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Tension in Ondo Assembly over rules

Posted by By TUNDE RAHEEM, Akure on 2007/07/12 | Views: 368 |

Tension in Ondo Assembly over rules

Members of the six-week old Ondo State House of Assembly are now sharply divided over the adoption of a Standing Order made in accordance with the abrogated 1989 Constitution for the proceedings of the House laws.

Members of the six-week old Ondo State House of Assembly are now sharply divided over the adoption of a Standing Order made in accordance with the abrogated 1989 Constitution for the proceedings of the House laws.

Already a section of the House consisting mainly of members of the opposition parties are insisting that the illegality was imposed on the legislature by Governor Olusegun Agagu in order to pave way for the emergence of Mr. Bakkita Bello, a new member of the House as Speaker.

Contrary to the provisions of the Standing Order made pursuant to Section 101 of the 1999 Constitution adopted by the last House, which stipulates, among others, cognate experience for would-be Speakers of the House, the current Speaker (Bello) is a new entrant into the House whereas the current Standing Order made in accordance with Section 79 of the repealed 1989 Constitution was silent on cognate experience for a would-be Speaker. Indication of the opposition members resolve to battle the adoption of the Standing Order, which they described as a“fraud and a shameless avoidable illegality”, came to the fore last Thursday when Mr. Afolabi Akinsiku (Ondo West 1) sponsored a motion on the floor of the House calling for the suspension of the Standing Order forthwith, insisting that aside from the fact that it was illegal to operate with it being a trite law, having not been made in accordance with the extant 1999 Constitution, the Order wasn’t the one used by the last House.

Akinsiku’s motion was co-sponsored by three of his colleagues. Apparently, sensing trouble, the Speaker, Mr Bello, after the adoption of the motion by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Mayowa Akinfolarin (Odigbo), referred the matter to the Business and Rules Committee headed by the Majority leader, Kunle Agunbiade, with a view to coming up with a workable Standing Order for the consideration of the House.
In an interview with reporters, Mr. Akinsiku explained that since the Standing Order was based on an outdated Constitution, all the activities of the House since inauguration on June 1, 2007, are illegal, adding that this illegality must be corrected forthwith.

Investigations, however, revealed that the Speaker might have decided to refer the matter to the House Committee to prevent it from being debated openly in the full glare of the press and the public who were watching proceedings from the gallery and thus exposed the politics behind the adoption of the 1989 Constitution in the House.

The Standing Order adopted by the last Assembly (Order2) stated that in line with Section 92 of the 1999 Constitution, “no member shall be qualified to be elected as Speaker and Deputy Speaker unless he has cognate experience in legislative business in a comparable State or Federal Legislative House.” It also stipulates 2/3 majority of the House in decision taking. With this proviso, when the PDP zoned the position of the Speaker to the Ondo North Senatorial District,
the Speaker, Bakkita Bello (AkokoNW1) was not qualified
leaving Taofiq Abdulssalam (Akoko NE) who was a member
of the last Assembly as the most qualified. But because Governor Agagu was said to prefer Bello, this Standing Order was dropped for the 1989 one which was silent on these qualifications. For now, the 10 members of the House who are not PDP members have vowed to ensure that they will not subscribe to illegality which they claimed was being

perpetrated by the House in active connivance of the Clerk of
the House adding that they were fooled by the PDP on the day of the inauguration of the Assembly as they were asked to come for the exercise by 12pm only for the PDP members to meet by 9am to elect
the Speakers and other principal officers of the

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