By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
LAGOS â€”INDICATIONS emerged, yesterday, that the alleged feud between the incumbent Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and his immediate predecessor, Senator Bola Tinubu, may have divided the ranks of Action Congress (AC) members in the state, as some members, under the umbrella of â€œCoalition Of Youth For Good Governance,â€ COYGG, led a peaceful solidarity rally for the governor, to both the Lagos House and State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja.
Earlier, Governor Fashola, had, during a television broadcast to people of the state maintained that there was no crisis whatsoever in the state, saying it was the handiwork of fifth columnists using the media to portray their selfish agenda.
The House of Assembly had, last Thursday, January 28, set up a six man committee headed by Rasak Balogun, the Assembly Chief Whip to investigate allegations of financial misappropriation levelled against the governor by a group identified as â€œThe true face of Lagos.â€
The pro-Fashola groups, in their hundreds, with placards bearing various inscriptions, started the rally from the Adebola House, Opebi, Ikeja and terminated it at the Lagos House, Ikeja after lodging their complaints at the Lagos House of Assembly over the impeachment attempt.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: â€œGood governance must be sustained, BRF carry-go, donâ€™t destroy the gains of continuity, solidarity support for an achiever, we have seen the scripts of the master being played.â€
One of the groups, led by Bishop Olugbenro, in his address at the House of Assembly, said while the group respects the constitutional right of the legislative arm of government to perform its oversight functions and make laws, it rejected where those functions were misinterpreted to become tools of blackmail, intimidation and victimization.
He said: â€œWe detest and reject the surrender of legislative functions to be exercised in perpetual appeasement of insatiable godfathers. We detest and reject a situation where the unfounded accusations of a faceless group take pre-eminence over the passage of the 2010 budget of a hardworking, visionary, and progressive and God fearing leader like Fashola, which has been pending since 2009.”
The Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who had a hectic time addressing the highly charged crowd, consisting of reputable retired people, residents in Lagos and youths who left their businesses, was later booed by the demonstrators, who called him unprintable names.
Ikuforiji who commended the demonstrators for their peaceful conduct said the House had the right and duty to investigate any allegation against the governor or any of its members. His words: â€œThere is nothing like impeachment move in the House.
This House is for 18 million Lagos residents and we will defend the interest of all. The truth is that we read in the publication where some people alleged that the House has collected money from the governor and that the governor has done many bad things.
What we are saying is that if anyone accuses the House and our governor, this House will investigate in the interest of the state. We will make the investigation public for everybody to see.
All we are interested in is to clear the name of the House and that of our governor.”
The Chairman of AC, Lagos Chapter, Chief OladeleÂ Ajomale, also at the assembly to receive the protesters, affirmed that the house is free to investigate the allegations, assuring them that there is nothing to be afraid of in the matter.
In his response while addressing the group at the state House, Ikeja, Governor FasholaÂ urged them to remain calm, saying the rally was unnecessary.
He said: â€œI woke up early to make a broadcast to all of you, I did so because I am concerned about our common good and also because I am aware that outside this state people are planning to take advantage of what you plan as peaceful rally to cause confusion in our state.
Fashola accuses fifth columnists
â€œMy obligation is to do the best that I can with my colleagues to protect all of you from harm. I am, therefore, renewing my appeal to you that the rally in my support is not necessary.
I reiterate my words in the broadcast and I renew my appeal to you that as much as I appreciate your concern, the truth is that our country is where it is today because in all of 50 years, we have never had a successful transfer of power.
This model that we have in Lagos is proving successful and because there are no previous successes there is no precedent to turn to.
â€œWe must, therefore, learn new rules and we must also learn compromise. I appeal to you to join me so that we can translate this success across the country. Nothing that is successful today ever started without some problems.
Please I appeal to you, let us understand that the members of the House of Assembly were elected by you in the same way you elected me. And I assure you that they are also as concerned as you are and they would act always in your best interest.
Do not allow fifth columnist to destroy what all of you have labored to build.”