30th June, 2011
It was drama yesterday evening at the Lagos State House of Assembly when one of the nominees for the cabinet of Lagos State ended up blessing the lawmakers with prayers while being screened.
Ben Akabueze, the immediate past Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, had come into the chambers for the exercise after some other candidates were screened.
Akabueze was thoroughly grilled by the lawmakers who obviously were not satisfied with the implementation of previous budgets in the state and the prioritisation of projects by the government.
A lawmaker, Sanai Agunbiade, who was one of those who questioned him, complained that the government had continued to embark on projects without concentrating on where such projects were supposed to be needed.
He also complained that the government concentrated the projects in particular areas of the state, leaving other areas with little or nothing to benefit from such annual budget.
The lawmakers also raised eye-brow that his Curriculum Vitae had reflected that he was still a Commissioner in the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning. But he was defended by the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who explained that it was an oversight, to calm the nerves of his colleagues.
After being grilled for over 20 minutes, another lawmaker, Bayo Oshinowo, begged the House to prevail on Akabueze, who earlier told them he is an ordained pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, to pray for them.
As if expecting him to do so, the lawmakers immediately bowed their heads, while those wearing caps removed them not minding the fact that they were of mixed religion.
Akabueze prayed for them begging God not to allow anyone die while doing their legislative business.
He also prayed for their families, staff and the officials of government in the House and got a resounding amen as response to the prayer.
Another nominee, Olutoyin Ademola Ayinde became a lecturer while being screened as he took time to enlighten the lawmakers who listened with rapt attention.
Ayinde, a professional Town Planner, was asked what he thinks about demolition of buildings, but he replied that throughout his educational career, he did not come across any course as â€˜demolition.â€™
In response to the Speakerâ€™s question on what could be done to Iwaya area of Makoko which is a slum, the nominee said it was unfortunate that it in Nigeria, no one cared about the benefit of waterfront.
According to him, Lagos has 180-kilometre waterfront, but has not taken advantage of it. He said if nothing was done about the Iwaya people who have now been building their houses around the Third Mainland Bridge area on the lagoon, they would spread across the bridge.
Mr. Ayinde also blamed the government over its refusal to follow the stateâ€™s master plan designed by the Lateef Jakande government, which broke the state into districts.
He said until the master plan is revisited, the traffic challenge on Lagos Island, Victoria Island and its environs would continue.
â€”Eromosele Ebhomele & Jamiu Yisa