There was drama at the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly Thursday evening when members of the Committee on Finance distanced themselves from the content of a report which was to be presented to the whole House.
The House had stepped down some items in the Order Paper so as to take the presentation of the report on the Lagos State Revenue Administration Bill, 2012, which was expected to be passed into law very soon.
The bill is for a law to provide for the administration and collection of revenue due to Lagos state and local government authorities in the state and for connected purposes.
However, immediately the Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, called on the committee Chairman, Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, for the presentation of the bill, the committee’s Vice Chairman, Yinka Ogundimu, representing Agege Constituency 1, raised an objection.
Ogundimu told the House that he had not set his eyes on the report before it was presented to the House thus giving the impression that Mrs. Tejuosho single-handedly created it.
“Even though I am the Vice Chairman of the committee, this is the first time I’m setting my eyes on this report,” he told his colleagues at the floor of the House stressing that he was sure none of the other members saw the report.
Speaker Ikuforiji, who doubted Ogundimu’s position, called other members of the committee to know if they saw the report.
Mojeed Fatai Adebola, a member of the committee who represents Ibeju-Lekki Constituency 1 at the House, told the House that he was only invited to the committee sitting once and was thereafter told he could not partake in further sittings and preparation of the report because of its sensitive nature.
He said he never saw the report before it was to be presented to the House.
When asked for his position on the report, Mudashiru Obasa, another member of the committee and representative of Agege Constituency 1 at the House, told the Speaker and his colleagues that he did not see the report prior to its presentation saying he was busy with other official engagements.
Ikuforiji, who expressed shock at this development, said though he was interested in the bill because of its importance, he had no choice but to step it down.
The Speaker, after a brief meeting with other principal officers, said: “I’m interested in getting this bill passed this year because it is important to the people and government of Lagos state.
“It is a revenue thing and we cannot fail ourselves in this onerous task, but the rule of the House must be upheld.
“Since there is discordant tunes among the committee members, this bill is hereby stepped down today and I want the committee chairman to meet with the members of the committee and reconcile.
“The bill must be presented before the House tomorrow, even if it is a minority report. We must take the report.”
Mrs. Tejuosho later stormed out of the sitting when the she was not allowed to speak on the issue after the Speaker had given his verdict.