There have been plans to change the leadership of the Ondo State House of Assembly through the removal of the Speaker, Bamidele Oleyeloogun and his deputy, Mr Iroju Ogundeji, for nearly a year now. The constant intervention of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu each time the lawmakers make a move to push aside the duo and elect new leaders, kept Oleyeloogun and Ogundeji on their seat till last Friday when they were finally sacked by 18 lawmakers to pave way for new leaders, The Nation can now reveal.
The plot that culminated in their impeachment on Friday, The Nation gathered, was hatched few weeks back but kept away from the knowledge of Governor Akeredolu, for fear that he would, as usual, meddle in the affairs of the legislature, to save the jobs of the then Speaker and his deputy. But when Oleyeloogun and Ogundeji learnt of the plot early in the week, they hurriedly adjourned the House indefinitely.
Asides the issues of gross misconduct and financial impropriety raised against the duo during the impeachment proceedings, our correspondent gathered that the raging political battle between some leaders of the party on one hand and Governor Akeredolu on the other, played is another reason why Oleyeloogun and Ogundeji lost their positions. “The lawmakers had for a long time accused the former Speaker and deputy Speaker of failing to protect them from alleged highhandedness of the Governor against perceived political dissents,” a source told The Nation.
So, on Friday, 18 out of the 26 members of the assembly met and sat for plenary in the absence of both Oleyeloogun and his then deputy. And in what later became a rowdy plenary session when the duo and their supporters arrived, with former Speaker Jumoke Akindele presiding as Protem Speaker, they were removed and new Speaker and Deputy Speaker elected.
The newly elected Speaker, Olamide George has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rescue him and his colleagues from the reins of terror being allegedly perpetrated by the Commissioner of Police, Gbenga Adeyanju, in order to prevent the eventual collapse of the legislative arm of the government from sudden collapse.
The Nation learnt that intense effort to once again avert the removal of the duo by Governor Akeredolu were rebuffed by the lawmakers as they went ahead to sack the ex-Speaker and his deputy amidst threats to their lives and properties. “While they were carrying out the impeachment exercise, the Assembly complex was already surrounded by thugs and other miscreants summoned by those opposed to the change of leadership.
“Even the Governor sent some of his aides to warn the lawmakers not to impeach the duo. He also called all the lawmakers to meet him at the Government House, but the lawmakers refused. It was this determination to see the process through that led to the invitation of thugs and bandits by some politicians with the mind of forcing the lawmakers to abandon the process,” our source said.
Some of the lawmakers who spoke to The Nation revealed some behind the scene moves to scuttle the impeachment exercise. The majority leader of the Ondo State of Assembly, Araoyinbo Gbenga Joseph has insisted that any attempt to subvert the will of the majority in a democratic setting must be totally condemned by all Nigerians especially those who want progress and development for the nation.
The majority leader who spoke on behalf of the 18 lawmakers who carried out the impeachment on the former speaker, Bamidele Oleye-loogun for gross misconduct, abuse of power and poor leadership affirmed their belief and stance in the entire process condemned in its totality the invasion of the state assembly complex by thugs led by the Chairman of NURTW in Ondo State, Idajo, who came with dangerous weapons to inflict injuries on lawmakers who were carrying out their constitutional and legislative duties.
In his words, “As I speak with you, five lawmakers are battling for survival in different hospitals, staffs and journalists were badly injured in the mayhem, cars and properties vandalised; our family members in the state are living in fear as they have issued death threats to their lives, and the most worrisome and disturbing aspect was that the dastardly act was under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police, Ondo State, Gbenga Adeyanju who gave directives to the over 200 thugs.
“Our immediate call is to the Inspector General of Police to remove without delay the bias and disgruntled Commissioner of Police, and ensure peace and sanity returns to the Assembly complex as we are set to reconvene, protect our lives as lawmakers. The Ondo State House of Assembly is an arm of the three tiers of government, and it must be allowed to run independently devoid of any interference by politicians within and outside the state. We are concerned on the need to bring developmental bills that will aid the buoyancy of Ondo State as one of the prosperous state in the Southwest.”
Following the successful removal of Oleyeloogun and Ogundeji, members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) invaded the Ondo State House of Assembly, beating lawmakers and members of staff to pulp and providing security to the impeached Speaker and four other lawmakers as they attempted to conduct another plenary session. Reliable sources at the scene of the incident said Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Mr Gbenga Adeyanju; Officer-in-Charge of Operations and Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the governor, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo and top police officers were present while the thugs held sway.
Led by their state chairman, Jacob Adebo, popularly called Idajo, the NURTW thugs fatally injured not less than five persons, including newly-elected Deputy Speaker, Bimbo Fajolu, the Director of Information Service (DIS) of the Assembly, Seinde Fanokun and a cameraman with AIT, Abiodun Taiwo. The thugs were said to have forced their way into the new Speaker’s office where the lawmakers had gathered for a parliamentary session following the impeachment proceedings.
George, at a joint press conference addressed by the 18 lawmakers who impeached the former speaker and deputy speaker, said “We are duly elected members of the state of assembly, acting within the confines of the constitutional duties as we converged at plenary, surprisingly, the impeached speaker led the Commissioner of Police, Gbenga Adeyanju, with about 50 heavily armed officers, APC State chairman Ade Adetimehin and the chairman of the State NURTW, Jacob Adebo (Idajo) and over 200 thugs to assault honourable members, assembly staffs, journalists and visitors to the assembly complex.”
He said there are video and pictorial documentations to show how cars and properties worth several millions of naira were vandalised by thugs under the alleged supervision and instruction of a senior police officer in the rank of CP adding that about N1.3bn was approved and released for the 2018 budget of ODHA, but the former Speaker and his deputy jointly, without due approval of the house expended well above N1bn, in the first quarter of 2018.
Collaborating what the speaker said, the newly elected Deputy Speaker, Faloju Abimbola called on the Inspector General of Police to immediately redeploy the Commissioner of Police outside Ondo State as he has shown bias and injustice against the ordinary man in the state.
In an emotional laden voice, a former Speaker Olajumoke Akindele who was physically assaulted and her clothes torn in the violent mayhem equally cried for help and justice to President Muhammadu Buhari and Hajia Aisha Buhari to protect women in politics from molestation, intimidation and harassment which was meted to her.
According to her, “My family members, my colleagues and my dear live is no longer safe, I have been marked for assassination for standing against corruption,”, as she bursts into tears. The trio equally appealed to Governor Akeredolu to allow the legislative arm of government to function independently devoid of interference.
from The Nation Nigeria http://thenationonlineng.net/ondo-inside-story-of-state-assembly-crisis/