The crisis rocking the Ondo State House of Assembly over speakership tussle seems to have been aggravated by the newly sworn in Governor of the state, Rotimi Akeredolu.
This follows the governor’s recognition of Malachi Coker as Speaker.
The issue of who the authentic Speaker of the Assembly is has remained a serious contest between two factions of the lawmakers, those in support of Coker and those in support of Mrs. Jumoke Akindele.
Akindele was impeached in January by a faction of the Assembly over allegations of financial mis-appropriation and was replaced immediately by Coker as acting speaker by some of the lawmakers.
Since that event the Assembly has remained factionalised between supporters of Coker and Akindele.
However, Akeredolu in his speech during the inauguration of the Secretary to the State Government on Friday recognised Coker as the Speaker.
His action has since then generated more altercation with the lawmakers as those loyal to Akindele have labelled the governor’s action as an act of unlawfulness.
The recognition of Coker as Speaker is believed to have been a mistake and was corrected during a photo session that took place after the programme, where he was not identified as Speaker.
But in a statement issued on Saturday, chairman, House Committee on Information, Siji Akindiose, a member of Akindele’s faction, condemned the recognition of Coker as the speaker during the ceremony, insisting that Coker was never a Speaker of the Assembly.
The statement read, “The House of Assembly, under the law, remains under the leadership of the Speaker, Jumoke Akindele, and other principal officers of the House. The purported tactical recognition of Malachi Coker as speaker by the protocol of the government is a setback for the ongoing reconciliation efforts of stakeholders in which Mr. Governor is a mediator.
“In line with our resolve to bring to an end the crisis in the Assembly, we have participated actively in the reconciliation process which led to the withdrawal of a case in court in deference to the intervention of the governor. The intervention of the governor had also led to the stoppage of the plot by some members to hold an illegal sitting in the House.”
“It is therefore strange to us to see that the protocol of the government would recognise a wrong person as speaker of the House while reconciliation is ongoing.”
He however said not minding the recent event, that the Akindele faction will continue to support the peaceful moves to resolve the leadership crisis in the Assembly.
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