Barely few weeks to the general election, information reaching us from the Lagos State House of Assembly suggests that underground scheming has begun for speakership seat of the House. The incumbent speaker, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, having piloted the affairs of the House to this moment is not seeking a re-election into the hallowed chamber, rather he sought for the Lagos State governorship ticket of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) but lost. However, Hon. Ikuforiji’s much-awaited exit as speaker has ignited interest for his position among some lawmakers in the House.
Before APC primaries for candidates for Lagos State Assembly election, the number of lawmakers eyeing the speakership seat was more than those seeking the office now. Reason being that some of them lost the primary to another candidate of the party, thereby cutting short their speakership ambition.
As you read this piece, though, election is weeks away, sources close to the Legislative House divulged to us that clandestine moves have commenced in the House among lawmakers as to who steps into Hon. Ikuforiji’s shoes. Canvassing is said to have started among the lawmakers for who they think or want to become their next speaker, as members of the House have been quietly aligning with candidate of their choice. Though, it still remained unknown if the incumbent speaker has any interest on who should succeed him, as it is widely believed that the decision to choose new speaker of the House is the prerogative of the members of the House, and to some large extent, the political party.
The party, as we were made to believe usually rotates the leadership of the House among the three Senatorial Districts in the State. Insinuation is rife that the party, APC is thinking along zoning the speakership to Lagos Central Senatorial District. But the challenge the zone will be facing in producing the next speaker is the absence of experienced and qualified lawmaker who can be given the exalted position. Reason being that some of the lawmakers considered to be experienced enough for the job who come from the zone failed to get their party return ticket to the House. And standing rule in the House is that a first timer cannot emerge the speaker of the House, so none of the new comers into the House can be made the speaker; except for Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu and Hon. Hakeem Masha who, if they are elected at the poll, will be serving their second term in the House. But they are believed not to possess the charisma and enough experience to hold the position. However, those currently strategizing to lead the House when the new legislative session begins in June are the current Deputy Speaker, Hon. Kolawole Taiwo, representing Ajeromi-Ifelodun constituency1, Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuoso, representing Mushin constituency 1, Hon.Mudashiru Obasa representing Agege constituency 01, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu, representing Eti-Osa constituency 11, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, representing Ikorodu constituency 1, Hon. Moshood Oshun, representing Lagos Mainland constituency 11, Hon. Rotimi Abiru, the current deputy Chief Whip and represents Shomolu constituency 11. Meanwhile, from all the interested candidates for Hon. Ikuforiji’s seat, impeccable sources within the Assembly revealed that it perhaps, would be strictly between Hon. Kolawole Taiwo and Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuoso. Both of them have been heading very sensitive positions ever since they’ve been in the House. Aside that, they are currently spending longer terms in the House more than others seeking the position. Hon. Obasa is also believed in some quarters to also stand a chance against both Hon. Taiwo and Hon. Tejuoso, but he does not have the kind of followership they (Hon. Taiwo and Hon. Tejuoso) have in the House, though, he has been member of the House since 2003; the protest against him in his constituency for his reelection for 4th term is a kind of dent on his personality. Hon. Kolawole Taiwo will probably be backing on his position as the deputy speaker to emerge the speaker, but, just like Hon. Obasa, he came up against stiff challenge in his constituency before he could pick the party ticket for the election.
Sources in his constituency, Ajeromi Ifelodun said some people are still disgruntled over his emergence as the party candidate, though, he is said to be a good contributor on the floor of the House, his 5th term return ticket to the House is not going down well with some people in his constituency. Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuoso, is the most experienced female member of the House. The lawyer was once the Deputy Speaker of the House. Apart from being a top ranking member, she is also said to be one of the most vocal members of the House and she has also served the House and her party diligently in many capacities.
According to political analysts, unlike the opposition party, PDP, APC seldom give women in their parties a leadership role, except playing second fiddle to men. Hon. Tejuoso is on the verge of returning to the House for her 4th term. Since the Lagos ruling party took over Lagos State in 1999, woman neither headed the executive arm of government nor led the legislative arm of government in the state.
Analysts further argued that even when the opportunity beckoned on woman to lead the legislative arm of government at the federal level in the House of Representatives, APC in collaboration with some PDP members in the lower chamber scuttled the opportunity in the name of politics. And this is one of the points the PDP has been using to campaign against APC government. Analysts argued that this is one opportunity APC has to correct the misconception opposition, and some people have about the party concerning womenfolk