James Sowole in Akure
The Ondo State House of Assembly yesterday fought back on the state Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s accusation that the assembly was out to blackmail the state on the snake saga, stating that the state lawmaking complex was the worst in the country in terms of infrastructure.
The lawmakers, who held parliamentary meeting in the official residence of the Speaker, Hon Bamidele Oloyelogun, said the current administration of Akeredolu and the previous administrations in the state had failed to release money for the renovation of the complex .
In the communique read at the end of the meeting by Hon Success Torukerijo of Ese Odo state constituency, the legislators said the video released to the public on the visitation of Akeredolu to the assembly complex was doctored to ridicule the legislative institution.
The lawmakers had last week through the Chairman Assembly Committee on Information, Gbenga Omole, said a snake was found inside the hallow chamber last Wednesday while the termites-invested ceiling of the chamber also caved in.
The incidents, which prevented the lawmakers from holding the plenary session, led to indefinite adjournment of the assembly.
The lawmakers said: “We want to state without any equivocation that no fund has been released to the assembly for the capital projects in the last five years in spite of the yearly budgetary provision, and there has not been any cash-backing for the renovation of the assembly for the past 10 years.
“It is a pity that the state House of Assembly is the worst in terms of infrastructure in the country. It will also interest the public to know that the offices of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker have no official cars.”
The lawmakers, who had earlier claimed to have no financial capacity to carry out project in the assembly complex, called for total autonomy of the legislative arm of government for proper functioning.
While reiterating the need for legislative autonomy, they insisted that the assembly complex was in a state of dilapidation and needed urgent renovation.
According to them, “We want to restate that on July 24, 2019, a snake fell from the ceiling into the chamber of the assembly. On July 25, 2019, part of the ceiling caved in and fell into the chamber, preventing us from holding a scheduled meeting inside the chamber.
“We take exception to the doctored video released from the office of the governor as it did not reflect what transpired when the governor visited the assembly on July 26, and we will not want to join issue by releasing the original version of the video.
“We reiterate the constitutional status of the legislature as an independent arm of government, which therefore, deserves to be accorded as such.”
The angry lawmakers also declared that they would not abdicate their responsibility as the representatives of the people of the state