Police seal Ondo State House of Assembly as leadership crisis deepens
The Ondo State Police Command yesterday sealed the House of Assembly complex to avert what could have generated into a bloody battlefield. The 26-member legislature has last Friday been embroiled in a leadership tussle with both the embattled Speaker, Jumoke Akindele and Coker Malachi, laying claim to the seat.
A faction of 12-members had at the weekend purportedly unseated Akindele and elected Malachi in her stead.But at the rowdy session of the House yesterday, hell was let loose when the 14 members loyal to Akindele were pitched against the rest 12 colleagues who purportedly effected the leadership change.
It was gathered that Akindele, in the company of her 13 apologists, stormed the complex as early as 6:30 a.m. yesterday for parliamentary duties when the other faction stormed the House and disrupted the plenary, insisting that she could not perform the function having been “impeached.”
According to reports, the first female speaker in the state was rough-handled, resulting in free for all. It however, took the prompt intervention of the state Police Commissioner, Mrs. Hilda Harrison-Ibirufo, to bring the situation under control with the deployment of no fewer than 30 officers, just as she also stationed an Armoured Personnel Carrier at the entrance of the complex.
In a chat later, the chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr. Siji Akindiose, said a vote of confidence was yesterday passed on the embattled speaker and the other principal officers that were purportedly sacked. He noted that machinery had been put in place to resolve all outstanding issues.
But the Malachi faction, at a briefing, insisted that the impeachment of the principal officers for alleged fraud stands. According to its spokesman, Ogundeji Iroju, the mace is in their possession, maintaining that the Akindele group had no right to “go to the hallowed chamber to conduct the business of the day.”
He submitted that the police hierarchy in Abuja and Akure had been briefed of the change of guards, urging the police to immediately withdraw the security personnel attached to the “sacked” principal officers.
He equally warned banks from transacting business with them, warning that a breach would be seen as complicit. The Guardian however, learnt, that Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state had waded into the crisis.
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