Lagos : War in the leader’s House

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    Nobody doubts the loyalty of Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji to the political empire of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, himself unarguably the Southwest’s most powerful political figure today. But then no one also doubts the loyalty of Dr. Muniz Banire, the erstwhile Commissioner of Environment in the State and currently the National Legal Adviser of Tinubu’s political platform, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

    Likewise, any doubt as to the political fidelity of Governor Babatunde Fashola to Asiwaju as Tinubu is almost universally hailed by his political followers, may have been erased earlier this year when he rejected offers from Asiwaju’s critics and stuck to the ACN platform in seeking a second term as Governor of Lagos State.

    However, among the three aficionados of the Southwest political grandmaster is believed to be a no love lost relationship centered mainly over the political leadership of the state – post Fashola.

    The quizzing of Speaker Ikuforiji by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC last weekend over his alleged expenditure of N7 billion may have brought the long buried political intrigues among the gladiators around Asiwaju to the fore. Different accounts have pointed accusing fingers of the authorship of the petition to Ikuforiji’s political enemies. Principally suspected are followers of Banire and Fashola whose principals it is believed have axes to grind with Ikuforiji.

    However, as at press time there has been no confirmation of the authorship of the petition.
    Only few months ago on the eve of the inauguration of the Lagos State House of Assembly Ikuforiji and Banire were known to have clashed over the election of a principal officer of the House. Ikuforiji was reported to have backed majority of the House of Assembly members in the election of Taiwo Kolawole as Deputy Speaker of the House despite the alleged agreement by party elders that Mrs. Funmilayo Tejuosho should be given the position. Tejuosho is allegedly a close political ally of Banire.

    Mrs. Tejuosho was a former deputy Speaker of the House and was impeached by the House during an unscheduled sitting of the House in 2009. The Banire-Tejousho camp it is alleged fault Ikuforiji who as Speaker they claim could have stopped the impeachment but went along with the conspirators to shove Mrs. Tejuosho out of office.

    On the eve of the inauguration of the House last June stakeholders in the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN were said to have met in the Bourdillion Road residence of Tinubu where canvassers of Tejuosho were said to have prevailed on the party elders to return her to office as deputy Speaker of the new House.

    Ikuforiji was reportedly mandated to convey the decision to the House. However, as the House sat to elect the new  set of officers, members were said to have discarded the resolution of the elders and elected of Kolawole.

    The action reportedly grieved Banire who followed up his hurt with a petition to the national leadership of the party wherein he accused Ikuforiji of misconduct among many other charges.
    In his petition, Banire deposed thus:

    “As you will recall, the Party leadership handed down this unequivocal directive to Mr. Ikuforiji for onward transmission to the members of the House for implementation.

    Rather than ensuring compliance with the directive, Mr. Ikuforiji resorted to maneuvering and manipulation of the members of the House against complying with the directive as it concerns Hon. Tejuoso’s return as the Deputy Speaker.

    Beyond doubt, Mr. Ikuforiji’s conduct in this regard constitutes wanton affront on the Party’s leadership. In furtherance of this unjustifiable affront, during the briefing of the members of the House, Mr. Ikuforiji instructed the members of the House not to allow the Party Leadership to hijack the House.â€
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