Over eight ranking lawmakers are battling for the Speakership of Lagos state House of Assembly in the new Assembly, reports OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
There are strong indications that the Lagos State House of Assembly may be facing a serious hurdle in electing a suitable successor for the incumbent Speaker, Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who is the longest serving speaker. He has served two uninterrupted terms from 2007 and 2015. Although, Ikuforiji has been able to get himself the Speakership position due to the political savvy of former governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu who calls the shots in the party.
It is right to state that there is clearly an arduous task of ensuring fairness as one of the five elected principal officers in the Assembly was able to survive the electoral defeat which the party suffered in some areas where the PDP was able to win some seats. It is a fact that the political tsunami swept the Deputy Speaker of the House, Musibau Kolawole Taiwo, who many analysts had felt would succeed Ikuforiji as next Speaker. Also among those that were affected by the tsunami are the Chief Whip, Majority Leader and Deputy Majority Leader.
The battle for the Speakership which would be keenly contested for by those that have been in the House for more than one term would be a show of strength by the political actors who have been eyeing the position for some time.
Following the new order occasioned by the list of new entrants into the legislative chamber, one of the 40 members who were once in the Assembly between 1999 and 2003, Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni, may also be slugging it out with the old legislators who had got the necessary legislative experience to steer the affairs of the Assembly.
Eshinlokun was formerly the Council Chairman of Lagos Island and the immediate past Lagos state All Progressives Congress (APC) Secretary.
There are indications that he would be pushed forward by some power brokers from Lagos Central Senatorial District, having close ties with Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor-elect who also has a sizeable political clout on the Island and also enjoys the support of Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.
According to a reliable source, the preference of Eshinlokun ahead of Masha Hakeem Agboola as the candidate of Lagos Island constituency in the House of Assembly by the party in the primaries was a plot powerfully staged managed by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who is a political figure in the senatorial district to ensure that Eshinlokun succeeds Ikuforiji as Speaker of the Assembly.
Although there are other returning legislators of the Assembly who may be jostling for the speakership position, among who are Rotimi Abiru from Somolu; Yishawu Gbolahan from Eti-Osa; Moshood Olanrewaju Oshun from Lagos Mainland; Funmilayo Tejuosho from Mushin; Sani Agunbiade and Adebayo Sikiru Oshinowo. Those mentioned have the experience in the legislative business of the state and secondly they have made their marks in the Assembly.
Oshinowo is one of the longest serving lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, as he has been in the Assembly since 2003. He was instrumental to the emergence of the incumbent Speaker Ikuforiji when the deal for Ikuforiji’s emergence began in 2003. He is largely the best of the legislators and this informs why he is popularly called” Agba-Egba” by his colleagues in the chamber, simply because he always adhere strictly to the party’s guidelines. He is a party man and highly regarded by the leadership of the Lagos APC. The thing that may work against him is the fact that he is from Kosofe Local government area of Lagos East Senatorial district, the Senatorial district which produces the governor-elect Ambode.
Another Second term lawmaker in the Assembly is Agunbiade who is a legal practitioner before he opted for politics. Agunbiade with his law background always make robust contribution at the floor of the Assembly, most especially when it is legal issues and this has really positioned him as fit for the speakership position. Although, he has not shown any interest in the position, but some party leaders in his constituency has been lobbying for him among the power-brokers in the party so that he would have a soft landing when he makes his intention known. But the senatorial district he comes from might work against his candidature.
The only female in the race for the Speakership is Funmilayo Tejuosho, who has also been in the Assembly for three terms. Tejuosho, who is a lawyer and experienced lawmaker, is representing Mushin Constituency 11 of Lagos West Senatorial District. She has the backing of some of the former lawmakers of the House in influencing the leadership of the party to support her candidature but the senatorial district she comes from may really dash her hope since it produced the Deputy Governor elect, Mrs. Idiat Aderanti Adebule.
From Lagos Central Senatorial District, Oshun, who is representing Lagos Mainland in the Assembly, seems to have the backing of the leadership of the party in his constituency to clinch the speakership
position. Although, the speakership position if it is zoned to Lagos Central by the party’s leadership as it is currently speculated, Oshun might be favoured. A reliable source in the party told Hallmark that
the return of Oshun was to ensure that the Speakership position comes from Lagos Mainland. Oshun’s paternal link remains relevant in Lagos Mainland for him to achieve his dream of becoming the Speaker of the House.
One major factor that may work against him is the fact that Ehinlokun who has the backing of Senator Oluremi Tinubu to clinch the party ticket during the controversial primaries may give him a tough time to become the next Speaker.
In the ring from Lagos Central is Gbolahan who narrowly won his re-election into the Assembly with 200 differential votes ahead of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s son, Babajide Obanikoro to represent
Eti-Osa constituency 11. Gbolahon who is one of the youngest members of the House may as well be jostling for the Speakership of the House of Assembly because he possesses the needed charisma and required fitness for the job.
Although he may have problem convincing majority of the lawmakers that he has a mind of his own because of the perception about him. Political Analysts argued that virtually all the returning lawmakers are qualified to hold the position, but there are clear hurdles to cross for whoever that emerges as the Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly.