Who Succeeds Ikuforiji Today? | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Who Succeeds Ikuforiji Today?

Posted: Jun 8, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Tunde Opeseitan, Lagos

The big moment is finally here in Lagos State as the much-awaited inauguration of the 8th Plenary Session of the State House of Assembly will be performed.

Eshinlokun Sani  and Tejuosho

Eshinlokun Sani and Tejuosho

The inauguration, earlier scheduled to hold on June 4, was rescheduled for June 8 via a statement signed by Bose Lambo, Head of Information at the Assembly. Lambo explained that the shift was due to unforeseen circumstances.

“All inconveniences are highly regretted please,” the statement said.

The 7th Assembly, headed by Adeyemi Ikuforiji, winded down on June 1 with a valedictory session held during its final plenary.

In the past few weeks, there have been intense political permutations, manoeuvring, name-calling, name-dropping and even blackmail in the race for Ikuforiji’s successor.

So far so good, the aspirants for the coveted seat have been reduced to six, as against the crowd that initially indicated interest in becoming the number three man in the state that pride herself as the Centre of Excellence.

Naturally, if due process of zoning is to be strictly adhered to, then the aspirants will be further reduced. This is because there are three zones in the state namely, Lagos East, Lagos West and Lagos Central.

The governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, is from Lagos East; his deputy, Idiat Oluranti-Adebule, is from Lagos West, while it follows naturally that the Speaker will come from Lagos Central.

However, there is the strong argument that competence and capability to deliver must not be sacrificed on the altar of zoning. But even at that, the aspirants from Lagos Central are eminently qualified to lead the Assembly, irrespective of the yardstick to be adopted.

Going by the ranking rule in the House, the contest was initially between the returning 20 lawmakers, as the other 20 lawmakers are new members who are going to the House for the very first time.

The 20 new legislators, 12 from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and 8 from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are expected to join the returnees for the legislative business. From the returning 20 legislators, 13 are returning for second term, four are on third term, while three are on fourth term.

However, out of the members, the race to replace Ikuforiji has now been reduced to a contest among 6 aspirants. They are former Deputy Speaker, Olufunmilayo Tejuosho, (Mushin, Lagos West); Deputy Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru (Shomolu, Lagos East); Sanai Oyeniran Bolanle Agunbiade (Ikorodu 1, Lagos East); Mudasiru Obasa (Agege, Lagos West); Moshood Olanrewaju Osun (Mainland, Lagos Central); and Wasiu Esinlokun-Sanni, former Chairman of Mainland Local Government (Lagos Central).

If the zoning arrangement is to be adopted, then the race will be between Eshilokun-Sanni and Osun.

Already, Eshilokun-Sanni has been rumoured to be the preferred candidate of APC’s National Leader, Bola Tinubu, and from all indications, there has not been any direct denial of such by the former Lagos State Governor. However, some party leaders have debunked such claim.

Besides, Eshilokun-Sanni has been in and out of court, a development which many viewed as the well-orchestrated plan of his political detractors, who wanted to stop him from getting to the House, talkless of becoming the Speaker.

Trouble started when Eshilokun-Sanni’s name was surprisingly substituted with that of Hakeem Masha as APC’s candidate for the general election. At the primary election conducted by the party, Eshilokun-Sanni defeated Masha with wide margin, but Masha’s name appeared on the list of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Eshilokun-Sanni challenged the substitution of his name via a suit he filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, and his claim was upheld by Justice Ibrahim Buba. The case is now on appeal.

The only snag for Eshilokun-Sanni is that since he is returning to House after a long time, some are of the view that he might have lost touch with legislative business, and would need to study the process again before aspiring to lead the House.

As for Osun, he is believed to be a perfect gentleman, who is eminently qualified to lead the House. Apart from having the courage and boldness to take over from Ikuforiji, Osun is also seen as a serious contender for the position considering the fact that he is a man who has demonstrated high level of contentment ever since joining the party. The position of his brother in the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) will also be a key factor that might work in his favour.

As for Tejuosho, apart from the fact that she might be ruled out of the race should zoning be adopted, the strong link she has with the National Legal Adviser of APC, Muiz Banire, might equally work against her. This is so because the party leaders are now not comfortable with Banire for the alleged antagonistic role he played in the Ambode governorship race.

Banire had openly flayed APC leaders, by extension, Tinubu, for supporting Ambode to become the governor. Having said that, the thinking in the main caucus of the APC is that Banire might use Tejusoho to destabilise the polity with impeachment threat on the governor.

But barring the Banire factor and zoning, Tejusoho is a good material for the position, as she has the courage, boldness and good command of English language to deliver anytime, anyday.

Agunbiade, representing Ikorodu, is another good material for the job. He is young and dynamic and is viewed by many as a legislator with all humility.

Rotimi Abiru, the Deputy Chief Whip is also considered to be a strong contender. As the only principal officer returning to the House, one of the factors that would work for the third term lawmaker is his intelligence and good command of English language.

As one of the principal officers in the House, he is also being tipped to occupy the seat although being from the same Senatorial district with Agunbiade (Lagos East), one of the factors that might work against him is the issue of zoning.

The Chairman of Appropriation Committee of the 7th Assembly, Mudasiru Obasa is another serious contender for the speakership. As the man in charge of money, some are of the opinion that his position may give him financial edge over other contenders.

But he may also be affected by the zoning arrangement should it be adopted.

As the big moment is finally here as to the selection or election of the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, the most important point to the ordinary man on the street is how the legislators will come up with laws that will make life meaningful and bring about development.

However, it is hoped that above every other factor, the paramount thing will be the interest of the people.