Two weeks after claims of snakes “invading” the Ondo State House of Assembly, the controversy still rages between the legislature and the executive.
The appearance or not of snakes at the Ondo State House of Assembly has continue to generate controversy as to the veracity of the incidence pitching members of the legislature and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu. In fact, it is still not clear whether it was a snake or many of them.
According to reports, there was confusion at plenary when one of the reptiles fell from the carved-in roof of the chamber near the seat of the Speaker and slither among the members.
It was gathered that in the confusion, the members could not kill the snakes as they all escaped.
A witness who is a staff of the assembly said that due to the deplorable condition of facilities at the complex, snakes freely enter lawmakers’ offices and the chamber.
He said before the drama at plenary, a snake entered one of the offices, causing mild drama and apprehension at the complex when it pursued a lawmaker out of his office.
“Today, three snakes fell from the Chamber’s roof when the sitting is about to commence and this made all the lawmakers to run for their lives. “One of the snakes dropped in front of the Speaker. The snakes escaped from the scene. Some of the lawmakers were shaking,” the witness narrated.
After the report went public, Governor Akeredolu immediately went to the House accusing members of blackmail who claimed neglect from the executive.
At the meeting, the governor said the lawmakers were only out to embarrass him and the state government. Later, the Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, denied any presence of snakes saying the story was untrue and misleading.
He said members had cited snakes in the assembly complex long before Governor Akeredolu took over which he said might have created fear in the minds of the members.
He, however, lamented the neglect of the complex by past administrations for more than ten years.
But, speaker’s statement drew the anger of some members saying the incidence was true and they won’t be rubber stamp assemblymen.
But some members who were not happy with the way the governor talked to them decided that they will not be pushed over and not errand boys.
A member told Daily Trust on Sunday he was shocked the way the governor talked to them as if they were school boys being addressed by their principal. He said he was surprised the Speaker could not come take his stand.
The issue was taken further as some members were said to have held a meeting at the residence of the Speaker and insisted that a snake actually fell from the ceiling into the chambers on Wednesday July 24 preventing them from meeting the following day.
In a communiqué capturing their position, the lawmakers also expressed concern that no fund has been released to the assembly for capital projects in the last five years in spite of budgetary provision and no renovation on the complex in the last 10 years.
In a communiqué read by Success Torukerijo representing Ese Odo Constituency, said they reiterated the constitutional status of the legislature as an independent arm of government which deserves to be accorded such.
He said “It is pitiable that the Ondo State House of Assembly is the worst in terms of infrastructure in the whole country.
“It may also interest the public to know that the offices of the Speaker and deputy do not have official cars. We take exception to the doctored video released by the media office of the governor when the governor visited the House on Friday, July 26 and we will not want to join issues by releasing the original version of the video,” Torukerijo said.
The lawmakers however said they appreciated all who showed genuine concern since the incident, promising the people of the state that they were determined to make laws that will advance the state and shall not waiver in this responsibility.
The former speaker, Jumoke Akindele, has said in a letter to the governor that it was wrong for the governor to attempt to make sure the world sees the lawmakers as cowardly and ineffectual.
But the Governor has accused the lawmakers of playing double standards over the N30billion loan brought to it for approval. However, Chairman, House Committee on Information, Gbenga Omole has since denied the allegation.
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