FOLLOWING the invasion of hoodlums suspected to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) over the impeachment of the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly and his deputy last Friday, Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun and Iroju Ogundeji, governor Rotimi Akeredolu bid to wade into the crisis have hit the rocks.
Oleyelogun and Ogundeji were impeached last Friday by 18 out of the 26 lawmakers in the House, Hon. Olamide George and Faloju Abimbola were subsequently elected and sworn-in as the new Speaker and deputy speaker respectively.
It was gathered that the 18 lawmakers shunned the meeting convened by the governor while the impeached Speaker, his deputy and four others, loyal to the embattled Speaker attended the meeting.
TribuneOnline gathered that the lawmakers boycotted the meeting over the fear of their safety after members of the NURTW led by their Chairman, Jacob Adebo, attacked them with dangerous weapons after the impeachment on Friday.
One of the lawmakers who spoke to our correspondent disclosed that they decided to relocate to Ibadan, Oyo state capital, following series of threat to their lives after the impeachment last Friday.
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A source within the government also confirmed the lawmakers’ absence at the meeting called by governor Akeredolu and said “the 18 lawmakers shunned the meeting.
“The governor had lost the control of the Assembly, the former speaker (Oleyelogun) was not in charge, if not for the APC and Aketi, he would have been removed since, but I don’t think the impeachment would be reversed because some the lawmakers are not returning to the House in 2019, they have nothing to lose.”
The source said the governor was rattled with the development as George’s led Assembly is clearly the majority in fact with two-thirds required by the Constitution to take a decision at the House.
However, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday distanced the party from the invasion of the Assembly by NURTW members over the removal of Oleyelogun and Ogundeji.
The party also absolved the State Chairman of the party, Hon. Ade Adetimehin, from the invasion of the Assembly complex by the hoodlums
The State Publicity Secretary of APC, Alex Kalejaye, who stated this in a statement issued on behalf of the party, said the allegation that the party Chairman led the thugs to invade the State Assembly was untrue and a wicked blackmail.
Kalejaye said the Chairman was only at the assembly to pacify the lawmakers, but he was assaulted and told that it was not a party affair.
He said: “The chairman got the information that the lawmakers were planning the impeachment of the Speaker and his deputy.
“The APC members are in the majority in the House of Assembly, so, like a father, the Chairman has a responsibility to race down to the House in response to such a distress call. And that he did on Friday.
“His intention was to explore ways to pacify aggrieved members and ensure the situation did not degenerate to an ugly scene. Unfortunately, he was rebuffed by some members, who actually assaulted him, saying it was purely a party affair.
“It, therefore, amounts to a deliberate blackmail for any person or group to insinuate or say that a well-cultured democrat like Mr Adetimehin would lead thugs to attack the honourable members of the House.
“It is disheartening that hoodlums would invade the hallowed chamber of any Assembly, and harass members. No government would condone such behaviour.
“We urge security agencies to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter and ensure punishment or sanction, those found culpable.”