Peter Dada, Akure
There was pandemonium at the Ondo State House of Assembly on Friday as members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers invaded the Assembly, beating up lawmakers and members of staff.
The invasion followed the impeachment of the Speaker of the House, Mr. Bamidele Oloyeloogun, and his deputy, Mr Iroju Ogundeji, by 18 out of the 26 members of the House.
The lawmakers were said to have exchanged fisticuffs during the impeachment process, which was preceded by a rowdy session on the floor of the House.
The Speaker was replaced with Mr. Olamide George, who represents Akure North constituency, while Mr. Abimbola Fajolu, who repesents Ile Oluji/Oke Igbo constituency in the assembly, emerged as the deputy speaker.
A former speaker of the House, Mrs. Jumoke Akindele, representing Okitipupa Constituency II, who was made the protem speaker during the session engaged in a free-for-all with Oloyeloogun when he rushed towards her and dragged her out of the Speaker’s chair. Both lawmakers tore each other’s clothes to shreds during the fight.
An aide to the embattled speaker was beaten black and blue by the lawmakers as he was allegedly caught trying to carry the mace away from the Assembly.
According to an eyewitness, the new speaker and some lawmakers were still holding a meeting inside the speaker’s office when scores of members of the state chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, led by the Chairman, Mr. Jacob Adebo, stormed the meeting and evicted them from the office.
It was gathered that the lawmakers were still querying the intruders when they were beaten and forced out of the office.
The NURTW members were said to have entered the Assembly complex with dangerous weapons as they started beating and chasing lawmakers and members of staff out of their offices.
It was gathered that the invasion, which lasted about one hour, happened in the presence of security operatives. “For almost an hour, the suspected thugs beat members and lawmakers out of their offices,” an eyewitness said.
Meanwhile, some journalists from AIT, Galaxy Television and TVC were seriously beaten, while the Director of Information Services of the Assembly, Mr. Sehinde Falokun, and some operatives of the Department of State Services, were also attacked.
The eyewitness added that one of the vehicles belonging to the DSS was badly damaged.
Speaking with journalists, George, who is the new speaker, alleged that Oloyeloogun and his deputy were impeached over gross misconduct and abuse of office, adding that 18 members of the assembly signed the impeachment.
He urged the state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, to steer clear of the affairs of the Assembly, saying there would not be a reversal of the status quo.
He said, “They are incompetent to lead the Assembly, that is why the members came together to change the leadership. In line with the constitution of the House, the election was conducted and I won as the speaker while Abimbola Fajolu emerged as the deputy speaker. We assure you that there won’t be crisis in the Assembly.”
The new leadership of the Assembly also announced the suspension of the impeached speaker and his deputy alongside two other members, Mr. Abayomi Akinruntan and Mr. Jamiu Maito representing Ilaje Constituency II and Akoko North-West Constituency I respectively.
However, the embattled speaker, Bamidele Oloyeloogun, said he was not impeached and that he remained the speaker of the Assembly.
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Oloyeloogun, who represents Ifedore constituency, told journalists at his official residence that there was no plenary session in the Assembly to impeach him.
“By the grace of God, I am still the speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly; nobody impeached me,” he maintained.