Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Report! Assembly Dashes Ambode’s Hope Over Commissioners

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State’s hope  to swear in members of his cabinet next Monday was dashed yesterday as the members of the Lagos State House of Assembly adjourned sitting till October 13 without screening the nominees.

Ambode last Monday sent a list of commissioner and special adviser-nominees to the House for screening.

However, against the norm, the house set up a 15-man committee that will screen the nominees.

A statement from the governor’s office when the list  was sent to the Assembly said the governor was expected to swear in the new  commissioners and special advisers on October 5, with the anticipation that the nominees would have been screened immediately after the Sallah holidays.

“The screening of the list is expected to commence immediately after the Sallah holidays while cleared cabinet members would  be sworn-in to resume the task of governance by Monday, October 5, 2015,” the statement said.

But on the floor of the Assembly  yesterday, the House simply set up a 15-man ad-hoc committee to secretly screen the nominees and make recommendations to the general house.

Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, immediately after setting up the committee, explained to shocked guests and newsmen at the gallery that the decision to set up the committee, which is not the norm, was collectively taken by the lawmakers during parliamentary meeting.

While the ad-hoc committee to screen the nominees is headed by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni, other members include Deputy Majority Leader, Olumuyiwa Jimoh, Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru, Deputy Chief Whip, Omotayo Oduntan, Minority Leader, Akeem Bello.

Others are Victor Akande, Lanre Ogunyemi, Rotimi Olowo, Yinka Ogundimu, Mohammed Folajimi, Bisi Yusuf, Oladele Adekanye, Ibrahim Layode, Segun Olulade, and Dayo Fafunmi.

Obasa said the committee would first screen the nominees before presenting its report to the House when it reconvenes on October 13.

The Speaker said the decision to first screen the nominees before they would face another screening by the general House was because the House rules permit the lawmakers to work at their convenience.

However, some lawmakers, who confided in Vanguard even before the sitting said the screening would not take place because the members had some grudges against the governor especially as it seemed the governor was dictating the pace at which they should work.

One of the lawmakers, who pleaded anonymity said the screening would be delayed to send a signal to the governor to stop giving the impression that the House is a rubber stamp.

When contacted, Olulade, who served the seventh Assembly as chairman of the Committee on Information and Publicity, said the screening committee was to ensure proper screening of the nominees.

He explained further that it would be tiring screening the 37 nominees on the floor of the House since it would get to a stage where members would simply begin to ask nominees to ‘take a bow and leave.’