But for the crisis-management skill of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa, the Monday, 27 June, 2022 plenary session would have ended in chaos.
Some of the lawmakers are not happy. They will not have the opportunity of returning to the House because they have been well beaten during the primary poll organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to pick its flagbearers for the general elections coming up next year
In an earlier post, thegazellenews.com has detailed how lawmakers regarded as ‘untouchables’ in the House because of their closeness to the Leader and their membership of the Inner Caucus of the House, lost in their reelection bids at the primary election.
The defeated members were not happy and they were not ready to take it lying low. Some of them travelled down to Abuja during the last National Convention of the party to have audience with the National Leader of the party and Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but there was no headway for them.
Thus, they were still licking their wounds when the House resumed for plenary on Monday, 27 June, 2022.
The previous weekend, between Friday, 24 and Sunday, 26 June, 2022, the Lawmakers have attended a seminar organised by an international agency at Ogere in Ogun State.
On Monday, 27 June, 2022, therefore when the House resumed for plenary, Speaker Obasa had asked the Majority Leader of the House, Honourable Sanai Agunbiade to give the report of the seminar attended by the Lawmakers the previous weekend.
Of course, the Majority Leader obliged and gave his report, paving the way for the Lawmakers to debate the report. But observers of the proceedings who were present at the chamber and millions watching the live streaming outside the Assembly were not prepared for what happened next.
The first lawmaker to indicate his desire to speak was Honourable Victor Akande, APC member representing Ojo State Constituency 1 in the Assembly. He is one of the ‘Untouchables’. Akande, a defector from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Akande does not hide the fact that he is very close to the leader of the House. But during the primary, he was roundly beaten by somebody regarded as a neophyte politician, Olusegun Ege.
Akande, was still angry over his defeat. The sitting and the nod given to him by the Speaker to talk gave him the opportunity to vent his anger and he did without mincing words. Rather than debate the report presented by the Majority Leader, Akande chose to speak on the Primary Election. He pointedly accused the state government led by Babajide Sanwo-Olu as being the mastermind of his and others’ defeat at the primary election. According to him, Governor Sanwo-Olu not only sponsored aspirants to compete against them, he also fully backed them with all the needed logistics.
Akande also vented his anger on the civil servants, arrogantly saying that, “the civil servants now want to take over our job. They are now competing against us”.
Akande lamented further that by not allowing them to get return tickets, the state is losing huge sum of money expended by her in training them, very hilarious and laughable! Akande has forgotten that he replaced someone who was equally trained by Assembly before losing to him during the election. One wonders why he didn’t relinquish his victory to his predecessor then because that one has been trained.
Next to speak was Honourable Emmanuel Rotimi Olowo, APC member representing Somolu State Constituency I. Another of the ‘Untouchables’ roundly beaten during the primary election.
For him, he and his other colleagues who lost during the primary election are very popular but could not win the primary election because the Governor interfered by supporting and sponsoring candidates against them.
What a contradictory statement? You’re popular yet you lost!
Olowo lamented further that the Governor should not be allowed to interfere in the process of electing lawmakers saying it is dangerous for governance especially in the area of checks and balances.
At this stage, Speaker Obasa intervened and called for a five minute break as it was apparent that other aggrieved Lawmakers were getting ready to speak in anger.
The five minute break lasted almost an hour and when the Lawmakers returned and the Majority Leader consulted the Speaker, sitting was adjourned sine dine, that is, indefinitely.
But the question is: is it right to blame Sanwo-Olu for the Lawmakers’ defeat? Investigation conducted by thegazellenews.com revealed that rather than blame the Governor, the defeated lawmakers have themselves to blame.
This medium can reveal that complacency, arrogance, political exigency and greed were some of the major reasons the Lawmakers lost out.
Most of them were complacent because they felt their names have been included in the list allegedly submitted by the Leader to party leaders.
They became so complacent that some don’t even have cordial relationship with the local leaders in their constituencies particularly the council chairmen who have the control of the delegates. Some of the Lawmakers saw the council chairmen as nobody, they treat with disrespect.
Let’s take Akande for instance. He was trying to do the unthinkable – going for third term in Ojo. But rather than being submissive about it, he was flaunting his relationship with the Leader in the House. He never did have cordial relationship with the elected council chairmen in his constituency and does not relate cordially with other leaders. It was obvious, Akande will lose.
Akande was ready to vent his anger on civil servants. It was understandable. He was beaten by a Level 12 officer. For Olusegun Ege, the people of Ojo were ready to pay back the good work of his father, Late Afolabi Ege, first Commissioner for Establishment in Lagos through whose foresight, many indigenes of Badagry Division got civil service employment.
It was ridiculous that Akande arrogantly accused civil servants of wanting to take over their job. Are civil servants not citizens of Nigeria? Don’t they have right to aspire? Have we not seen civil servants being elected into the House before? Akande’s colleagues both present and past were civil servants before seeking election into the House. Setonji David is one of such example. Rasheed Makinde is another as well as Dayo Saka Fafunmi, and the fantastic Late Alimi Kazeem, (may he continue to find peace with his Creator) his colleagues in the 8th Assembly.
For Olowo in Somolu, it was also ridiculous for him to blame Sanwo-Olu for his misfortune. This is a man who wants to eat his cake and still have it. He has met with the leaders and stakeholders of the party in his constituency to intimate them of his desire to run for a ticket in the House of Representatives.
This medium learnt that Olowo always have double political aspiration: he would spread his leg over two tickets: House of Representatives and House of Assembly. When he fails in his Rep aspiration, he would come back to seek for Assembly ticket. It was alleged that he did it in 2019 and it took the intervention of the Late Senator Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo aka Pepper and Speaker Obasa for him to get the Assembly ticket after losing the Rep ticket to Ademorin Kuye.
He thought it was going to be business as usual in 2022. He is a Super Untouchable in the House, he could get away with it. But he never reckoned with the determination of the party members not to be taken for a ride twice.
As usual, when it was obvious he would not displace Kuye, who performed remarkably as a first term member of the House of Representatives and the leaders and members were unanimous in returning him to the Green Chamber, he ran back seeking to go back to the House. That was sheer arrogance on his part and the delegates took it out on him by rejecting him at the primary. So much for his famed popularity.
For Nurudeen Saka-Solaja, APC member representing Ikorodu State Constituency 2, it is another case of greed and total disregard for political convention of his constituency. There are three major communities in his constituency: Imota, Igbogbo and Ijede. The unwritten agreement among the communities, thegazellenews.com learnt, was that each should serve for two terms. That’s the convention. Howeve, having served for two terms, Saka-Solaja wanted to display his new found influence by seeking for a third term. Party members and leaders would not allow him displace the age long peaceful convention that has been running smoothly in the Constituency. They vowed not have anything to do with his third term ambition, hence he was defeated at the primary election.
When Rasheed Makinde, APC, Ifako Ijaiye 2, contested in 2015, he was so popular that he defeated the Ojokoro Council Chairman then, Benjamin Olabinjo. However, when he returned in 2022 to seek for third term, his popularity has so waned that he could not even score a single delegate vote.
Makinde was also reputed to be one of those who relied on their names entering the purported ‘powerful list’ to the extent that he lost touch with his constituency, they responded to him with their delegate votes.
Jude Idimogu and Hakeem Olusola Shokunle have similar stories. Both were from the PDP who defected to the APC, hence their reliance on that magic list is understandable. They were however put in their proper places because they lost out to aspirants presented by the local godfathers in their respective constituencies. Shokunle, APC, Oshodi-Isolo 1 lost out to Stephen Ogundipe who was sponsored by the godfather in the area, Musiliu Akinsanya aka MC Oluomo while Idimogu, APC, Oshodi-Isolo 2 lost out to Ladi Ajomale, son of former state Chairman of the party, Henry Ajomale. Ironically, both lost out to opponents they had defeated twice before.
Fatai Oluwa lost out to another Oluwa, Akanbi, whose father, Prince Rabiu Oluwa is a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) and Apex Leader for Badagry Division, while Abdus Sobur Olayiwola Olawale, aka Omititi, APC, Mushin 2, lost to a more popular candidate, Yinka Esho-Kazeem.
The problem of Mojisola Alli-Macaulay, APC, Amuwo-Odofin 1, was an open secret. She was not popular at home, especially after the EndSARS period where she openly criticized the youths. It was later alleged that palliatives meant to cushion the effect of COVID-19 were allegedly diverted for her empowerment programmes. All these drastically reduced her popularity and it was not even a surprise that she lost the primary election.
It is obvious that the defeated Lawmakers just want to create excuses for their failure. They were the architect of their own misfortune. If indeed Sanwo-Olu sponsored candidates, why didn’t he do it for other constituencies? Certainly if he can pull it off in the affected constituencies, he could do it in others.
The fact of the matter is that the defeated ‘Untouchables’ were just over confident.
There were other ‘Untouchables’ who won. Temitope Adewale, APC, Ifako Ijaiye 1 is one of them, he remains one of the most popular lawmakers in Lagos today. Abiodun Tobun, APC, Epe 1 has been creating records in his constituency. The first to make third term, now he is going for fourth term. If Gbolahan Yishawu, APC, Eti Osa 2 contests ten times in his constituency, he will win. This is because he has special connection with party leaders, elders and members in his constituency. Even before the election, both Surulere Lawmakers: Desmond Olusola Elliot and Mosunmola Sangodara have been endorsed by their leaders, a result of their being good at home while Mojisola Lasbat Meranda, APC, Apapa 1 is well loved in her constituency, same you can say of Naim Adams, APC, Eti Osa 1 and Deputy Majority Leader of the House. All these are members of the ‘Untouchables’ Club, yet they excel during the primary election. Can we now say that Governor Sanwo-Olu was responsible for their victory?
Even the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, going for sixth term, did not gave room for complacency. He was in constant touch with his Agege constituents, he lives among them, eats and wines with them. The result was, nobody contested against him in his constituency.
So for the defeated members of the ‘Untouchables’ Club, they are the architect of their own misfortune. Sanwo-Olu was an aspirant in the last primary election, so it was a case of to your tent oh Israel, everyone for himself.