By Gbenga Akanmu
Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Monday dissolved all the House committees and the committee set up to investigate the allegation of financial misappropriation against Governor Babatunde Fashola.
The House after a monthâ€™s recess resumed plenary, Monday. However, after the plenary session, Ikuforiji presented a welcome back speech entitled â€œThere is time for everything.â€
Referring to the to the ruling of the Lagos High Court on allegations against Fashola, the Speaker said: â€œAs you are well aware during the period of the recess, a Lagos High Court gave its ruling in respect of the case seeking to stop this honourable House from carrying out its constitutional responsibility of investigations.
â€œLet me categorically state that our position should be to emphasize the readiness of the Lagos State House of Assembly to abide by the ruling of the law court as an organ of government that believes in the democratic principle, rule of law and supremacy of the Constitutional of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
â€œI have, therefore, by the power conferred on me by your votes, decided to dissolve the committee set up to probe allegations of the financial recklessness, abuse of office, constitutional violation, misapplication and misappropriation of public funds against the government of Lagos State. The committee, therefore, stands dissolved.â€
He pointed out that the constitutional power conferred on the Assembly in section 128(1) of the 1999 Constitution is unfettered.
â€œIt is clear and unambiguous, it is also not conditional. Our power to conduct investigations, it must be noted, is pursuant to section 128(2) a and b which is to make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defect in the existing law; and expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.
Position of the Judge, laughable
â€œThe position of the judge is not only laughable, it is a testimony of his total lack of awareness and understanding of parliamentary practices, procedures and precedents,â€ said Ikuforiji.
He alleged that it was clear that by the decision of the court that Justice Abiru misdirected himself, â€œwhich is totally inconsistent with the provision of the Constitution.
â€œHe went outside his brief, and it brings into question his judgment as well as the capacity of the judge to make appropriate and perspicacious judgment in the discharge of its responsibility.
â€œThe judgment delivered is fraught with numerous lacunas, for instance, the judge in his judgment claimed that the group that made the allegations is faceless.
â€œWe wonder why the judge would go all out to dismiss the allegations even before the veracity and authenticity of the allegations are verified and also condemned the House in a pedestrian manner during his ruling. Where were those condemning our action as hasty when the House acted on other issues such as Sunborn Yatch Hotel?
Truth will prevail
â€œLet me state very clearly that no matter how long it takes, the truth will eventually prevail. The allegations levelled at the governor and government of Lagos are grave, mind-boggling, heart-rending, thought-provoking, monumental and very worrisome.
â€œThey ought to be looked into in the overall interest of the people of Lagos State and for the development of democracy. To attempt to sweep them under the carpet and consign them to the dustbin of history is just holding back the hand of the clock and set us up for when other parties will exploit our inactions.
â€œWe cannot continue to do things the wrong way. We must allow things to be done in the proper manner like in other civilised climes around the globeâ€, he added.
The Speaker also said all other House Committees were dissolved pending when another would be reconstituted.