A crisis is brewing between the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and state lawmakers over the dilapidated condition of the House of Assembly building.
This follows the recent invasion by a snake through the ruptured ceiling of the complex.
The lawmakers had alleged that the state government failed to repair the building, saying the situation was so bad that a snake fell from its roof into the chambers of the parliament while the lawmakers were at plenary.
This was the reason the house was forced into a recess.
Prior to the controversy, the Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, had informed the media of the poor state of the complex due to unavailability of appropriated funds.
Mr Akeredolu later visited the complex and said that funds had been disbursed to the legislature appropriately, noting that the assembly itself had failed to imbibe a proper maintenance culture.
PREMIUM TIMES checks showed that the assembly had a total budget of N493 million earmarked for capital projects in the 2019 appropriation, of which N142 million was for construction and renovation of the parliament building.
An additional N10 million was earmarked for the upgrade of the assembly’s conference and recording systems.
The chairman of the House Committee on Information, Gbenga Omole, told journalists on Monday in Akure that funds were yearly voted for the renovation of the house, “but the votes were never cash-backed”.
PREMIUM TIMES is yet to ascertain his claims.
“We cannot say because we are friends to the governor and not say the truth,” he said.
“The speaker said money is voted for the renovation every year, but it is not backed with cash. They did not release money for repair, yet you pass their budgets.”
Mr Omole said the state government was planning to borrow about N30 billion and “the house might not approve it if something was not done to change the situation at the compex.”
Mr Omole said the lawmakers were not out to blackmail the governor or the government as insinuated by Mr Akeredolu during his visit to the complex.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, decline comment on the issue when reached by PREMIUM TIMES.
However, he said there was no problem between the governor and the lawmakers, adding that “the issues had been brought before the public and nothing was left to be said”.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state said the development at the house was unfortunate.
“Our party uses this opportunity to advise the honourable members to rise up in defence of the people’s mandate given to them and to save the legislative arm of government from ridicule,” a statement signed by the PDP spokesman, Zadok Akintoye, noted.
“PDP notes the recent unfortunate incident that occurred at the Ondo State House of Assembly, where members allegedly fled the hallowed chambers due to the presence of a snake within the legislative hall. This event calls for deep concern from all citizens.
“And now that such issue has become a subject of unfortunate accusation and counter-accusation from the people whose heads carry the mandate of the masses, with an arm of government name tagging the other arm as blackmailers, we will hope the matter will get the required investigative attention and the records be set straight as a show of respect for the mandate the good people of Ondo State.
“It is on record that the Rt. Hon. Oloyelogun-led APC dominated House of Assembly has not lived up to its responsibilities as an independent arm of government.”
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