Race For Osun Speakership Hots Up

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Olatunji and Owoeye

OSOGBO – The battle for the control of gavel in Osun State House of Assembly for the seventh legislative dispensation is gathering momentum and has attracted lots of political intrigues and underground lobbying among the stakeholders across the state.

The sixth legislative assembly in the state had lapsed while the new dispensation will kick off by June 4, when the new leadership of the assembly would be in place.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 9th 2019 State House of Assembly Election won 23 out of 26 legislative seats while the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) managed to have 3 legislative seats of Ede-North, Ede-South and Obokun State Constituencies.

APC with a clear majority is expected to produce the headship of the seventh assembly and the occupier of the seat must be persons with legislative dexterity, experience and political acumen.

In his valedictory speech, Speaker of the Sixth Assembly, Folasayo Nojeem Salaam from Ejigbo State Constituency advised that the person that must control the gavel after him must be somebody that is mature and patient in all his dealings, transparent and be a listening leader to all sides and as well be objective.

He also suggested that such a person must not be greedy, lover of money and must be ready to share views and resources with members at all times.

The Contenders:

Serious politicking has reached its peak on who becomes the next Speaker of the State House of Assembly.

Findings revealed that there are two major contenders jostling for the speakership’s seat in the assembly. They are Hon. Timothy Owoeye, the majority leader in the immediate past legislative dispensation. He is representing Ilesa East State Constituency and Hon. Tunde Olalekan Olatunji, the Chairman, House Committee on Commerce, Industries, Cooperatives and Empowerment in the outgone legislative dispensation. He is representing Ife North State Constituency.

Hon. Owoeye is returning to the assembly for the fourth time, he has been in the Assembly since 2007 and was then minority leader. He graduated from the then University of Ado Ekiti now Ekiti State University with a degree in Political Science in 2005.

But Lekan Olatunji is also returning to the State Assembly for the second time, he was elected into the assembly in 2015.

He graduated from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering. He also bagged Masters degree in Business Administration from same university and a member of Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and had previously worked with Access Bank, Wema Bank and Union Bank.

Another contender that shown interest in the race but was said to have reportedly stepped down for Owoeye is Hon. Festus Komolafe representing Atakunmosa East/West state constituency.

All the three contenders are the only returning members and are from same senatorial district, Osun East Senatorial District. All the remaining 23 members including those of PDP are new comers.

Power Play:

Majority of members elected into the seventh assembly expected to be constituted soon are new comers. 23 of the 26 are new comer while only 3 are returning members. Those that are returning are from same senatorial district mainly Ifes and Ijesas that made up the district. While Hon. Owoeye and Festus Komolafe are Ijesas, Hon. Olatunji is Ife.

The political watchers in the state however read meanings to it that those that are eligible to become the Speaker, had been pre-arranged and planted by the immediate past administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola since the current Governor and his deputy, are from Osun Central and Osun West Senatorial District respectively.

It was further gathered that Rauf Aregbesola’s choice for the speakership position is Hon. Timothy Owoeye while Hon. Olatunji reportedly belongs to Oyetola’s camp who served as member of Ilerioluwa campaign team of Governor Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola.

The interest and influence of former Governor Aregbesola and the incumbent, Isiaka Oyetola on who becomes the next Speaker in Osun House of Assembly has already polarise the members elect into two camps.

It recent time, Hon. Owoeye after receiving his certificate of return from Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led about 15 other members elect to Aregbesola’s house in Lagos to present their certificate to him as a mark of solidarity and loyalty.

Findings further revealed that majority of members elect may toe or rather support Aregbesola’s camp because of the manner they (members elect) secured party’s ticket in the state. It was the time when direct primary was used to select party’s candidates in Osun and party’s primary was characterised by alleged imposition.

Party’s Decision:

Involvement of the ruling party in the selection of leadership of next state assembly has created room for lobbying.

The State Chairman of the party, Gboyega Famodun had claimed that the decision about who becomes the speaker will be taken within the party.

Some APC chieftains had claimed that seniority should be employed to determine who emerges as the speaker while other kicked against it that seniority should not be considered for position that is likely to have a profound effect on the success of governor of the state.

They argued that vibrancy, talent, capability and exposure especially when it comes to addressing issues publicly, should be qualities to be considered.

Ife Caucus/Zoning Arrangement.

Ife caucus in Osun APC holds the opinion that Ife zone should be given the ticket since Aregbesola who just finished his term as Governor hails from Ilesa and so the position of Speaker should not be zoned to that part of the Osun East Senatorial District again.

They further argued that Ife has not produce Speaker in the state since its creation in 1991 adding that the number three position should be allowed to go to Ife since an Ijesa man has been appointed Chief of Staff to Governor Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola.

Upon this, they are looking at Hon. Olatunji as credible, more qualified and intelligent to occupy such position and his emergence, according to them, will be an advantage for the youth in the state that has been yearning for youth in top public offices.

As the battle for Osun State House of Assembly Speakership continues, the people anticipate who will be in control of the gavel for the overall development of the state.

Source: independent.ng