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Lagos Assembly agrees to stop Ambode’s Probe

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The Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday agreed to halt proceedings in the probe of former Governor of the State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, over procurement of 820 buses for public transportation.

Ambode had instituted a suit against the Assembly, the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa and others, to contest the constitutionality of the probe, accusing them of bias and misrepresentation of facts.

When the matter came up in court on Wednesday morning, Ambode’s lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), informed the court of his pending application for interlocutory injunction, saying that same had been served on the defendants.

In response, a team of lawyers of the defendants led by Mrs. Adenike Oshinowo and included Mrs. Adegbite and Ms. Olayemi Johnson confirmed service of the application, but pleaded for time since the processes were served at about 6pm on Tuesday.

They specifically requested for two weeks to respond but the date they suggested was not convenient for the court.

Responding, Oyetibo did not object to the application of the defendants for adjournment but urged the Court to direct parties to maintain status quo. In her response, the presiding Judge, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, said “it goes without saying” and called on Mrs. Osinowo for her response who also agreed that status quo would be maintained by the Defendants.

The court then adjourned the matter to November 20 2019 for the hearing of the motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.

With the ruling, the former Governor cannot be summoned to appear again before the House probe panel as both parties have agreed to maintain status quo till the new hearing date.

According to his statement of claim before the court, Ambode had said contrary to deliberate misrepresentation of facts by the lawmakers, the procurement of the 820 buses was well captured in the 2018 Appropriation Law which was duly approved by the House.

“In section 1 of the Bill, the 1st Defendant (House of Assembly) authorized  the total Budget for the year 2018 to be One Trillion, Forty Six Billion, One Hundred and Twenty One Million, One Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty Naira (N1,046,121,181,680.00) comprising the sum of Three Hundred and Forty Seven Billion, Thirty-Eighty Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Eight Thousand, Eight-Hundred and Seventy-Two Naira (N347,038,938,872.00) only and Six Hundred and Ninety-Nine Billion, Eighty-Two Million, Two Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Naira (N699,082,242,808.00) only as the Recurrent and Capital Expenditures respectively.

“Part of the items authorized by the Bill under Capital Expenditure was: “LAGBUS Public Transport Infrastructure (MEPB); Part financing of 820 buses” which was item 8 under schedule 1- Part C of the Bill,” the former Governor averred.

He added that having prescribed the manner of withdrawal of funds in sections 3 and 4 of the 2018 Appropriation Law, it was unconstitutional for the House to attach another condition in section 9 of the law for further approval to be sought before incurring any expenditure on the purchase of the buses.  

Highlighting the specific breach of his constitutional rights to fair hearing by the House, the former Governor said on August 27, 2019 during proceedings of the Assembly, some lawmakers thoroughly vilified and disparaged him as having purchased the buses without budgetary approval and that the procurement was a waste of public funds, while at the end of the proceedings, the House resolved to constitute an Ad Hoc Committee to probe the procurement.

He said it was surprising that the very lawmakers who contributed actively in vilifying, disparaging and denigrating him constituted the bulk of the members of the Committee, which was a clear derogation of his right to fair hearing.

Ambode added that in continuation of deliberate misrepresentation of facts of the issue, the House falsely claimed that an invitation had been extended to him to appear before the Committee but that he failed to honour the said invitation.

“The Claimant states that no letter of invitation was delivered to him before the 4th and 5th Defendants made the false allegation against the Claimant which was widely reported by various national Newspapers in the country.”

He added that the House Committee and indeed the entire members of the House had already adjudged him as having committed wastage of public fund by the procurement of the buses in question and had also already determined that the procurement was done by him as opposed to the State Government.

He said it was obvious that the lawmakers were totally biased against him having regard to their pronouncements on the floor of the House by reason of which he believes that his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the Constitution had been seriously compromised by the defendants.   

He is, therefore, seeking among others, the court’s declaration that the power of the House to pass a resolution under section 128(1) of the Constitution to cause an inquiry into his conduct as Governor is subject to right to fair hearing as guaranteed by section 36(1) of the Constitution.

He also wants a declaration that the Resolution of the House setting up a 9-Man Committee comprising of the 4th-12th Defendants to investigate all transactions in respect of the 820 Buses said by the defendants to have been procured by him derogates from his right as guaranteed by section 36(1) of the Constitution and therefore is unconstitutional, null and void.

He is therefore, among others seeking:

“An injunction restraining the Defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents and or representatives from compelling the Claimant, in any manner whatsoever, to appear before the Defendants pursuant to the Resolution passed by the Defendants on 27th August 2019 or any other Resolution passed in respect of the subject matter of this Suit.

“An injunction restraining the Defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents and or representatives from representing or continue to represent to the Public that the Claimant, AKINWUNMI AMBODE, procured 820 buses in breach of budgetary approval.”

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POLITICS

2023 PRESIDENCY: Obasa leads mobilization for Tinubu

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Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of the Lagos State House Of Assembly has begun mass mobilization to raise support ahead of 2023 Tinubu’s presidential ambition.

Obasa has openly rallied support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as all his political platform have spearheaded and constituted the Bola Ahmed Tinubu campaign group, all his political platform and structures have been collapsed to form Bola Tinubu 2023 (B.A.T 2023), ahead of the 2023 presidential race.

Rt. Obasa addressing The Obasa Movement Lagos Ndi Igbo in Lagos on Saturday, said he is leading the course towards the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023.

“Only God knows what will happen in 2023 and my only prayer is that Asiwaju should become the president of Nigeria in 2023,” he opined.

‘We have set up our own platform which is called B.A.T 2023, and we have our members allover Nigeria,’ He said.

It is our duty to mobilise Nigerians for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu 2023 presidency project.

“he deserves it, because he is good, he has the brain, he has the capacity and has the interest of Nigeria at heart” Obasa said.

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POLITICS

LAGOS EAST BYE-ELECTION: APC drags PDP Candidate to court for certificate forgery

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The All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State, has dragged the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the December 5 senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi before a Federal High Court, Ikoyi for alleged perjury and falsification of certificates.

Counsel to Lagos APC, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) of Pinheiro LP and Mr. Kemi Balogun (SAN) of Oluwakemi Balogun LP filed the suit at the court on Monday, asking it to disqualify Gbadamosi from contesting the bye-election.

The APC filed the suit against the PDP candidate and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) supported with documents to prove its case.

In the Suit NO: FHC/L/CS/1659/2020, the APC averred that it studied the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) certificate, which Gbadamosi submitted to the INEC in comparison with his certificate obtained from the official website of WAEC.

The party, in its writs of summons, claimed that it discovered certain discrepancies in the certificates, which according to the APC, were indicative of the fact that the WAEC certificate Gbadamosi submitted to the INEC might have been falsified.

It claimed that some of the discrepancies observed in Gbadamosi’s WAEC certificate include the number of subjects the PDP candidate allegedly sat for “is different from the number of subjects he sat for as contained on the website of WAEC.

“Also, the grades he claims to have received via the certificate is different from that contained on the official website of WAEC,” the APC declared in its writs of summon.

The WAEC certificate, which Gbadamosi submitted to the INEC, revealed that the PDP candidate only sat for five subjects: English Language with A3 grade, Literature in English C5; History C5; Commerce C4 and Biology P7.

However, details of Gbadamosi’s result obtained from WAEC’s official website revealed that the PDP candidate for eight subjects in which he had F-9 in Bible Knowledge; F-9 in Economics; F-9 in Mathematics; A-3 English Language; C-5 in Literature in English; C-5 in History; C-4 in Commerce and P-7 Biology.

The APC, also, alleged that the PDP candidate filled Form EC9 that he attended the Lagos State University after obtaining his WAEC certificate in 1985, which it argued, was suspicious because he did not meet requirements for admission in the university.

On these grounds, the APC asked the court to disqualify the PDP and Gbadamosi from contesting the forthcoming senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, which the INEC had rescheduled to hold on December 5

Apart from asking the court to disqualify the PDP candidate from contesting the December 5 senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, the APC prayed that the court, also, “disqualifies him from contesting future elections in view of the falsified certificate he presented to the INEC.”

Also, in its statement of claims, the APC declared that it had painstakingly studied the Forms EC9 and CF001 Gbadamosi filled and submitted to the INEC for the purpose of the December 5 senatorial bye-election

The party alleged that the PDP candidate made several false declarations on oath regarding his working experience, his educational qualifications and certain other aspects.

It, also, alleged that Gbadamosi did not participate in the one year mandatory National Youth Service (NYSC), which according to the APC, indicated that making “false declarations on oath and failure to participate in the mandatory national service are offences under our several criminal laws.”

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POLITICS

‘We are not planning any impeachment against Obasa’ -LAWMAKERS

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Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday passed a vote of confidence on Speaker Mudashiru Obasa, emphasising that they were not plannning to impeach the speaker, as insinuated in some quarters.
The Lawmakers said the speaker had demonstrated exemplary leadership so far so good, and as such, vowed to keep supporting him.
Recall that Obasa had been in the eye of the storm following ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into his financial dealings in the house.
While some of his accounts had been frozen courtesy of the order of Federal High Court in Lagos, the speaker was interrogated last week by operatives of the anti-graft body in Lagos. He was subsequently released on administrative bail.

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