Oladele Ogunsola – Ibadan
Following the demise of Rt. Hon. Michael Adesina Adeyemo, the late Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly (OYHA), the House on Tuesday elected Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo, representing Oriire State Constituency in Ogbomoso political zone of the state as the new Speaker.
The late Adeyemo succumbed to death following heart attack suffered on Friday April 27, 2018 at 47 years.
Until his emergence, the new Speaker was the Minority Leader of the House and he had served as a Deputy Speaker of the fourth assembly between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Though, there was opposition to his emergence as some of his colleagues had argued against an election citing Sections 90, 92, 94 and 95 of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulate that conducting an election to fill the vacant seat of Speaker was unnecessary, but, the opponents could not stop the election of the 67-year old lawmaker.
The opposing lawmakers explained that the constitution clearly states that in the absence of the speaker, the Deputy Speaker shall automatically take over the office of the Speaker, an argument his proponents declared as inapplicable in this instance.
Faulting their colleagues, the supporters of the new Speaker contended that “the sections of the constitution are applicable only to the executive arm of government because the executive governor and his deputy enjoy joint-ticket and same could not be said for the legislature”.
Against the backdrop of intrigues and power play in the House, it was gathered that the new Speaker, who was elected on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) and defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2017 with the former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala had the backing of the state governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi.
At a meeting the governor was said to have held with the lawmakers last week, the governor reportedly told them the importance of yielding the position to the Ogbomoso zone in view of the political/electoral significance of the zone to the current administration in the state.
Following the elevation of Ojo from the Minority Leader position to that of the Speaker, the lawmakers elected a new Minority Leader and member of Accord, Hakeem Ige, representing Ibadan South East II State Constituency at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Abdul Wasil Musah, who also contested for the coveted seat of the Speaker.
To avoid any form of untoward occurrence at the plenary, where the new Speaker was elected, there was heavy secruity at the entrance of the House of Assembly before and during the session and contrary to the usual free passage interested members of public and the media normally enjoy, the case was different on Tuesday as, apart from the lawmakers, only few members of the public and media were allowed into the Assembly Complex.
Reacting to his election, the new Speaker said, “my immediate task is to unite the members of the House and sustain the leadership legacies of peace and harmony which the former Speaker worked hard to achieve until his death”.
He used the occasion to call on the GovernorAjimobi to name any monument, institution or infrastructure after the late Speaker and ensure the completion of Ibadan-Eruwa-Lanlate Road in honour of the late speaker, who hailed from Lanlate.
Just as the late Speaker was being replaced by his colleagues the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was preparing for a bye-election to fill the vacant position of Ibarapa East State Constituency left by the late Speaker.
Announcing that the bye-election would be held on 2nd June this year in an interview with journalists in Ibadan, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Mr. Mutiu Agboke asked that interested political parties should conduct their primaries between Wednesday and Saturday May 19, 2018.
According to him, “the decision was in line with the provision of Section 25 (4) of the Electoral Acts 2010(As Amended)”, adding, “the commission has addressed stakeholders on the same issue”.