As Lagos Assembly shops for Ikuforiji’s successor | Independent Newspapers Limited
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As Lagos Assembly shops for Ikuforiji’s successor

Posted: Apr 27, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Akinwunmi King, Lagos

The Lagos State House of Assembly has been rated as a legislative House that has attained more than the common standard of excellence. Under the leadership of Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the House became one to reckon with. The quality of laws and motions from the

Rotimi Abiru

Rotimi Abiru

hallowed chamber could be described as outstanding. In terms of training for lawmakers and staff, it was believed to have surpassed any other house of assembly in the country. This is besides the fact that it has perhaps the best office complex in the country, with state of the art facilities.

With the exit of Ikuforiji from the House coming in a matter of days, a lot of people, especially staff of the Assembly, have been wondering who can step into his large shoes. This is in the same manner as many are waiting to see how the governor-elect of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode, will be able to surpass the achievements of the outgoing governor, Babatunde Fashola.

After zoning the governorship and deputy governorship seats to the East and West Senatorial Districts of the state respectively, it is expected that the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will zone the number three seat (Speakership) to Lagos Central Senatorial District in order to have a balanced equation and to respect the principle of zoning.

Olanrewaju Oshun

Olanrewaju Oshun

These arrangements would probably not work if the incumbent Deputy Speaker, Taiwo Kolawole, had won his fifth term bid to return to the House. Automatically, Kolawole would have become the Speaker being the longest serving member.

Before the elections were held, there were insinuations that the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had anointed the then Secretary of the APC in Lagos State, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni to return to the Assembly with the intent of taking over from Ikuforiji, who will be vacating the number three come June 2015. Though, Tinubu had on two or three occasions denied ever anointing Eshinlokun-Sanni.

Eshinlokun-Sanni, who is the immediate past Chairman of Lagos Island Local Government, was a member of the House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003, after which he was made a Special Adviser on Political and Legislative Powers Bureau to Tinubu; he later became the secretary to the board of the state’s micro-finance institution. In 2008, he was elected the chairman of Lagos Island Local Government and, just before the end of his second term; he was made the state’s secretary of the APC.

Gbolahan Yishawu

Gbolahan Yishawu

A source close to Tinubu also disclosed that the APC leader will never meddle in matters concerning the state legislature. “We have been hearing the rumour that Asiwaju has concluded plans to impose Eshinlokun on the House. There is no truth in that and I am very sure that Eshinlokun himself will never have that gut to say that Asiwaju has told him that he will become the next Speaker of the House.

“What exactly happened was that before the elections, he (Eshinlokun) came to meet Asiwaju and told him that he wants to return to the House of Assembly. So Asiwaju only said he should go ahead if that was what he wanted. The man never promised him anything but it seems he has been going about saying things Asiwaju didn’t tell him. The issue of Speakership will be decided by members of the House,” the source said.

Eshinlokun-Sanni’s return to the House will definitely read a lot of meanings to returning members in particular because he is believed to be very close to Senator Oluremi Tinubu. Also, the ex-council boss is believed to be a very arrogant person which is likely to work against his ambition.

Apart from this, Eshinlokun-Sanni, left the Assembly in 2003 and since then, a lot of things have changed and coming from a local government council background, he may be unable to lead the House or starts from where Ikuforiji stopped.

Also, there is still pending suit in court challenging Eshinlokun-Sanni’s eligibility for the just concluded election

Moreover, with Tinubu’s denial of anointing Eshinlokun-Sanni, other lawmakers are waiting to see if truly the leadership of the party is committed to internal democracy.

However, there are other qualified names willing to take over from Ikuforiji, which include, the incumbent Deputy Leader of the House, Rotimi Abiru, who is the only returning principal officer.

Abiru, who is a returning to the House for a third term, possess the qualities to be a Speaker in the sense that he is very vocal, easy-going and intelligent. Being the only returning principal officer, Abiru should be considered for the position but zoning arrangement may not be in his favour considering the fact that he hails from Ikorodu and is presently representing Shomolu Constituency 2.

Gbolahan Yishawu, who is representing Eti-Osa Constituency 2 is another name who is seen to be very desperate and over ambitious to occupy the number three seat in the state.

Yishawu, a first term lawmaker, who has been re-elected has though been one of the most successful among the first-term lawmakers in the House as he currently has a law, the Anti-Smoking Law, to his credit.

The lawmaker is though brilliant and vibrant on the floor of the House, but despite being from Lagos Central, which is the zone likely to get the position, Yishawu is inexperienced to lead the House.

In a recent interview Yishawu granted, he said, “there is nothing wrong in lobbying, I read where someone said that I am ambitious, there is nothing wrong in being ambitious. People can dream, you don’t just talk the talk, you walk the talk.

“I don’t think being the Speaker of the House should be based on legislative experience; it is something that everybody would have. It has to do with your human management, your administrative ability, and your leadership quality. The Speaker of the House doesn’t even get involved in law making process. It is the members who scrutinize the laws, the Speaker is the moderator and at the end of the day, he scrutinizes what they said and moderates, when they vote. I don’t think the legislative knowledge is of importance in choosing the Speaker.

“I want to be the Speaker of the House, I need to talk to my colleagues; I need to talk to the leadership of my party to consider me as the leader of the House. By God’s grace, at the 8th Assembly, I am qualified to run for the office of the Speaker just like some of my colleagues. I want to run for that office and I wouldn’t mind if the leadership of the party and my colleagues find me worthy to represent their interest as the Speaker of the House,” said Yishawu.

Though desperate and ambitious, Yishawu still has a lot to learn.

Another name that seems more qualified for the position is Moshood Oshun from Lagos Mainland Constituency 2. He would be serving a third term beginning from June.

Prior to the current tenure, Oshun served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, and is believed to have contributed to the success recorded in the sector.

As Chairman, House Committee on Local Government, his colleagues say his tenure had been the most successful, putting the council chairmen on their toes and ensuring that they executed major projects throughout the three years they remained in office.

“Oshun is one person who knows how to handle others. He does not joke with issues relating to members of his committee and would always handle every task before him as if it is the last he would handle.

“He would make a good head of the Assembly because as one of the oldest in the House currently, he understands the workings of the Assembly, the needs of the state and that of his colleagues,” a member of the Committee on Local Government Administration disclosed.

If the party (APC) chose to go by zoning, then Oshun will be the only candidate that will qualify for the position.

In a matter of months, by June to be precise, the decision will be made and Ikuforiji’s successor would emerge. Observers are waiting to see if the leadership of the APC will respect internal democracy and honour the zoning arrangements.