10th Ogun Assembly for Inauguration tomorrow, as Oluomo's fate hangs in the balance - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Monday, June 19, 2023

10th Ogun Assembly for Inauguration tomorrow, as Oluomo's fate hangs in the balance

By Editor

Indigenes and residents of Ogun State, anxiously look forward to tomorrow (Tuesday), as the State 10th Assembly is expected to be inaugurated.

It would be recalled that the inauguration, which was initially scheduled to hold on Tuesday 13th June, was abruptly rescheduled, less than 8 hours to the commencement of the programme, through a WhatsApp message sent to the lawmakers-elect.

The Whatsapp message read, "This is to inform you that the Holding of the First Session of the Tenth Assembly of the Ogun State Legislature has been postponed to Tuesday, 20th June 2023. Any inconvenience caused by this announcement is regretted 

Our Correspondent reliably gathered that the postponement might not be unconnected to a dispute over the seat of the Speaker of the House.

It was observed that the tenth Ogun Assembly has 17 lawmakers elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, while the PDP has nine. 

With the Tuesday's inauguration, the lawmakers are expected to elect a Speaker, a Deputy Speaker and other presiding officers. 

Investigation revealed that the ruling APC is doing everything possible to have consensus candidates for the principal officers of the Assembly, in order to avoid having people who would not do the biddings of the executive.

One of the party’s major concerns is the position of the Speaker, which was held throughout the ninth assembly by Hon. Olakunle Oluomo.

While some want Oluomo to retain his position as the Speaker of the Assembly, other leaders of the APC are suggesting a replacement for Oluomo, who was the Deputy Speaker from 2011 to 2019, due to
the N2.5 billion fraud case hanging around his neck.

Investigation revealed that a member-elect from Odeda State Constituency, Oludaisi Elemide, a loyalist of former Governor Olusegun Osoba, who stepped down for Mr Oluomo in 2019, is interested in the position of the Speaker.

It was learnt that Elemide, a three-time member of the Assembly is being backed by some lawmakers and is considered a serious threat to Mr Oluomo’s ambition.

Oluomo was in September 2022 arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over allegations that he diverted N2.5 billion Assembly money into personal pockets.

He was arrested at the Lagos Airport following his refusal to honour several invitations extended to him by the EFCC on a petition against him.

According to the EFCC, Oluomo and others forged receipts and signatures to divert the huge amounts of money, running into billions of Naira from the legislative arm of government.

Oluomo, in his attempt to stop the EFCC from probing him, in January 2022, dragged the EFCC to court, seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the EFCC from inviting, interrogating, imposing obligations, and demanding or requiring his attendance in connection with the criminal allegation made against them.

The EFCC, in a counter-affidavit to the suit filed by Oluomo, FHC/AB/CS/8/22, alleged that it had information that the lawmakers conspired among themselves to forge documents, to steal and divert over N700 million allocated for the running of the Ogun Assembly into personal use.

The EFCC said letters were written to the mentioned NNPC Mega station in Abeokuta and Askash filling station, to confirm the authenticity of the receipt made available to the commission by the Clerk of the Ogun Assembly.

However, the NNPC, through Obasanjo Holdings, said, “We write to inform you that the receipts being investigated were not issued by our filling station.”

Also, Ashkash filling station, reportedly owned by former Speaker, Suraj Adekunbi, replied the EFCC that, “We have painstakingly and extensively gone through our records, nothing of such exists in our transactions records. By this, we did not know anything about the receipts sent for investigation.”

Our correspondent reports that the EFCC case against Oluomo is still pending before a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta.

Meanwhile, a dependable source told our Correspondent that the PDP in the State, has rejected any bid by the APC to return Oluomo as the Speaker of the Assembly.

The party said, Oluomo lacks the moral right to aspire for any leadership position in the 10th Assembly, considering the damning allegations against him.

Quoting the source, the PDP said, "We don’t aid or encourage corruption in any form or guise. Oluomo lacks every moral right to aspire to lead in any capacity.

“Affairs of our democratic structure and institutions should not be conducted or presided over by questionable elements on whose necks hang unresolved financial infractions”.

He noted that members elected under the PDP would not support Oluomo as the Speaker, saying consultations are ongoing with other stakeholders.

“Members-elect on our platform cannot, in good conscience, support Mr. Oluomo as the Speaker of the house. The leadership of our party is currently in consultation with other stakeholders as far as the composition of the house leadership is concerned. Definitely, we shall act in the best interest of the good people of Ogun State".

On his part, a PDP member-elect of the Assembly, Lukmon Atobatele, called on the APC 'to put its house in order' in preparation for the inauguration of the Assembly on Tuesday.

Atobatele, who won election to represent Abeokuta South State Constituency 1, said the PDP members-elect of the Assembly have nothing to do with the crisis in electing a Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other principal officers of the State 10th Assembly. 

He said, the insinuation that the PDP caucus is backing either Olakunle Oluomo or Elemide Oludaisi of the APC to become the next Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly is unfounded, stressing that the PDP members-elect were less concerned in who becomes the next Speaker of State the 10th Assembly.

According to Atobatele, "it is in our interests to steadily monitor and master the workings of the Assembly, inline with extant rules and guidelines to be able to deliver dividends of democracy to our people and as well protect their interests".

"Obviously, we cannot dictate to the majority as a minority group. All those insinuating we would support Elemide over the former Speaker Oluomo are just assuming. We don't even belong to the same political party, so how can we know their workings? Anyway all these rumours are expected", he said. 

Atobatele, who condemned the sudden shift of the inauguration date for the 10th Assembly, said the PDP caucus was ready to work in unity for the interest of their constituents and the good people of Ogun State

 Some stalwarts of APC, who spoke under the conditions of anonymity called on the party leadership to look for other ranking members elects from Ogun Central to replace Oluomo as Speaker.

The party leaders noted that the EFCC case against him would not allow Oluomo, would be a great deservice to the state, if he eventually emerge as Speaker again.

“There are other ranking members without blemish from Ogun Central who can occupy the position”.

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