Pressure Mounts On Lagos Assembly Over Sanwo-Olu’s Rejected Commissioner-Nominees

The Speaker said the assembly would continue to work together with the executive because there was no reason to fight.
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The Lagos State House of Assembly has come under fire for failing to confirm 17 persons nominated for the position of Commissioner by the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

   Recall the House of Assembly last Wednesday rejected 17 commissioner nominees of Governor Sanwo-Olu, including former Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi and former Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotosho.

   While the House confirmed 22 other commissioner nominees of the Governor; it did give any reason for rejecting the 17 commissioner nominees.

   The rejected 17 commissioner-nominees included former Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi and Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotosho.

Other nominees rejected include: Mrs Folashade Adefisayo, Mr Yomi Oluyomi, Mrs Folashade Ambrose, Ms Barakat Bakare, Olalere Odusote, Dr Rotimi Fashola and Mrs Bolaji Dada.

Others are Mr Sam Egube, Mr Olalekan Fatodu, Mrs Solape Hammond, Mr Mosopefolu George, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, Mr Seun Osiyemi, Mr Rotimi Ogunwuyi and Dr Olumide Oluyinka.

Meanwhile, several activists have heaped pressure on the Lagos Assembly, demanding the House to make public the rationale for rejecting 17 commissioner-nominees.

Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, a Human Rights Activist, on Tuesday urged the Lagos State House of Assembly to make public its reason for not confirming the appointments of 17 commissioner-nominees.

Okei-Odumakin, also the President of Women Arise, said in Lagos that LSHA needed to clear the air by making its findings public on why the nominees were rejected.

The activist cautioned the House of Assembly not to politicise the confirmation of commissioner-nominees.

She said that politicising the confirmation of appointments of commissioner-nominees would impact the service delivery of the appointees.

She said: “In order to clear the air, the House will be fair in the eyes of the public by making its findings on the nominees that were rejected known.

“There is already a public perception that the legislative arm of the State is at loggerheads with the executive.

“Such a rejection is an unprecedented development in Lagos since 1999. So by making the findings public, it will instill public confidence and trust in our lawmakers.”

Similarly, the Centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights (CHSR) has urged the Lagos State House of Assembly to explain the rationale used in rejecting 17 out of the 39 commissioner-nominees sent by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos,  President of the group, Mr Alex Omotehinse, said those rejected were performing commissioners during the governor’s first term in office.

Omotehinse told newsmen that it was inappropriate for the assembly to play politics with the screening and confirmation exercise by rejecting the nominees without considering their various past achievements.

The president said it was most disheartening that the 17 nominees were reported to have been rejected on mere voice votes without the assembly putting forward logical reasons or  that they were rejected for lack of merit.

He stressed that the recent rejection of the commissioners and special advisers forwarded by the governor to the assembly should be a great cause of concern to all well-meaning people of Lagos and the public.

Omotehinse said that they were not aware that some salient interests were always considered when picking political appointees.

“For instance, concerns were raised on the imperative to balance religious composition, geographical spread and even for compensation of loyal political devotees.

“These, however, are never the overriding consideration, merit, needs,  tower high above any other factors.

“This is why we are overwhelmed on how globally acclaimed, credible professionals like  Abayomi of the Ministry of Health who bailed the country out of the COVID-19 pandemic was rejected.

“Mrs Folashade Adefisayo,  Omotosho and Sam Ebube of the Ministries of Education, Information and budget and planning respectively, should not  have been rejected by any diligent, patriotic, growth- minded representatives of the people.

“These are rare breed professionals, quiet, unassuming social achievers that other saner climes are in dire search for their services,” he said.

Omotehinse said since 1999, persons of different hues have had cause to serve in the state cabinet, majorly on merit and professional criteria.

He noted that this, no doubt had made the Centre of Excellence to tap from the reservoir of the best brains in the country.

The president said human rights activists did not only applaud this unique essence of Lagos governance but they also unequivocally identified with it, and strongly recommended same for states in the Federation.

Omotehinse urged the assembly to be wary of throwing away the baby with the bath water.

He said the group was not only taken aback by this resolution but gravely disturbed by the  likely fatal consequences this seemingly total politicisation of appointments might have in disrupting the enviable developmental template of the state.

The activist stated that they were most apprehensive on the prospects of slight rupture in the processes of the state governance, which he said,  would invariably have  viral effects on the country, sub-region and continent.

He said the state’s governance craftsmanship over the years had never been solely left to the whims and caprices of partisan considerations.

According to him, this is because since 1999, persons of different hues have had cause to serve in the state cabinet, majorly on merit and professional criteria.

Omotehinse, who  said Lagos state was strategically positioned to play leading roles in the administration of President Bola Tinubu, said caution should not be thrown to  the winds with intra-party adversarial rocking of the boat.

He said  though history had severally validated the fact that when elephants fight, the grass became victims, however,  it would be a huge loss if eggheads were sacrificed on the altar of inordinate politics.

The president said residents   and the civil populace would inevitably bear the brunt if round pegs were in square holes  in the commissioner designations of the state.

We have rights not to expose screening reports on rejected nominees – Speaker

Meanwhile, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa has said the Assembly reserves the right to expose screening reports of the committee on the 17  rejected commissioner-nominees.

Obasa disclosed this at plenary on Monday, warning those planning protests and sponsoring media articles to desist, saying the House would not be threatened over the issue.

Obasa, who presided over the plenary, said the exercise followed a rigorous and detailed screening of the nominees by an ad-hoc committee led by the Chief Whip, Mr Fatai Mojeed.

He said it was unfortunate that whenever the House refused to be a ‘rubber stamp’ to a Governor’s request, then it would be interpreted by the public that the lawmakers were fighting the Governor.

“If anybody wishes to know the reasons for the decision, they should approach the house.

“However, we will not be forced to spill our observations, and we reserve the rights to expose the report of the screening.

“We are not going to be threatened by the civil society organisations who wish to protest.

“It is their right. He who lives in a  glasshouse do not throw stones,” he said.

The Speaker said the assembly would continue to work together with the executive because there was no reason to fight.

He, however, noted that the assembly had the constitutional rights to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the nominees of the governor.

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