The governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, on Monday presented the budget plan for 2015 to seven of the 26 members of the State House of Assembly.
All the seven members belong to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP].
The remaining 19 lawmakers belong to the opposition All Progressives Congress [APC].
While there is no specific legal procedure or number of lawmakers required for budget presentation, such events are usually attended by all lawmakers.
But the Ekiti House has been hit by crisis, with a minority seven, backed by the governor, illegally claiming to have impeached the speaker who has the support of the majority.
The seven members, who sat at the Assembly Monday to receive the budget from Mr. Fayose, had last month purportedly impeached the Speaker of the Assembly, Adewale Omirin.
Mr. Omirin has approached a Federal High Court in Lagos challenging his removal as speaker.
Justice Saliu Saidu has adjourned the suit to January 7 for hearing.
Mr. Fayose has since been locked in a war of words with the opposition lawmakers.
On Monday, he presented the budget proposal to the speaker appointed by the seven lawmakers, Dele Olugbemi.
The state chapter of the APC has condemned the action of the governor.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Taiwo Olatubosun, the APC said it was unconstitutional for Mr. Fayose to present the budget to seven members of a 26-member assembly.
The APC spokesperson said those who received the budget from the governor are “thugs” who sat alongside the seven members inside the hallowed chamber.
The APC described the action of the governor as a disgrace to Ekiti state.
“We never knew that Ekiti people could be brought to this low record in decency and respect for the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by herding thugs to the hallowed chamber of the House of Assembly to join seven members to present state budget,” the party said.
“The standard practice is for the governor to present the state budget to members in full session while the public sit at the gallery to watch proceedings. But in this instance, thugs intermingled with the lawmakers in a plenary in such a way that you cannot differentiate a lawmaker from a thug.”
In his response to the statement by the APC, Mr. Fayose advised the party to bring back the party’s “runaway” lawmakers to the state, saying, “No individual, group or political party can hold the state to ransom”.
The 19 lawmakers had been out of Ekiti since the inauguration of Mr. Fayose as governor.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Fayose said, “it is shameful and wicked for the APC and its leaders to think that they can hold the entire people of Ekiti down just because they lost power”.
He warned the APC lawmakers of the consequences of losing their seats should they continue to abdicate their legislative duties.
“By the rule of the House of Assembly, each member must attend the House sittings for 181 days in a year,” he said.
He also defended the sitting of the House in which the 2015 Budget was presented, adding that, “the court of law is there for the loudmouth in the APC to approach if they have any genuine complain to make.”
“Today is December 15 and the APC lawmakers know that 2015 Budget must be presented as provided by the 1999 Constitution. Yet, some of the APC lawmakers refused to report in the House of Assembly, except three of them, who are interested in the progress and development of the State.
“The reality is that we are not in the Ekiti of 2007 where the APC (then ACN) lawmakers made presentation of the 2008 Budget by the then Governor, Engr Segun Oni, almost impossible.
“The business of government in Ekiti State will not wait for the APC and their retrogressive lawmakers, and the party leaders must know this and advise the former Speaker, Adewale Omirin and his runaway lawmakers to return to Ekiti,” he said.