KKunle Adelabu & Dimeji Jagun
One of the major factors that stand out man from other animals is the ability to conduct our affairs within an existing law, conventions and arrangements and such which prescribe reward and punishment if there is contravention. But over time, reality has shown that laws are made for man and not the other way round, especially when situations call for such laws to be in tune with existing situations.
Ikorodu Constituency II politically is a very volatile area and some parts of it have at one time gone with defunct Irepodun Local Government. Since then this part of Ikorodu Division has always been looking forward to its political and economic independence of Ikorodu which has been accused of marginalizing it.
In order to guide against the repeat of marginalization agitation among its component units, an unconscious arrangement evolved to rotate any political office zoned to it in order to bring about balanced and harmonious relationship. This spirit has indeed worked to the advantage of the constituency which is made up of three Local Council Development Areas (LCDA), Igbogbo/Baiyeku, Ijede and Imota LCDAs.
During the short-lived Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Party (NRC) era, Imota presented Alhaji (Hon) M.K. Sanni from Imota as the representative representing Ikorodu Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly. Alhaji Sanni who was unable to complete its term as a legislator due to military termination of the democratic process in 1993 was compensated with chairmanship of Imota LCDA in 1999 at the beginning of the current democratic political dispensation.
In 1999 when Hon. Saheed Adefarasin Hassan was picked from Ijede LCDA as the representative of Ikorodu Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly, it was a joint decision which was supported by all the three LCDAs. Hon. Saheed Hassan served two terms between 1999 and 2007 at the Lagos State House of Assembly. He was elected as the chairman of Ijede LCDA, a position he is still serving for the second term.
In 2007, it was the turn of Igbogbo/Baiyeku LCDA and after serious political struggle between late Hon. (Chief) Rotimi Olasiji Sotomiwa and the Chief (Hon.) Mrs Adebimpe Nosimot Akinsola (JP.), the party finally settled for the later who represented Ikorodu Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly and was the Chairman, House Committee on Special Duties. Hon. Rotimi served between 2007 and October 2010 before his death while recovering from illness. The bye-election that followed his demise produced Hon. Gbenga Oshin, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate who defeated Hon. David Alagbe of the Action Congress of Nigeria to emerged as representative of Ikorodu Constituency II and completed the Igbogbo/Baiyeku LCDA first term.
In 2011 general election, Action Congress of Nigeria preferred Chief (Mrs) Adebimpe Akinsola (Jp.) as candidate for the position of Ikorodu Constituency II. She emerged as the winner and has been at the Assembly since 2011 till present, though, her tenure is expected to elapse in June 2015, and she is expected to seek re-election for the Assembly position, but there seems to be opposition from other parts of the Constituency II especially Imota LCDA which is claiming that it is its turn in 2015.
The Imota claim is premised on the ground that the arrangement is based on component units and not individuals and so, Igbogbo had its first term between 2007 and 2011 with two candidates, late Chief Rotimi Sotomiwa and Hon. Gbenga Oshin and that the current term accorded Igbogbo/Baiyeku LCDA would elapse with Hon. Adebimpe Ainsola in 2015, thus it is the turn of Imota thereafter.
From all indications, the current Ikorodu Constituency II is seeking to return for second term on the ground that there is need to consolidate on the gains and lessons and make her return beneficial to her constituency.
A school of thought in support of her returning to the Lagos State House of Assembly is also arguing that the system where principles of turn-by-turn prevails is not healthy for Ikorodu Constituency II, rather representation should be based on merit and credibility. They posited that the arrangement was made for stabilization and with advent of enlightened political situation, interested aspirants from every part of the constituency should be allowed to aspire without any hindrance.
Argument by those clamouring for the return of Hon. Akinsola is that she has proven herself as a legislator and there is need for consolidation if she is to bring any meaningful democratic dividends home.
IMPACT can authoritatively reveal that, a team consisting of people across the three Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) is moving round the constituency to sell the candidature of the incumbent based on concrete achievements and other factors which to them are convincing enough to jettison the so called arrangement and support for her candidature on individual ground and not on component units upon which the existing unwritten agreement is premised. When contacted, a prominent member figure of Hon. Akinsola re-election campaign told IMPACT that people’s perception are changing across the constituency on the unwritten arrangement and re-election of the incumbent. “The fact is that we are not privy to any arrangement and if such exist, it is time to change it and move with current realities. As individuals, we have inalienable rights so is Hon. Akinsola, thus she is entitled to seek re-election.Based on performance, she deserves to go back and there is need to consolidate her position at the Assembly for the benefit of Ikorodu. I think people have started having rethink because she has performed and reached out across the constituency through various programmes like Award of Excellence, Football tournament, Free Health Services, Financial Assistant to elderly persons and other individuals and facilitation of numerous developmental projects to Ikorodu Constituency II.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Saheed Hassan Adefarasin, former Member, Lagos State House of Assembly and the current Chairman Ijede LCDA re-affirmed the existence of the unwritten law when contacted by IMPACT and enjoin all parties and interest groups to respect the arrangement that has been keeping Constituency II together. “It is an implied agreement and not written. The other LCDAs supported me for my second term and I was meant for third term but I decided against it based on the agreement which I respected because it has greatly helped Constituency II.”
Recognizing the dynamism of party politics, Hon. Hassan added that the party leadership could change it if there is need to do so. “It is an arrangement among the three local governments in Constituency II and if the party wishes, especially at the state level it can be changed. We believe in the supremacy of the party and if the party says that the incumbent should return there is nothing anybody can do”, says Hon. Hassan.
Since Ijede is not presenting candidate it is expected to play a decisive role, but the opinions in Ijede seem to be divided. At the Third Edition of Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola’s Award of Execellence held at Luwasa High School Ijede, an important opinion leader and foremost educationist, whose opinion transcends Ijede, Prince Adegbola Amusa clamoured for the return of Hon. Akinsola based on her performance.
“I want to commend the great achievements of our daughter, heroine and representative, Hon. Akinsola, for the laudable programme she has initiated and religiously sustained. She is generally a committed philanthropist, activist and community leader and I’m not surprised by her exploits because we have been working together at Conference of Leaders of Ikorodu Division (COLID), where her contributions were of immense usefulness to the group”, said Prince Amusa.
The former Education Secretary, Ikorodu Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) also added,“she is very deserving of second term, because she has proven to be very loyal, committed and credible representative of his people”.
she has proven to be very loyal, committed and credible representative of her people”.
Information also reaching IMPACT from Ijede have it that a youth group is pushing for the candidature of Comrade Kunle Matti, a civil servant with Ikorodu Central Local Government. We gathered that the youth group’s position is strategic and based on the perception that the subsisting unwritten agreement would be jettisoned and Ikorodu Constituency II component units would be free to contest unhindered.
Mr Ayo Ajayi, who was first AUF Chairman in Igbogbo/Baiyeku during Alhaji Ajisebutu days, also confirmed the existence of the unwritten agreement, but added that in view of the performances of Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, she should be allowed to go back to the house to further consolidate her representation. He added that though the arrangement was designed to ensure that every component of the constituency has sense of belonging but in view of present circumstances, to him, the workability of the arrangement is very doubtful.
Though, Imota is warming up a candidate in person of Mr Solaja-Saka Nurudeen, a civil servant to replace Hon. Akinsola at the Lagos State House of Assembly, but formidable forces are also working for the retention of the current occupant. IMPACT gathered that HRM Oba Ajibade Agoro, the Ranodu of Imota and other party leaders in Imota are working fervently to have their turn at the Assembly by getting the support of Ijede LCDA leaders to make Mr Solaja Nurudeen the next All Progressive Congress candidate in the next election.
In an interview with HRM Oba Ajibade Agoro, the Ranodu of Imota recently, the kabiyesi affirmed the existence of the agreement and insist that it must exist if there must be co-operation within the Constituency II. “The unwritten agreement among the three major component units of Constituency II must exist if there must be co-operation among Imota, Ijede and Igbogbo. It must exist and not a question of if it is still existing and it is the time for an
Imota indigene to run for the Assembly seat”, says Oba Ranodu.
Oba Agoro also added, “This issue of rotation is always for any unit of the constituency i.e. Igbogbo, Ijede and Imota, whenever it is their turns and not for an individual. This is designed to bring about co-operation between the three major component units and to prevent a scenario like what happened in Imota in 1992 during the term of late Sir Michael Otedola as governor. It was a disagreement on this principle that caused problem here. Apart from that, if the former and present members of the Lagos State House of Assembly are called out for honour, three individuals from Igbogbo would benefit from that, because in the last seven years, Igbogbo has produced three Assembly members in persons of late Hon Rotimi Shotomiwa, Hon. Gbenga Oshin (PDP) and the incumbent, Hon Adebimpe Akinsola.”
While Imota is banking on the local political arrangement, it has been revealed that the forces working for the return of Hon. Akinsola within and outside Ikorodu are very formidable which makes her return seems to be a concluded arrangement. She is a member of Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji’s inner caucus at the Lagos State House of Assembly and from all indications, the Speaker is more than interested in her return. Likewise, her closeness to Chief Henry Ajomale, APC State Chairman and Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, will play to her advantage when the party will be making its decision.
Another development that may play out in the drama is Ikorodu Constituency I and II traditional/political differences. Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola may likely get the support of HRM Oba Salaudeen Oyefusi (CON); Asiwaju Babatunde O. Benson (SAN), Prince Abiodun Ogunleye and other traditional, socio-cultural and political groups. She is a member of Conference of Leaders of Ikorodu Division (COLID) and has also been involved actively with Ikorodu Constitiuency I and Divisional activities.