Battle for ODHA Speakership rages
…party’s decision supreme – APC chair
By Adekola Afolabi & Jubril Bada
Battle for who becomes the Speaker of the ninth Ondo State House Assembly still rages unabated.
The assembly is billed to be inaugurated on Monday June 3 at the Assembly hallowed chamber.
Already, 23 of the 26 lawmakers that would form the ninth Assembly are members of the ruling All Progressives Party, APC, in the state. This gives the party a smooth ride to produce the Speaker and other principal officers of the House.
Out of the 23 APC members, nine of them are returning members, while the remaining 14 members and the three (3) other members of the opposition parties are freshers.
The speaker of the House is expected to be a ranking lawmaker who must have had experience in the act of lawmaking. Also, by political arrangements, the speaker of the Assembly is expected to come from Ondo Central Senatorial district.
This is because the state Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, are from Ondo North and Ondo South Senatorial districts respectively.
Presently, two APC returning lawmakers from Ondo Central Senatorial district are vying for the most exalted seat in the hallowed chamber. They are the incumbent, Bamidele Oleyelogun representing lfedore and Sunday Olajide from Akure South 2.
While Oleyelogun was re-elected for the third time in the House, Olajide is a second timer and Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation.
The duo has continued to intensify their lobbying especially among the 18 new lawmakers who form the nucleus of the members. Alliances have been formed among members across the two candidates. The Hope gathered that some members have been promised juicy committee positions with a view to getting their support for the exalted position.
The incumbent is however, said to be enjoying the backing of some leadership of the party in the state because of the way he handled the eighth assembly. He was said to be a party man and was seen to be supportive of the executive programmes.
A source close to The Hope disclosed Oloyelogun’s seeming closeness to the executive may also be no archly hills as some of the members want a Speaker that would be independent of executive manipulations.
Olajide on the other hand is gathering enough support to clinch the position. Some members of the party are of the opinion that Mr Oleyelogun was not an original member of the party because he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) when he was contesting for office of the Speaker. They therefore argued that an aborigine of the APC in person of Olajide should be given the position.
Also, the Akure community are in his support because, according to them no Akure man has ever become a speaker and therefore this is the auspicious time for an indigene of the town to get into the office.
The trios of Abayomi Akinruntan Ilaje 1, Iroju Ogundeji Odigbo I and Samuel Aderoboye Odigbo II are also on the race for the position of Deputy Speaker of the House.
The duo of Akinruntan and Ogundeji are members of the outgoing eighth assembly while Aderoboye was a member between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of Alliance for Democracy, AD.
The Hope gathered that the fight is between Aderoboye and Akinruntan. It was gathered that some members of the party are selling the candidature of Aderoboye to the governor as an old horse and experienced parliamentarian whose experience and age would be useful at the House.
Speaking on the development, the APC state Chairman, Ade Adetimehin, stressed that although all the 23 APC members are competent to be speaker of the Assembly only one among them would be elected to occupy the seat.
The Chairman disclosed that the party was looking into the issue and promised that it would not generate any crisis. He also noted it is the duty of the party to give a template by adopting zoning arrangement.
“The decision of the party would remain binding on all the members since no member is above the party. They will abide by the supremacy of the party”, Adetimehin emphasised.