Ondo Assembly Crisis Deepens as Aggrieved Lawmakers Insist on Speaker’s Removal

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James Sowole in Akure

Aggrieved lawmakers of the Ondo State House of Assembly, who effected the purported removal of the Speaker, Hon Bamidele Oloyeloogun, and his Deputy, Hon Ogundeji Iroju, yesterday rejected the lifting of their purported suspension by the Assembly.

The rejection of the Assembly’s action, which was meant to be a measure to resolve the leadership crisis rocking the Assembly, was sequel to their insistence that Oloyeloogun and his deputy remained sacked and do not have the right to preside over the functions of the House.

Oloyeloogun had earlier in the day at the plenary, said the House had lifted the suspension placed on 15 lawmakers.

The decision to lift the suspension was sequel to the intervention of the stakeholders and notable leaders within and outside the state.

Not satisfied with the situation, the aggrieved lawmakers in a statement signed by the Majority Leader, Hon. Olugbenga Araoyinbo, said they only resolved to return to the House for final resolution of the crisis but at no time did they agree that Oleyeloogun and Ogundeji will continue to preside as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly.

Araoyinbo said the two lawmakers who had earlier claimed that their signatures were forged admitted that the signatures on the sack notice were theirs.

He said the aggrieved lawmakers shall approach a court of law for appropriate redress for defamation of character.

The lawmaker said at the meeting that they had with Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, they made it clear that they had lost confidence in the leadership of Oloyeloogun and Iroju.

“We, therefore, suggested that they be given a chance to resign honorably in the interest of the state.

“Again, and contrary to all democratic ethos, ethics and practice, we suggested that the governor should nominate from among us a new leadership with whom he can be comfortable as most of us had expressed our unwillingness to be led by the duo.

“We suggested that the entire House be dissolved and we be given a chance to vote in our new leaders since only 13 members had sat to elect the duo abinitio. This was also rejected by the governor.

“The governor however did say that every action taken by the sacked leadership since the beginning of this impasse must of necessity be deemed null and void.

“He opined that there was no clime where the minority would be competent or empowered to “discipline” the majority. And of course, all Bills passed into law as well as all their resolutions will also suffer the same fate,” Araoyinbo said.

“We agreed to return to parliament to seek ways in which we can have a final resolution in a Parliamentary meeting to be headed by the Majority Leader, Hon Araoyinbo Olugbenga Joseph.

“ It is with a rude shock that we heard of the hard line stance maintained by the Oleyelogun-led faction at their illegal sitting yesterday, and their reiteration of their claim to have suspended some of us earlier on. This to us further underlines our conviction that they are not men of honour and integrity and are therefore not capable of leading the House.

“We wish to state that we are committed to the ideals of democracy and are committed to ensuring that the great people of Ondo State are not shortchanged in their just desire and expectation for the good things of life,” Araoyinbo added.

The lawmakers therefore maintained that the impeachment of November 9, 2018 was duly and properly carried out as even their criers of forgery have been caught in their lies.

He challenged those who said their signatures were forged to approach the courts of law and seek redress.