“Atupa ki i ri idi ara e” (A lamp cannot give light to its own base). Same way it is said that “Obe ki i gbe eku idi e” (a knife cannot carve its own handle). It is therefore natural that the lamp that seeks to light the path of others must allow other lamps to light its base and rid it of darkness.
Legislators are like lamps lighted by the People’s mandate to shine and terminate darkness. They are the people’s torch to beam light (through good legislations) on all dark caprices of the Executive. How well the members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have fared in this regard is left to the electorate to decide. Unfortunately, the scam and the lack of accountability associated with the constituency project is one of the Achilles tendon of our legislative arm.
The pen of our spotlight is not on the legislature as a whole, but on the Chief light bearer of the House, Rt Honourable Mubasiru Ajayi Obasa, whose reaction to the duties of others to rid his base of darkness is allegedly being rebuffed with reports of attendant harassment and arson on journalists and their offices. If there is any personality to be referred to as having gained tremendously from the so called “dividend of democracy”, it must be the present Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Unknown Obasa cut his political tooth representing Ward E at the Agege Local Government through the political machinery and sponsorship of Chief Enoch Ajiboso and Hon. Taofeek Adaranijo. Due to the indecision of Hon. Richard Osanyintolu to pick the House of the Assembly form freely allotted to his group to persuade him to withdraw from the Agege Local Government Chairmanship race, Obasa went behind the scene to lobby and pick the Assembly nomination form.
Upon his election to Lagos State House of Assembly in 2007 to represent Agege Constituency O1, he dug in by supporting both good and anti people bills. He was rewarded with the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee which serves as the springboard which opened the door of the Assembly cabal who later introduced him to the then Government/Alausa cabal. It was the same Assembly Cabal led by his predecessor, Hon. Kuforiji and Hon. Oshinowo (aka Pepper), that threw him up for the Speakership position of the House and a vantage dining seat at the palace of the Emperor of Bourdilon.
He was so trusted by the palace that he was kitted as defender to mark out the Striker that Ambode was becoming on the Lagos State political turf. As a skilful defensive midfielder, he had no problem mercilessly hacking down Ambo and ensuring that he was stretchered out, down and out and too battered to play in the seconds half.
Without doubt, politically, the Speaker has paid his dues. But his overbearing arrogance and recalcitrance might lead to his premature political oblivion who like his predecessor with so much stolen from Government is yet to amount to anything in the political dynamics of Lagos State today. The sentiments of South West politics does not favour corruption allegations in anyway, not to talk of cases with substantive evidences. The Emperor is who he is today because all allegations against him reside only in the realm of speculation. Obasa needs to take a cue from his mentor and see tomorrow as more important than today.
He that lives in glass house does not throw stones, says an adage. Obasa who lives in a glass castle seems to be throwing bricks at another glass house which can only be seen as an attempt to divert attention away from himself and his glass house.
The turn of Year 2020 has been quite challenging to the Speaker. Insurrection to his authority as a result of demand for fair share of the commonwealth at the Assembly was the first exposure to the public of his dirty linens. He quickly and bravely suspended his traducers, who took the matter before the “Olu-eko” at Bourdilon palace. The palace ruling saw his suspended colleagues reinstated, but the embers of fire at the Assembly has already been kindled. Information from confidential documents of transactions at the Assembly were openly referred to in public writings on the “civil war” at Lagos State House of Assembly. His activities as Speaker became public interest and stories related to it became reader’s delight.
The first salvo was a N17 million domestic maintenance allowance reported by Nigeria ace investigative journalism outfit, “The Sahara Reporters”. While Obasa was busy chewing how to defend a N204 million annual sum in this regard contending whether to swallow or spew out, another tough meat to bite was dropped on his plate. This time a N10 million monthly funding access to one of his three wives through a phantom Women Empowerment Programme. Again, reported by Sahara Reporters. The public is yet to fully grasp whether his other two wives were beneficiaries of this dividend of “Speakership” which may mean another N360 million annually that Speaker Obasa will need to account for.
Speculations are rife in and around the Assembly of the possibility of the Speaker surviving a surprised impeachment to end his reign of impunity and make him account for allegedly and yet to be unearthed financial misappropriation that has characterised his Speakership.
Like a drowning man in search of straw to hold onto and save himself, the Speaker is finding the inquiry by his colleagues and the public difficult to handle. Like a blind man, he has secured a stone with his leg and is taken aim at Governor Sanwo-Olu’s glass house of COVOD-19 donations. It is left to conjecture whose windows will be broken by Obasa’s stone of distraction. The decoy of removing attention from himself and diverting it to Sanwo-Olu may leave Obasa’s political glass castle shattered. “Ti a ba so oko loja, ara ile eni niba”. (A stone stupidly thrown in the market will hit one’s relation).
The media hype associated with the call for the probe of COVID-19 donations is a stone Obasa is targeting at his political relations in APC. Only time will reveal whose head among their family the stone will break.
Though Obasa’s intentions are distractive, but for whatever it is worth, let the stone throwing continue.