Insecurity occasioned by the crisis rocking the Ondo State House of Assembly and a protest embarked upon by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday prevented the state Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, from presenting the 2017 budget to the factionalised assembly.
The House of Assembly, which had earlier been sealed off by the state police command following the leadership crisis, was opened for the governor to present the bill. But only 13 lawmakers headed by the factional Speaker, Mr. Malachi Coker, were present.
Embattled Speaker of the House, Mrs. Jumoke Akindele, the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Fatai Olotu and the Majority Leader, Mr. Ifedayo Akinsoyinu, were on Friday purportedly suspended by 13 lawmakers for alleged financial misappropriation.
The trio of Mr. Malachi Coker, Mr. Ayodele Arowele and Mr. Olamide George, were immediately appointed as the speaker, deputy speaker and the majority leader respectively in acting capacity.
A source in the House explained that the 13 lawmakers had arrived the floor of the House around 7a.m, waiting for the governor.
The factional speaker, Malachi, representing Ilaje Constituency 2, presided over the plenary session.
After waiting for several hours and the governor did not show up, the factional lawmakers held their plenary session without the presence of the Clerk of the House, Mr. Bode Adeyelu.
An object that looked like an umbrella wrapped with a green and white coloured cloth was used as the mace by the factional lawmakers.
As of the time of filling this report on Wednesday, the 13 lawmakers were still holding their plenary session and waiting for the governor.
But they were later informed that the budget presentation had been postponed.
It was gathered that the governor, who was scheduled to arrive the Assembly Complex at noon on Wednesday, cancelled the event in order to prevent clashes, which might occur between members of the two factions of the assembly.
The APC members had gathered at the assembly complex gate to protest an alleged plan by Mimiko to lobby the lawmakers to pass a law that would enable him to earn life pension from the state.
The protesters, who blocked the assembly road, chanted anti-government songs and did not allow the governor to enter the assembly complex.
This, they said, was because Mimiko only had three weeks to the end of his tenure.
The leader of the protesters, Mr. Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, who spoke with journalists at the assembly gate, said they were protesting against an alleged move by the governor to send 38 bills to the state Assembly for passage into law before the expiration of his tenure this month.
However, the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, told our correspondent that the governor shifted the date of the presentation of the appropriation bill for security reason.
He said, “The date for the presentation has to be shifted because the tension was so high. The APC supporters were at the gate of the Assembly to cause trouble.
“There is an internal wrangling among the lawmakers, so the governor cannot present any budget under that condition and we all know that Mr. Governor is a peace-loving person, he doesn’t want crisis.”