the states unless it is approved by the House. All the violations amount to gross misconduct. Section 188 subsection defines gross misconduct. We strongly believe that essential services that ought to be met are missing in the state. I am in line with the statement and decisions of the members that if the executive members are not ready for governance, they should resign or should be impeached.”
This has understandably provoked a lot of reactions among prominent Lagosians, the unanimity of which is that the governor is unduly being hounded after he had been humiliated with the denial of a second term ticket. Online and offline, sympathy is with the harried governor. Some Nigerians are urging him to fight back; like lawyer and writer, Richard Akinnola, who posited, “Let the world know what we were cooking that got the house burnt. So, Ambode should be a man. Spill the beans. Don’t go down alone without fighting. You can’t be impeached twice. A man dies but once”; others urge caution, saying the impeachment threat is unjustifiable and inauspicious.
As the threat rages and the legislators bay for Ambode’s blood literally, the governor has carried on with his duties and barnstorming with President Muhammadu Buhari across the country. Can the president or the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, save the governor? The world watches with bated breath.