About two weeks after the Lagos State House of Assembly passed the 2019 budget, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has yet to receive it.
PUNCH gathered that the Assembly might be awaiting May 29 when the governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would be sworn into office.
A source told The Punch that government projects had been stalled due to the impasse.
He accused the lawmakers of playing politics with the development of the state.
He said, “They just refused to pass it to the governor because they want to play politics with the budget. Most of the people in the Assembly are loyal to one man and he appears to be dictating to them.
“But what more do they want to do to Ambode? They have humiliated him, denied him his return ticket, and even threatened to impeach him. What has he done to deserve all that?
“What they failed to realise is that this is beyond Ambode. It is about Lagos State. It is about governance. Since they took this decision not to pass the budget to him, things have been at a standstill. No development; nothing. This is wrong at all levels because people’s lives are being held.”
However, another government source said while the Assembly might have certain reasons for not passing the bill to the governor, the law permits Ambode to spend a certain percentage of the previous year budget.
She said, “It is true that the budget has not been transmitted to the governor. But their reason is immaterial. Whatever they like they can do. The law allows the governor to spend a certain amount of last year’s budget pending the time the new budget would be ready. The governor will do his best within the time available.”
Controversies have trailed the budget since 2018 when the governor was accused of breaking the tradition of sending the budget to the Assembly before the fiscal year.
The Ambode administration had said it sent the budget to the Assembly early, but the lawmakers went on a break and could not sit over it in December 2018.
Early 2019, the Assembly had issued an impeachment threat to the governor for allegedly spending from the budget when it had not been passed.
After protests and public demonstrations, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, and some party stalwarts called the lawmakers and the governor into a meeting, where the matter was reportedly resolved.
On April 29, the Assembly passed the N873.532bn budget, more than 80 days after the governor eventually presented it.
Despite the widely-publicised reconciliation, the relationship of the governor with the Assembly members has not been cordial, according to reports.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said he could not tell if the budget had been passed to the governor or not.
He promised to call back after making enquiries, but never did as at the time of filing this report.
APC Chairman Confirms Party’s February 26 National Convention Date
Buni made the announcement on Tuesday at the National Progressive Women’s Conference in Abuja.
The chairman, who doubles as Yobe State governor said the women in the APC played a key role in the success of the party’s recent membership drive.
He said: “The party under my stewardship conducted membership registration and revalidation exercise. We found it expedient to constitute a special committee on women and youth before the commencement of the exercise. The roles you played made the membership registration and revalidation a huge success.
“Today, APC parades over 41 million registered members, asserting our position as Africa’s largest political party and of course, Nigeria’s leading political party. With these, we are confident of winning the 2023 general election with huge success.
“I want to use this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your support to the party, before during and after the exercise. I also look forward to your more support during the convention and indeed the general election.
“I’m proud to add that APC is the most women-friendly party in Nigeria. Let me also assure you that the party shall reciprocate this gesture by supporting women and youth in their political aspirations and realising their political dreams.
“We look forward to having more women contesting in the forthcoming national convention of the party from February 26, 2022, and the general election. Now as we approach the convention and move closer to the next general election, I wish to remind you of the progressive roles in supporting progressive-minded leaders, aspiring for various offices for the betterment of our country.”
Also speaking, Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti state governor, called for the support of the female members of the party ahead of the convention.
“Without our women, we have no future. We have no present or past. We have a duty and responsibility to improve on solidarity that we give the women of our country,” the governor said.
“We are not doing them a favour. If you have worked with women, they deliver. My women commissioners are the best commissioners.
“I have no doubt that this conference will give us a lot to chew on. We should make it a policy convention.”
I Won’t Support Tinubu’s Presidential Ambition – Ojudu
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, says he will not support the presidential ambition of All Progressives Congress leader, Bola Tinubu.
Ojudu further stated that contrary to reports, Tinubu did not make him successful as he was already an accomplished publisher before meeting the former Lagos State governor.
The former lawmaker said this in a statement titled, ‘Principled Political Choices are not Betrayal’.
Ojudu, who is leading the campaign for Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to be the next President, said he would continue to follow his conscience.
He said, “The idea that everyone who has related with Tinubu and disagrees with him on this Presidential bid is a traitor and a betrayer is puerile. Many of us, his associates, were not made by him as you also want the world to believe.
“We were already made before meeting him and in the course of relating we gave one another a helping hand. As far back as 1992 when I came to know him I was already one of the editors of a popular news magazine with a good standing too in the civil society.”
Ojudu, who represented Ekiti Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015, said he could not in good conscience support Tinubu for the Presidency.
He stated that he would not be intimidated by those describing him as a traitor.
“On this matter of 2023 I wish him well but I cannot in good conscience give him my support or cast my vote for him in the coming primary. It is my right. I am above 60 years of age for God sake. I almost died seeking these inalienable democratic rights, held up in detention and severally tortured. Your god is not my god.
“Let no one think he can browbeat or blackmail me to do what does not go with my conscience or my ideals. Enough of your phone threats and embarrassment of my family members!” said Ojudu.
The Presidential aide recalled how he resigned after disobeying an order by his then employer, Chief MKO Abiola, to apologise to then Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, for writing a story critical of his regime.
Ojudu revealed how human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), also forced him to refund the money he invested in his newspaper after Ojudu decided to join Tinubu’s clique.
He said he also defied his father’s wishes by joining Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nigeria when his father was a member of the National Party of Nigeria in the Second Republic.
The veteran journalist said the story of his life has been about conviction and he would continue to follow his conscience as regards political decisions.
“At the conclusion of that struggle, Chief Fawehinmi insisted we sit out politics. Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu disagreed with this notion, and I did as well. Against an obvious choice to blind loyalty, I went along with Senator Tinubu even serving severally in critical roles as he assumed the Governorship position. My actions angered Chief Gani so much he asked that I repay his investments. Guess what? I gladly did.”
“So if my principled stance against NPN, against IBB and against ‘siddon look’ was not betrayal of my father, Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi respectively, why would my principled stance against our leader’s present ambition be?” he asked.
Court Orders DSS to Allow Nnamdi Kanu Change of Cloth, Adjoins Case to Wednesday
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, adjourned further proceedings in the case against the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, till Wednesday.
The adjournment followed Kanu’s complaints that the Federal Government failed to promptly serve him the fresh 15 amended charges it brought before the court.
Kanu, through his team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, further accused the FG of denying him the necessary facility to defend the charge against him.
Ozekhome told the court that the amended charges were served on them barely 24 hours to the scheduled hearing.
“My Lord, the proposed amended charges were served on us yesterday (Monday) evening. As I speak to you, my lord, the defendant, who was just brought in, has not even seen the charges which he is being told to enter his plea.
“With due respect, that is not justice. It is ambushing. I know that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act allows the Federal Government to amend, but this is the sixth amendment they are making, and each time they do it, they serve us a day to the hearing, just to frustrate the trial,” Ozekhome added.