Rt. Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni is 55. He is serving his second term in the Assembly, representing the good people of Lagos Island Constituency I. An astute businessman and consummate politician too. Aside being in the House of Assembly, he has also been elected twice as the Chairman of Lagos Island Local Government Council. He has also served as Senior Special Assistant to Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Legislative and Political Matters. He holds first degree in Agricultural Economics from Ogun State University and Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from University of Lagos, Akoka. He also holds a certificate in Negotiation and Leadership from Harvard Law School, Cambridge, USA.
How has it been in 12 months that you are the Deputy Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly?
It’s been interesting and challenging. It’s been a new learning curve year for me. I thank God for being part of the new robust legislative process in Lagos State.
How easy was it for you to adjust to the legislative process after being away for 12 years?
Legislative process has not changed for over 100 years now. It is always the first, second and the third reading. The second reading still goes through the public hearing. So, it has not changed from this path. Don’t forget that I was the Chairman, Business and Rules when I was first here (1991-2003). So, it was not difficult for me to fit in again.
You were gunning for the speakership, but eventually, you were given the position of Deputy Speaker. How easy was it for you to accept and adjust to the position of Deputy Speaker?
I thank God for whatever position I find myself. I give praise to Almighty Allah for the position of Deputy Speaker.
Was it difficult for you to accept the fact that you couldn’t be the speaker now?
Certainly not. Basically, the party is controlled by some people that are called our leaders. One should even thank God that he was considered. There were 21 of us (newly elected members) that just came in. So, if one is chosen as Principal Officer, he should thank God.
Even as an honourable member, you should be thankful to God. You are not the best from your constituency and if they have chosen you, you should be thankful to God. So, your being made the Speaker or Deputy Speaker or any Principal Officer is just an icing on the cake. You’ve already gotten the cake.
What would you say has been your most memorable moment in one year that you’ve been the Deputy Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly?
Chairing the Screening Committee of Honourable Commissioners certainly, and coming back to present some bills brings back some nostalgic feelings. One is able to make his contributions on the floor of the House once again.
When would you consider the most challenging period in one year?
Challenging? Certainly none. I take each day as it comes. I have always factored into my itinerary that it is not going to be rosy. You must have moments that you must adjust to. You must have issues that you must adjust to. I do not see them as challenges. I see them as daily occurrences of normal legislative duties.
How easy is it for you to combine your legislative role as a law maker, administrative role as a Deputy Speaker and your representative duty to the people of your constituency?
All members play those triple roles. We all exercise our legislative duties on the floor of the Assembly. We perform our administrative duties either as a Principal Officer or chairman of House Committee or even as ordinary member of two or three House Committees. Certainly, it is not a piece of cake, it is about doing what we ought to do. Those are our responsibilities and we must do them to the best of our abilities.
What exactly does the duties of a Deputy Speaker entail?
Basically, it is to act when the Speaker is not around.
Nothing more than that?
You are also a member of some committees. For example, the Deputy Speaker is a member of select committee (the committee that allocates and shares chairmanship as well as membership of committees of the House). The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker cannot be a chairman or member of any committee.
Do you also have problem with people from your constituency making some demands on you?
Generally, it is about constructive engagement. We will continue to educate and re-orientate our people and change their mind-set about the roles of legislators as different from those of the executive members.