NOT much checking of exccesses of governors is expected from the
Legislative arm of the South West states in this dispensation considering the fact that all the Speakers and principal officers are candidates of the ruling parties without any dissenting voice as the parties have control over the state Houses of Assemblies.
In Ondo and Ekiti States, where the ruling party is the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the election and installation of the officers in the Assemblies follow a similar pattern as in All Progressives Congress, APC, controlled states as there are no dissenting voices too.
Although there were some schemings in a few of the states in chosing their Speakers, the leaders of the political parties involved in each case were able to rein in members of the legislative arm making the process look smooth.
In Lagos State where the number of those who wanted to be Speaker was the highest, the leadership of the party was able to reduce the number to two and when one was “ännoited” the other became the deputy without any fuss. Hence the emergence of Hon. Mudashiru Obasa as Speaker and Hon Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni as the Deputy.
In Ogun, it was simply the case of the Speaker being reelected. He is only doing a second term without his ertwhile deputy who lost his re-election bid to the house prompting the emergence of another ranking House member Hon Oluomo as the deputy.
The PDP in Ogun with nine legislators has however charged their members in the Assembly through the governorship candidate Mr. Gboyega Isiaka to ensure that they oppose bills with selfish motives.
The control of the House by the party leadership and the governor in particulay was perhaps most evident in Oyo State where the new Speaker Mr. Michael Adeyemo was said to have been so elated that he postrated for Governor Abiola Ajimobi, a clear indication of who made his ascencion of office possible.
With the same scenario playing itself out in Ondo State and Ekiti States where the Speakers were obvious candidates of the the Governors, not much is expected of such houses than being mare rubber stamp to Executive decisions and requests
In Osun State where Hon. Najeem Salam has become Speaker for a second term but with observers wondering what the House would be able to offer considering the non payment of civil servants in the last seven months which has turned governence in the state to a joke amongst people.
Can the House bring any new thing to the table? Only time will tell.
The Speakers: The intrigues, the power play
Intrigues, horse trading and power play were brought to bear in the choice of speakers for the various State Houses of Assembly in the South West.
In some of the states in the zone, the emergence of the speakers was expected considering their closeness to the governors in the 7th Assembly.
Aside this, the perceived influence of the governor on the state assemblies was a major factor that contributed to the emergence of Speakers.
While some of the Speakers in state like Ogun, Osun and Ondo returned for a second term, other states like Lagos, Ekiti and Oyo had fresh hands.
In Osun, Salaam returns
In Osun State, it was an anti-climax.
This was perhaps as a result of the struggle for leadership positions in the sixth assembly in Osun state, which never saw the light of the day.
Najeem Salam was speaker of the house from 2011 to 2015.
Salam’s closeness and loyalty to governor Rauf Aregbesola was perceived to have earned him the position.
Salam, who had occupied the seat of speaker of the 26-man legislative assembly, had faced stiff opposition from two of his colleagues elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC.
Abiodun Awolola of Egbedore State Constituency and Folorunsho Bamisayemi of Ife South, were two leading candidates that had engaged in fierce but quite discrete battle to wrestle the gavel from Salam, representing Ejigbo State Constituency in the assembly.
Though, there were agitations from some of the returning lawmakers on the need for change in the legislative leaders, but Aregbesola’s intervention prevented the palace coup.
Obasa emerges against the odds
In Lagos State, a lot of power play was put in motion.
As a matter of fact, the inauguration of the 8th Assembly was shifted from a the stipulated date to enable the leadership of the APC in Lagos settle the dust being raised over the choice for speaker.
While a large chunk of the lawmakers were keen on ensuring they choose their speaker, Vanguard was reliably informed that former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had his eyes on Hon Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa representing Agege Constituency I to lead the house.
Obasa, was the Chairman of the House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning of the 7th Assembly, while Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, from Lagos Island Constituency I, was elected as deputy speaker.
The election came after weeks of initial intrigues, horse trading, negotiations and arm twisting.
It was actually the insistence and pressure from some bigwigs of the party that got Tinubu change to support Obasa.
Rotimi Abiru, Lanre Ogunyemi, Moshood Olanrewaju Osun, Funmilayo Tejuosho, Gbolahan Yisawu and Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni were all speculated for the position.
But Abiru was said to be favoured to lead the house but the zoning arrangement schemed him out.
At the end, a truce was called by Tinubu and Obasa emerged drawing the curtain on the tussle for speakership of the Lagos Assembly.
But Obasa’s emergence, did not go down well with the lawmakers elected on Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos.
It is madam Speaker in Ondo
Ms Jumoke Akindele representing Okitipupa 1 returned to lead the Ondo State House of Assembly.
Her re-emergence as Speaker of the Ondo Assembly was unopposed following her closeness to Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
Expectedly, many things worked in her favour, one of which was the zoning of the speakership slot to Southern Senatorial district.
Interestingly, she is the only PDP member that hails from the zone.
But the table is set to turn in 2016 when Mimiko would end his tenure.
But then, the speakership position would be zoned to another district.
Though, the 32-member Oyo State House of Assembly has been inaugurated by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the choice over who emerges speaker remains in quandary.
Currently, the APC has 18 seats, while the Accord and Labour parties have eight and six lawmakers respectively.
Surprisingly, the PDP has no lawmaker flying its flag in the house.
It is a matter of fact that the APC, which has majority of the lawmakers will produce the speaker.
But governor Ajimobi seems to be in a state of quandary over who would lead the house.
Messrs Olusegun Olaleye (Ibadan North 11) and Michael Adeyemo (Ibarapa East) have been pencilled down to slug it out between themselves.
Amosun’s stooge, Adekumbi returns
The emergence of Suraj Adekumbi as speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly did not come as a surprise to many. This is because governor Ibikinle Amosun has seen in him a good ally.
When Amosun faced turbulent times from the home front, Adekunmbi stood behind Amosun like the rock of Gibraltar.
The assembly comprises 26 lawmakers is dominated by members of the APC.
The APC has 19, while the PDP boasts of nine members.
It was pay back time for Adekunbi, who was re-elected as the Speaker of the 8th Legislature.
His re-election was sequel to his being nominated by Olayiwola Ojodu, the lawmaker representing Abeokuta North State Constituency and seconded by his Remo North counterpart, Adeleye Adebiyi.
Fayose’s pastor emerges in Ekiti
The contest for the plum position of Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly was unique and a matter of fact of no contest in the wholly PDP dominated House.
It was an exercise that had been concluded a long time ago. Governor Ayo Fayose ensured that only trusted allies were positioned in the party to legislate in the new House.
Pastor Kola Oluwawole from Osan Ekiti from Boba Local government area, was positioned to be the next speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and it is no surprise that members, before then, already referred to him as the first among equals.
Governor Fayose is from Central Senatorial District, while his deputy, Dr Kolapo Olusola is from the South, a situation that has made it natural for the North senatorial District where Oluwawole comes from to produce the Speaker of the state House of Assembly based on the existing zoning of political offices.
Remarkably, the Oluwawole is a confidant of the governor and one his foot soldiers. However, for undisclosed reasons or for some unknown political calculations, Fayose took preference for Oluwawole.
Indeed, when it became apparent that Fayose was leaning towards Oluwawole, all the others from Ekiti North who had eyes on the plum seat simply caved in, in deference to the desire of their political leader, Fayose.
Oluwawole has been a long time ally of Fayose and served as a commissioner during Fayose’s first outing and was also a chief of staff to Fayose between 2003-2006.
Aside this, the pastor had been part of Fayose’s political struggles in and out of office. He followed him to Labour Party when it appeared Fayose was not comfortable with the way PDP was being run in the state during the regime of Engr. Segun Oni and returned with him to the PDP just before the governorship election.