Majority of the lawmakers boycotted the session
Nov. 7 (PREMIUM TIMES) – Ogun State lawmakers, Tuesday, shunned a planned sitting to confirm the new commissioner nominees of the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that 19 out of the 26 lawmakers did not attend the emergency plenary session scheduled to hold for the screening exercise.
This follows a cat and mouse relationship that has existed for months between the legislative and executive arms of government in the state.
Though Mr. Amosun’s party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has an overwhelming majority in the House, the lawmakers seem to be split into two factions.
A faction of the state lawmakers are said to be loyal to a former state governor and ACN leader, Olusegun Osoba, while the other faction is loyal to the governor.
Mr. Amosun and Mr. Osoba’s disagreement had first reared its head during the selection of party candidates for local government elections. After months of discord, the two camps agreed to share the nominations for the eventual elections won by the ACN.
The Tuesday boycott of the screening exercise by the majority lawmakers made it impossible for others to sit, as they could not form a quorum.
The Speaker, Suraj Adekunbi, and six other lawmakers had converged on the Assembly complex awaiting their colleagues.
The Clerk of the parliament had, as customarily done, sent a text message to all the lawmakers to notify them of the session.
“Gd afternoon Sir/Ma, I am to confirm dat d plenary holds tmrw Tuesday 6 November 2012 by 11am. All inconveniences are highly regretted. Many thanks 4 d understanding and cooperation. Clerk 4 RHS,” a copy of the message sent to the lawmakers read.
Apart from their loyalty to different party leaders, many lawmakers are also said to be aggrieved that the governor was not concerned about their ‘welfare’
Apart from the Speaker, the other lawmakers who attended Tuesday’s planned sitting include the Deputy Speaker, Tola Banjo; Majority Leader, Israel Jolaoso; Sonuga (Ikenne); Babatunde Edunjobi (Yewa South); Olakunle Oluomo; and Aina Bankole (Ota II).
The Speaker could not be reached for comments on the failure of the House to convene for the plenary.
But a lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the members that boycotted the plenary wanted to prove to the governor that they are not “a rubber-stamp.”
The lawmaker wondered why the governor, through the Speaker, would want them to sit over a matter that is not urgent. The member stated that the House was currently on recess and expected to resume on November 13, adding that any business of the House should be pending till the date of resumption.
“Because they believe we are rubber-stamp, that’s why they called us for emergency plenary. Any business of the House should be pending till the date of resumption from recess.
“Moreover, the Speaker has not been representing the House. On the welfare of members, he has not done anything but only interested in carrying out the orders of the governor, even at the detriment of the entire members.
“The governor has refused to comply with our welfare and we have endured for a long time. It is high time we fought for the interest of the House,” the lawmaker said.
Sources close to the state governor said Mr. Amosun invited the Speaker and some members for a private meeting to discuss the situation. The meeting lasted to the wee hours of Tuesday.
As at Wednesday morning, the speaker’s efforts to rally his colleagues was still unsuccessful as the majority remained adamant.