18th January, 2012
Within the first year of the seventh session of the Lagos State House of Assembly, the House has continued to maintain its respect in the eyes of other state Houses of Assembly. This is obvious following the increasing number of lawmakers from other states who have paid official visits to the Assembly.
Many of the lawmakers, especially from the north, have been to the Lagos Assembly to understudy the legislators’ activities, the processes involved in lawmaking and passing of bills and to get copies of bills that have been passed into law by the Lagos lawmakers.
“In fact, we have remained the Centre of Excellence and will continue to maintain that level in order not only to make the world reckon with what we do but to serve the people of the state as we have promised them,” the Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, said when a Muslim group paid him a courtesy visit within the Assembly.
The Speaker said he was troubled during the end of the sixth session of the Assembly as a result of the fact that some brilliant lawmakers in that session were not returning. “People also thought the vibrancy in the House would drop.
“But today, I laugh, especially with the way the new set of my colleagues have carried on. From the way they talk and act, it is like they are already aware of what they would meet here and they have made the old members proud,” he added.
This seems true as some of the new lawmakers have continued to distinguish themselves on issues of the House, activities at the floor of the House and their engagement in empowerment programmes for their constituents.
This lawmaker, an electronics engineer representing Eti-Osa, began to win the confidence of the House after he took his colleagues through the intrigues involved in the subsidy removal when it was first mooted late last year. Many of his colleagues had declared their support for the removal as they claimed subsidy was aimed at the rich in the society rather than the poor.
When Yishawu was given the floor, he made his submission with analysis and figures. He also made his colleagues realise the evil in the removal of the subsidy when the government had not put in place measures to cushion the effect on the masses. He made his colleagues to realise that building refineries in the country is not beyond the government if the latter was sincere.
By the time he finished, he had succeeded in changing the opinion of majority of his colleagues. Even though the House later agreed to put it to a public debate, it was clear that GOY, as he is fondly called, had spoken the minds of many Nigerians as seen in the recent face-off between the people and the government.
The lawmaker has also provided his constituents skills acquisition and computer training. He recently gave out laptops, sewing machines, gas cookers and other tools to some beneficiaries of his vocational training institute.
Despite his professional experience, Yishawu has remained humble and says he is prepared to work in any capacity that would lift the House to enviable height. “Wherever I find myself, I will perform,” he said in an interview recently.
It was not surprising that this lawmaker representing Epe Constituency 2 at the House was made the Chairman, House Committee on Information. He had made himself the toast of journalists in the House as he has something to say about issues even when they were not within his professional knowledge.
He did his best to launder the image of the House by making journalists to see the positive side of the House and was always available for reactions to issues concerning the Assembly, the state and the country.
Few weeks after the lawmaker took the oath of office, he showed how sympathetic he was to the plight of the downtrodden, when he went to celebrate his birthday with orphans in his constituency.
Olulade said he decided to do so because the orphans did not choose to put themselves in such condition. While tasking other well-meaning Nigerians to assist the less privileged to make the society a better place, Eleniyan, as he is known among his constituents, promised to always be of support to such disadvantaged persons.
Concerning the Assembly, he said: “I see a House that is beyond the plenary; all I thought was that they do plenary just a few times and that is all, even the oversight functions; I didn’t see them as detailed as they are now. I never imagined the level of research, training, debates and deliberations going on in the House.”
If Bisi Yusuf, the representative of Alimosho Constituency 1 at the House, was a clergyman, he would have become a respected prophet. The lawmaker had constantly warned that crisis may erupt if nothing was done to curb the challenges facing the country.
In one of the sittings some months ago, he had warned his colleagues of the danger of youth revolt. Even when he was cautioned by the Speaker, he softened the tone of his speech, but maintained that doing only the right things would save the political class when frustrated Nigerians decide to react.
This became a reality recently with the New Year day announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy. The reaction was beyond the expectation of the government. The crisis further exposed a lot of facts about the way Nigerians have been governed.
Yusuf, a former local government chairman, also raised his voice against the move by the Lagos State Assembly to approve funds for the purchase of armoured personnel carriers, arguing that the deplorable state of roads within the state would not allow for easy movement of such vehicles.
He has been particular about his constituency, always calling the attention of his colleagues to challenges facing his constituents in Alimosho.
The lawmaker representing Ojo Constituency 2 has been recognised as an elder in the House. He acts like one and has carried out his legislative activities diligently.
His arguments at the floor of the House are hardly opposed by his colleagues.
His colleagues’ regards for him may have stemmed from his antecedents in politics. According to some of his colleagues, he has been in politics right from the period of the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Ogunyemi, though not one who loves publicity, has continued to contribute to the development of his constituency. He recently donated materials and a bus to his constituency and has promised to do more.