Reasons are emerging for the mild drama at the Lagos State House of Assembly where the much-anticipated 2019 budget presentation by governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday was stalled by the lawmakers.
Simply put: All is still not well between the Executive and Legislative arms of government in the state, contrary to public show of solidarity and friendship.
The lingering impasse was laid bare before all and sundry on Monday, with the lawmakers refusing to entertain the governor.
Relations between the two arms of government had become fragile due to alleged infractions in some quarters and issues around allegiance, loyalty, etc., within the ranks – including top hierarchy of the House – and some party members, which have snowballed into the present unhealthy situation.
Some close observers have variously described the situation as a clash of egos between governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, who is alleged, along with some of his members, to be preventing the budget presentation. These observers say the fragile situation, if not properly and carefully handled, has the potential of affecting the party’s fortunes in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
There had been widespread projections last weekend that Ambode would be presenting the 2019 budget on Monday after the governor could not present it in December 2018 due to ‘irreconcilable’ differences between the Executive and Legislative arms of government in the state.
Journalists covering the state governor and the House of Assembly had been on standby since 8.00am on Monday waiting for Ambode to appear for the presentation.
At around 2:30pm, the governor’s press crew were hurriedly conveyed to the Assembly after information had it that Ambode was ready to appear before the Assembly to present the 2019 Appropriation Bill.
At the Assembly, an advanced team of the governor including aides, protocol, security, etc., was already on ground; the anti-bomb vehicle was stationed at the Assembly’s car park, while policemen could be seen around the premises, raising expectation that Ambode would finally present the budget.
At the Assembly’s lobby, journalists covering the governor were not only barred from accessing the main gallery, but also, eventually, asked to vacate the Assembly hallway where people had been waiting since morning for the long-awaited budget presentation.
After waiting for about 30 minutes, a police officer, who claimed to be the ‘OC’ of the House briefed the governor’s press corps that he had information from the Speaker, that they should leave the premises as the House would not be receiving the governor’s budget presentation as earlier expected.
He said the speaker was having a private meeting with other lawmakers and would not want to be disturbed, insisting that the speaker said the budget presentation would not be taken and ordered the pressmen to leave.
Another aide to the speaker, who craved anonymity, confirmed that the Assembly would not take the governor’s budget for the day.
It was, however, gathered that the governor had informed the lawmakers since Friday that he would be coming to present the budget on Monday, as the two arms of government seemingly successfully resolved their differences which had hampered the presentation since last year.
A top government source, who spoke in confidence, said the problem was from the lawmakers, as, according to him, the budget presentation was their show.
The source said the lawmakers were engrossed in a meeting to iron out their differences, as there were issues among them yet to be resolved.
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