-As Hon. Solaja declares for third term
A political battle is brewing within the Ikorodu Constituency II political circle as constituents in Ijede and Igbogbo Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) have maintained that the rotational arrangement for the sole Assembly seat should be sustained among the three councils (Imota, Ijede and lgbogbo LCDAs) in the constituency.
Residents stated this while reacting to a story published by THE IMPACT last Friday with the title, “Ikorodu Constituency ll Assembly Seat: Continuation Of Rotational Arrangement System Or A Change?”.
Hon. Nurudeen Solaja, the incumbent representative of the Ikorodu Constituency II in the Lagos State House of Assembly who is also a product of the rotational system, at the time that the story was published, also granted an interview to an online news medium which was circulated on some platforms same day.
In the interview, the former Council Treasurer turned lawmaker, declared that he will be contesting for the third term against the rotational arrangement among the three councils that made up of Ikorodu Constituency II which he is representing.
He said that the rotational arrangement, which favours two terms of four years each for each of the council, is not helping the constituency to attain principal officer position in the Assembly which according to him, is not good enough.
“I want to return for the third term. What they do in my constituency is a rotational system but this cannot help us where we have those returning for the fifth, fourth and third time (in the Assembly)”, Hon. Solaja said.
“With this process, there is no way that you can get a Principal officer position (in the House of Assembly) and there is a difference between being a Principal officer and an ordinary floor member.
“Apart from that, the government has trained you and you have learnt the rules and regulations of the House and if you are replaced, anyone coming in will just come and warm the bench. That is why I am aspiring to go for a third term”, he disclosed.
Meanwhile, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, former Secretary to the Lagos State government and a Chieftain of the Governance Advisory Council, spoke on the rotational arrangement for the Ikorodu Constituency II Assembly seat recently at the launch of “Ijede Tunrayo Ayo Nitemi” food support program, an initiative of Hon. Motunrayo Gbadebo – Alogba, the Chairman, Ijede Local Council Development Area (LCDA), in commemoration of her first 100 days in Office.
The veteran politician and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress ((APC) in lkorodu division, said, “The arrangement for the Ikorodu Constituency II started from Ijede and we made Alhaji Sakibu Olorunnishola Amusa the Chairman.
“This was in 1980 and the headquarters was in Ewu – Elepe”.
Also, Safiu Omotayo, commenting on the issue and Hon. Solaja’s third term ambition on ‘Itesiwaju Igbogbo’ platform, said that the attempt by Hon. Solaja to seek a third term or force a change in the rotational system will not be accepted.
“This postulation is dead on arrival. If the principle had (not) been in operation, would they have had the opportunity to be there now, let alone seeking for tenure elongation”, he asked rhetorically.
“The structural architecture of Constituency 2 would not permit a particular community to hold on to such a position beyond the agreed period. A two – term arrangement is more than enough for any particular community”.
While recalling that Ijede and lgbogbo/Bayeku LCDAs had served two terms each in compliance with the rotational principle, he enjoined Hon. Solaja to respect the arrangement.
“The current holder of the office, Saka Solaja from Imota will be completing his two -term in 2023 and (he should) leave the stage for the rotational principle which consequently will go back to Ijede LCDA”, he said.
He charged him (Solaja) to look for other opportunity after leaving the Ikorodu Constituency II seat in 2023, in emulation of his predecessors; Hon. Saheed Hassan and Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola who were elected and appointed as Council Chairman and acting Commissioner for Tourism/Special Adviser on Arts & Culture after their Assembly representations, respectively.
Lion Tunde Okusanya, a prominent youth leader in Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, also commenting on the issue on THE IMPACT platform, also supported that the Assembly seat should move to Ijede LCDA in accordance with the rotational arrangement.
While stating that the Ijede (the next community in line to produce candidate for the Constituency’s Assembly seat) and other communities in Constituency II, have capable hands to represent them, he charged leaders in the constituency to uphold the rotational principle.
“This is about our beloved Ikorodu Division that has worthy political leaders that would uphold their decisions whether written or otherwise. Ikorodu II Constituency has produced and still produces Illustrious sons and daughters who can stand the test of time with Hon Jimi Benson as arrow head’’, he said.
“The piece interestingly went through history ; a history that also plays out in our national life where the rotational method is applied to the Presidency, though unwritten, but it has served and still serves our collective drive to justice, equity and fairplay.
“We are a unique and distinctive people in Ikorodu II (Igbogbo, Imota and Ijede) and not even politics would divide the brotherhood we share.
“As far as I know, Hon Solaja is a gentleman who holds Integrity as his watch word. He would keep to the unwritten agreement having served his two – terms.
“He will take the way of honour and allow the people of Ijede to have their shot at the rotational arrangement”, Lion Okusanya said.
Okusanya also stated that Hon. Solaja is a product of the system and added that Ijede is willing to take its turn at the rotational system with the array of aspirants already throwing their hats into the ring to contest for the seat.
Another resident of Constituency II, Mr Ibrahim, in his own reaction on THE IMPACT platform, said that the third term ambition of the incumbent lawmaker representing Constituency II cannot be actualized in the face of the arrangement on ground.
He added that Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, which according to him, abide with the rotational principle despite having the largest population among the three councils in the Constituency II, should be the determinant if there is going to be a change in the rotational arrangement.
“Even if the record (arrangement) must break, it must start from Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, because it has the largest population. I stand to be corrected”, he said with caution.
He was of the view that the incumbent should honour the arrangement that brought him into office and allow Ijede take its turn at the Assembly seat.
A chieftain of the APC who did not want his name in print, said that the declaration of Hon. Solaja for third term can only be realized if Igbogbo/Bayeku and Ijede accept to change the zoning arrangement but doubted it going by the constituency’s political history.
“There is nothing permanent in politics, but some measures are put in place to maintain balance and if such were removed, there may be chaos”, he said.
“The zoning arrangement was put in place so as to bring about equality among the three major components; a situation where no one will dominate the other and that has been in place for decades.
“Of course, there have been attempts to break the agreement but we have a strong internal mechanism in the constituency to repel that because we know the implications. This does not mean that it cannot be reviewed or changed but no single individual or council can do that on its own. We all must agree based on good reasoning and in the interest of all”, he added.
The chieftain concluded by stating that the zoning arrangement must continue because there is no compelling reason to extend the incumbent’s term.
“Right now, there is no justification or good reason to extend Solaja or Imota’s term. It is the turn of Ijede and that must be respected”.
Another party chieftain from Ijede also commenting said that the incumbent should know better that his third term aspiration cannot not materialise stressing that the next town in line complied with the rotational principles in 2007.
“It is good to wish for such an opportunity but I don’t see such materializing because each of the component units must play its part by adhering to the rotational system” he said.
“The next in line is Ijede and if you will recall the council compiled and passed the baton to Igbogbo. There was an attempt to elongate Igbogbo’s terms but reasoning eventually prevailed and we all supported Imota to produce the occupant.
“It is fair and just for Ijede to produce the next representative in our constituency come 2023. That is what is fair and just in this situation” he emphasized.