Between the old and ninth Assembly in Oyo

“Anyone who studied present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all people there still exist and have always existed the same desires and passions.”-Nicollo Machiavelli.

The 2019 general election in 29 states across the Nigeria federation had come and gone. The staggered elections that were recently experienced in the nation due to some political lapses on the part of the politicians are being straightened by various election petitions tribunals and have made the political situation in Nigeria to be a little bit calm. Some states will hold their election later this year and two or three other states next year.

Political parties that won the election in various states have been meeting on how to zone the various offices within their geo-politics in such a way that would bring about balance of power so as to avoid lopsidedness.

In the Nigerian political system, the only elective position that is equal in all the states is that of the upper chamber of the National Assembly namely, the Senate, in which all the states of the federation is bound to produce three candidates per state. This is unlike the House of Representatives, which is based on the population of each state.

This piece is about what is obtainable in the states, most especially in Oyo State and the subject-matter, basically, the expected composition of the next membership of the state House of Assembly.

The Oyo State House of Assembly comprises of 32 members from different state constituencies. By convention, offices are zoned to different geo-politics. Of particular importance is the fact that he office of the Speaker is dictated largely by three factors namely, the governor factor, zoning factor and second term factor.

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In 2011, the then Speaker of the Oyo State legislative body, Honourable Sumonu Monsurat, was then a first-timer from Oyo town. She represented Oyo East and Oyo West state consistency and she was the only female lawmaker in the midst of 31 male lawmakers.

The then political purview and arrangement favoured her a little bit; the zoning factor also favoured her as the speakership was zoned to Oyo. Besides, the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, favoured her candidacy. We should not forget in a hurry that the former governor is from Ibadan; his deputy is from Oke-ogun. It was therefore expedient that the number three citizen in the state should come from another place entirely. It was in the light of this circumstance that the political arrangement bestowed leadership on Honourable Sumonu and she eventually became the Speaker of the outgoing legislature in the state.

In 2015, the political arrangement favoured another individual who was a second-timer, the late Honourable Michael Adeyemo. He was from Ibarapa East state constituency. By convention, he must be the speaker and this he became before he passed on to the great beyond in 2018. His demise brought a bye-election that ushered in Honourable Debo Ogundoyin, son of the late industrialist and philanthropist, Chief Adeseun Ogundoyin.

The position of the speaker shifted to Ogbomoso, by virtue of Governor Ajimobi’s directive. It is important to say that the governor of any state has a lot of influence on who lead in the House of Assembly. This is important because such a sitting governor would always look for those who would work in tandem with his aspirations for the state.

Some people believe, rightly, that experience counts in whoever becomes the speaker of any state House of Assembly. However, it is needful to say that no matter the experience, the minority party in the state legislature cannot produce the speaker. At least, this is an issue facing the lawmakers at the federal level at the moment too.

In the Oyo State House of Assembly, going by those who won the election into the legislative house, four out of the thirty two members are returnee. The four of them are however from different political parties: Honourable Wumi Oladeji is from the Action Democratic Party (ADP), representing Ogbomosho North; Honourable Asimiyu Alarape is from the All Progressive Congress (APC) from Oyo East and Oyo West state constituency; Honourable Simeon Oyeleke, represents Surulere/OgoOluwa state constituency on the ticket of the APC and Honourable  Debo Ogundoyin of the People Democratic Party (PDP) is from Ibarapa East state constituency.

Out of the four returnees, only Hon Ogundoyin can lay claim to the speakership of the ninth assembly in the state. This is based on the fact that is party is in the majority in the state legislature. This position may not be altered, even if the other three returnee lawmakers switch their allegiance to the PDP.

As it was in the beginning, so it is now. The PDP which has the majority in the state legislature also produced the state governor for three terms: 2003-2007; 2007-2011 and now. This may remain so till when and if the Governor Seyi Makinde administration is able to win a second term of office.

Though many are saying Ogundoyin’s first time out as a legislator was just few months, this does not matter as he has appeared and he must have garnered some legislative strength and experience within the period which can help him to preside over the affairs of the state House of Assembly.

Among the twenty-six member legislators-elect in the PDP camp, Ogundoyin, as earlier stated, is the only second-term returning honourable. By virtue of that, he has the support of the who- is-who in the state and within the party. It is also the belief that Governor Makinde and the top hierarchy of Oyo PDP have given their support to Ogundoyin. Coupled with this is the fact that he would receive massive votes during the election into the various offices in the legislature which would be conducted by the honourable-members, all things being equal.

Apart from party affiliation, Honourable Ogundoyin has the scholarly excellence to the ninth Oyo House. He is a graduate of Babcock University, a farmer and philanthropist. He is unassuming, quiet, dedicated and passionate about the development of Oyo State. He is also an administrative maestro and a level-headed and reserved person.

Conclusively, as party supremacy and loyalty will take the lead in any political party and gathering in any of the state consistencies, the road to the speakership position in Oyo legislature is totally closed to the first-timers. It is needful to say that while there may be one or two among the PDP legislators-elect that won the election recently who may desire to be the speaker, they should understand that theirs would be nothing a long dream as the only returning legislator among them is Honourable Ogundoyin, who is in a good stead to win the race.

Some schools of thought have also posited that the PDP in Oyo State must say bye-bye to the opprobrium of yester-years; avoid impunity and lack of respect for party supremacy. They should rather allow reasoning to take over in the course of electing the leadership of the ninth legislature in order for the state to have a new lease of life and a new political horizon.

Babalola, a journalist, public affair analyst and political commentator, writes from Ibadan.