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Ikuforiji, Lagos State House Speaker Charged With Indiscipline and Anti-Party Activities

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In a strongly worded petition addressed to Bola Tinubu, national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the party's national legal adviser, Muiz Banire has leveled serious allegations against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, imploring the ACN leadership to take action against him for gross insubordination and anti-party activities.       Ikuforiji has been accused of indiscipline, disrespect for constituted authority, promoting groupism, advocating goon culture and inciting the Lagos State Assembly to rise in revolt against the ACN hierarchy, whom he accused of trying to hijack the Lagos State House of Assembly. According to the petition that was also copied to ACN National Chairman, Bisi Akande and the Lagos State chairman of the party, Henry Ajomale, Banire stated that: "In my capacity as the National Legal Adviser of our great party,' noted the petition, 'I am impelled to complain and place on record the persistent violation of party directives by Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the Speaker of the Lagos state House of Assembly,' Banire said, adding:

  "Recently, during the composition of the principal members of the Lagos state House of Assembly, inspite of the obvious substantial unpopularity of Mr. Ikuforiji, the Party Leadership gave a directive that he should be returned as the Speaker of the House against the free will of the majority of the members of the House which the members of the House complied with.'  

  Banire explained that the same directive was extended to all the members of the past bureau, including Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, 'who was arbitrarily and unconstitutionally removed as the Deputy Speaker of the House during the last tenure.' Rather than ensure compliance with the directive, Mr. Ikuforiji resorted to maneuvering and manipulation of the members of the House against complying with the directive as it concerns Hon. Tejuosho's return as the Deputy Speaker," the petition lamented.      

  Continuing, the petition, a copy of which was obtained by Banire noted that Mr. Ikuforiji incited rebellion against the party directive by claiming that the ACN hierarchy wanted to hijack the Lagos State House of Assembly and used membership into the various House Committees as a bait and leverage to apparently arm-twist and compel House members into disobeying the party leadership's directives.  

  Banire's most critical comments were made when he charged Ikuforiji of indulging in a witch hunt of Hon. Tejuosho, when he allegedly orchestrated her removal from office as Deputy Speaker, in flagrant disobedience of a party directive forestalling the move. "Even after this unwarranted act of insubordination, you gave a further directive that Hon. Tejuosho should be accorded the same recognition accorded principal members of the House. To everyone's chagrin, Mr. Ikuforiji ensured that this latter directive suffered the same fate as the earlier one. This became more perturbing in the light of the fact that Hon. Tejuosho complied with the directive of the party to shelve her plans to challenge in court her unlawful removal from office,' the petition exalted.  

  Banire therefore urged the ACN hierarchy to sanction the erring party members, arguing that the decision by the party hierarchy to stay mute over Mr. Ikuforiji's nose-thumbing has further emboldened him to defy the party. "Stemming from the above, it is obvious that if the decision above is not reversed ensuring the installation of Hon. Tejuosho as the Deputy Speaker of the House and Mr. Ikuforiji subjected to disciplinary action, the party hierarchy will be the one for it... it is my position that the party must hold its ground by ensuring members' compliance with party directives and subjecting those involved in the breach to disciplinary action.'      

  Although the party is seeking explanations from Mr. Ikuforiji on the allegations, most legislators who spoke to dismissed the allegations by Banire as 'unwarranted and self-serving' made with the sole intention of tarnishing the image of the Speaker.      

  A legislator, who elected anonymity not wanting to be seen to be openly antagonizing the party hierarchy, accused Banire of crying louder than the bereaved. He explained that Hon. Tejuosho was Deputy Speaker in the last assembly but lost her post after she was impeached following allegations that she sent thugs to attack a colleague who was on an oversight function to her constituency. She was also accused of absenteeism. While she was later absolved of the first accusation, she was found guilty of the second and removed from office. She was replaced by Mrs. Bola Badmus-Olujobi.   understands that when the politicking and jostling for positions in the House began shortly after the elections, the dominant thinking within the party hierarchy was that the principal officers be returned to office; wherefore Tinubu proposed that, it should include the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Whether this meant Tejuosho who had already been impeached and removed as Deputy Speaker was not specified. But in the event she was returned, the current Deputy Speaker, Kolawole Taiwo, would have been returned as the Majority Leader. But a majority of the House members disagreed. According to a lawmaker, who reacted to the petition on condition of anonymity, many of the lawmakers did not like Tejuosho whom they see as too cocky and haughty and close to Banire.  

  On the day preceding the inauguration, lawmakers were said to have met in the official residence of the Speaker on Joel Ogunaike Street, GRA, Ikeja, to deliberate on the suggestion of Tinubu. understands that at the meeting the lawmakers were divided on the choice of Tejuosho who was present at the meeting. The legislators then resorted to a vote and she lost to Taiwo, who eventually became Deputy Speaker, by eight votes to twelve.  

  The result of the election however jolted Tejuosho, who became angry and embittered as a sore loser. On the day of the inauguration too, Tejuosho was conspicuously seen as not happy as she avoided celebrating with her colleagues. She refused to take photographs with her colleagues and remained on her seat while the celebration lasted.  

  Meanwhile, the Speaker has been availed a copy of the petition by the state chapter of the ACN and has been asked to respond to the allegation for consideration by the party.    

"He that down fear no fall"
By: Ajim Fave