The choice of Ojo, who is representing Orire State Constituency, was unanimous after an earlier political power play that threatened to polarise the assembly.
Before his nomination by Joshua Oyebamiji, a member of the All Progressives Congress who is representing Akinyele State Constituency, a call for an election was challenged by Muideen Olagunju, a member of the Accord Party representing Oyo East/Oyo West. Olagunju argued that the Nigerian constitution favoured the deputy occupying the top seat in the absence of the former Speaker.
Citing sections 90, 92, 94 and 95 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olagunju argued that in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker ought to automatically take over the office of the Speaker.
He said, “The section of the constitution makes it clear that an election is unnecessary and also it is clear about the transition to the speakership in case of any absence or vacancy. The constitution clearly states that the Deputy Speaker shall vacate his office and preside over the house.”
Supporting Olagunju’s position, another member of the house, Olusegun Olaleye, argued that the absence of a Speaker could also mean the death of a Speaker. Another member of the house, Solomon Akande, however, opposed the argument, saying that such provision did not apply to the legislative arm even if it was applicable to Presidency and governorship positions.
But Fatai Adeshina, representing Ibadan South-East, cautioned the house, urging the members to allow for a smooth transition in honour of the late Speaker who stood for unity and peace.
The acting Speaker for the session, Musa Abdulwasil, also urged the house not to give room for a crack in order not to fall into the hands of external forces. Although he said an election could cause a division in the house, the assembly later agreed on using an election to fill the vacuum. After Ojo was nominated by Oyebamiji, he was seconded by Gbenga Oyekola, a Labour Party member from Atiba. There was no other nomination which confirmed Ojo as the new Speaker.
The new Speaker was elected on the platform of the LP but defected to the APC along with former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala. He had yet to formalise the defection in the house which gave him the opportunity to retain his position of Minority Leader before his nomination as the new Speaker.