James Sowole in Akure
The face-off between the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and members of the state House of Assembly took a new turn as lawmakers threatened that they would not pass the executive request for approval to borrow N30 billion for execution of certain projects unless it (executive) does the needful.
The Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Information, Hon Gbenga Omole, disclosed the plan of the state government to borrow the money, while responding to allegation of blackmail levelled against the lawmakers over last Friday’s story of appearance of snake on the floor of the assembly chamber.
Akeredolu had during his assessment tour of the assembly lambasted the lawmakers, accusing them of blackmailing the state with the snake saga and the fallen ceiling of the chamber.
The governor, who came hard on the lawmakers, said an investigative panel would be set up to look into the matter.
However, Omole, who debunked the allegation of blackmail, reiterated that the assembly could not sit last Wednesday due to the appearance of the snake in the assembly and also on the fallen ceiling near the Speaker’s table last Thursday.
Omole said it would not be business-as-usual because the assembly would not approve the executive request to borrow money until the governor does what the assembly wanted.
He said: “They want to borrow N30 billion, and I am a member of the Appropriation Committee. If they do not do what we want, we will not allow that to happen (borrowing of the money).
“Out of the money they want to borrow, they want to rehabilitate the Accountant General’s office. You want to repair the Accountant General’s office but you don’t want to repair the independent arm of the government. This would not happen!
“The worst is that they will not give us second term but we will do what the people of Ondo State want.”
“It is not going to be business as usual. That is my stand as the spokesperson of the assembly. Do they not repair their own offices?
“The truth of the matter is that the place needs attention. The way they merged the issue of snake with the collapsed part of the building is also an issue. The termites
have eaten the roof of the building.
“On the issue of termite, everybody knows that the place needs facelift, which is a fact that the governor knows. It is the confusion of the issue of the snake with that of the termite that embarrassed the governor. The governor accused us of blackmail, that why was it that the past leadership of the assembly did nothing about it.
“Every year they put renovation of the assembly in the budget but it has not been implemented. The executive brings in budget and we passed it, but the place where the budget is passed is termite infested.”
Reacting on the incident, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the present All Progressives Congress (APC) dominates the assembly but cannot serve the people who elected them because the legislature had submitted its independence to the executive.
The PDP in a statement signed by its state Publicity Director of Publicity, Zadok Akintoye, said the current assembly was nothing but a rubber stamp institution in the hands of the executive.
Akintoye said: “It is on record that the Rt. Hon. Bamidele Oloyelogun-led APC dominated House of Assembly has not lived up to its responsibilities as an independent arm of government.
“While not giving credence to the series of blackmail as expressed by the executive, the present state of decay and infrastructure neglect at the assembly shows poor management of the synergy expected of two independent arms of government that should be working together for the good of our people.
“The citizens are not unaware of the fact that the APC-led assembly leadership was foisted to serve as a rubber stamp to executive recklessness, we, however, are concerned as citizens of this great state, and our concern is that this legislature may not serve the best interest of the people considering its perceived submission of its independence to the whims and caprices of the executive arm of government.”