Ondo Assembly crisis: Factional leader warns Akeredolu to steer clear

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A factional group in the Ondo State House of Assembly, led by Hon. Malachi Coker has warned the governor-elect, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), to steer clear and not meddle in the crisis rocking the state legislative arm.

The group while listing conditions for reconciliation with Hon. Jumoke Akindele led faction also warned the governor-elect, against taking side in a matter that is deemed purely legislative.

Spokesman of the group, Hon. Iroju Ayodeji, while briefing journalists in Ibadan on Monday also denied media reports that the faction was not ready for reconciliation and that members of the faction and their families had gone into hiding.

It would be recalled that the Assembly was sealed off about two weeks ago by the state police command to forestall breakdown of law and order.

Ayodeji addressed newsmen in company of the factional speaker, Malachi Coker, his deputy, Ayo Arowele and other members of the faction.

The assembly had been thrown into crisis since the impeachment of Akindele as speaker and her deputy, Fatai Olotu, based on allegations of N15million fraud levelled against them.

The crisis has also led to the polarisation of the House as Coker and Akindele now lay claim to the speakership of the Assembly.

Ayodeji stated that it was untrue that Coker's faction was not ready for reconciliation.

Stating the conditions for reconciliation, Ayodeji noted that Jumoke Akindele's faction must first withdraw the court case against his own faction, the House of Assembly complex sealed off by the police should be re-opened and new principal officers of the Assembly should be allowed to preside over the affairs of the house.

He contended that calling for reconciliation when a case was still pending in court was nothing "but a carrot and stick approach to reconciliation; such reconciliation is not genuine. If there must be reconciliation, it must be genuine."

Ayodeji also dismissed media reports that Coker, and his deputy, Arowele, had gone into hiding over alleged attempts to attack them.

The media report had said the duo and other nine lawmakers loyal to Coker's leadership had vacated their homes for alleged fear of being attacked.

They were said to have relocated to unknown places outside the state, alongside members of their families.

Ayodeji maintained that Akindele and Olotu were legally impeached and suspended with signatures of 20 among the 26 members of the assembly, alleging that the outgoing governor of the state, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has been the one supporting Akindele's faction and was purportedly instrumental to the sealing off of the assembly complex.

The Coker's faction, however, noted that Mimiko and Akeredolu are friends, "and we don't want to meddle into their friendship. We don't have anything against their friendship. But the governor-elect should stay off the crisis rocking the assembly."

On the media reports that members of Coker's faction had gone into hiding, Ayodeji said it was not correct, explaining that many of their members "came to Ibadan from Akure this morning (yesterday) and will also return to Akure after this briefing.

"Some of our members came from Lagos and after this briefing, they would go back to Akure. But the assembly complex was sealed off two weeks ago. What are we going to do in the complex when it has been sealed off? When the complex is re-opened, we will go back.

"We are not the one that should go into hiding, they (Akindele's faction) is the one that should go into hiding because they were legally impeached and suspended.

"They have questions to answer over the N15million they withdrew from the account of the assembly without parliamentary approval. They said the money is for project. Which project? They should come out and explain why the cheques were not drawn in the names of the contractors and why they wanted to pay contractors raw cash."

The Coker's faction, however, reiterated its call to the Inspector-General of Police, Commissioner of Police in Ondo State, and Director of Department State Security in the state to protect them and their families from unknown people that had been threatening them via phone calls and text messages.

The group also call on opinion leaders and leaders of thoughts in the state to appeal to the impeached leaders of the house to explain to the public the true state of the allegations leveled against them and stop playing politics with the truth.

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