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Ikuforiji: We Haven't Dumped Fashola's Probe

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
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LAGOS, Julu 04, (THEWILL) - Lagos State House of Assembly today said it had not abandoned investigation into allegations of financial scams and contract inflation a group called The True Face of Lagos preferred against Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) last January.

Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji disclosed this in an interview with THEWILL, saying that the House only set aside the process with respect to the court order restraining the House from probing the State Executive Council until it decides.

The speaker said the House tentatively stopped the investigation following the order, which directed a 7-man committee it set up to investigate the allegations to stay actions pending the determination of a suit filed before Justice Opeyemi Oke of an Ikeja High Court.

He explained that the House "has the constitutional responsibility to conduct investigations into different allegations of financial scams. If there are allegations, the Assembly has the duty of the Assembly to follow up and investigate. It is one of the basic responsibilities of the Assembly as stipulated in the constitution.

"But this is an Assembly that talks about the rule of law at all times and one that always sees the judiciary as the last hope of the common man. If we believe in the rule of law, there is no point to disrespect the orders of the court. Even when we do not agree with the court decision, we will continue to abide by the ruling," Ikuforiji stated.

On his governorship ambition, Ikuforiji dismissed the speculation that he had indicated interest to contest the 2011 gubernatorial race, though claimed he had right to contest any political office while calling for a new voters’ register that would guarantee credible elections.

The speaker said it was not true that he had declared to run the governorship race in 2011 without getting the nod from the leadership of the Action Congress (AC) and that the party had not declared the 2011 gubernatorial contest open for any aspirants.

According to him, I have not declared to contest the 2011 governorship race. Even if I want to contest, I cannot go ahead and declare my interest when our party, Action Congress has not released any guidelines with respect to the 2011 the race. I am a party man. I cannot do anything outside the rules and regulation of the party.

The speaker explained that he had right under the constitution to run for political positions he desires and that he could contest for offices since he "is a political animal and my aspiration to contest a particular political position should not generate tension."

He added that whether, "I want to contest a certain political position should not be an issue to dominate the polity. I am political animal. And I can contest any political office in as much as I want to remain in the service of the people of Lagos and Nigeria."

The speaker raised question on the existing voters’ register, describing as the electoral template devised by the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu to perpetrate diverse forms of electoral frauds.

Ikuforiji explained that the existing voters’ register, "is unacceptable for the 2011 general elections. It is not reliable because it gives room for massive rigging and all manners of electoral frauds. President Jonathan should order for a new voters’ register, " he advised.