Political gladiators are already jostling for the coveted position of Senator representing Lagos-East, made vacant by the unfortunate passing on of Sen. Bayo Osinowo popularly called “Pepperito” due to complications from COVID-19. Amongst the political juggernauts slugging it out, one name stands out, boasting an array of impeccable credentials and vast experience – Rt Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the erstwhile Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly (2005 -2015).
Rt.Hon. Ikuforiji, a banker, lecturer and businessman with a Bachelors degree and Masters in Economics from Babes-Bolyai University and Bucharest Academy of Economic studies has added other feathers to his cap – bagged a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) in Leadership, John Moore University, England and was recently called to the bar in 2019, after his tenure in office. This shows that the Ex-Speaker, unlike his ilk is in relentless pursuit of knowledge despite attaining enviable political height.
He began his political odyssey as the General Secretary of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). In 2003, he contested and was elected to represent his constituency, Epe constituency 1 at the Lagos State House of Assembly under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD). His leadership skills and astute representation was not lost on the House as he was elected Speaker in December 2005, re-elected for a second term on 4th June 2007 and continued for a third term as Speaker of the 7th Assembly from 2011 till 2015.
An alumnus of John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a cybernetics and computer networking technocrat, Rt. Hon Ikuforiji has effortlessly combined being a consummate political leader with being a technocrat of repute, renowned for his intellectual sagacity, extraordinary administrative and leadership skills, and dedication to public service.
Some analysts, sponsored to diminish his chances have touted the so-called Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) case against the veteran lawmaker as the reason why he should not emerge as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senatorial candidate in the forth-coming bye-election. Unfortunately for them, Hon. Ikuforiji has not been convicted of any crime, by any court. He is presently defending himself against allegations of malfeasance and until proven guilty, he remains innocent and can run for any office in the land. Rt Hon. Ikuforiji has maintained and nurtured an unblemished record of integrity and accountability all through his professional years, spanning decades, his stint in the House of Assembly cannot be an exception.
Lagos-East Senatorial district has had the privilege of sending its best foot forward to the Senate – those with cognate Legislative experience. Senator Mamora was a product of the Lagos Assembly where he was Speaker before becoming Senator, same as “Pepperito”, who served for 4 terms in the Lagos Assembly before advancing to the apex legislature. Only Rt Hon. Ikuforiji dwarfs the experience of late Sen. Osinowo, and this gives him an edge among those lobbying to replace the deceased legislator.
This is the time for Lagos-East Senatorial district to throw its best foot forward. This is not the time to test an upstart, it is the time to hit the ground running and build on the legacy of late Sen. Osinowo. The only one the cap fits is Rt Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji and that is why he is the best man for the job. Let’s send him forth!
Oyewole Muideen is a member of APC from Lagos