Day Lagos Speaker Wept, As Hon Sotomiwa Goes Home


EROMOSELE EBHOMELE revisits the special session held by the Lagos State House of  Assembly in honour of the late Hon. Rotimi Sotomiwa, a member of the House from the  Ikorodu Constituency

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, is often  known for his hard stance on issues relating to the state. To some, he is so  principled and would hardly reverse any decision he believes he has taken in the  interest of the people of the state.

However, this was not the case last week Thursday, when the corpse of a member of  the House, representing Ikorodu 11 Constituency, Hon. Rotimi Sotomiwa, was wheeled  into the Assembly chamber in a white casket.

That afternoon, the Speaker remained restless on his seat which was directly facing  the corpse unable to bear the sight. He would shake his head, remove his cap and fix  it back, then lean forward as if something pierced him, stay a while and then sit up  again.

Meanwhile, the 38 other lawmakers were teary and speechless. When it was his turn to  speak, Hon. Ikuforiji reminded everyone in attendance that he is a fierce politician  who operates on the principle of truth and justice. “But this day, it is not so, as  we are witnessing a black day in the history of the sixth Assembly,” the Speaker  said.

He paused briefly and as he was about to continue, tears suddenly flooded his eyes  and this further provoked another round of wailing within the chambers. The Speaker  could not even muster the strength to wipe the tears with his handkerchief which was  lying before him on his table.

Ikuforiji recalled how the late Sotomiwa would endlessly disturb him over issues  relating to his constituency. “Days before his birthday, he called to see me and I  thought it was related to his constituency again, but he told me about his 50th  birthday anniversary which he was organising that week.

“He also told me that he had an empowerment programme, for which I know he borrowed  some money, for that same day and he said, ‘I want you to do me the favour of  bringing Asiwaju Tinubu to the event for my sake,” he added.

Ikuforiji said he promised to come with the former governor of the state but on that  day, the Iyaloja-General, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji also marked her birthday and,  “Asiwaju asked me to go to Ikorodu and call him if I still needed his presence.” The  Speakerlamented that when he got to the venue,  he was told that the man who had put  in place such a big event was himself absent as he had been hospitalized.

“I was afraid to go with the Deputy Speaker and others to the hospital because we  just came back from the burial of the wife of one of our colleagues. I was only  saying, ‘God please allow this cup to pass over me. But it did not. Instead, it  stopped right there.”

The speaker added that when he contacted a medical doctor and member of the House,  Hon. Dr. Babatunde Adejare, on the chances of the man’s survival, “Adejare said,  ‘Mr. Speaker, it is just 90:10. We only need prayers now.” That was where the  Speaker first lost strength.

Again, while the Speaker was figuring out what to do, the deceased called him on his  mobile phone and said: “Mr. Speaker, please do whatever you can for me. Iku ni mo’n  wo ni waju mi bayi o, meaning ‘it is death I am looking at in front of me now.”

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Sotomiwa also told the Deputy Speaker, “joo ma je ki’n ku bayi o’, meaning ‘please,  do not let me die like this.”

The Speaker, who took his sermon from the book of Ecclesiastics 3, which states that  there is time for everything under the sun, added that Sotomiwa had celebrated his  burial with the birthday that held while he was in the hospital.

Hon. Babatunde Adewale Jimoh, who also spoke with P.M.NEWS on the incident said his  committee, Agric and Co-operatives, would miss the late lawmaker because he was a  very committed member of the committee.

“He was my confidant because he is experienced. He had been in politics for  sometime, so I meet him for advice.

“On the day of the event, I got to the venue and he was not there. We later went to  the hospital where he was admitted and on sighting him, I was never myself again.  All I could do was pray and till he died, I was praying.

“We have lost a good politician while Ikorodu lost a very intelligent  representative,” he said.

For Hon. Ayoola Ahmed, the late Sotomiwa was more of a brother than a friend. He  loved his people and it reflected in his empowerment programme. “His political  antecedents will be difficult for any new politician from his area to surpass.

“Despite being a politician, he devoted time to his family and music,” he said  lamenting that the deceased’s second term bid had failed to come to pass.

Sotomiwa’s colleague from Ikorodu 1, Barrister Sanai Agunbiade, who cried like a  baby thoughout that day said though the late Sotomiwa had left him to champion the  course of Ikorodu people alone, he would not disappoint him in the discharge of his  duties.

The lawmakers then paid their last respects and at exactly 2.58, the corpse was  conveyed in a motorcade to his house in Igbogbo-Baiyeku area of Ikorodu amidst the  blaring of horns and trumpets.

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