By Kazeem Ugbodaga
There was drama at the Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday as the much anticipated 2019 budget presentation by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was stalled by the lawmakers.
Information had gone round at the weekend that Ambode would be presenting the 2019 budget on Monday after the governor could not present it in December 2018 due ‘irreconcilable’ differences.
Journalists covering the State Governor and the House of Assembly had been on standby since 8.00am waiting for Ambode to appear for the presentation.
At around 2:30pm, the governor’s press corps were hurriedly conveyed to the Assembly after information had it that Ambode was now ready to storm the Assembly to present the 2019 appropriation bill.
At the Assembly, advanced team of the governor was already on ground, while the anti-bomb vehicle was stationed at the Assembly’s car park, while policemen could be seen around the premises, raising expectation that Ambode would present the budget unfailingly.
At the Assembly’s lobby, journalists covering the governor were barred from accessing the gallery where a dispersed audience had been waiting since morning for the long-awaited budget presentation.
After waiting for about 30 minutes, a police officer, who claimed to be the ‘OC’ of the House briefed governor’s press corps that he had information from the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa that they should leave the premises as the House would not take the governor’s budget presentation as earlier expected.
He said the speaker was having a private meeting with other lawmakers and would not want to be disturbed, insisting that the speaker said the budget presentation would not be taken and ordered the pressmen to leave.
Another aide to the speaker, who craved anonymity confirmed that the Assembly would not take the governor’s budget for the day.
However, PM News gathered that the governor had informed the lawmakers since Friday that he would be coming to present the budget on Monday, as the two arms of government successfully resolved their differences which hampered the presentation last year.
A top government source confided in PM News that the problem was from the lawmakers as the budget presentation was their show.
The source said the lawmakers were engrossed in a meeting to iron out their differences, as there were issues among them yet to be reconciled.