Lawmakers of the Ondo State House of Assembly have resolved not to serve in the palliative committee on COVID-19 recently instituted by the governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akredolu.
Instead, the lawmakers have decided to create a separate committee where the legislature would reach the needy in a similar manner.
The government’s palliative committee is meant to cushion the effects of the stay-at-home order prompted by the pandemic. It also has the mandate to work out how best to alleviate the sufferings of the people during the period.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, gathered that the lawmakers are not comfortable with the arrangement of the committee which would see the lawmakers serve as assistants to the members of the committee in the different local governments.
At its session on Monday, presided over by the Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, the members, via a resolution, first commended the governor for setting up the committee meant to bring succour to the people.
He, however, claimed that they (lawmakers) were the elected representatives of the people “and would not subordinate their position to any cabinet member.”
Mr Akeredolu on Friday constituted a nine-member palliative committee on COVID-19 to deliberate and make recommendations to the government on how to cushion the harsh economic impact of the lockdown on residents.
The committee members are Morenike Alaka, Alex Kalejaye, Morinsola Olanipekun and Akin Olotu as the chairman.
Other members are Abayomi Eniayewu, Roseline Okafor, Jacob Adebo and Festus Ogunbodede as the secretary.
The governor said the committee would “work out modalities and mobilise human and material resources to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the areas of making food available and accessible to residents.”
He had earlier set up a seven-man committee to manage the funds being donated to the government for the fight against the virus.
Meanwhile, in a defence, the commissioner for information, Donald Ojogo, said the committee is an executive committee and the functions are been carried out by the executive.
He said the invitation of the lawmakers to be co-chairmen at the local government levels “was to ensure everyone was carried along.”
“The palliative committee is a design of the executive branch of the government, but we need to carry everybody along, that is why the lawmakers were brought in as co-chairmen at the local government level,” he explained.
He said besides the nine-member committee, the state government had set up committees at the local government level headed by the commissioners, “who will then would create other committees for the distribution of the relief items.”
“The committee’s role is to go to the market and buy food for the people, nothing more,” he noted. “I don’t see any reason for controversies here, there is nothing more to it, but we need to carry everyone along.”