SAN FRANCISCO, May 15, (THEWILL) – The Minority Leader of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olagunju Ojo, was on Tuesday elected and sworn-in as new Speaker after a rowdy session.
Also, Hon. Ademola Ige (Accord-Ibadan South East II), emerged the new minority leader of the Assembly.
Rt. Hon. Ojo (LP-Orire), a former Deputy Speaker in the fourth assembly (1999-2003), emerged the new Speaker following his unopposed nomination by Joshua Oyebamiji (APC-Akinyele I), seconded by Gbenga Oyekola (LP-Atiba).
His election followed the demise of former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Michel Adeyemo, who passed suddenly on April 27, 2018.
Earlier, Majority Leader, Kehinde Subair, had called for an election into the office of the Speaker.
But Mr. Muideen Olagunju (Accord-Oyo East/Oyo West), who opposed the call for the election of a new Speaker, argued that Constitution supersedes the Order of the Assembly.
Olagunju, citing sections 90, 92, 94 and 95 of the 1999 Constitution, said that in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker shall automatically take over the office.
“The section of the Constitution makes it clear that an election is unnecessary and also it is clear about transition to speakership in case of any absence or vacancy.
“The constitution clearly states that the deputy Speaker shall vacate his office and preside over the assembly,’’ he said.
Mr. Olusegun Olaleye, who supported Olagunju’s argument, said that a clear interpretation of the Constitution showed that the absence of a Speaker could also mean the death of a Speaker.
On the contrary, Mr. Solomon Akande, representing Ogbomoso-South, said that the argument of Olagunju was irrelevant and was not applicable to the legislative arm.
According to him, that section of the Constitution was applicable only to the executive arm because the governor and his deputy have a joint ticket, while the same cannot be said of the legislature.
Mr. Fatai Adesina (Accord-Ibadan South East I) moved the motion that the argument on the floor of the chamber should be moved to the executive committee.
“The former Speaker was a man of peace and in honour of his memory, we should not be seen by the public as fighting over who should take over the seat after his demise.
“There is always a lacuna in the Constitution and rather than airing our differences in public, we should resolve this at the committee level,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker, Mr. Musah Abdulwasi, who presided over the plenary, subsequently constituted a nine-member committee, including the two contestants, Ojo and himself.
He suspended the plenary for 20 minutes to allow the committee to reach a decision.
“History is being made today and it is good that a section of the Constitution is put to the test and whatever decision we arrive at today, will be a subject of many legal debates…
“No sacrifice is too much for the attainment of peace,” Abdulwasi said.
He therefore called on the Clerk of the House, Mr. Paul Bankole, to make a call for the election.