Leadership Crisis: Why police seal off Ondo House of Assembly

gavel vectorThe on-going crisis in the Ondo State House of Assembly on Monday took a new twist as the Ondo State police command sealed off the  Assembly complex

The closure of the Assembly complex according to the investigation, was to prevent a fracas which would have occurred at the Assembly between two warring factions laying claim to the leadership of the hallow chamber during their sitting.

Some aggrieved members of the House of Assembly had on Friday impeached the Speaker Rt Hon. Jumoke Akindele, Deputy Speaker, Hon.  Fatai Olutu and Majority Leader, Hon. Dayo Akinsoyinu over allegation of financial mismanagement.

They hurriedly appointed Hon. Malachi Coker representing Ilaje Constituency 1, Hon. Ayodele Arowele from Owo Constituency 1 and Hon. Olamide George, representing Akure North Constituency as the speaker, deputy speaker and majority leader respectively in acting capacity.

But the embattled speaker had insisted that she remained the speaker because her removal was not in compliance with the constitutional requirement.

To this end, the legislators loyal to Hon. Malachi Coker on Monday morning gained entrance to the Assembly premises as early as 6:00 a.m and the acting speaker immediately sat on the speaker’s seat in readiness for the day’s plenary.

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The Akindele’s faction later stormed the Assembly and the embattled speaker personally challenged Coker that he has no right to sit on the speaker’s seat.

But Coker told her she is no longer the Assembly speaker because she had been impeached.This resulted to altercation between the two factions.

It was the quick intervention of police led by the state Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, that prevented break down of law and order .

The security operatives who were already at the Assembly premises immediately ordered the lawmakers including the workers out of the  Assembly complex .

Addressing journalists at the embattled deputy Speaker’s residence, Information Committee Chairman, Hon. Oluwasiji Akindiose expressed regrets over the Assembly closure and accused some fifth columnists of fueling the crisis.

Akindiose insisted the other faction do not have the required number to carry out the impeachment.

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According to him, “Impeachment is a long process. You must give the other side a fair hearing before going ahead with the impeachment.

“We are not comfortable with the closure of the Assembly.  Some people are hell bet on stopping the seamless transition going on in the state. Those who did it will soon regret their actions because with the closure of the Assembly, we cannot serve our various constituency now. ”

Akindiose, however expressed optimism that the crisis will soon be resolved, insisting that it was just  a family affair.

Meanwhile ,the other faction led by the acting speaker, Hon. Malachi Coker has called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris to urgently withdraw the policemen attached to the former leadership of the Assembly.

Speaking on behalf of other members, Hon. Ogundeji Iroju said their decision to remove Akindele and others remain unchanged.

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Iroju said, ” On Monday, we got a wind that the minority group led by the former speaker wanted to sit and we swung into by carry the mace which is the symbol of authority and we told them that they are on suspension and they started begging.

“The impeachment carried out on Friday evening remain unchanged and the business of the house continues despite the closure. All the banks must desist from transacting business with the former leadership of the house because they are already on suspension.

While showing the copy of the impeachment notice signed by 20 out of the 26 members, Iroju however debunked the allegation that members of the faction molested and dehumanised the House Pay Master.

He said the Pay Master was caught by the members and he (The Pay Master)  said he was acting on the order of the former leadership.