By ‘Seun Okeowo
The report of the alleged removal of the speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Taiwo Olakunle Oluomo is no longer news as it has been widely reported by almost all major newsletters and blogs, including radios and televisions across the country.
While the whole event that unfolded came as a sudden shock to all within Ogun State, it leaves a sour tale to tell for the people of Ifo local government, who had massively voted for their representatives from the two-state constituencies in the last election.
The result of the forgoing has been the reason why it is important to write this piece to set the records straight and let the public be the judge in the matter that is already in the public domain. While it is the prerogative of the members of the house to choose their leaders, it is also of utmost importance that many things are considered before the speakership position is nominated. More often for political balancing and the sharing of public representation.
The Ogun State House of Assembly, as we all know, has the power to make any of its members lead as the speaker, as the right to do so lies in the hands of the members of the house to whom the people have entrusted their mandate.
However, a lot is considered before the nomination of a new speaker is made. While the allegedly new Speaker is qualified to take the position of authority, just like any other member of the House, It is important to note that the public interest itself overrides all other interests for the sake of probity, equity, fairness, and justice.
Let us take a look at 2011-2019 when Rt. Hon. Suraju Adekambi (Yewa North 1) was made speaker of the House. He wasn’t the most qualified or the member with the longest-serving term in the House; he was a first-timer, but for political balancing, he was made speaker since the Governor was from Ogun Central, the Deputy-Governor was also from Ogun East, and the senator in Ogun West (Yewa-Awori) came from the Awori block of the Ogun West Senatorial District.
In the first part of this period, Hon. Adijat Adeleye (Ifo II State Constituency) was returning to the house for the second time in 2011, despite having more legislative exposure. Same with Rt. Hon. Remi Hassan (Odogbolu State Constituency), who was also returning at that same time as a senior member of the Ogun State House of Assembly.
Again, this whole scenario is seen by many stakeholders in Ifo as a political permutation to naked Ifo local government in front of their counterparts and the entire state when the number three (3) position is for the Ifo slot, which has two constituencies, while the governorship and deputy governorship positions are retained in Ikenne and Ado-Odo/Ota, respectively, till 2027. That’s a pure imbalance of political power, especially when the local government where the allegedly new speaker hails from has the current senator, Shuaib Afolabi Salisu, and in the past has produced a senator (Sen.Gbenga Obadara), unlike Ifo Local Government, which always lays the golden egg but gets nothing in return until now.
Odeda Local Government also controls the state party chairmanship position for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. Political power, when not properly balanced, breeds the opposite of fairness, justice, and equity, which can lead to unrest. It is a known fact that this is the first time Ifo will have the exalted position of speakership, and it shouldn’t elude us because an impeachment was served or made when Ifo still has a proud son who could stand up to the position of that leadership. If there were no alternative to this, there wouldn’t have been a need for this epistle. It is also important to let people know that the allegedly impeached speaker hasn’t been served with an impeachment notice following the allegation of his impeachment.
For the records, Ifo delivered in the 2023 governorship election for Governor Dapo Abiodun with a total of 20,653 votes and a margin of 4601 against Ladi Adebutu and the PDP. As a matter of fact, of the 4601 votes the governor had, Ifo Constituency II contributed 99.99% of the votes, despite the shortcomings of the governor in Ifo LGA as established by the public cry of the people due to long-term neglect. Also, despite Governor Abiodun’s commissioning of a road in Ifo, which fell under Ifo Constituency 1, no single road was commissioned in Ifo II going towards the election until the present moment, as I write.
The governor even promised to return to Ifo II if he voted for the second term to commission some of the road projects that were embarked upon, one of which we have seen for over a year, maybe due to the legal battle as a result of the election.
Funnily, my neighbor always says, and I quote, “The more votes Ifo LGA gives, the more underdevelopment and marginalization. When it is time to reap, they bring different stories and scheming techniques.” It is public knowledge that for about 10 years and counting, Ifo has had no one for the position of member of the House of Representatives or senator while they produced the biggest bloc of votes every election cycle.
According to the 2006 National Population Census report and the 2023 Wikipedia update, Ifo is the most populated LGA in Ogun State, and since they are the least developed LGA in Ogun State, they should reap from the labor they have sowed within the last 5 years in the completion of the Dapo Abiodun Administration in 2027 with greater accomplishment and not just the speakership position. Having the speakership position provides us with better representation, which we have lacked in decades past. The people of Ifo are watching and waiting on the resolution of the stakeholders from the ruling party in the state.
As concerned citizens and stakeholders of my community in Ifo, it will be a big disservice to everyone in Ifo to give Governor Dapo Abiodun and the APC a huge vote but to be let down when Ifo still has a representative that can take the mantle for political correctness and politics of fairness, equity, and justice.
‘Seun Okeowo writes from Isashi-Akute, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.