By Dayo Johnson
AKURE – THE Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon. Taofiq Abdusalam and his Deputy, Hon. Mayowa Akinfolarin, were impeached yesterday, after resuming from a six-week recess.
Consequently, a new Speaker, Hon. Samuel Adesina, representing Odigbo II, was elected and subsequently sworn in; but the position of the Deputy Speaker was, at the time of this report, not yet filled.
The Assembly has, however, adjourned indefinitely after dissolving all its standing committees, while security operatives now maintain security at the Assembly.
The impeachment saga which, according to reports, started on Tuesday climaxed yesterday as 18 of the lawmakers signed the impeachment letter removing the Speaker, his Deputy and the entire leadership.
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has expressed surprise at the development in the Assembly and denied any involvement.
Dr. Mimiko spoke when the new Speaker, Hon. Adesina, paid him a visit in his office along with other members of the Assembly.
Addressing newsmen after the impeachment on the floor of the Assembly, Hon. Kele Bolodeoku said the Speaker was sacked for ineptitude, adding that the members have lost confidence in their leadership.
He said that Hon Abdusalam and his Deputy had tendered their letters of resignation after they were impeached.
Abdusalam denies resignation allegation
But in a swift reaction, Hon. Abdusalam denied ever resigning his appointment saying that his mobile phone was misplaced and it was used to forward text messages to members of the public that he had resigned.
Also, the state PDP, speaking through the former SSG, Hon. Isaacs Kekemeke, said the purported impeachment of the Speaker was unconstitutional, illegal and criminal as they failed to meet the required two-third majority.
Meanwhile, as early as 8.00 a.m., yesterday, the members had converged at the Plenary with Hon. Kele Bolodeoku representing Ese-Odo constituency moving the motion for the impeachment of the Speaker, his deputy and sacking of the standing committees.
His motion was supported by Hon. Idowu Adebusuyi, representing Ifedore. Nominations were called after which Adesina emerged with nine votes to defeat Fatai Adams who polled six votes.
A drama ensued after Adams lost to Adesina, as he â€œdecampedâ€ and joined forces with the group of the ousted Speaker and denied signing the impeachment letter, even after he had voted for himself on the floor of the Assembly.
Addressing newsmen, Bolodeoku, with 15 members of the Assembly said that the 18 members who signed the impeachment letter were above the two-third majority requested by the constitution to sack leaders of the House.
He said the sacked Speaker, Abdusalam, later tendered his letter of resignation and thanked him for accepting the truth. But the former Speaker said that he never resigned and that names of some members who were not part of the â€˜coupâ€™ were scanned into the list.
Addressing newsmen, Hon. Abdusalam, with 11 other members of the House, insisted that his purported removal was unconstitutional as only 15 members sat to conduct the exercise.
He said the sack was to preempt the list of the state Independent Electoral Commission, ODIEC, that was to be brought by the state government to the Assembly next week, noting that the homes of someÂ members sympathetic to him have been torched.
Mimiko expresses surprise
Meantime, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, has expressed surprise at the change in the leadership of the State House of Assembly.
Mimiko said during a visit to his office by the new Speaker, Mr Samuel Adesina,Â Odigbo II, and 16 other members of the Assembly and the Clerk of the House, Mr. Taye Dada, that the House should ensure that the existing cordial relationship between his Government and the PDP-controlled Assembly continued in the overall interest of the State.
He said: â€œHonestly, this development came to us as a surprise. We have enjoyed a cordial relationship with the House and this can be seen in the speedy passage of the 2010 Budget.
â€œBut the Clerk of the House has just told us all that have been done. Since what has been done was in the purview of the Legislative Arm of Government, we want to welcome Mr. Speaker on board and wish him a successful tenure of office and we hope that the cordial relationship that exists between us will continue in the interest of Ondo State.â€
The Assemblyâ€™s spokesman, Hon. Igbekele Bolodeoku, PDP, Ese-Odo, told the governor that they had come to present the new leader of the House to him just as he debunked insinuations that the government was behind the impeachment.
He said: â€œThe House is an independent institution, it has impeached a Speaker before, he is here with us today in this Courtesy Room and we have just impeached another one. No governor, whether past or present, has ever sponsored impeachment in Ondo State.”