Sincerely, if there is a particular profession that is so dear to my heart, it must be journalism. It is not because of the money…no, journalism has no money (in the real sense of that word). It is a noble profession meant to serve the society and make it a better place. Even in the face of its hazards, the journalist understands how the profession allows practitioners to pun on words, get the most attractive headlines that would get the reader not just to look at the story, but give it detailed focus and digest its outcome.
This is the main reason for the above headline. Mudashiru Obasa is the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly and would have been holding the position for almost two years since 2015 when he emerged among his colleagues. The election that year, produced eight lawmakers of the House from the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This was a major feat recorded by the perpetual opposition party in the state. Since 1999 when democracy became a form of government after the military, the PDP was producing such huge number. The highest they had produced for the state Assembly was three.
For the first time, the emergence of the eight members had put a cut in the usual political equation in the state. Lagosians anticipated an Assembly that would be in disarray. If the PDP could have such a huge number, it means a tough time of four years for the remaining 32 lawmakers on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). That was the thought.
However, right from the inception, those who held this belief of a prospective crises-ridden Assembly got disappointed, nay amazed at the way the leadership of the House tackled issues, played its accommodative roles even to the surprise of the opposition. Obasa at the head of the Assembly’s leadership, knew how to play his game. And he did it well.
Two, out of the eight opposition members were principal officers as it should be. Of course, there never existed what could be termed ‘political racism’. It was always a case of ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander’. For example, last year, some members, led by the Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Hon Olumuyiwa Jimoh, travelled all the way to Mauritius for an edition of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. It is important to reveal that the delegates were made of both PDP and APC members. This is just one of such goodwill actions extended to the opposition in the House.
The former PDP members can also confirm that there has been no time the House saw them as opposition. This could be seen from the motions they sponsored without hassles as well as the opportunity granted them to contribute to issues of the on the floor.
It was therefore not surprising that these PDP members saw themselves more as contributors to the Lagos project than as opposition.
It was on February 16. The sitting was called to order that afternoon with Speaker Mudashiru Obasa’s presence. Then the activities of the House commenced. The joint letter by five of the members was read by the Clerk of the House, . The members include the Minority Whip, Mosunmola Sangodara (Surulere 2); Olusola Sokunle (Oshodi/Isolo 1); Jude Idimogu (Oshodi/ Isolo 2); Dayo Famakinwa (Ajeromi Ifelodun 2) and Oluwa Fatai (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1).
A very obvious fact about the letter and the comments by the five lawmakers when each of them was given the opportunity to speak,was that they were attracted to the APC because the special treatment they got from Obasa’s leadership. The fact that the PDP is currently polarised is a mere coincidence. To them, if as outsiders, they got such sweet treatment, it would just be great to now enjoy the goodies from the inside.
Oluwa Fatai said: “My reason for joining APC is due to the fracas between Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff faction and Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP. “I admire the leadership style of the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa and Governor Ambode.”
On his part, Idimogu Jude, said “I appreciate the kind of relationship that we have here. I must confess that I am in love with Governor Ambode. The governor has been kind to me and my constituents despite the fact that I was formally in the opposition. APC is better. I don’t know how to appreciate him (Ambode) than to join his party to move the state forward.”
Then, the funny aspect of the whole show emerged. The Minority Leader of the House and representative of Amuwo Odofin Constituency 2, Hakeem Bello, suddenly stood up and announced his defection. He was not among the initial number and his reason was not different from those of the other defectors. Is the defection the first of its kind in the House? No. However, it is the first to have such huge number.
The defected lawmakers may not have lied with what they said of the Speaker. It is wide knowledge that a government runs smoothly only when its arms, though independent, are co-joined. In this wise, the arms all see a common goal.
Is this why Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is having a smooth ride and making the party proud? The answer is obvious. I saw on Twitter recently where a man was asking Lagosians if they have a spare Ambode to lend Oyo state. He said: “Lagosians, please if you have a spare Ambode, please lend us in Oyo state. We promise to return him.” Funny, but the message sinks. I am not a Lagosian. I am not even a Yoruba man. But I keep maintaining that if there is one sure way God has blessed the Yoruba race, it is Lagos. And Ambode and Obasa are part of the blessing. Yes!
Oserah wrote this peace from Lagos.