James Sowole in Akure
Suspected thugs and protesters yesterday stormed the premises of the Ondo State House of Assembly and subsequently stalled the attempt by the state Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, to present the state’s 2017 Appropriation Bill.
The thugs and protesters who stormed the assembly complex as early as 7a.m. carried placards with various inscription, condemning the governor for trying to present budget a few days to his exit from office.
The assembly which was sealed off by the state police command last Monday following it leadership crisis, was opened for the governor to present the bill but only the 13 rebel lawmakers headed by the factional Speaker, Mr. Malachi Coker, were present.
A source in the assembly explained that the rebel lawmakers had arrived at the floor of the assembly since 7a.m, waiting for the governor.
The factional speaker, representing Ilaje Constituency 2, also sat on the speaker’s seat to preside over the plenary.
After waiting for several hours and the governor did not show up, the factional lawmakers held their own plenary session without the presence of the Clerk of the assembly Mr. Bode Adeyelu and other members of staff of the assembly in attendance.
The mace too was also missing in their sitting but an object that looked like an umbrella wrapped with a green and white cloth was used as mace by the factional lawmakers.
As at the time of filing this report, the rebel lawmakers were still holding their plenary session and waiting for the governor.
But they were later informed that the budget presentation had been postponed.
It was gathered that the governor who was scheduled to arrive at the assembly complex at 12noon yesterday, cancelled the event in order to prevent clashes which might occur between members of the two factions of the legislators.
The security agents in the state which included the men and officers of the state police command, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the men of Department of State Services (DSS) were heavily present to forestall breakdown of law and order on the premises of the assembly complex.
The placard-carrying protesters and thugs were chanting anti-government songs to express their displeasure to the proposed budget presentation.
They views did not to allow the governor to enter the assembly complex to present the 2017 appropriation bill to the members of the assembly because his tenure remained three weeks.
The protesters also said they were protesting against an alleged move by the governor to send 38 bills to the state assembly for passage into law before he completed his tenure this month.
The leader of the protesters, Mr. Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, who spoke with journalists at the assembly entrance alleged that Mimiko was lobbying the lawmakers to earn life pension from the resources of the state.
“ We want to appeal to the governor to leave the state peaceful and not create burden on the incoming administration with his 2017 budget.” Ogunleye stated.
However, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, confirmed that the governor shited the date of the presentation of the appropriation bill for security reason.
He said: “The date for the presentation has to be shifted because the tension was so high, the APC supporters were at the gate of the Assembly to cause trouble, there is an internal wrangling among the lawmakers, so the governor can not present any budget in that condition and we all know that the governor is a peace-loving person, he doesn’t want crisis.”
Akinmade, who announced that another date for the presentation would be announced later expressed assurance that the internal crisis in the House of Assembly would soon be resolved.