Succession Politics, Uncertainty Delay Transmission of Lagos Budget

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Akinwunmi Ambode

Gboyega Akinsanmi

Despite sustained criticism of what some stakeholders have described as legislative insensitivity to public plight, the Lagos State House of Assembly may not eventually transmit the state’s 2019 appropriation bill to the incumbent governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for endorsement before his administration ends on May 29, THISDAY has learnt.

THISDAY also learnt that the delay in transmitting the 2019 appropriation bill was a phase in the politics of succession, which some governmental officials claimed, had undermined the delivery of social services in the state for a period of one and a half years.

Concerned stakeholders in the state’s executive and legislative arms faulted the delay in transmitting the bill while responding to THISDAY inquiries on the budget impasse.

Citing the politics of succession and the resolve of some lawmakers to undermine the executive, among others, one of the stakeholders alleged that the assembly might not eventually transmit the appropriation bill to the incumbent governor.

One of the sources said the reasons “are simple and direct.

”For the lawmakers, Ambode has just two weeks to the end of his administration. They thought signing the budget should not be important to him any longer. On this note, the lawmakers want to delay the bill till the governor-elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is inaugurated on May 29 and forms his government.”

The source also alleged that the incoming governor might want “to re-write the appropriation bill in line with his agenda and vision for greater Lagos.

According to him, the delay in transmitting the appropriation bill to the incumbent governor is deliberate and a part of succession politics. “The lawmakers forget that the delay put the interest of over 24 million residents of the state, whose lives and prosperity depend on the implementation of this financial statement, in limbo. By their decision, the lawmakers are sabotaging the public interest they were elected to protect.”

After much public scrutiny, however, another source in the state House of Assembly revealed that the lawmakers had finally agreed “to transmit the appropriation bill to the governor. Already, the document has been sent to a printing corporation to produce some copies that the governor will sign.”

The source explained that the assembly would send the appropriation bill “to the governor alongside four other bills that were passed into law recently. It is important the incumbent governor signs other bills into law or the assembly will have to re-initiate the bills again. “As soon as the final copies of the appropriation bill are printed alongside other bills, the assembly will transmit them to the governor before next week runs out. But we are waiting for the assembly to responsibly perform its duties without politicising matters that affect public interest,” he explained.

Even though the assembly does not transmit the appropriation bill at last, another stakeholder explained that there was no cause for alarm, noting that section 122 of the 1999 Constitution “defines the power of the incumbent governor to allocate funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund meet expenditure of the state.”

The section states: “If the Appropriation Bill in respect of any financial year has not been passed into law by the beginning of the financial year, the Governor may authorise the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the service of the government for a period of not exceeding six months or until the coming into the operation of the Law, whichever is the earlier.

“Provided that the withdrawal in respect of any such period shall not be exceed the amount authorised to be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State under the provisions of the Appropriation Law passed by the House of Assembly for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding financial year, being an amount proportionate to the total amount so authorised for the immediately preceding financial year.”

Attempts to speak with the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Hon. Funmilayo Tejuosho on the budget impasse were not successful.

The lawmaker did not answer her call, neither did she respond to our inquiries through a text message.