….Unfolding Crisis In Lagos State House of Assembly Set To Consume Obasa
…Human Rights Group Petition EFCC
By Olufemi Badru
Is the bell tolling for the political death of Mudashiru Obasa the five-term veteran of the Lagos House of Assembly? Maybe not yet but there are certainly ominous signs.
Astute watchers of Lagos politics will understand that the Doyen of political power in Lagos; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has maintained his iron-like grip on Lagos politics through the control of the House of Assembly.
He used it to threaten and cajole Fashola and effectively used it to harass and intimidate Ambode in his shock denial of a second term for the Lagos state gubernatorial slot.
Senator Bayo Oshinowo aka Pepperito was his enforcer and kingmaker in the House for close to 16 years and he did a yeoman’s job reminiscent of a mafia consigliere. In the last four years, he was ably assisted by Mudashiru Obasa who had been lifted from humble beginnings by Oshinowo to the exalted role of Speaker of the House of Assembly.
In the aftermath of the bruising exit of Ambode, largely engineered by Obasa and a host of Asiwaju lieutenants, Obasa emerged as a genetically engineered superhero with political powers apparently beyond his capacity. He was now referred to as the Acting Governor by his admirers and hangers-on and was reported to be super-rich and even more powerful than the sitting Governor of the State. This was further boosted by the promotion of Oshinowo to the Federal Senate.
Obasa egged on by blind ambition raced to fill the power vacuum by snuffing out Pepper’s stranglehold and loyalists in the Assembly and installing himself as the new power kid on the block.
This was a key step as the new sitting Governor Babajide Sanwoolu and his inner team had to be quickly told that the Asiwaju controlled legislature power block could work for him and against him in a twinkle of an eye.
Obasa further buoyed by a reported close to N2billion monthly war chest in “statutory State allocations” began to assert himself in a big way by a systematic enthronement of his own “boys” in the House to the detriment of the ranking members and traditional power brokers like Pepper.
Things began to come to a head with reports of high handedness, unilateral sharing of funds, lopsided distribution of perks, sexual harassment, disregard of the party structure and hierarchy culminating in the N2.4billion vehicle purchase fiasco.
The clouds began to gather and disgruntled members felt enough was enough and it was time to remove Obasa from his exalted perch. The Speaker sensing that a coup plot was afoot struck first by “arresting “ the coup plotters and bursting the coup plot.
The apparent arrowhead of this plot and avowed Pepper loyalist, former Chief Whip Rotimi Abiru has recently come out in a newspaper interview to say that Obasa was a despot who had essentially been elevated beyond his capacity and they would not allow any charlatan to destroy political careers they had laboured to build for years.
This scathing newspaper interview has been followed up with an alleged petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by a civil society group the Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HUMRA) where serious allegations have been tabled for investigation by the Commission.
Political leaders and the Party in Lagos have told Obasa to reverse these controversial actions but he is understandably dragging his feet to avoid loss of face. However political watchers are of the view that even if the Speaker reverses the decisions it may be too little too late as the bell appears to already be tolling.
Olufemi Badru contributed this piece from Yaba, Lagos.