The Lagos State House of Assembly is considering issuing immediate past Governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode, a warrant of arrest for alleged extra-budgetary expenditure.
During plenary on Thursday, October 10, 2019, lawmakers examined two preliminary reports submitted by committees set up to investigate the purchase of 820 buses during the Ambode era.
The prevailing mood in the house was that Ambode and four of his commissioners didn’t follow due process in the purchase of the buses.
The four commissioners threatened with arrest warrants alongside Ambode are former Justice Commissioner Kazeem Adeniji , former Budget Commissioner Olusegun Banjo, former Finance Commissioner Akinyemi Ashade and ex Energy Commissioner Wale Oluwo.
“He (Ambode) did not inform the House before commencing the purchase of the buses. Over N48 billion was spent for the purchase of the buses and N22 billion was spent on import duties. 520 of the buses are still at the seaport,” blared Fatai Mojeed, head of the investigating committee.
Mojeed added that: “they could not produce any newspaper where the purchase of the buses was advertised. The committee invited 20 stakeholders, 16 of them complied, while four of them refused...against the constitutional provision.”
After Hon Gbolahan Yishawu who chairs the ad hoc committee on mid-year budget review announced that the four commissioners were invited by his committee but refused to show up, most members went for the warrant of arrest option--an option even Speaker Mudashiru Obasa appeared to endorse.
“When this house invites people and they refuse to show up, it’s like setting a bad precedent for others coming behind,” Obasa said.
“The clerk should write them including the ex-governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and if they refuse, we will do newspaper publications and after that we will issue a warrant of arrest,” Obasa declared.
Lawmakers once threatened to impeach Ambode for allegedly spending from a budget proposal they had yet to pass.
On August 20, 2019, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raided Ambode's Ikoyi and Epe homes in Lagos over an alleged N10 billion fraud.
Of friends and foes
Ambode lost his re-election bid from within his own political party, APC, in October of 2018.
The APC in Lagos anointed Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu its candidate in the run-up to the vote.
Sanwo-Olu would go on to defeat Jimi Agbaje of the PDP and others to win the governorship election of Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Ambode was no fan of Sanwo-Olu during the Lagos APC primary contest, accusing his opponent of all sorts.
The Sanwo-Olu administration has stopped short of blaming the preceding one for the collapse of infrastructure in Nigeria's most populous city.