The Ondo State House of Assembly has bowed to pressure and reinstated four of its members that were earlier suspended for being loyal to the embattled former Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Irolu Ogundeji.
The reinstatement of the four lawmakers was announced at the floor of the House on Monday during its plenary session by the Speaker, Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun.
The House has been enmeshed in crises from the build up to the October 2020 governorship election in the state when the state’s Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi initially defected from the the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and later to Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
The defection of Ajayi spilled over to the House with the Deputy Speaker leading eight other lawmakers to block an impeachment onslaught against the then Deputy Governor.
The action of the nine lawmakers drew the ire of the governor and the Speaker which later led to the indefinite suspension of the lawmakers which include, Tomide Akinribido, (Ondo West 1 constituency); Favour Tomomewo, (Ilaje II constituency); Adewale Adewinle, (Ondo West II constituency) and the Deputy Speaker himself.
The embattled lawmakers approached the Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure where the presiding judge, Justice Ademola Bola later ordered their reinstatement and asked the assembly’s leadership led by Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, to pay N5 million each to the lawmakers for their unlawful suspension.
The House leadership later appealed the High Court ruling at the Court of Appeal for a stay of execution, but the appeal court, on November 20, upheld the decision of the lower court.
A source at the House who spoke to EPARLIAMENT on Monday said that the reinstatement of the lawmakers was a face-saving measure by the House leadership to avoid a pending contempt charge against the House leadership for wrongly impeaching the Deputy Speaker despite subsisting court ruling quashing their initial indefinite suspension.
The source said that offers are already being made to the reinstated lawmakers to withdraw all the pending suits against the leadership and members of the House.
More details to follow.