Eromosele Ebhomele & Jamiu Yisa
As political calculations and horse trading begin ahead of the 2015 general elections in Lagos State, western Nigeria, seven lawmakers of the State House of Assembly have begun a battle to take over from Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji, whose tenure as the longest serving Speaker in the country would end next year with the termination of the seventh session of the Assembly.
By June 2015, Ikuforiji, who, in turn, is battling to win the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the party’s governorship candidate in the election, would have served as Speaker for 10 years.
The seven members currently jostling to take over his position, according to reliable sources include the House Deputy Speaker, Taiwo Kolawole; the Leader of the House, Dr. Ajibayo Adeyeye; the Chief Whip of the House, Abdulrazak Balogun; the Deputy Chief Whip of the House, Rotimi Abiru; the Chairman, House Committee on Economic Planning and Budget, Mudashiru Obasa; the House Chairman for the Committee on Health, Suru Avoseh; and former Deputy Speaker and most experienced female lawmaker in Lagos State history, Princess Adefunmilayo Tejuoso, Mushin State Constituency 1.
Becoming the Speaker of the House requires experience, number of terms served as lawmaker and positions held in the House. In such cases, principal officers and those in charge of important committees are at better advantage.
Kolawole, who was the Majority Leader of the sixth Assembly, eventually became the Deputy Speaker of the seventh Assembly after a tough battle with Ikuforiji for the position. This battle had pitched lawmakers against one another at that period.
Kolawole, representing Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency 1 is the longest serving lawmaker having been in the House since 1999.
Princess Adefunmilayo Tejuoso serving her third term in office is most experienced female lawmaker in Lagos history, thus, Tejuoso has exprience going for her.
She was the Deputy Speaker dduring her first term and is currently the Chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Finance.
The argument in her favour is that Lagos is ripe for a female Speaker and being the most experienced, and having once been the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, deserves to be the next Speaker of the Assembly.
Abiru has not hidden the fact that he is interested in the speakership position of the House if elected back to the House for a third term.
Nicknamed Barometer of the House in the sixth Assembly, Abiru who was elected Deputy Whip of the House in the seventh Assembly recently said he was qualified for the position of the Speaker.
He also said if he found himself in the position, he would work harmoniously with the Clerk of the House, Segun Abiru, his close relation.
Earlier this year, posters flooded the Agege Constituency 1, which Obasa represents, demanding that Agege should produce the next Speaker of the House.
However, when confronted, Obasa said though he was qualified for the seat, he did not know anything about the posters, adding that as an old member of the House, he understood the role of the party and his colleagues in picking who becomes Speaker.
But while these lawmakers nurse this ambition, most of them may not find their return to the House easy.
P.M.NEWS learnt that they are currently having a tough time convincing their constituents on why they should return to the House after spending between two and more terms.
Among those currently having problems, according to P.M.NEWS finding, are Abdulrazak Balogun, Abiru and Avoseh, Adeyeye and Obasa.
Another challenge, according to a lawmaker who spoke on phone with our correspondent Thursday morning, could be the area the position of the deputy governor is zoned.
Currently, the position of governor has been zoned to Lagos East and it is believed that the Lagos West would take the position of the running mate.
“If that happens (and that is what we think would happen), then the slot for the speakership position would be zoned to Lagos Central,” the lawmaker confided in P.M.NEWS.
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