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By: Folarin Adesola
With the pendulum of the Nigerian intricate power calculus swinging in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in Ondo state following its landslide victory in the March 9th, 2019 House of Assembly polls, the question as to who would emerge as presiding officers and leaders of the Ondo State House of Assembly remain a matter of grave importance.
Intrigues, subterfuge, political horse trading, backstabbing are almost at breaking points. The scrambling has just begun, and yet tension is gathering momentum.
The Legislative arm is the epicentre of our democracy.The position is currently being occupied by Rt. Hon David Bamidele Oleyelogun. Most observers believe he has achieved little as Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly as nothing tangible could be attributed to him as achievements. He has simply failed to live up to expectations. We are definitely wrong to have expected much from him. He was at best made to be an interim – fill the vacuum kind of arrangement, voted to that position by eight out of the Twenty-six House members.
A handful of notable political
gladiators are jostling for attention. One of such political heavyweights is Hon. Sunday Olajide
Hon.Sunday Olajide boasts of a superb resume. He is the current Chairman of Finance and Appropriation Committee of the House. He was at a time doubled as Chairman, Finance and Appropriation as well as Chairman, Public Accounts Committee
He bagged his First Degree from the then, Ondo State University , Ado- Ekiti. He had his Masters Degree from two prestigious universities in Nigeria.
He was a Banker, Investment Consultant and Financial expert.
A chartered Stockbroker and member of the Nigeria Stock Exchange.
Before now, there were several outstanding financial reform bills that had not been passed which could have put the State in line with States which have complied with world best practices. With his coming on board as chairman, Finance and Appropriation, he, alongside other members of the committee took up the challenge to pass the outstanding reform bills.
Some of the bills are, Fiscal Responsibility Bill, Public Procurement Bill, Financial Management Bill, and Audit Bill. All the bills were passed into law while he held sway as chairman, to the delight of world bank, Ondo state government and other stakeholders which culminated in the state getting multi million naira assistance from the world bank.
The assistance from the world bank includes Three brand new Toyota Hiace Operational Vehicle, a 32 Coaster Bus for legislative activities, Computers to each of the offices of the 26 members of the house, furnitures to various offices of members, clerk, as well as conference rooms, Sound proof Generating set, Photocopiers, cabinets.
Hon. Olajide has handled three out of the last four annual budgets of the State. The budgets were handled professionally. The process has always been thorough, creative and value added. It has been commended and commented upon at various forums that the budget process is one that’s been able to put the MDA’S on their toes. He’s brought in professionalism and selfless service into budget defence processes.
He has challenged them to think outside the box to generate more revenues for the state. Olajide is so meticulous with details such that most MDA’S are usually on top of their acts and have to be sure of their figures when coming for budget defence under the chairmanship of Hon.Olajide. He is known to be thorough and will not gloss over issues. He appears to have eagle eyes in spotting incoherences and errors.
Olajide would offer creative ideas for toughest problems and a new
governing philosophy anchored on opportunity, responsibility and transparency.
He is eminently qualified with his sound academic background, his
wealth of experiences and patriotic fervour. He boasts of incredible feats as vibrant member of several standing and ad hoc committees of the house.
Whereas his close rival in the race for the Speakership, Rt.Hon . Oleyelogun is one, we are not so sure of his academic background. Some people said he dropped out of school while some said he is educated enough to qualify him to run for membership of the House of Assembly, which is Secondary School Certificate.
The assumptions from members of the public tilted towards the latter. Whereas some claim that he did some adult programs to boost his educational qualifications.
First of all, are we happy with the present speaker or the state of affairs of the house? The answer is a loud Nay. The quality of representation is currently not acceptable to leaders of note. In some quarters, the usual saying is that, we can’t have a speaker who can’t speak. A speaker whose qualification we aren’t sure of.
It is ironical and inconceivable that a state that pride itself as a bastion of knowledge will have a semi illiterate as speaker of the Hallowed chamber of Ondo State House of Assembly. It gives so much concerns that such could be an option or worse still, might be a candidate of a governor who is well read and became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria ( SAN) at age 40 or thereabout.
The current speaker doesn’t allow constructive criticism or those that will query issues to work with him. He dwells in the kingdom of nonentities and tomfoolery. His ineptitudes and highhandedness almost embarrassed the Akeredolu government as large members of the house staged more or less a coup in the house. It took the intervention of notable leaders of our dear state to put the situation under control. It is also a known fact that there were so many impeachment moves against him and his deputy Rt Hon. Iroju Ogundeji but for several intervention of the Governor.
A walk around the current State House of Assembly complex can only say things about the aquake, crude, unrefined, inept, uncivilized and unexposed leadership currently managing the house.
The House of Assembly as it were today lacks basic things to enhance the productivity of lawmakers. There aren’t functional public address system for members during plenary. Members had to endure the pain of exchanging one microphone amongst themselves under excruciating conditions.
Members sweat profusely during plenary because of non functional Air Conditioning system. The hallowed chamber is a glorified poultry. Furniture and Fittings had damaged beyond repairs. Convenience for members is more or less a latrine. Indeed, the entire Assembly complex needs a complete overhaul.
The present leadership of the house is lacking in ideas and capacity to effectively carry out needed reforms in the house. He has lost touch with reality and most members have indeed fell out with him. He was found culpable by members of “gross incompetence”
Honourable Members also were enraged to found out that his leadership have grounded the finances of the Assembly without the knowledge of the floor members.
The current speaker is a rabble rouser whose continous leadership of the house will spell doom for the House. His sycophantic loyalty is known to all. He has been labelled by members as one not to be trusted for any leadership position. Oloyelogun was notorious for secretly recording on phone parliamentary session amongst members to then governor, Mimiko. His sycophantic loyalty transcends into spiritual realms.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu will not allow sycophantic loyalty at the expense of meaningful constructive engagement. Let it be known that robust and constructive engagement does not in anyway mean disloyalty. It will only add value to Governance.
Sunday Olajide is not given to the pomposity and arrogant posturing of those who advertise their
class and the swagger of their patrician or aristocratic antecedents. He will surely play an enduring role in deepening the values of our democracy and indeed good governance.
The SSG Factor
Some people are of the opinion that the Speaker of the house should not emerge from Akure because the SSG is from Akure. Such argument is myopic and inconsequential. The membership of the house is an elective position while the SSG is an appointee of the Governor. He may be appointed from any part of the State. It had happened in the past when we had both from Akure. Such thinking should definitely not be a reason why mediocrity should hold sway in place of competency.
Written by: Folarin Adesola