The Lagos State House of Assembly has invited officials of the State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, and the chairman of the Mosan-Okunola Local Council Development Area, Mr. Abiodun Mafe, following allegations that he flouted the resolution of the House in the crisis that has taken over the council.
They are to appear before the House today (Wednesday) but why LASIEC is expected to inform the House of its preparedness for council elections in the state as the current tenure of political officers in the state local government councils expires in October, Mafe is to explain why he allegedly locked the legislative chamber of his council against the resolution of the House that status quo be maintained till the outcome of an investigation into the crisis by an ad-hoc committee of the House.
Twenty-one of the 27 lawmakers at plenary voted for him to appear to defend himself. Three voted against inviting him while three others were undecided.
Before embarking on its six-weeks recess, the House had waded into the crisis in the council that had seen the removal of the council leader, Veronica Olusoga, and her replacement with another councillor, Eniola Emmanuel, who Mafe, in a letter to the House, said he did not recognise.
The lawmakers instituted a committee to look into the issue but warned that status quo be maintained.
However, in a letter read by the Clerk of the House, Segun Abiru, upon the House resumption, the councillors accused the chairman of locking the chamber for over a month thus barring them from carrying out their constitutional function.
In his reaction, a member of the House, Lanre Ogunyemi said it was disheartening that a resolution of the Assembly could be flagrantly disregarded by Mafe, who the House accused as declaring the resolution as invalid.
Ogunyemi said it was “a flagrant disregard for the sanctity of the Assembly which had created the LCDA” adding that even though he loved the House to impose sanction against the chairman, he would, because of his belief in the rule of law, ask that Mafe be invited to the House.
Muyiwa Jimoh, who said the situation in Mosan-Okunola was unnatural, supported that he be brought to the House based on the principle of fair hearing.
In his reaction, Ipoola Omisore urged the House to take a stand because the council, to him, had been running illegally since the council chamber was shut.
Arguing against the principle of fair hearing, the Chief Whip of the House, Abdulrazaq Balogun, reminded the House that Mafe had been given such opportunity when the ad-hoc committee met. He also urged the House to take a stiffer decision.
When called upon to explain what role he had played on the issue, Bisi Yusuf, the lawmaker representing the area at the House, confirmed the content of the letter by the councillors adding that the State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, had tried to get Mafe to open the chamber to no avail.
Yusuf said apart from locking the chamber, the council chairman instructed the Sergeant-At-Arms to take away the mace from the council. He also detailed security officers to bar the councillors from gaining entrance.
He said before the councillors wrote to the House, a body of elders in the area had asked Mafe to open the chamber based on the resolution of the Assembly, but that Mafe said he had sought interpretation of the State Solicitor-General and was told the House resolution is invalid.
Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who viewed the action of the chairman as aberration, said Mafe had taken laws into his hands.
“I wonder what could happen if Governor Fashola gets up and says Ikuforiji has done something annoying and locks up this place,” he said warning council chairmen and political office holders to desist from endangering democracy.
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