Politics

Ondo: 18 lawmakers impeach, reinstate speaker, deputy

From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure

For a few hours between Tues­day night and Wedneaday af­ternoon, there was confusion on the status of Speaker of Ondo State House of Assem­bly, Jumoke Akindele and her deputy, Fatai Olotu.
One acount said 18 members, on Tuesday night, gathered in the residence of a serving member of the assembly to im­peach the duo.
On Wednesday, the music changed.
Daily Sun gathered the im­peachment was perfected at about 10.30pm on Tuesday at the residence of one member in Alagbaka area of Akure.
The lawmakers claimed to have impeached Akindele and her deputy, Olotu after gather­ing signatures at the meeting.
Justifying their action, the lawmakers alleged that the state government was owing them three months salaries and allowances and accused the speaker of not fighting for their interests but defended the actions of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, whom they also al­leged was insensitive to their welfare.
The lawmakers also accused Akindele and Olotu of incom­petence and high-handedness in the affairs of the assembly.
It was gathered that the 18 aggrieved lawmakers at their meeting elected Iroju Ogunde­ji, representing Odigbo State Constituency as the new speak­er and Ayo Arowele, represent­ing Owo State Constituency as his deputy.
However, Akindele and Olotu described their purported impeachment as “mere child’s play,” saying they were yet to be served any notice of the im­peachment.
Olotu told newsmen he was not aware of his impeachment and described the action taken by the 18 lawmakers as “illegal and unconstitutional.”
He said his aggrieved col­leagues failed to follow the Constitution in their actions, adding that “there are proce­dures for impeachment but these people failed to follow the procedures.
Whatever they did is null, void and of no effect, as far as we are concerned.”
Investigations, however, showed that a crucial meeting was later held in the assembly complex, presided over by Akindele with all 26 members of the house in attendance.
It was also learnt that Mimiko might have intervened in the crisis as he was said to have been briefed by Akindele.
Meanwhile, palpable tension pervaded Akure, the state capi­tal, following the Akindele and Olotu’s purported impeach­ment. The assembly premises, located at Alagbaka area of Akure was full of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loyal to Akindele and her deputy, while fierce look­ing security agents were also positioned strategically within the premises.
Security agents, who mounted surveillance at the assembly complex included police officers, officers of the Department of State Ser­vices (DSS) and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The presence of the secu­rity operatives at the com­plex was to prevent possible breakdown of law and order by lawmakers and others.
Also, police officers and other security agents patrolled major areas and streets in Akure to avoid breakdown of law and order in the capital.
Lawmakers and visitors to the assembly complex in­cluding newsmen were thor­oughly searched by security operatives before they were allowed to enter the prem­ises.

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