The 10th Lagos Assembly was inaugurated for legislative duties early in June.
Lagosians have high expectations that the House will surpass the achievements of the 9th Assembly and generally play its constitutional role of being the voice of the people.
However, the 10th Lagos State Assembly would be short of highly experienced members, either because of their inability to win return tickets to the House or due to their movement to represent their people at the National Assembly in Abuja.
Some of these highly experienced members would no doubt go away with a pool of legislative knowledge and experience that could have further strengthened the institution in the 10th Assembly and also helped the new lawmakers.
Their deep, robust contributions to debates on the floor of the House, even when on oversight would be sorely missed.
These eight ranking outgone lawmakers formed major power-blocs and brokers in the House. At different times, they played critical roles in the scheme of things and at some points influenced decisions made by the leadership.
Eshinlokun was the immediate past deputy speaker and newly elected senator for Lagos Central senatorial district.
Many observers say Eshinlokun is an enigma, a politician with decades of political experience. He represented the people of Lagos Island Constituency 1 and had contested and served two terms as executive chairman of Lagos Island Local Government from 2008 – 2014.
He was also a member of the House, during the return to democratic rule in 1999-2023. He is a versatile and outstanding politician with a track record of remarkable performance in legislative and executive responsibilities. He left the House after serving three terms in his second coming. There is no period he would stand up to contribute to issues that he would not make reference to foreign scholars who might have written about the issue at hand.
His candour and the way he carried himself among his colleagues showed experience. During public hearings, Eshinlokun, who always represented the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, displayed the attitude and character of a good listener and responded intelligently to questions asked by stakeholders. Eshinlokun was born on March 24, 1961.
Another high ranking member that is not returning to the House is Rotimi Olowo who represented Somolu 1.
He spent 16 years and chaired several prominent committees in the House that can be reckoned with.
Observers are the view that the 10th Lagos Assembly will miss Olowo’s versatility in legislative duties.
His understanding of legislative debates and oversight duties has been commended by stakeholders. Olowo has the grip of statistical data and analysis.
He is versatile in public finance and budget assessment. He exhibits steadfastness and professionalism when scrutinising and investigating financial cum-budgetary issues.
He often contextualised his contributions to debate and drew a link between idealism and realism. That is when you will hear him say “in any saner clime that should not have happened.”
Olowo is known to say it as it is without mincing words when issues concerning the stability and independence of the House comes to the front burner anytime.
His clear understanding of legislative governance and issues stood him out and this placed on him the responsibility of supporting the Speaker in managing the temperament of the House whenever the need arose. This played out when there was rancor and intense power play among ranking members some years ago.
Another lawmaker who the new members could have tapped from his legislative experience and wisdom is Ogundimu.
He represented Agege 2 since 2011.
He was skillful in the discharge of his responsibilities as the coordinator of legislative business and rules during plenary sessions. He was quick to put back on track the debate when any member veered off. He exhibited this whenever he was to contribute to debates.
At no time, his contributions were watery or lacked substance and there was no issue he would not have an idea on. His tactical and analytical prowess when dissecting bills before stakeholders during public hearings would be greatly missed. The easy-going lawmaker is an embodiment of knowledge that cuts across areas of life. His character of singling out issues one after the other and dissecting them scholarly stands him out among his peers. Ogundimu spent 12 years with immense contributions to the independence of the House.
The quality of his contributions to debates during plenary showed the depth of his thought on issues of general concern. His excellent performance in the oversight functions cannot be overemphasised. When on oversight to agencies and departments under his committee, Ogundimu would carefully interrogate the efficiency of the agencies to understand whether they achieved their stated goals within the time frame and ambit of the laws.
Agunbiade is another versatile legislator whose absence would be greatly missed in the 10th Assembly. Agunbiade represented Ikorodu constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly from 2007 to 2023.
He became a majority leader at a time when the House historically had the highest number of eight opposition members in 2015.
Even at that, he ensured that there was a smooth and cordial relationship between the majority and minority members such that there was no noticeable gap between the two political parties in the House. Speaking recently to journalists, Agunbiade emphasised the need for Nigerians to attach importance to experience in the legislative arm of government.
He noted that the more a legislator stays in office the better for the society and his constituency, saying that he enjoyed his stay in the House, while it lasted. “I love legislation and I enjoyed every bit of my stay in the assembly. It’s unfortunate that our society is yet to come to terms with the rules of the legislature, the more you stay in the legislature the better for legislation and the better for the society,” he said.
Idimogu is a grassroots politician that has paid his dues in politics. He won seat to represents Oshodi/Isolo constituency 2, a constituency with a high percentage of non-Yoruba speaking people in the 2015 general election. This was at a time that the opposition gained momentum in Lagos State, winning several seats in the Lagos Assembly. His constituency is one of the largest in terms of voting population and he is the first Igbo man to have won election into the House on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Also, as an Igbo man, he defeated the son of the then Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Henry Ajomale in 2015. However, in 2017 he defected to the APC amid criticism from PDP members and some of his supporters in his constituency. But Idimogu told newsmen then that his decision to defect to the APC was a personal one.
The lawmaker was known for his eagerness to contribute meaningfully to debates on the floor of the House. As a Chartered Accountant with much experience in investment banking, Idimogu understands the use of figures to illustrate humanitarian issues whenever such issues were presented before the House. He always introduced fresh and different perspectives to debate on the floor of the House. He ran an open-door policy. Despite not being made Chairman of any Standing Committee for good three years when he came into the House in 2015, Idimogu still showed maturity.
Later, as a member of Standing Committees, he would always act professionally when they were on oversight function to government agencies under their supervision. The lawmaker was not known to stay away from plenary except if the committee he belonged to went for oversight and also if he had constituency matters that needed his urgent attention.
Akande is another lawmaker whose absence would be felt. Commonly known as ‘Mr Lacuna’ in the House and like Idimogu, Akande came into the House of Assembly on the platform of the PDP in 2015. He represented Ojo constituency 1, another constituency with a large presence of Igbo and people from the South-South geo-political zone.
His professional calling as a legal practitioner reflected in his disposition to issues in the House. Truly, Akande understands the operations and principles of the legislature very well.
This is reflected in the way and manner he chaired the House Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights. Akande was always detailed in his Committee reports and treatment of public petitions. His robust legislative engagement and lobby tactics among his colleagues was second to none.
This informed the reason why he was closer to the Speaker than some of his contemporaries. This closeness pushed him up the ladder of power brokers and positioned him to be a key adviser of the speaker in the affairs of the House.
During Obasa’s travail in 2020, Akande was part of those who stood firmly with him and stuck out his neck to ensure he retained his Speakership. Like Idimogu, Akande will be missed for his open-door policy, media relations and steadfastness in addressing issues of concern to the House.
Jimoh represented Apapa Constituency 2 for 12 years. He is one of the lawmakers that would be missed for always wanting to speak the mind of the average Lagosians. He is down to earth and regarded as a scholar due to his knowledge of different fields. Before being elected into the House in 2011, Jimoh was a Civil Society organisations operator and activist of high repute.
His contributions to motions and Bills were always significant to the resolutions that would always be made after the deliberation. Just like few of his colleagues, Jimoh has a clear understanding of the global standard practices of the Legislature. He was used to making foreign and scholarly references when debating issues in the Chamber.
This often reflects in the quality of his contributions and an indication that he usually researches topics that were to be debated during plenary before commencement of sitting. With his clear thought, there was nothing he said that was not newsworthy.
Yusuff is another high ranking and experienced politician that would be missed in the 10th Lagos Assembly. He was the longest serving lawmaker from Alimosho, spending 12 years and his presence was felt in all activities of the House. He was first elected a lawmaker in 2011 after serving as Chairman of Ayobo Ipaja Local Council Development Area (LCDA) for two terms.
In his contributions on the floor of the House, Yusuff always treated issues from historical perspective as he would go down memory lane to tutor his colleagues on the impact of the bill or motion at hand. His advisory and counseling roles were a significant factor in stabilising the House as he was believed to constantly render advice to the leadership on how issues should be handled. His peace-making role too would be missed.
He is respected for his philanthropic gesture to his constituents during his stay in the House, especially in the area of education and health. Yusuff is in his 70s and has been in active politics for more than three decades.
First pic: Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni