Ondo Assembly crisis: Akeredolu to meet warring factions Wednesday

Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu
Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu [Photo: Today.ng]

In a bid to resolve the lingering leadership crisis in the Ondo State House of Assembly, the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has summoned a meeting of the two factions slated to hold in his office on Wednesday.

The 26-member house is torn in equal halves with each claiming it has the authentic leadership.

One faction led by Malachi Coker, which claimed to have impeached the Speaker, Jumoke Akindele, and her principal officers, earlier met with the governor, seeking to be recognised.

But Mr. Akeredolu recommended a peaceful resolution of the crisis rather than back a faction of the house.

PREMIUM TIMES, however, gathered that the embattled speaker and her group met with the governor in Ibadan on Sunday during a thanksgiving service held in his honour, and again met with him on Monday at his office.

A source close to the office of the governor, revealed that the meeting had in attendance all the 13 lawmakers in the group of Speaker Jumoke Akindele and was presided by the governor with his deputy in attendance.

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The source, who would not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak for the governor who is yet to appoint a spokesperson, said Mr. Akeredolu told the lawmakers that he decided to meet with the two groups separately before meeting with them together in order to hasten the reopening of the Assembly for legislative business.

The governor, the source said, urged both groups to sheath their swords and reconcile in the interest of the state, adding that there was the need for compromise on both sides to move forward.

He said his administration needed the House of Assembly for some urgent legislative business on some important bills, some of which are outstanding from the last administration.

It was gathered that Akindele-led group had earlier congratulated the governor and his deputy on their inauguration and promised the cooperation of the House of Assembly in ensuring a smooth running of the government.

The group was said to have explained its side of the crisis in the Assembly, insisting that due process was not followed by the Coker group in impeaching the leadership of the house.

They declared before the governor, their loyalty to Ms. Akindele as speaker of the house, yet agreed that a peaceful change of leadership in line with the rules of the Assembly would be encouraged after the resolution of the ongoing crisis.

The meeting of a full house of the lawmakers with the governor was then scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday where both sides are expected to lay on the table their conditions for reconciliation.

Meanwhile, the police which had earlier locked the house of assembly complex due to the crisis, has opened it for workers, but is still keeping watch over the chambers to ensure no faction gains access separately.

The police spokesperson, Femi Joseph, said the police was ready to cooperate with the lawmakers once they reach a peaceful resolution on the crisis.

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