11th February, 2011
Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, may not be having the best of times,Â Assembly Matters has learnt.
He is currently battling to soothe frayed nerves both within the Assembly complex and the IkejaÂ constituency under which he is seeking re-election into the House as a representative and Speaker inÂ the seventh Assembly which would be inaugurated at the middle of the year.
Before now, the Majority Leader of the House, Taiwo Kolawole, had been pencilled to take over asÂ Speaker of the House in the next dispensation as he had started presiding over sittings, with theÂ incumbent Speaker sometimes sitting at the gallery to watch how he handles issues at the floor of theÂ House.
Hon. Kolawole, who had earlier started underground moves for a seat at the House of Representatives,Â was said to have been prevailed upon to come back for a fourth term at the State Assembly andÂ ultimately take the number one position in the House.
However, the realisation that he is no longer going to head the House after the April election is saidÂ to be tearing the once cordial relationship amongÂ members of the House apart.
Those sympathetic to the Majority Leader are already questioning the rationale behind Ikuforijiâ€™sÂ continuous stay as Speaker of the House.
â€œIf he stays for another four years, it would mean that he was Speaker for nine years because he isÂ already spending his fifth year.
â€œI am not saying he is not a good leader. In fact, he has been the best that the state has ever hadÂ because of the way he handles our welfare and ensured that we are trained to become useful lawmakers.Â But what I am saying is that there are others who can still lead the House,â€ a highly placed sourceÂ within the Assembly told Assembly Matters recently.
Another lawmaker, who was heard by Assembly Matters discussing the issue with some colleagues asked:Â â€œIs he the only one who is qualified for the position?â€
InÂ one of the sittings before the lawmakers embarked on a one-month recess, a member of the House,Â Hon. Bayo Oshinowo, informed Ikuforiji that becoming the Speaker was by the grace of God. â€œBut thisÂ time, before you become the Speaker again, you must come and see us oh.â€
It has also been learnt thatÂ the Speaker has been having a tough time trying to ensure his campaignsÂ reached the most interior parts of his new constituency.
This is because some of the constituents in Ikeja have faulted his reason for vying for election inÂ the area.
The Speaker had told journalists that he was contesting in Ikeja Constituency 1 beacuse he livedÂ there, but those opposed to this argue that he only lives in the official residence for those whoÂ occupied the position.
When contacted, a close aide to the Speaker, who spoke with Assembly Matters, said the Speaker hasÂ been slated to lead the House in the next dispensation, adding that there was nothing anyone could doÂ about it.
According to him, those who are currently complaining do not have the leadership ability to move theÂ House to the height the Speaker is known to have placed it.
â€œTo become a Speaker, there are things that are considered. These include loyalty to the party,Â ability to coordinate the House and the ability to fight for members of the House.
â€œHow many of those complaining can effectively do all these?â€ The source who refused to be namedÂ asked.
He said that for the first time, members of the House could now â€œbeat their chests and tell anybodyÂ that they are lawmakers because of several overseas training they have undergone.”
He further maintained that the issue of who becomes the Speaker had been agreed on,Â adding that â€œallÂ these other issues are mere side talks that you should not be interested in.â€