Thugs have taken over the entrance of the Ondo State House of Assembly complex, causing critical stir among lawmakers and staff of the house of assembly.
We gathered that the thugs are a sect of the members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers who were there at the instance of the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun.
The development is allegedly part of the ongoing feud between Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, both of whom are candidates of separate parties for the October 10 governorship election.
A source at the assembly confirmed that the purpose of the gang-up is to prevent the nine suspended lawmakers from gaining entrance into the complex in spite of the court judgment quashing their suspension.
More than a week ago, an Ondo State High Court in Akure set aside the suspension of four members of the State House of Assembly. However, the leadership of the house has failed to obey the court order.
The lawmakers involved are the Deputy Speaker of the House, Iroju Ogundeji, Adewale Williams, Tomide Akinribido and Favour Semilore Tomomowe.
On July 8, 2020, the lawmakers were suspended indefinitely by the leadership of the house for alleged unparliamentary acts.
The judge, Ademola Bola, in his ruling last Friday, said the Speaker, Bamidele Oleyeloogun, lacked the power to suspend any member of the Assembly.
While describing the suspension as illegal and unlawful, the court also ordered the assembly to immediately pay all the entitlements of the affected lawmakers and awarded N5 million as damages to the affected lawmakers.
Our correspondent S’Teller gathered that, the house had no intention to obey the order, as there were directives from the leadership to prevent the lawmakers from reporting to their offices as ordered by the court.
It was also reliably gathered that two of the lawmakers came to the assembly complex on Wednesday, but no one stopped them from gaining access to the complex.
It was learnt that on learning that the two lawmakers were allowed into the house complex, Mr Okeyelogun queried the security operatives at the gates who explained that they could not stop the lawmakers because they came with a judgment of the court.
The Speaker was said to have issued a further directive to prevent them from entering, but on Friday, the lawmakers made a repeat entry and the security operatives, citing a similar reason, could not stop them.
Mr Oleyelogun reportedly secured the services of the hoodlums to bar the affected lawmakers from the house since the security agencies had failed to carry out his orders.
By the time workers and other lawmakers reported to work on Monday morning, the hoodlums had already taken over, placing barricades in the form of security checkpoints at the entrance of the assembly.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the state command, Tee Leo-Ikoro, who confirmed the incident, said the Speaker invited the NURTW members to the assembly.
He, however, said he could not tell the reason why he did so, but confirmed that miscreants wanted to create a problem at the complex using the opportunity.
It was the Speaker who invited members of the NURTW for whatever reason I cannot tell,” he said.
“But we got wind of it and deployed more men to the assembly to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
“As I speak to you now, we have brought everything under control.”
He added that the police command was prepared to deploy more men if the need arose, to be sure of the safety of everyone in the area.
Olugbenga Omole, the spokesperson of the assembly had earlier informed our correspondent S’Teller that the assembly was yet to receive or sight a copy of the judgment.
According to him, since the house had not received any judgment of the comment, he would not comment on the issue at all.
However, one of the suspended lawmakers, Mr Akinribido, confirmed that two of his suspended colleagues were at the office of the Clerk of the House on Thursday, in spite of rumours that the security agencies would prevent them from entering the place.
He said they were there to present the court judgment to the Clerk of the house.
Mr Akinribido said although he did not report at the complex on Monday morning, he could confirm that the hoodlums were there to prevent them from gaining entrance after repeated failure by the security agencies at the gates to keep the lawmakers away.
The suspension was a product of the politics of wits between pro-Rotimi Akeredolu lawmakers and pro-Agboola Ajayi lawmakers, in an attempt to impeach the latter.
The nine members turned down the call to sign the impeachment notice, which technically ended the process to remove the deputy governor.
The deputy governor is currently the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party for the October 10, 2020 governorship election.
Seven of the nine lawmakers were also left out of a car distribution done by Mr Akeredolu to members of the assembly on Friday.