By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The coalition of civil society groups has decried the way and manner in which the State House of Assembly under Speaker Mudashiru Obasa arrived at the decision to remove two of its principal officers and two other members, describing such as despicable and an exhibition of lawlessness, which clearly violates the position of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The speaker had early last week at the plenary announced the sack of two principal officers, namely the Chief Whip, Hon Rotimi Abiru and Deputy Majority Leader, Hon Olumuyiwa Jimoh as well as two other members namely Hon Moshood Osun and Hon Kazeem Raheem Adewale
They were accused of alleged gross misconduct, insubordination and actions capable of destabilizing the House.
The coalition under the aegis of Lagos People’s Assembly gave this position on Sunday in Lagos at a press conference jointly addressed by Comrade Shina Loremikan of Campaign Against Impunity, Comrade Femi Lawson, Comrade Mogbojuri Kayode (Centre for Accountability), Comrade Funmi Jolade Ajayi (Community Women Initiatives), Comrade Olanike Akanji (Lagos Island Women Vanguard) and Olarinde Thomas (Yoruba Youth Assembly).
Addressing journalists at the International Press Centre, in Ogba area of the state, Comrade Loremikan, while expressing surprise about the way and manner Obasa arrived at his decision, said the coalition demanded an immediate recall of the suspended members and sacked principal officers.
This was just as he called on Lagosians and the leadership of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos State to rise and check the excesses of the speaker, Hon Obasa as well as his cronies.
Besides, he said the coalition also resolved to demand an independent panel to probe the allegations and all issues, including alleged financial mismanagement and corruption, which he said had become the hallmark of the leadership of House under Speaker Obasa.
“The Coalition of Civil Society Groups have called this press conference today, to address the seemingly unending crisis in the Lagos state House of Assembly, occasioned by the controversial suspension of some members and the removal of two of its principal officers and members, who are the Chief Whip, Mr Rotimi Abiru, Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Olumuyiwa Jimoh.
“As Lagosians and Stakeholders in the democratic process, we are curious about the desperate manner in which the Speaker, Honorable Mudashiru Obasa arrived at this decision and the general manner, in which he has continued to conduct the businesses of the House.
“We wish to say categorically, that not only is the conduct of Speaker Obasa and his cronies despicable, it is also an exhibition of lawlessness, as it violates clearly, the position of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“We hereby demand an immediate recall of the suspended members and sacked principal officers, while calling on Lagosians and the leadership of the governing All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos State, to rise and check the excesses of Honorable Obasa and his cronies.
“Meanwhile, we are also demanding for an independent panel to probe the allegations and all issues, including monumental financial mismanagement and corruption, which has become the hallmark of the Obasa leadership, since taking over as Speaker of the Assembly,” he said.
According to Loremikan, the independent panel being suggested should not be restricted to the House alone but should draw its membership from the civil societies, the Labour, the judiciary and other stakeholders in order to come out with a transparent and credible report.
Speaking further, the right activist denounced the attack by Speaker Obasa on opposing voices, saying such had been most vicious and undemocratic, adding that the aim was undoubtedly to destroy the tenet of the nation’s democracy.
“The attack by the Speaker, on opposing voices, has been most vicious, undemocratic and the aim is undoubtedly to destroy the tenet of our democracy,” he said, declaring: “The state of affairs in the Lagos State House of Assembly is unacceptable and it is high time Lagosians rose up to call Speaker Mudashir Obasa to order.”
On the independent panel of inquiry, Comrade Loremikan contended that it was crucial now, else the developing and un-abating clampdown on members, by the speaker, would keep pushing the assembly, into needless and avoidable crisis.
He said: “The crime for which these suspended members are being victimised is their opposition to the brazen violation of House Rules and impunity of the Speaker.
“Conclusively, we call on well-meaning Nigerians, Lagosians, the APC and other concerned groups to call on the Speaker Mudashir Obasa, not to throw Lagos into needless crisis and to openly support the demand for an independent panel of enquiry on the manner, in which Obasa has ruled the House of Assembly, since taking over.”
Also speaking, Comrade Lawson said it was wrong and against the tenets of the country’s constitution to deny people their representation, just because the speaker didn’t like their representatives, declaring that it was not too late for the House to rescind his decision and recall the affected lawmakers back to their seats.
“It is not too late for the Assembly to rescind their decision, it is about us in Lagos because what was done is illegal,” he said.
“What we are doing now does not end here, there would be a series of activities, engagements from tomorrow to ensure that the decision is rescinded. I would not sit by and watch democratic principles in Lagos to be thrown to the dogs.
“We are not partial, we are not biased, we are going to engage the House to ensure purposeful resolution of the conflict,” he said.