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Speaker: Lagos House Off To Smooth Start

Members-elect into the Lagos State House of Assembly, were on Monday inaugurated in an occasion reminiscent of an annual carnival, reports Peterclaver Egbochue

The new Chambers of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Monday, played host to a horde of party supporters, friends and family members of the elected members of the House for their inauguration. In his address to members of the 8th assembly, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, charged the lawmakers to join hands with the Executive arm of government to drive developmental policies of government in the state to ensure maximum result. Mr. Ambode urged the members to brace up for the task ahead and strive to maintain the standard set by the outgone 7th Assembly.

“Distinguished members, as we commence a new dispensation, it is important to note that we have a great task ahead. A great task, not only in the complexities of Governance, but in sustaining the high standard that has been set by both the immediate past legislative and executive arm of government. As you settle down to commence your legislative duties, I seek your support,” he stated.

He promised that all policies of his administration would seek the approval of the House, promising to respect their views and opinions irrespectively of their parties or ideological leaning. “While we must recognise the principle of separation of powers, as a cornerstone of the presidential system of government, it is significant to also recognise the imperatives of interdependence among the three arms of government. We shall have our moments of deferring opinion and views, however, when such occur, it must always be resolved quickly and in the best interest of our people,” he stated.

He challenged the lawmakers to put Lagosians at the centre of all their actions, stressing that the opinion of the people must count in all their decisions. Ambode also stressed the need for the lawmakers to maintain close relationship with their constituencies, adding that it was the only way their aspirations could be gauged and harmonised into laws and policies.

His words, “I intend to take advantage of this opportunity and also engage the federal Government on very pertinent issues that have valuable interests to the ordinary people of Lagos state. Dear members, our time is already counting, we need to get down to work and give our people the very best service we can offer. The people of Lagos deserve no less.

“Finally, in line with the provision with Section 105, Subsection 3 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended in 2010, I have issued and handed over to the Clerk of the House of Assembly, a proclamation for the commencement for the Eight Assembly of the Lagos State House of Assembly on this 8th Day June, 2015.”

Earlier, the Clerk of the House, Ganiyu Olusegun Abiru, in his address, charged the members- elect to work hard to secure a better life for the average citizen of Lagos, while not compromising the interest of the people for pecuniary gains or benefits. Abiru said they must consciously and diligently work hard to secure a better life and greater opportunities for the people through viable, pragmatic laws and other legislative instruments that would ensure visible social, economic and infrastructural transformation in all the 40 Constituencies of the state.

The Clerk later read out the contents of the Proclamation Order signed by the Governor for the inauguration of the 8th Assembly after it was presented to him by Ambode at the event. Dignitaries at the event include, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule; the First Lady, Bolanle Ambode; the Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello; the Chief of Staff, Olukunle Ojo; former Speaker, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji; the National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and several others.

Shortly after the brief occasion, the house went straight into business to elect Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, representing Agege 1 Constituency, as its Speaker. The Clerk of the House supervised the process that led to his emergence. Mr. Olanrewaju Oshun of Mainland Constituency 2 nominated the fourth term legislator in a motion that was seconded by Mr. Sola Giwa of Lagos Island constituency 2. Obase, who is a loyalist of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was elected unopposed at the Assembly’s maiden meeting.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, Governor Ambode described Hon. Obasa as a well experienced legislator and administrator who would bring his wealth of experience to bear in steering the ship of the House. The Governor also commended the members of the House for the smooth and rancour free manner they conducted the election to choose their leaders which has once again confirmed the rating of the House as the most vibrant legislature in the Federation. Ambode said he looks forward to a very harmonious and engaging mutual relationship between the Executive and the Legislature during the tenure of the new Speaker towards delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of the State.

The APC has 32 lawmakers while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has eight. This is perhaps the first time the opposition PDP would secure eight seats in Lagos state. In the outgone 7th Assembly, the house had all APC members. In the 6th Assembly, the PDP was only able to secure three seats in the House, which later reduced to two when the then Minority Leader, Hon. Hodewu Suru Avoseh, from Badagry II defected to the then Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. In the 5th Assembly, the PDP had only one member.

Watchers of Lagos state politics had expected that the Deputy Whip of the House, Hon. Rotimi Abiru, would emerge as the Speaker of the 8th assembly but that was not to be. Of the six principal officers of the Seventh Assembly, Abiru who is representing Shomolu II Constituency, is the only principal officer returning. However, Abiru hails from Lagos East Senatorial District that produced Governor Ambode. It is believed that this may have worked against him since there is zoning formula in the state.

In fact, a member of the house who preferred anonymity had expressed disappointment at the turn of events, which led to the emergence of Obasa. He had argued that the house should set aside the zoning formula and go for experience in the choice of the new speaker.

According to him, for the first time, the House has the highest number of opposition lawmakers. “The House needs a matured, experienced, intelligent and cool headed person to handle that position,” he observed. He further contended that with the increased number of opposition lawmakers in the house, the APC should have gone for a very experienced and intelligent person who can handle the challenges that may result from this. As the Lagos house gets set for the 8th legislative business, Lagosians expect that the lawmakers would initiate policies and programmes that would improve the living standard of the ordinary man on the street.

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