Friday 22 May 2015

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu & Lagos lawmakers-Elect in Face-Off Over Who Will Take-Over From Ikuforiji’s As Speaker

Countdown to the inauguration of the 8th Legislative Assembly in Lagos State, there is currently a serious face-off between some lawmakers-elect and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, over who will take-over from Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, as Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA).

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Barely 10 days to the inauguration of the incoming legislative assembly, the challenge of who to fit into Ikuforiji’s shoes capable of maring the smooth take-off of the incoming administration Legislative and Executive Arms of government is yet to be settled among members–elect.
The pomp and pageantry that usually greets inauguration of the assembly is likely to be adversely affected. Who succeeds Ikuforiji is apparently occupying the minds of the incoming lawmakers.
However, for the first time, the legislative assembly will be having a significant number of minority, as seven out of 40 seats of the house will be occupied by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members, while 33 seats will be occupied by members-elect from the ruling All Progress Congress, APC.
One major fall-out of the last election is that the current Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Kolawole Taiwo, fondly called HKT by his admirers will not be returning in the 8th assembly.
Taiwo, having served four terms in the House, representing Ajeromi Ifelodun Constituency 1, is the most favoured to clinch the office. But having suffered defeat to a candidate of the PDP, Mr. Dayo Famakinwa, this automatically destabilized the earlier permutations for a new speaker come June 1. The contenders for the speakership race are Lanre Ogunyemi, representing Ojo Constituency II is returning to the House for the second time. Ogunyemi is from Lagos West.
Mudasiru Obasa, representing Agege constituency I, is the current Chairman of the House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning. Obasa is considered one of the most respected lawmakers in the House and commands much respect among his colleagues. He is from Lagos West. Rotimi Abiru, representing Somolu Constituency II, is currently the Deputy Chief Whip of the House. Interestingly, Abiru is the only principal officer that got re-lected during the just concluded polls. Other principal officers lost out either at party primaries or during the elections.
His experience cannot be overlooked as he is coming in as a third term lawmaker. Having been in the House since 2007, Abiru is regarded as one of the most vibrant lawmakers. Abiru is also regarded as a good manager of human and material resources. He reads the mood of the House and proffers solutions on issues where necessary, that is why he is nicknamed ‘Barometer’ by his colleagues. He is from Lagos East.
Moshood Olanrewaju Osun, representing Lagos Mainland constituency 1, is coming as a third term lawmaker. Coming from a rich legislative background, Osun is from Lagos Central and this may be an advantage if the party considers his zone. Hon. Funmilayo Tejuosho, the only female contender, represents Mushin Constituency I. She is from Lagos West. She was the Deputy Speaker in the 6th Assembly.
Tejuosho has remained consistently dogged and the most formidable Amazon on the floor of the House. She is brilliant, articulate and capped it up with needed legislative experience. Leading the Assembly will not be new to Tejuosho as she had once served as Deputy Speaker in the Assembly where she presided over proceedings in the absence of the Speaker.
Gbolahan Yisawu, from Eti Osa 1, had shown interest in the speakership even before the party’s primaries and this development made many of his colleagues to regard him as having inordinate ambition. He is from Lagos Central. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, elected to represent Lagos Island 1, was a member of the House between 1999 and 2003. Pundits posited that the absence of 12 years may have shut him out of the current legislative reality, though he is also from Lagos Central.
Lagos State House of Assembly
Lagos State House of Assembly
With the governor-elect, Mr. Akinwummi Ambode coming from the East and his Deputy, Fausat Adebule from the West, the odds might favour Eshinlokun, who is from the Central. Following initial intrigues, horse trading, negotiations, arm twisting and high-wire politicking, it was gathered that some members decided to queue behind Eshinlokun for speakership, while some queue behind others and some are undecided.
Eshinlokun, is said to be the candidate of APC national Leader and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the “Jagaban” as he’s fondly called. However, Tinubu who was yet to publicly endorse him as at press time, eventhough it was gathered that mercenaries had been sent in motion to convince other members to support Eshinlokun’s ambition who is the anointed candidate.
He might have difficult time convincing his colleagues because they (colleagues) believe that he has lost touch with legislative matters because of his absence since 1999. Another obstructing factor is that Eshinlokun has a pending court case with a fellow party member, Hakeem Masha, over who was the legal candidate to represent APC in the election to represent Lagos Island 1.
Another stumbling block to Eshinlokun’s ambition is that the current Speaker, Ikuforiji prefer to give it to his stooge and ally, Abiru, in order to fully cover his tracks after leaving office.
Meanwhile, Obasa is said to be a non indigene, from Ewekoro in Ogun State. The house would not want a situation where the speaker will be seen as a non-Lagosian as the case against the governor- elect, who is said to be from Ondo State. Moreso, there is one Abiru as the Clerk of the House, so the issue of Abiru as speaker and the Clerk did not augur well with members.
Abiru, not wanting to let go has also employed the support of Hon. Oshinowo, popularly called “Pepper,” and House of   Representatives member-elect, Kosofe in the quest to change Asiwaju’s decision and endorse him, Obasa as the anointed candidate. It was gathered that many attempts to see Asiwaju on the matter have not yielded any positive result. Hence, the game continues.
Osun and Yishawu are also not giving up easily. They have embarked on one-on-one canvassing with members. While Osun is enjoying some attention, Yishawu is not, as he is considered to be too ambitious and arrogant for the job. Interestingly, Hon. Tejuosho, who many believed has gathered enough legislative experience, coupled with her profession as a Lawyer, is still unsure to replace Ikuforiji’s.
Her close links with APC strong member, Muiz Banire, is likely to affect her ambition because of the frosty relationship between Banire and Tinubu. Members believe that if she eventually becomes the speaker it will be difficult for Tinubu, who is the godfather to many to shadow and control the speaker.
There is murmuring among members to reject any imposed candidate on the assembly, warning against the repeat of 1999 episode, when the majority candidate for speakership, Hon. Ola Animashaun was consumed at the 11th hour by the power that be then and Hon Olurunnibe Mammora, in a twist of fate, emerged the speaker.
Though, the incident saw members of the house throwing chairs at one another during the session of the election. According to one of the members-elect who preferred anonymity, “The Assembly is supposed to be independent, hence, we should be left alone to choose our own popular leader rather than imposition. The era of imposition in the assembly is over. We have brilliant members now and we are ready to go the whole hug to stop any form of imposition.”
Via -Vangurd

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