Despite the efforts of the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to mediate in the crisis rocking the state house of assembly, a faction of the house has maintained that the impeachment of the speaker and other principal officers is “sacrosanct.”
The 13-member faction led by Malachi Coker, said the meetings with the governor and the efforts to resolve the crisis would not change the position already taken by the group in removing the speaker, Jumoke Akindele, and her principal officers.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on the phone on Tuesday, Iroju Ogundeji, a leading member of the Coker faction, said the impeachment “remained sacrosanct..”
He explained there was a case of fraud on the part of Ms. Akindele and others who were accused of withdrawing about N15 million from the coffers of the assembly without due process.
Mr. Ogundeji said no truce had been reached with the Jumoke Akindele group, even though there were reports that she had withdrawn a case in court challenging her impeachment.
He said the “former speaker,” went to court to challenge her impeachment and by the rule of the house, she remains suspended until the matter was dispensed with in favour or against the complainant.
According to Mr. Ogundeji, a committee of the house is currently investigating the impeached speaker, noting that if found guilty, she would be sanctioned, but if innocent, her impeachment could be commuted to resignation.
On the efforts of the governor to resolve the crisis, he said the legislature is an independent arm of the government which should not be subservient to the executive.
Another member of his group, Sunday Olajide, also told PREMIUM TIMES that “nothing much has changed,” since the discussions started on resolving the crisis.
He noted that he heard of the withdrawal of the court case by Ms. Akindele, but discussions would continue.
“For now nothing much has changed, we are still discussing, hoping that the problem will be resolved very soon,” Mr. Olajide said.
However, the Akindele group is optimistic that the matter would be resolved with the intervention of Mr. Akeredolu.
The House chairman on Information, Siji Akindiose, told PREMIUM TIMES that his faction was committed to resolving the matter, and the efforts had led to the withdrawal of the case to challenge the impeachment from the court.
Mr. Akindiose noted that further meetings were expected with the governor who is currently not in Akure.
“The case has been withdrawn from the court following the meetings and persuasions from the governor,” Mr. Akindiose said.
“Discussions will continue and I hope that very soon the issues will be resolved.”
Mr. Akeredolu had earlier refused to back any of the sides, recommending that a political solution be adopted to resolve the crisis in the house.
He held meetings with the factions separately, and had planned to meet both factions together to fashion out a lasting truce between the factions.
Meanwhile, the police in Ondo beefed up security at the assembly complex on Tuesday after information filtered in that one of the factions was making attempt to conduct a siting in the house.
Both factions however, denied that they had any plans to sit on Tuesday, saying the rumour was untrue.
The police spokesperson, Femi Joseph, disclosed that the police intervention was strictly to ensure peace not to stop anyone from functioning within the assembly complex.
“Our men went there today to preserve peace,” Mr. Joseph said. “Police did not prevent anybody from entering the place.”