- Members of the Lagos state House of Assembly have fired backed at Governor Akinwunmi Ambode over the controversy surrounding the presentation of 2019 budget
- The House had denied receiving the 2019 budget from the Governor Ambode-led government
- A correspondence from Ambode, which the executive arm of government claimed was the budget for 2019, was rejected on Thursday, January 10, by the House
The Lagos state House of assembly on Thursday, December 10, rejected a correspondence from Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, which the executive arm of government claimed was the budget for 2019.
Legit.ng reports that the House, in discrediting the correspondence, cited section 121 of the country's constitution which stipulates that the head of the executive should present the budget before the House.
The lawmakers insisted, and it was approved, that the governor must be the one to present the budget before the House.
They, however, said they were prepared to receive the budget upon proper presentation by the House according to the House norm.
They lawmakers, who spoke during plenary, put the blame on the executive arm for going against the constitutional provision in relations to the presentation of the budget.
The majority leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, one of the lawmakers who spoke, said: "What we may have now, is a document that was not properly laid before the House. So this procedure must commence properly before the House of assembly.
"We may not blame the members of the public for not knowing, but we say the budget was not properly laid. I want to say that it could be when the executive knew it was running out of time that it hurriedly sent the correspondence."
He asked that the House should be made to do the right thing.
A lawmaker representing Agege 2, Yinka Ogundimu, had earlier asked his colleagues to take a critical look at the correspondence of the governor shortly after it was read on the floor by the clerk, Azeez Sanni.
He argued that the correspondence was wrongly dated and that it could not have come after the House went on recess.
In his own argument, Honourable Moshood Oshun, who cited a provision of the constitution to show that the governor and the executive arm erred, argued that it was only proper that the budget be presented as supposed.
According to him, what the governor did was in disregard to the law and the sanctity of the lawmaking function of the House.
He tasked the leadership of the House to ensure that the executive arm did the right thing.
He further noted, like his colleague, Lanre Ogunyemi, that the House decided to reduce its supposed six weeks recess to two weeks and only decided to proceed when it was obvious that the budget would not be sent.
In his submission, the speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, insisted that governor must respect the provision of the constitution by physically presenting the budget before the lawmakers.
Obasa, who noted that this is not the period of acrimony, reminded the lawmakers that they have a stake beyond May 29, and should, therefore be ready to continue to serve the people.
He also warned them against comparing themselves with those whose stakes do not exceed May 29, 2019.
While thanking the lawmakers for remaining calm since the issue started, Obasa said: "Those who have a very short stake can afford to do anything they like."
He disclosed that the first call he received concerning the budget was on the December 24, when he was told of the willingness of the executive to make the presentation.
He said the letter, wrongly dated December 17, 2019, was received by the House on December 28, 2018.
"There is no fault on the side of the Assembly. Our stake goes beyond May 29, 2019," he said adding that nobody can present the budget on behalf of the governor who is the head of the Assembly.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that following disclosure of budget submission to the Lagos assembly made by the commissioner for budget and economic planning, Olusegun Banjo, the state assembly denied receiving the 2019 budget from the Governor Ambode-led government.
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