*How newly-elected lawmakers are throwing their weight around

This is the story of how newly-elected public office holders are demonstrating that their time has come and that they intend to institute a new paradigm. However, the hastiness in their acts suggest an underhanded attempt at stonewalling their predecessors and, in the instance of the House of Representatives where the tussle for the office of the Speaker is still roiling, the newly-elected representatives are spoiling for a showdown with the ruling party.

Then, it was a big power show. It happened suddenly.  Lateef Kayode Jakande, the man later to be referred to as LKJ, stirred the hornet’s nest. After his election as governor of Lagos State, Jakande declared that free education should take effect – even before he was sworn-in as governor. For effect, he said, students who had just resumed studies in September of 1979 should not pay school fees.

This did not go down well with Ebitu Ukiwe, the navy captain who was then military administrator of the state. Ukiwe let it be known to Jakande that when he gets sworn in on October 1, 1979, he could make other further declarations as he deemed fit. School fees, for the time being, must be paid, Ukiwe fired back. And, on October 1, at Jakande’s swearing in as governor, he ordered that the paid fees should be refunded. This was genuine governance par humanitarianism at its best.

Today, some of the newly- elected state governors and legislators are equally embroiled in a muscle-flexing exercise with their predecessors, albeit, for reasons of grandstanding.

Take, for instance, the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.  A long-suffering individual on account of his quest to become a political heavyweight, Okorocha, who defeated Ikedi Ohakim, ordered banks to freeze the Imo State government accounts.

The same thing was attempted in Oyo State where Senator Abiola Ajimobi of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, is keeping a magnifying glass over the activities of Alao-Akala, the outgone state governor.

They should not be blamed.

They have just jumped on board the train of public office.

They should, therefore, be excused.

Even the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and President Goodluck Jonathan have not been spared the scourge of newly-elected public office holders who are carrying their shoulders.

Just take a look at the emerging shape of the membership of the House of Representatives which is already feeling the importance of new entrants.

Of the 360 members in the last assembly, 94 are returning, which translates to a cruel reality that 266 members are coming in freshly.

And, these 266 new members are threatening hell for the PDP and  Jonathan.


Just imagine: With their numerical strength, they have already formed an association with the  first objective of ensuring that one of them is voted in as speaker. And, if you think they are not serious, they held a press conference last Monday, reminding the leadership of PDP of their numerical strength. For added measure, they are also saying they would hire three Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, to help press their case for the unfettered actualisation of Section 50(1) (B) of the constitution which states that ‘’there shall be a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who shall be elected by the members of that House from amongst themselves’’.

Coming under the auspices of the 7th Assembly Group, and led byAbdulmumin Jibrin, member-elect for Kiru Bebeji Federal Constituency, Kano, the group is insisting that it would produce a speaker from its fold. Jibrin noted that the briefing was the outcome of the meeting, held earlier on Monday, adding: “You may be aware that we met and resolved that within the next few days we shall announce the names of our candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker and other principal officers of the House”. These legislators have just been invited to the party and they are using that they have to bargain for relevance. They are already being courted.

Of the 36 states, governorship elections were held in less than 30. Some of the new governors are taking over from those whose tenure has either ended or a few who were defeated at the polls.


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