Aggreived lawmakers of the Ondo State House of Assembly have restated their position on the embattled Speaker, Honourable Bamidele David Oloyeloogun, and his deputy, Honourable Ogundeji Iroju.
According to the lawmakers, the impeachment of the speaker and the deputy stands.
The lawmakers disclosed this to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, during a meeting to resolve the impasse rocking the Assembly.
SaharaReporters exclusively learnt that Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, was aware of the meeting, initated by Fayemi to address the situation in the bid to foster unity ahead of the 2019 general election.
A press statement by Olugbenga Araoyinbo, Majority Leader of the Assembly, at the end of the meeting noted that the lawmakers would only resume to the House if the two impeached principals stop presiding over the parliament.
Araoyinbo confirmed that two of the lawmakers, who had earlier denied signing the impeachment notice of the Speaker and his Deputy, admitted their involvement in the process.
The statement read: “We wish to place it on record that following the Vice-President’s and Governor Fayemi’s intervention, we have decided to return to parliament and have a final resolution to the issues. At no time did we agree that Rt Hon Oleyeloogun and Rt Hon Iroju Ogundeji will continue to preside as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly.
“It is instructive that the duo of Olajide and Oluyede, who had earlier claimed that their signatures were forged, admitted that the signatures on the impeachment notice were theirs. Needless to say, we shall approach a court of law for appropriate redress for defamation of our character.
“At the meeting with Governor Fayemi yesterday, we canvassed many positions, all of which seemed abhorrent to our Governor Akeredolu. We suggested that being clear that the erstwhile Speaker and Deputy Speaker had lost the confidence of the majority of members, it is morally indefensible for them to remain in office and we, therefore, suggested that they be given a chance to resign honorably in the interest of the state.”
Araoyinbo said the options put forward during the meeting was that a new leadership be elected by the House, but noted that Akeredolu was against the idea. He, however, said the governor agreed that all proceedings taken by the duo of Oleyeloogun and Iroju since the day they were impeached remain null and void.
“Again, and contrary to all democratic ethos, ethics and practice, we suggested that the governor should nominate from amongst us a new leadership with whom he can be comfortable as most of us had expressed our unwillingness to be led by the duo. Yet again, he refused.
“We suggested that the entire House be dissolved and we be given a chance to vote in our new leaders since only 13 members had sat to elect the duo ab initio. This was also rejected by the Governor.
“The Governor, however, did say that every action taken by the impeached leadership since the beginning of this impasse must of necessity be deemed null and void. He opined that there was no clime where the minority would be competent or empowered to ‘discipline’ the majority. And of course, all bills passed into law as well as all their resolutions will ipso dixit suffer the same fate.
“We further reminded Mr Governor that as per procedure and conventions of the House from which the embattled duo had benefited and which he had ratified in the past, the duo had been properly impeached and the onus lies on them to go and prove the contrary in a court of law.”
The Governor was said to have assured the lawmakers of the safety of their lives and properties if they resumed at the House of Assembly,.
The statement continued: “However, as earlier mentioned, we agreed to return to Parliament to seek ways in which we can have a final resolution in a Parliamentary meeting to be headed by the Majority Leader, Hon Araoyinbo Olugbenga Joseph. The Governor did agree that we could ensure and compel their resignation. He gave assurance that Idajo and his thugs will be withdrawn from the House and the security of all members will be guaranteed, although he was silent on the criminal nature of the first invasion of the State Assembly by Idajo and his ‘army’.
“It is with a rude shock that we heard of the hard line stance maintained by the Oleyelogun-led faction at their illegal sitting of 22nd November, 2018 and their reiteration of their claim to have suspended some of us earlier on. This to us further underlines our conviction that they are not men of honour and integrity and are therefore not capable of leading the House.
“We wish to state that we are committed to the ideals of democracy and are committed to ensuring that the great people of Ondo State are not shortchanged in their just desire and expectation for the good things of life.
“We, however, maintain that the impeachment of Friday 9th November, 2018 was duly and properly carried out, as even their criers of forgery have been caught in their lies. The onus lies on those who maintain to the contrary to approach the courts of law.”