Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Some members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly saturday revealed that the assembly’s immediate past Speaker, Hon. Kola Oluwawole and the Deputy, Sina Animasaun were impeached due to the failure to pay some lawmakers their furniture and severance allowances.
Apart from issues around furniture and severance allowances, the members also revealed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was able to poach 11 lawmakers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because they were denied return tickets in the just concluded primary election in the state.
Different lawmakers spoke with THISDAY in confidence yesterday about the impeachment of the state’s speaker and his deputy, noting that the action could have been avoided if all lawmakers were paid their furniture and severance allowance.
With the impeachment of Oluwawole and Animasaun, the lawmakers loyal to the APC had elected Hon. Adeniran Alagbada from Ise-Orun constituency as the new speaker and former Deputy Speaker, Hon. Segun Adewumi was reinstated.
After the impeachment, 10 PDP lawmakers, who are still loyal to Fayose, were suspended for 125 legislative days, which would elapse on May 28, 2019.
Providing insight into the assembly’s crisis yesterday, one of the lawmakers disclosed that the APC had to poach 11 members of the PDP that were hitherto loyal to Fayose to carry out the removal of the embattled speaker .
Before the impeachment, the lawmaker explained that the APC had only three lawmakers namely: Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan, Hon. Adeniran Alagbada and Hon. Sunday Akinniyi in the assembly. All of them defected to the APC due to unresolved disagreement they had with the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
According to the lawmaker, Fayose sidelined many of them. Some were denied access to furniture allowance. Others were not paid severance allowance. So, 5 million furniture and severance allowances unsettled some of us.
The lawmaker, who was once loyal to Fayose, said, “How do you expect me not to join the APC? Ordinarily, I would not have remained in the PDP. But I cannot continue there any longer. My case seems as if I was a stranger in PDP.
“I have not been accorded any respect. I was not paid severance allowance. I was denied furniture allowance while my colleague benefitted. That is preferential treatment. So, this is an opportunity to free myself from bondage.”
Another lawmaker, who also pleaded anonymity, said the impeachment of the speaker and his deputy became imperative because Fayose had unresolved differences with virtually all PDP lawmakers.
He said, “Hon Segun Adewumi decided to join the three APC lawmakers because he felt cheated by the way he was removed. Hon. Ojo-Ade Fajana and Michael Adedeji also decided to dump Fayose’s camp because of the way they were suspended and humiliated by the assembly.
“Adedeji’s case was the worst. He was made to tender apologies through a press conference in the assembly over offence of disloyalty he did not commit. So, he freely saw this as an opportunity to fight back.
“Again, Hon. Musa Arogundade was cheated over the return ticket. He
bought the nomination form for reelection for Ado Ekiti constituency I. But he was tricked and the ticket was given to another person. He was also sidelined in the payment of allowances as well. So, he was aggrieved.
“Other PDP lawmakers that joined the plot had one issue in common, which was inability to be paid their allowances when other colleagues benefited,” the lawmaker said.
At a valedictory news conference he addressed yesterday, Fayose said he would not take any stand that would make him look as if he was meddling in the affairs of the assembly over the change of leadership that took place on Thursday.
With his decision not to interfere in the affair of the assembly, Fayose specifically appealed to 26 lawmakers constituting the state legislature to support the incoming governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in the interest of the state.
The governor, however, chastised the police for taking over the assembly and provided cover for the 14 lawmakers that carried out the removal, urging them to always be professional in dealing with issues that are political.
Fayose said, “I will not dabble into what is happening in the assembly.
Whether they elect Oluwawole or Alagbada, such person must believe
that he was elected to serve Ekiti people.”
Rather, the governor enjoined all the lawmakers across political divides “to cooperate with Fayemi to move Ekiti State forward. I do not want to hear of any impeachment against Fayemi, if truly we are here to serve.”