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Ikuforiji In Hot Seat…….Faces Public Bashing From Colleagues

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Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji of the Lagos State House of Assembly has witnessed a part of the travails that await him in the seventh session of the state Assembly which is hoped to commence on Saturday with the swearing of oath of new members of the House.   Ikuforiji witnessed the anger that has been bottled up against him by his colleagues, some of who have seen him as a betrayer at the valedictory sitting of the House Friday. understands that the embattled Speaker is currently having some challenges with his colleagues over the way he had handled the running of the House in the past four years.  

  Particularly bitter are the state lawmakers loyal to the Majority Leader of the House, Kolawole Taiwo. This group led by Hon. Adelabu Onibiyo and Hon. Bayo Oshinowo had been soliciting for support against the bid for Ikuforiji to become the Speaker even against the wish of the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu.  

  According to Onibiyo, who regarded the Speaker as a sit-tight, the sixth Assembly had ended well.  

  The out-going member, who addressed the Speaker before the other lawmakers, staff and members of the press, said: "My exit from the House is for me a thing of joy. You always talk about the executives, but I keep wondering what is in the executive arm of government that is not here (the legislative arm).  

  "I like the courage of hon. Taiwo Kolawole who had wanted to become the next Speaker. Even though that has not materialised, I like his courage. Of course, I stood by him through thick and thin. Sometimes we wish it was time, but God's time is always the best.  

  "We will continue from here to see where this journey takes us, but the records are there in the annals of history whether we like it or not. Every conduct is written, every statement is also written.  

  "I understand you, Ikuforiji, is moving to become the Speaker again. Who are those you would be working with? We must learn from our past. Principal officers do not even know their jobs and cannot represent and work for those who made them so, those of us who are ordinary members. A man can always be full of himself, but in the race, we are all free."  

  Continuing, he said: "This House of Assembly has never had regard for time and I hate it. We sit 1pm, 2pm as if we don't have any other business. We have staff kept till 7pm when we can start and end between 10am and 2pm . If the Speaker is not around, can't the Deputy Speaker or any other principal lawmakers charge? All of these are the things I have seen here which I must talk about.  

  Mr. Speaker, when we started, I had an interest in you. You showed direction and focus, but within the last six months, you changed ways. The fact that you were offered you were offered a seat in the senate and you refused it, I don't like you again. You who had always told us about institution building could not go to the senate to exhibit it.  

  "I don't see any joy in telling people what I cannot do. I don't also see any joy in taking what does not belong to me. It is not sufficient to be called an honourable member when you are indeed not honourable. It brings discord to take what does not belong to you.  

  He said he would be in the House from next week "to push the pull."  

  lawmakers also complained about the lack of respect for time saying it had left them frustrated and the House uninteresting.  

  The Majority Leader, in his remark, reminded the Speaker that he never thought of going for the position of the Speaker, but was actually prompted by the Ikuforiji.  

  He also reminded the Speaker that though he had betrayed the trust and unity of the House, they would always remain friends.  

  Ikuforiji, who was left perplexed with the various comments ended up admitting that he had excesses that had become so glaring.  

  He also admitted going too far with his powers during the friction between the House and the state governor and thanked Governor Fashola for not using the issue against him.  

  But some lawmakers who spoke in confidence after the sitting stressed that Ikuforiji would not find the seat as easy as it had been as they would ensure that he is closely monitored and that he operates the principle of accountability if he eventually becomes the Speaker in the seventh Assembly.