Feuding Ogun State lawmakers yesterday admitted their error in causing commotion during plenary at the House of Assembly on Tuesday, begging for forgiveness and mercy. Leading the pack was the ‘Protem’ Speaker of the House, Remi Hassan, who addressed newsmen after the state Governor Ibikunle Amosun brokered peace among the lawmakers.
The meeting held behind closed-door at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta lasted about three hours.
Governor Amosun presided over the meeting which also had in attendance former Speaker, Tunji Egbetokun. Before the meeting, Hassan who had led the “suspended” lawmakers and those loyal to him to the Assembly complex were prevented from accessing the complex by the police who had stationed their Hilux vans at strategic areas, mounting surveillance on the Assembly.
Security around the complex was beefed up during which visitors to the complex, staff as well as journalists were frisked. Hassan in a white Toyota Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) with registration number Ogun AV 386 AAB led his group to the complex area in a convoy of 11 vehicles. Shortly after they were prevented from entering the Assembly, Hassan and the members of his group who had arrived at the Assembly’s complex at about 8.00a.m. blocked the entrance with their vehicles and sat on the ground.
Thereafter a call came to the leader of the ‘dissident’ members, Hassan who told his colleagues that the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa had invited them for a meeting. The group met briefly for few minutes after which they trekked to the Governor’s office, a short distance to the Assembly to honour the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
Daily Sun reliably gathered that Amosun was worried about what he described as the ugly development among the lawmakers. Hence he was forced to convene the meeting in his office, which lasted about three hours. Emerging from the venue of the meeting with the SSG, Hassan who looked cheerful in the midst of his group expressed regret for their actions.
His words: “We are putting all of what transpired yesterday (Tuesday) behind us, it is important at this point to apologise to the good people of Ogun State because whether we like it or not, we have offended the entire citizenry of the state.”
He added: “Sometimes you cannot completely rule out such when there are issues and it is going beyond what tempers could handle. And we are saying to all the people of Ogun State that we are sorry because this is the same state of the late political sage, Obafemi Awolowo who ran the best of parliament then back in 60s and 70s. It shouldn’t be such a state that will be an example of what is unacceptable norms in the legislature.”
According to him, “We have reasons far beyond that, thank God it is one big happy family. We will proceed from here to the chambers and it is going to be business as usual, the way it should be done in a legislature, due process with our rules, with the constitution, with extant laws and with acceptable conventions. Everything that transpired before now, we are rising above it and the House is one.”
On his own part, the Speaker of the embattled House, Suraj Adekunbi who also spoke shortly after Hassan, said: “Sincerely, first of all I want to appreciate all the media in their efforts in installing democracy. While saying this, yes, as government there is a process. As representatives of people, the mandate we are enjoying today was given to us by the good people of Ogun State, and as a matter of fact we are indeed indebted to them by giving them good representation and better interaction.”
He said Hassan had spoken well. “We have met, we are one big happy family. It was quite unfortunate just as he has rightly said, we have actually risen above that and by the special grace of God you will be seeing us doing our legislative responsibility in accordance with the extant laws.
“You will see us discharging our responsibility in a normal way by appreciating ourselves, giving ourselves due recognition as members and true representatives of Ogun State.
“Sincerely we want to use this medium to apologise to all the good people of Ogun State for what transpired at the hallow chamber yesterday.” Governor Amosun who later joined the lawmakers in a group photograph lamented the crisis, saying that the state could not descend so low.
“This is Ogun State, the home of Awolowo, the home of Obasanjo, the home of Soyinka and so many of these giants. So we can’t afford to descend so low.”
Thereafter, the Assembly reconvened and during plenary session confirmed the nomination of the Commissioner nominee, Mrs. Abimbola Ibironke Akeredolu who was screened on Monday by the House committee. The Speaker, Adekunbi during the session among other things also read a letter from Ggovernor Amosun on the need for the bill seeking the amendment of the state Council of Obas Law 2006.