…Monthly Running Cost Triggered Protest Among Lawmakers
…Why Abiru, Jimoh Were Sacked As Principal Officers, the N2.4bn Spent On Cars Connection
Based on information gathered by this medium, it shows that things are no longer in unity at the Lagos State House of Assembly under Rt Hon. Mudashiru Obasa as power brokers in the State have initiated moves to remove the Speaker over allegations of highhandedness and lack of transparency in the way he’s running the House, Momentous News gathers
As at Monday evening, our source reliably learnt that there were moves by some powerful forces within the party to remove the Speaker and replace him with a more pliable lawmaker.
A top source privy to the plans confirmed that meetings are currently being held both in Lagos and Abuja by these power brokers.
According to the source, those involved in the meeting include forces loyal to Senator Bayo Oshinowo, a former lawmaker in the House of Assembly, who contested and won the Lagos East Senatorial ticket and is now a Senator at the National Assembly.
“There are also some key chieftains of the party who are not in support of what is brewing in the House and have been looking for ways to punish the Speaker. So, it’s very likely that the Speaker may be on his way out if the feelings of members and party leaders is anything to go by”.
The source said the anti-Obasa lawmakers have in constant touch with the party leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Minister for Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, whom the source said have been briefed on the impending crisis brewing in the House.
On Monday, reports filtered in the media that the House had passed a resolution sacking two of its principal officers and suspending two members indefinitely citing gross misconduct, insubordination and action that could destabilize the House as reasons.
The principal officers removed include the Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru and the Deputy Majority Leader, Olumuyiwa Jimoh, while Moshood Oshun (Lagos Mainland Constituency II) and Kazeem Raheem Adewale (Ibeju Lekki Constituency II) were suspended.
Late Monday evening replacements for the two principal speakers were announced by the Assembly with Hon. Noheem Adams from Eti-Osa Constituency 1 as the Deputy Majority Leader while Mojisola Miranda representing Apapa constituency 1 was elected as the new Chief Whip.
But investigations by our source revealed that a recent media report disclosing that N2.4billion was spent within 11 months to procure 80 cars for the 40 members of the Lagos State House of Assembly triggered the crisis.
A top source in the House while speaking said that the Speaker was furious that such information considered ‘top secret’ was leaked to the press. He (Obasa) was said to have accused the affected principal officers of being responsible for disclosing such information, which exposed the House to public scrutiny.
“The Speaker was unhappy that such information was leaked to the press. So he accused principal officers of not being loyal to him and disrespecting his orders and not ‘hiding’ confidential matters,” the source said.
He also accused the principal officers of being loyal to Oshinowo, who is still very influential in both the House and the state.
But the source noted curiously that Oshinowo, popularly known as ‘Pepper’ by his supporters, backed Obasa to become the Speaker in 2015 and was also instrumental in 2019 when he retained his position as Speaker of the House while he faced stiff competition from the sacked Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru and the current Deputy Speaker, Eshinlokun Sanni, both of who had their eyes on the seat and enjoyed the backing of former Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and Senator Oluremi Tinubu respectively.
“The Speaker believes that the officers were not supporting him but were instead plotting for him to fail. Don’t forget that Abiru was backed by Ikuforiji to emerge as Speaker of the House in 2019, while ‘Pepper’ backed Obasa.”
Besides, the major decision to sack the principal officers and suspend the two lawmakers indefinitely, our source revealed that the issue on ground not unconnected to the manner the spending of funds from the coffers of the House is shrouded in secrecy.
We also gathered that the House gets more than a billion naira every month for both running cost and capital project expenditure.
The source said tension were raised on the ‘coded’ manner by which the monies coming into the House was being spent.
“For your information, the House collects more than N1billion every month; for running cost and capital project expenditure, which is just going into the pocket of few persons. This is the major issue causing disquiet in the House at the moment.
“So, some lawmakers are speaking up and asking questions on how the money is being spent and this has not gone down well with those who for one reason or the other feel threatened that some people are challenging the status quo,” the source said.
But Obasa, the source noted, beyond the principal officers, is not having it all good with some lawmakers, who were elected for the first time into the House in 2019.
According to the source, Obasa’s leadership style does not sit well with the first timers in the House who consider him too authoritative and dictatorial in nature.
“Some of the new members of the House see the Speaker as a terror, his tyrannical and dictatorial nature does not sit well with them. The speaker is not also plain and coming out clean with what is coming into the coffers of the House and how it is being spent and questions are being asked without answers.”
When our source contacted, Chief Press Secretary of the Speaker, Mr. Tolani Abati, hebsaid he was not aware of the issues, saying that he had been in Abuja since Monday.
“I don’t have any details on the issue now, besides it is a House of Assembly issue and not the Speaker’s issue. So if you want anyone to speak to it, it would be the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Tunde Braimoh that can speak on it,” Abati said.
A call was put through to Hon. Braimoh, but asked our source to send a text message. But he was yet to reply the text message as at press time, we hope to report his own angle of the information if he wish to let us have it.