ADEWALE AJAYI reports that the hitherto cordial relationship between the Lagos state executive arm of government and the House of Assembly was punctured when the house recently rejected 17 out of 39 cabinet member nominees sent to it by the governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The symbiotic and cordial working relationship that existed between members of Lagos State House of Assembly and the executive arm of government may have been over due to recent threat posed by the rejection of 17 out of 39 cabinet member nominees sent to the assembly by Governor Babajide Sanwon-Olu.
In the past, the house willingly danced to the tune of the executive arm, and when there were differences, it was easily resolved without the public suspecting any foulplay. Consequently, some people dubbed the Lagos state legislative arm of government “the rubber stamp” of the executive.
The decision of the house to turn down 17 names out of list of 39 persons presented to it by the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as cabinet-designate has evoked public curiousity as to what might have gone wrong between the two organs of government in the state.
Going back memory lane, the Lagos state legislative arm since this political dispensation started in 1999, the house has never turned down such a large number of cabinet nominees.
The highest number turned down was three nominees in 1999, when Senator Bola Tinubu was the governor of the state. Two nominees were turned during the tenure of Akinwunmi Ambode and the first term of Sanwo-Olu.
Nothwitstanding that the majority of the lawmakers were members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, the lawmakers for the first time in the history of the state, decided to toe a different path from the executive arm in the choice of who becones members of the cabinet.
When the list of the nominees were presented, and read on the floor of the house, the issue generated a hot debate, with the lawmakers venting their anger.They frowned at the composition of the list.
The lawmakers expressed displeasure over denial of some local government areas commissioner nominees, lamenting the exclusion of some local governments areas and constituencies from the list.
Setting the ball of oppostion rolling was Hon. Kehinde Joseph who said that loyalists and party members who were also technocrats who deserved to be nominated for commissioner position were excluded from the list.
He argued that those who sacrificed their ambitions for the party or lost during the last election deserved to be compensated by nominating them for cabinet position.
Speaking in the same vein, Hon. Femi Saheed Kosofe constituency 2 stated that when he served as the party secretary in state for seven years he was aware that the party had technocrats that could be nominated.
“The house must thoroughly look at the nominees to make sure they are worthy of the nomination,” he said.
In his reaction, Hon. David Setonji noted that “it seems like we have not learnt our lesson. In one of the wards in my constituency, it was hard but in the end we proved ourselves and here is the list and not a single name from my Local Government Area.”
Hon. Adewale Temitope in his submission noted that “Ifako Ijaye LGA which delivered to the ruling party in the state in the last general elections, nobody was counted worthy to get a nomination for commissioner position or special adviser.”
Appeal for calm
The Speaker, Dr Mudashiru Obasa, in his bid to douse the tension implored his colleagues to see reasons with the governor over his choice of individuals on the commissioner-designates list.
He said,“the law gives room for the governor to decide who he wants to choose; the House also has the power to deliberate on his decisions.”
Obasa, however, aligned with the position of the assembly that the list of nominees needed to also include the local government area they come from for the benefit of the state in particular and the general public.
The lawmakers never hid their disposition and as such that formed the reason for their colletive decision reached by the House to turn down 17 nominees.
The lawmakers were not alone in their protest, they also have the backing of some of the political leaders in their various constituencies, as well as members of their constituencies who staged protest to harp on their demand.
This was said to be the reason why the leaders kept mute while the legislators opposed the 17 nominees.
Blueprint learnt that one of the reasons the lawmakers were aggrieved was the outcome of the presidential election, in which the APC candidate Tinubu lost the state to the Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi.
It was said that some the nominees that were dropped were mobilised to work for the victory of APC but failed to deliver their constituency for the party.
It was gathered that the leaders of the party were yet to get over the humiliation they suffered as the result of the presidential polls was announced.
Speaking on the development, a chieftain of the party, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun said in his over six decades of being in politics, he has never heard such a thing, for a party having majority in the house to have such a large number of nominees turned down.
He noted that 44 percent of the nominees to be rejected speak a volume, and that the lawmakers,have only asserted their independence, and as leaders of the party they need to look back and perfect things.
Commenting on what happened at the assembly, one of the national spokesperson of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Comrade Mark Adebayo, said “what happened was a bad omen for the APC in the state and leaders of the party should quickly step in to prevent a possible danger ahead.
“It is not a good sign for the party in the state, it is not a good sign for the government. If this could happen, nobody could predict, what will happen during the next budget presentation.
“May be the house may want to reject certain provisions of the budget proposal which is not good for the government.It is not a good sign for the next four years of APC government in Lagos state.” Adebayo said.
He, however, explained that the development may not be far from the rumour making the rounds that, there was a cold war going on between the Speaker of house and the state governor, Sanwo-Olu.
“It is a clear sign that,there is a cold war between the executive arm of government and the legislative arm, probably between the governor and the speaker of the house, I don’t know.
“There are speculations that, may be, the governor did not support the return of Obasa as the speaker of the House,we don’t know how far that is true.With what is happening,it is clearly there is a disconnect,that the falcon can no longer hear the falconer.
“One can never hope that people will now be bringing personal file into the governance of Lagos state, it will not augur well for the state.”Whatever, may be the issue, I think it is best for party leaders to reconcile them before it gets out of hand.
“On the other hand, if those rejected 17 cabinet nomineswungave genuine reason, real issues that the house felt they should not be confirmed so be it.”Comrade Adebayo submitted.
The preponderance of opinions was that If all the rough edges would be smothened, the rejected 17 cabinet nominees might still be given clean bill of health.