From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The Ondo State House of Assembly, yesterday, elected Hon Bamidele Oleyelogun and Hon Ogundeji Iroju as its new Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively, with both men announcing their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Two other lawmakers, Ayo Arowele and Segun Ajimotokin, who emerged the Majority Leader and Chief Whip of the House, respectively, also dumped PDP to APC, citing the crisis in PDP as reason for their defection.
Speaking at a press conference addressed at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s office in Akure, Oleyeloogun said it became necessary for him and his other colleagues to leave the PDP since the party has been fractionalised from the federal to state level.
“We were elected by the electorate to make good laws for the state. We cannot continue to remain in a party that is not settled for a long time which causes distraction to the elected political office holders, hence, we decided to leave the party,” the new Speaker said.
The leadership crisis that rocked Ondo State House of Assembly for barely two months was, yesterday, finally laid to rest as the two factional speakers; Hon Malachi Coker and Mrs Jumoke Akindele, willingly stepped aside and Oleyelogun elected as the new Speaker.
Oleyelogun, who represents Ifedore state constituency in the House of Assembly polled nine votes to defeat George Olamide of Akure North state constituency who had four votes. Lawmakers who attended yesterday’s plenary were loyalists of the Coker’s faction, while loyalists of Mrs Akindele boycotted the plenary, claiming they were not carried along.
While 13 lawmakers voted in the election that produced Oleyelogun, the 13 lawmakers loyal to Mrs Akindele claimed that they were not aware of the election.
Mrs Akindele recently resigned as the Speaker of the House, but her loyalists have since refused to attend plenary presided over by the former Speaker, Hon Coker.
Members of the Akindele’s faction who boycotted the plenary argued that the House does not sit on Mondays and Fridays, being the days set aside for meetings of various committees of the House.
The Assembly had, at the tail end of the administration of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, been engulfed in leadership crisis following allegation of N15 million fraud leveled against the ousted Speaker, Mrs Akindele. The crisis prevented Mimiko from presenting the 2017 budget to the House as two persons; Coker and Mrs Akindele laid claim to the
Meanwhile, the House has approved Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s request for confirmation of caretaker chairmen in all the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
The caretaker chairmen, according to a letter sent to the House by the governor, through the Secretary to the State Government, Hon Ifedayo
Abegunde, will run the affairs of the councils for a period of six months.