There is suspicion in the air as Lagos state governor-elect, Akinwunmi Ambode appoints some dismissed aides to incumbent governor Babatunde Fashola into his Transition Committee. OKUNADE ADEKUNLE reports
As May 29 hand over date beckons, several incoming governments have constituted its Transition Committee that would oversee the transition process from the outgoing government to the incoming administration. The transition Committees most often is constituted in states where the incumbent government has finished its second term or lost at the just concluded general elections.
In Lagos state, as part of the preparation of the APC in experiencing smooth transition process between the governor-elect, Akniwunmi Ambode and the outgoing government of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Ambode recently inaugurated a transition committee to ensure a seamless transfer of power to his government. The committee is expected to submit its report within four weeks of its inauguration.
Ambode in the statement issued by one of his media aides, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku, thanked the committee for their willingness to take up the challenge to work with him to build a Lagos of our dream. The Transition Committee which was headed by the Deputy-Governor elect, Dr (Mrs.) Idiat Adebule, promised that they would work assiduously to make the job a success within the time frame.
The other members of the Transition Committee are former Commissioner for Housing under Governor Fashola, Mr. Dele Onabokun, former Executive Director of Lagos state Assurance Commission (LASACO) and former Managing Director of Ibile Holdings, a parastatal of Lagos state government, under Fashola, Mr. Babatunde Durosimi Etti. Others are Prof Ademola Abass, Dr Femi Onanuga, Mr. Akeem Sulaimon, Mr. Babatunde Rotinwa, a veteran Accountant; Mr. Fola Olalekan Lasisi, Engr. Ade Akinsanya and Mrs. Rafiquat Onabamiro.
There are indications that the transition committee members might not end their work as Transition Committee members as some of them might be part of the nominee for commissionership when Ambode forms his executive. Although, some of those that would be part of the new regime cannot exactly be mention, but sources in the party informed Hallmark that some of the members who had participated in Fashola’s administration may be re-introduced into the system again as they have close relationship with the governor-elect.
The inclusion of the former commissioner for Housing, Onabokun, by Ambode in the Transition Committee is raising questions and signals that he might bring back some of the Fashola aides who were sacked for indiscipline and questionable character. It will be right to inform that Onabokun was sacked in 2011 by Fashola for an act of anti-party activities on the basis that he was behind the rebuilding of Labour Party in the state, while serving under the then Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN). He is said to be a strong actor in the SMS war against Tinubu and the then ACN. Onabokun was exposed by a group loyal to Hon Lanre Odubote, a House of Representatives member for his clandestine anti-party activities.
Also, it would be recalled that before 2011 governorship election, there was SMS war that implicated incumbent Governor Fashola as a sponsor of Labour Party and as a promoter of anti-party activities. Although, the governor vehemently distanced himself from the SMS which read that Lagosians should vote for Labour Party for House of Assembly to free Fashola and Lagos from Tinubu’s corruption.
Onabokun understandably hails from Epe town, the same town with the Governor-elect and a close friend of the Ambode, but his introduction into the system through the Transition Committee may well mean his being rehabilitated and brought into the government. However, analysts argued that this might not go down well with incumbent governor Fashola. Although, a reliable source in the party told Hallmark that the re-introduction of Onabokun was as a result of his performance during electioneering as he was able to deliver his ward and local government for the party during the governorship election.
“Dele Onabokun was re-introduced into the system by Ambode because of his performance during the governorship election. If you remember, Epe was delivered without problem and this was done by Onabokun who was part of those that spearheaded Ambode’s candidature in the local government. He delivered his ward for the party which means he is a strong party leader in the ward. He may have issue with Governor Fashola, but he is a party man that has delivered”, said a party source.
Also, the re-introduction of the former Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ibile Holdings Limited, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, into the system via the Transition Committee has started to generate arguments over the credibility of those that may constitute Ambode’s working team. Ibile Holdings Limited is the agency of the state government saddled with the responsibility of procurement and handling Lagos state government investments.
It will be right to state that Durosinmi-Etti was a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Fashola on Revenue and Investment before being fired by Fashola over alleged fraud in the organisation. Durosinmi-Etti was sacked after the revelations in the auditing of all the state’s agencies at that time. The auditing indicted him in his involvement in unaccounted funds.
A source in the party told Hallmark that the re-introduction of Etti was as a result of his close relationship with Ambode and some party leaders who were sympathetic to his sacking by Fashola. The source disclosed further that Etti’s appearance in the Transition Committee was to settle score between Fashola and Etti over the indictment that occurred in 2011. It will be right to state that it was Ambode that led the auditing of Ibile Holdings Limited under the directive of Fashola.
Analysts opined that the re-introduction of the two sacked aides to Fashola into the system may be sending a signal that Ambode’s administration may take a life of its own. And also that incumbent governor Fashola would need to watch his back as there might be a grand plan to malign him at the long run.