Ogun State Drama: 9 members suspend 15, impeach and appoint speaker, approve N100bn bond and N26bn supplementary budget
- Category: Politics
- Published on Tuesday, 07 September 2010 07:26
- Written by Tribune
- Hits: 1271
Nine Ogun State legislators on Monday suspended the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Tunji Egbetokun, 14 other members and appointed a new Speaker, Honourable Soyemi Coker.
But Egbetokun, in his reaction during a press conference in Lagos, said that his purported suspension was illegal, adding that the process through which he was allegedly suspended was illegal and could not stand the test of time because the House was currently on recess and the mace of the House was in his custody.
The House, under the leadership of Egbetokun and the executive arm had been at loggerheads for some time over the N100 billion bond issue, and the legislators had challenged the executive arm to a debate scheduled for tomorrow.
Honourable Soyemi Coker, representing Odeda state constituency, who said he was the new speaker, while addressing the press in Abeokuta, said that the action taken by his colleagues was “necessitated by the cry of various constituents to bail out Ogun State from lingering crisis in the state.
Coker said in his prepared speech signed by 10 other members in his camp, that the new leadership had placed indefinite suspension on 15 members, led by Egbetokun “for gross misconduct against the institution of the Ogun State legislature, the government and the people of the state.”
According to him, the House, during the sitting on Monday morning where the 15 lawmakers led by Egbetokun were suspended, also reviewed the suspension of Honourable Titi Oseni and Honourable Omosanya Solaja, contending that their earlier suspension was unjust and unnecessary and overdue.
He said they also approved the 2010 supplementary budget of N26 billion and also vacated the House Resolution 167 barring all financial institutions from giving loans to the state government, thereby approving the N100 billion bond as requested by Governor Daniel.
He said new officers elected during the sitting included Honourable Ayo Edwards-Odugbesan, Deputy Speaker; Honourable Tolu Bankole, Majority Leader; Honourable Musa Moruf, Chief Whip; Honourable Abiodun Oluseyi Moses, Deputy Majority Leader and Honourable Adeleke Salman, Deputy Chief Whip.
However, Egbetokun and the other 14 members, in a press conference in Lagos alleged that the state governor influenced the illegal act carried out by the nine lawmakers, “so as to frustrate the debate on whether it is reasonable for the state to collect the N100 billion bond the state governor was seeking for.”
He said that it required two-thirds support of the total number of the lawmakers to impeach the speaker of the House, and out of 26 lawmakers in the House, nine did not constitute the two-thirds of membership of the House.
He maintained that he was not fighting the governor, but the resolution of the House was that the lawmakers would not fold their arms and allow the governor to continuously increase the debt profile of the state, because there was no justification for the loans he got so far.
However, Egbetokun and the other 14 members, in a press conference in Lagos, alleged that the state governor influenced the illegal act carried out by the nine lawmakers, “so as to frustrate the debate on whether it is reasonable for the state to collect the N100 billion bond the state governor was seeking for.”
He said it required two-thirds support of the total number of the lawmakers to impeach the speaker of the House, adding that nine did not constitute the two-thirds of 26 members of the House.
He maintained that he was not fighting the governor, but the resolution of the House was that the lawmakers would not fold their arms and allow the governor to increase the debt profile of the state.
Egbetokun said the governor once got a loan of N22 billion without the approval of the House and he could not justify what he used the money for.
The legislators insisted that they would continue to sit, adding that no one could stop Egbetokun from presiding over the affairs of the House.
“We will move in and have a sitting, they can’t stop us, they are a microscopic minority,” they said.
On why they chose Lagos to address the press, the lawmakers said they had to flee the state because Daniel had allegedly threatened their lives, adding that the report available to them indicated that about 50 buses loaded with miscreants and assailants had been driven into the state to deal with them.
Present at the briefing were Honourables Remi Hassan, Michael Fasinu, Nosiru Isiaka, Odunleye Odunjo, Adekunle Adegboyega, Olufemi Adiro, Johnson Fatoki, Mathew Abiodun, Akeem Salami, Boye Olusola, Job Akintan and Tokunbo Oshin.
When the Nigerian Tribune visited the Assembly complex at about 9.00 a.m, uniformed policemen were seen with two vans at the entrance of the House, preventing staff and other visitors from gaining access into the premises.
A divisional police officer (name withheld) later stormed the House, querying the officers met on the ground on who assigned them to mount a blockade at the entrance.
The officers told him that they came on orders from the above. The senior police officer in charge of the area later informed them that the state police command was not aware of the development.
The state Police Commissioner, Alhaji Musa Daura, was said to have later visited the Assembly premises in a Toyota Corolla with registration number NPF-04-SR, in the company of his aides.
The CP also stormed the premises of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) around 11.30 a.m, where a press conference was earlier scheduled to be held by the “new” leadership of the House but later taken to the private residence of one of the lawmakers.
The CP, who had a brief chat with the chairman of the state council of the NUJ, Tunde Sodeke, later mounted surveillance in front of the home of the former Head of Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, a few metres away from the NUJ secretariat.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the press conference was taken to another avenue based on order from “above.”
Meanwhile, the state police command has said it was not aware of the incident that happened at the Assembly premises in the early hours of Monday, saying that any development at the House was a political issue between the two arms of government.
The CP, speaking through the Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said “it is a political issue between them. They should not drag the police into it. The policemen who are on the ground at the House of Assembly complex had been on the ground since July 28, 2010, on the request forwarded to the CP by the Speaker, Honourable Egbetokun, that there was need for the command to beef up security at the Assembly.”
Adejobi said eight mobile policemen were deployed by the CP to ensure security at the House, adding that “since they had been on the ground, there was no complaint.
He also denied the allegation that the police provided cover for the lawmakers to hold any meeting, adding that the command was not in any way biased.