FACE-OFF: Why Lagos Assembly rejected Sanwo-Olu’s cabinet nominees

  • Lawmakers drop Abayomi, Egube, Omotoso, 13 others
  •  Wahab, Pedro, Olusanya, Aregbe, 18 others cleared
  • They didn’t consult party elders, failed to do their homework well – APC chieftains
  • Appointments not evenly distributed – Insiders


Uba Group

Reasons were being bandied in political circles in Lagos State on Wednesday as to why the State House of Assembly rejected approval for 17 Commissioner and Special Adviser nominees submitted by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

In July, Sanwo-Olu sent the list containing names of 39 nominees as Commissioners and Special Advisers.

At a plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers confirmed 22 out of the 39 nominees.

Most of the affected nominees served with the governor in his first term.

They are Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo (Education); Prof. Akin Abayomi (Health); Gbenga Omotoso (Information and Strategy); Olalere Odusote (Energy); Sam Egube (Economic Budget and Planning); Mrs. Solape Hammond; Mrs. Cecilia Dada (Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation); Mrs. Aramide Adeyoye (Works and Infrastructure).

Others are Yomi Oluyomi, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose, Ms. Barakat Bakare, Rotimi Fashola, Olalekan Fatodu, Mosopefolu George, Seun Osiyemi, Rotimi Ogunwuyi and Olumide Oluyinka.

The confirmed nominees include Layode Ibrahim, Mr Mobolaji Ogunlende, Dr Dolapo Fasawe, Bola Olumegbon, Mr Idris Aregbe, Ms Abisola Olusanya, Mr Moruf Fatai, Mr Kayode Bolaji-Roberts, Engr. Abiola Olowu, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, Dr Oreoluwa Finnih-Awokoya, Mr Yakub Alebiosu, Mr Lawal Pedro, Mr Tunbosun Alake, Mr Gbenga Oyerinde, Dr Adekunle Olayinka, Dr Jide Babatunde, Mr Afolabi Ayantayo, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, Mr Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, Mr Jamiu Alli-Balogun, and Mr Abdulkabir Ogungbo.

The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, who presided over the day’s sitting, said the confirmation followed rigorous and detailed screening of the nominees by an ad-hoc committee led by the Chief Whip of the House, Fatai Mojeed.

Mojeed had earlier briefed the House on the outcome of the screening exercise.

Obasa commended the committee for its effectiveness and urged the confirmed nominees to always remember that they are in office to serve the people of the state and not individuals.

He also promised that the House would continue to do its best in the interest of the State.

The House later adjourned till Monday, August 28, 2023.

The confirmation was done through a voice vote as Obasa mentioned the name of each of the nominees.

Instructing the Clerk of the House to send the list of cleared nominees to the Governor, Obasa remarked “that they are accountable to the residents and not to the governor or speaker.”

The first indication that it was not going to be a smooth sail for Sanwo-Olu’s commissioners-designate was an open objection raised by the Convener of the Joint Muslim Forum and National Missioner, Ansar Ud Deen Society of Nigeria, Imam Abdul Rahman Ahmad, who observed that Muslims were not adequately represented in the proposed Lagos State cabinet.

Insiders in the Lagos Chapter of the All Progressives Congress who preferred to remain anonymous told our correspondent that the rejected Commissioner and Special Adviser nominees “are those who don’t know how to play politics. Even if they have a relationship with Mr. Governor, they have refused to do the needful by relating well with their constituents and the legislator from their constituency.”

“They didn’t do their homework well. Some of them carried on as if they didn’t need anybody. They now know that there are party leaders and elders that they must consult. Are these not the same lawmakers who approved their names the first time? So, why were they rejected this time? They failed to keep in touch with their constituency,” he said.


Another party chieftain queried why the governor had 12 nominees from Eti Osa Local Government “where the APC failed woefully at both elections.”

He said the positions were not evenly distributed.

APC chieftains also added that the genesis of the crisis was traceable to the sour relationship between Obasa and Sanwo-Olu.

During the race for the speakership position, Sanwo-Olu was said to have supported Abiodun Tobun against Obasa. After much intervention, Obasa was re-elected speaker.

“That may be one of the reasons leading to the ‘revenge’ by the Assembly,” a party source said.

Another contributory factor was said to be that almost all those rejected have no political base and grassroots affiliation.

“Most of them are friends of the governor. For instance, former Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who was rejected, has no political base, he is not a politician. The Assembly swept them aside because of this. If you look at the list of the 22 others confirmed by the Assembly, they have political affiliations. It is either they are sons and daughters of big politicians in Lagos or they are close to the big guns in Lagos.

“For instance, Tubosun Alake is the son of Dele Alake; Ms. Abisola Ruth Olusanya, is the son of a big politician, Kaoli Olusanya; Hon. Bola Olumegbon is the daughter of the Olumegbons; Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, daughter of a former deputy governor of Ekiti State, among others.

“If performance is the yardstick, there is no way Prof. Akin Abayomi will be disqualified, there is no way Gbenga Omotoso will be rejected, there is no way Folasade Adefisayo will be rejected, there is no way Sam Egube will be turned down, among others,” an APC stalwart said.

Another factor that was said to have worked against those disqualified is that some of them travelled out of the state during the presidential and governorship elections and did not participate.

They said the Assembly saw this as cheating on behalf of those who were around and took part in the election.

They also claimed that some of them did not perform well during the screening at the House of Assembly.

“For instance, the former Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye was said to have performed poorly during the screening. The House embarrassed her during that screening.

“Aside from this, Adeyoye is said to be the architect of her misfortune. As the Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure during the first term of Sanwo-Olu, she was supposed to report to the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Hamzat. She was said to have by-passed him and reported directly to the governor. She only reported to the Deputy Governor after certain decisions had been taken. This did not go down well with Hamzat, who is not happy about the development. This made her case special and there was no way she could have scaled the screening as many forces were against her.

“The religion factor is another reason many nominees were dropped. About 15 of those dropped by the Assembly are Christians. Some Muslim groups had raised dusts that of the 39 Sanwo-Olu nominees, only nine of them were Muslims. This might not be unconnected to why about 15 Christians were rejected by the Assembly,” it was gathered.