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By: Ade Adeleke
In this report, our Senior Correspondent Ade Adeleke writes on factors that will decide who become the next Speaker and the deputy of the 9th Assembly in Ondo state…
Presiding officers of any Parliament are very vital to the Executive arm of government as friendly lawmakers are required to deliver programmes and policies of any governor or President especially in African democratic settings.
However, there are indications that some political gladiators in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and strong cabinet members in the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration are no longer comfortable with the current leadership of the Ondo State House of Assembly to retain their positions of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
Returning and newly elected members of the State House of Assembly are searching for who becomes the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the 9th Assembly.
This has made some lawmakers- elect to be lobbying for the change of the Speaker of the Assembly ahead of the inauguration in the first week of June, 2019 with an argument that the incumbent Speaker, Rt Hon Bamidele David Oleyelogun has not carried the Assembly well since he became the presiding officer.
While the incumbent, Oleyelogun and his Deputy, Rt Hon Iroju Ogundeji have been reelected to the House there were also re-elected members from their senatorial districts, thereby making the retention of the leadership position difficult.
Pix: Akeredolu, Aderoboye & SSG
While some APC leaders are of the opinion that Oleyelogun should be retained as the Speaker for what they described as “a loyalty boy”, others told SUNSHINETRUTH that the speaker has lost confidence, respect and popularity among his colleagues due to what they referred to as sycophantic disposition and poor handling of issues affecting the House and the state matters.
SUNSHINETRUTH learnt that lack of confidence from outgoing and in-coming members in Oleyelogun is giving Akeredolu’s team sleepless night which has made the governor’s strategists to be considering available options among the returning and new lawmakers from Ondo Central Senatorial district.
Although three of the six Local Governments in Ondo Central Senatorial district are said to be pushing for the retention of Oleyelogun in office as the Speaker, those in government are thinking of using fresh blood to replace him especially since Oleyelogun had survived certain rejection through impeachment that took extra efforts of Akeredolu to reverse in the past.
The three Local Governments including Akure South, Akure North, and Ifedore insisted that the leadership of the APC should ensure that the speakership did not elude them.
In Ondo South, Ogundeji would battle his kinsman from Odigbo local government area and former Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Samuel Aderoboye for the Deputy Speakership’s seat, while in Ondo Central Senatorial district, Mr. Sunday Olajide, a ranking member from Akure South Constituency-II and Oleyelogun from Ifedore council area who has also been re-elected for another term would jostle for the Speakership seat.
However, other first time lawmakers from the zones are also being considered by Akeredolu’s political strategists to become Speaker though the rule of the Assembly says only returning lawmakers are qualified to hold the offices of the Speaker and the Deputy of the Assembly.
Political experience and loyalty of Aderoboye will make it easier for the governor and party’s leadership to settle for his choice.
Political analyst, Mr Ayoola Ilasanmi said, “argument is that in 2003, Victor Olabimtan was made the speaker without being a ranking member. Examples are many, I think merit should take precedent, because Ondo state needs a vibrant speaker and Deputy speaker at this critical time, not a rubber stamp like Oleyelogun. Unfortunately executive arm prefer people like that”.
The Analyst said, “for instance, Hon Aderoboye has never left the party since the says of AD (Alliance for Democracy) in 1999 when he was made the Deputy Speaker, he has never defected from AD, AC, ACN and APC with (Ade) Adetimehin (APC state Chairman). This type of experience and loyal leader should be considered in deciding who lead the ninth Assembly in Ondo state. Aketi needs this strategy”.
Despite this, there is intense lobby by new members to occupy the exalted positions. The people of Akure Division wanted the status quo to remain in order to retain both the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and the Speaker which were zoned to the Central Senatorial district. Presently Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde from Akure South is the SSG.
Ayoola believes that the second term bid of Akeredolu will also play key roles in who takes the hot seat of the Speakership and Deputy Speaker.
Irrespective of the situation, the political plots from the APC national Secretariat to frustrate the reelection bid of Akeredolu will play key role in determining who become the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker in the ninth Assembly as many political observers are insinuating that the next Assembly might be used to unseat the state governor.