Today’s Assembly Inauguration: Ondo Lawmakers set to elect new Speaker, Deputy

…..Akure battles Oleyelogun

By: Ade Adeleke

In this feature, Our news Editor, ADE ADELEKE writes on how the presiding officers of the Ondo state 9th House of Assembly will emerge on Monday June 3 and the politics of Akure verses Ifedore Council areas.

Few days to the end of the 8th Ondo state House of Assembly and ahead of June 3, 2019 proclamation of 9th Assembly by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the battle for who becomes the Speaker of the House is far from over between two gladiators that are eyeing the exalted seat of number three in the Sunshine State.

SUNSHINETRUTH can authoritatively report that the race for the Speakership is a straight fight between two ranking lawmakers from Ondo Central senatorial district where the seat was zoned to since February 2017 when Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the Deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi assumed office.

Pix: Oleyelogun & Ogundeji.

With the pendulum of the Nigerian 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 remains a matter of huge importance.

Pix: 26 lawmakers-elect with Deputy governor.

The two contenders for the Speakership seat are the incumbent, Bamidele Oleyelogun representing Ifedore constituency and the lawmaker representing Akure South constituency-2, Sunday Olajide, both are returning members.

While different groups from Akure and Ifedore areas have been endorsing the two Speakership candidates, political permutations in the Akeredolu’s camp are very different, as many of the governor’s associates preferred Oleyelogun to Olajide due to what they described as “his loyalty to the executive” while others in the camp said fresh hand should be tested.

However, those who are rooting for Olajide argued that Akure as the State capital with the largest voting strength in the state should be considered for the number three job despite the fact that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Ifedayo Abegunde (aka Abena) is also from Akure south local government area.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOUR OF OLAJIDE

Indigenes of Akure under the aegis of Akure Rebirth Group, (ARG), insisted that the slot for the next speaker of the Assembly should be reserved for their most qualified son (Olajide).

ARG members lamented that the state capital had not had its fair share in the political configuration of the state despite its ever increasing population and voting strength at every election.

The Group’s coordinator, Fanibuyan Olamide said since the return to democracy in 1999, Akure had continually been clamouring for a fair treatment in the sharing of major political positions both at the Federal and State levels.

The group said, “Few weeks to the take-off of the 9th Assembly, there is no need to play ethnic card but to come to term with realities and qualities of what it deserves.”

“It is expedient to state that the entire Akure community is resolute in her bid to support Hon. Sunday Olajide to clinch the position of the speaker which is zoned to the central senatorial district”.

Pix: Olajide.

“The Akure community recognizes the selection of a speaker as an exclusive business of the Honorable members which should be devoid of any external interference.”

The group countered the argument that Akure could not produce the next speaker because of the position of Secretary to the State Government (SSG) being occupied by one of her indigenes.

The group emphasised that the SSG was an appointee of the governor, sayingthe prerogative of the Governor in this wise has nothing to do with the election of principal officers at the Assembly”.

“It is however imperative for the community to call the attention of the Honorable members to what is just, equitable, fair and of good quality, which will further enhance and prompt good representation and a purpose-driven Assembly.”

The group said Akure South was interested in the speakership of the Assembly and had not conceded it to the incumbent speaker, Oleyelogun, as erroneously claimed in some quarters.

ARG declared that Akure community was resolute in presenting one of her best and finest with an intimidating and impressive records to lead the Assembly.

The group said: “It is worthy to set the record straight that the position of Akure on this matter was well articulated by the Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, during a thank you visit by the Governor to the good people of Akure at the St. Thomas’s event centre”.

“It is therefore illogical and ridiculous for anyone to go against the collective interest of Akure people for selfish reasons and pecuniary gain just like the biblical Esau.”

An associate to Olajide once lamented that, “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 Associate in his words, “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”, he said.

WHY OLEYELOGUN SHOULD RETAIN THE SEAT

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 any democracy. The position is currently being occupied by Rt. Hon David Bamidele Oleyelogun. Most observers believe he has achieved a lot in terms of passage of bills and motions.

A group known as Ondo Central Youth Vanguard from the six Local Goverment in the central senatorial district endorsed Oleyelogun as the Speaker of the 9th Assembly.

The group’s Coordinator, Comrade Biodun Adejuwon who said after careful perusal of Oleyelogun two years leadership in the assembly l, his scorecard had revealed that his achievements superseded his predecessors and consequently adopted him to continue his good work as 9th Ondo state Speaker.

The group said “Oleyelogun is a servant leader, humble, loyal and a patriot to the core. Oleyelogun leadership is a selfless service to the people and Ondo state people need to appreciate life of service”.

Ondo Central Youth Vanguard urged “Oleyelogun should continue to support Arakurin Akeredolu in his mission to turn Ondo state to business hub”.

Another group, “THE ONDO CONCERNED CITIZENS”, also passed votes of confidence on the current speaker, Oleyelogun and endorsed him as the Speaker for the state 9th assembly due to his excellent performance for the past two years.

The president of the group, Mr Clement Akeroro observed that if performance was the yardstick use to measure quality leadership, Oleyelogun has demostrated unequalled, peculiar, shrewd , unmatched and quitessential leadership.

“He (Oleyelogun) deserves the endorsement of all APC leadership in Ondo state in order to move the state forward geometrically.

“Since Oleyelogun assumed the mantle of the assembly leadership, he subscribes to the PRINCIPLE OF SEPERATION OF POWER as it was advocated by John Locke and propagated by Montesquieu in 17th century”.

The group also facilitated more than 250 projects to Ifedore towns and villages.

“The leadership of Oleyelogun according to the group provides checks and balances through oversight functions. This has put the executive on its toes in providing critical social infrastructure like good road network, building and renovation of schools, potable water (Kamomi Aketi Prog), Qualitative Health delivery and the huge direct foreign investment into the state”.

“This was what propelled the South West Conference of Speakers to elect him as its chairman , the feat no Ondo Speaker had attained since its creation”.

The group’s members threatened to embark on hunger strike and occupy Ondo State House of Assembly complex perpetually “to stop any dubious moves by enemies of Ondo state to put clog in the wheel of Ondo state progress to industrialisation as currently being exaplified by Arakurin Odunayo Akeredolu with the support of Ondo state House of Assembly under the leadership of Rt Hon David Bamidele Oleyelogun”.

Pix: SSG Abena, Aderoboye & Akeredolu.

AKEREDOLU’S FACTOR ON WHO BECOMES NEXT SPEAKER

Irrespective of the arguments of both contenders, political analysts are of the opinions that Akeredolu and his political machineries will determine who get the number three job in the next two days.

There are twenty-six members in the Assembly and the governor’s ruling APC firmly in control with 23 members while the opposition PDP has two members and ZLP completes the number with one lawmaker for the 9th Assembly.

With the composition of the House, the governor who singlehandedly facilitated the victories of the 23 APC lawmakers-elect should also know who will serve his interest better as the state prepares for 2020 governorship election in which Akeredolu will be seeking the second term in office.

The governor and the party desire loyal and firm lawmakers to hold the positions of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker hence the political calculation for the ruling party to settle between a ranking lawmaker from Odigbo constituency-2, Samuel Aderoboye and the incumbent Deputy Speaker, Iroju Ogundeji but, observers believe Iroju had lost the confidence of the Assembly since his 2018 impeachment and his subsequent controversial reinstatement by the Party’s leadership and Akeredolu.

“Political experience and loyalty of Aderoboye will make it easier for the governor and party’s leadership to settle for his choice”.

A Political analyst, Mr Ayoola Ilasanmi once told SUNSHINETRUTH that, “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”.

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”.

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 also 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 against the state governor.

For the position of the Speaker, the governor will face a huge task in settling down for either Oleyelogun or Olajide but political events in the next 72hours shall decide the fate of the duo as Akeredolu takes final decision on who to support for the exalted position.

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