Protesters storm Lagos Assembly over rift with Ambode


A group of protesters under the aegis of Lagos People’s Assembly, LPA, on Wednesday stormed the Lagos State House of Assembly to protest the planned impeachment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The men and women, who arrived in their numbers, said the purported removal of Mr Ambode from office had the potential of disrupting the peaceful conduct of the Governorship elections in the state come March 2.
They carried placards and banners with inscriptions: “He is a performing governor”, “We reject impeachment”, “Lagos APC should be careful, election is around the corner.”
Others are “Lagosians love Ambode for his good works”; ‘We say no to impeachment of the governor”, and “Enough of this intimidation of Ambode”.
In a letter entitled, “Governor Ambode and The Assembly Must Work Together for The People”, and addressed to the leadership of the House, the group expressed concern in the unfolding political drama in the state.
“As a critical civil society stakeholder in the Lagos Project, we are gravely concerned with the unfolding political drama in the state which might degenerate to a lockjam if not handled with the best statesmanship kits.
“We are fully conscious of the historical truism that under a constitutional democracy, the executive and legislative arms of government must seamlessly work in harmony to deliver the dividends of democracy for the people.
“Both arms are equal partners in the business if constitutional, democratic governance,” the letter said in part.
Human Rights activist and convener of the group, Declan Ihekaire, who led the protesters to the House, said that problem was based on the lingering crisis between the two tiers of government over allegations of inability of the governor to present the 2019 appropriation bill.
Mr Ihekaire said it was time for the two parties to sheath their swords and move on.
“Our credible investigation reveals that both arms of government are worried that the budget delay will invariably affect the ability of the government to complete various infrastructure projects commenced by the administration littering the state.
“The fear of both parties which is well founded, is that opposition will make use of the uncompleted projects as campaign items to disparage the ruling party in the forthcoming general elections.
“No matter whatever other hidden factors, this is the main bone of contention leading to the political feud for supremacy between the governor and the Assembly.
“Our position is that Governor Ambode’s second term mandate has been denied him and `the House has accepted that reality.
“If there is any other issue to be ironed out, this should be done amicably, rather than bringing up the issue of impeachment,” he said.
Mr Ihekaire stressed the fact that Ambode is part and parcel of the APC and should not be treated as an outsider.
He added that his group did not want the opposition to take advantage of the unhealthy scenario playing out, especially in view of the general elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protest came barely two days after the lawmakers called on the governor to resign if he is tired of governing the state or face impeachment.
The lawmakers also gave the governor seven days  to explain reasons for alleged financial misappropriation under his government.
The lawmakers at the plenary on Monday argued that the Governor’s action, which includes spending without recourse to the House and other sundry allegations, violated the 1999 constitution.
Addressing the group, Majority Leader in the House, Sanai Agunbiade, received the letter on behalf of the leadership of the House and promised to present it to the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa.
Mr Agunbiade, however, stated that there was no rift between the executive and legislative arms of government in the state.
“What many perceive as a rift is just the House doing its job of making laws, carrying out oversight functions and other sundry issues, especially in the best and overall interest of the state,” he said.