• APC urges EFCC to investigate alleged financial recklessness
From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The crisis rocking Ondo House of Assembly assumed a new dimension, yesterday, when Commissioner of Police, Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, ordered sealing off of the complex.
This followed failure of lawmakers to resolve the leadership crisis which led to the removal of Jumoke Akindele, as speaker.
Pro-Akindele legislators and those opposed to her clashed at assembly complex yesterday.
Spokesman of Ondo Police Command, Femi Joseph confirmed the development when he said the complex was shut to forestall breakdown of law and order.
“It became imperative for us to close down the assembly.
“When we got there yesterday, morning, everybody was allowed to go inside the complex in preparation for the day’s business.
“Lo and behold, they started fighting one another, and the matter was degenerating to a free-for-all. All efforts by the Commissioner to settle the issue through dialogue was not successful,” he said.
Regardless, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate alleged financial recklessness and mismanagement of public funds levelled against Akindele and her deputy, Fatai Olotu.
This was even as the party pulled its weight behind the leadership of Malachi Coker and Ayo Arowele who emerged new speaker and deputy speaker, respectively, of a faction of the House.
Besides, the APC charged the factional leadership of the House to commence impeachment process against Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
The party declared that the crisis rocking the House was due to alleged maladministration and stressed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) almost ruined the state in the last eight years. The House has, since last week, been embroiled in leadership crisis leading to the emergence of two speakers and deputy speakers.
While a faction elected Coker and Arowele as the speaker and deputy speaker, another faction is rooting for Akindele and Olotu.
However, the APC, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Prince Abayomi Adesanya, alleged that the leadership of the House under Akindele was enmeshed in financial impropriety, hence the impeachment of the principal officers.
Adesanya stressed that the impeachment of the principal officers of the House was due to allegations of fraud, high-handedness and contract racketeering levelled against Akindele.
“This is an attestation of Mimiko’s looting spree across all ministries, agencies and parastatals, and the corruption that has traversed the state in the last eight years.
“Both the speaker and the deputy speaker were impeached following an incident where the House paymaster was allegedly caught by members of the Assembly with N15 million at the Assembly premises. When confronted, the paymaster said he was acting on the instruction of the impeached speaker, Akindele.
“This Assembly is a mere rubber stamp as members endorse matter brought before them for consideration under the leadership Akindele without due process. The former speaker is a stooge of the governor, thereby converting the Assembly to a subsidiary of the Governor’s Office. She is engrossed in so many corrupt activities and has always been evading arrest and interrogation by the EFCC with the help of the outgoing Governor Mimiko.
“It is noteworthy that members of the House could summon courage this time around to effect change in their leadership, which had remained untouchable all this while. This is highly commendable,” he said.
Also, he alleged that “the former speaker was an accomplice of Governor Mimiko in the business of diverting state resources into private pockets and plunging Ondo State into indebtedness to the tune of about N150 billion, without due process and commensurate achievement.”
Reiterating the need for Mimiko’s impeachment, Adesanya said: “Going by various atrocities he has perpetrated against the people of the state in the last eight years of his reign, Mimiko should be removed. It is on record that Mimiko has been involved in last minutes looting of the state’s treasury and properties under the guise of contracts award and execution, some of which are without budgetary allocation and due process.