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Ondo Assembly Declares Ex-Deputy Speaker’s Seat Vacant

Ondo State House of Assembly, on Thursday, sacked its former Deputy Speaker, Iroju Ogundeji, over his defection to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared his seat vacant.

The assembly, presided over by the Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, called on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct by election in Odigbo constituency I within 90 days.

Clerk of the assembly, Jayeola Benjamin, had read a letter written by the APC Chairman in the state, Ade Adetimehin, requesting the House to declare Ogundeji’s seat vacant.

Adetimehin said that the request was sequel to the letter written to the party by Ogundeji on March 19, notifying it of its resignation from the party.

Ogundeji, who was elected on the platform of the party to represent Odigbo constituency I in the assembly in 2019, had said that he had registered as a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The APC chairman quoted Section 109 of 1999 Constitution as stating that any lawmaker who became a member of any political party other than the one under whose platform he was elected into the assembly must vacate his seat.

Majority Leader of the assembly, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi (APC-Owo II), therefore, moved a motion that Ogundeji’s seat should be declared vacant and was seconded by Deputy Speaker, Samuel Aderoboye (Odigbo II).

The speaker then declared the former deputy speaker’s seat vacant, based on APC’s letter, and in accordance with the constitution.

He directed that a letter be written to INEC to conduct a by election in the constituency within 90 days.

Oleyelogun also directed that Ogundeji’s benefits and entitlements be stopped forthwith and that all the government property in his possession be returned to the assembly immediately.

In his reaction to the development, Ogundeji, however, said that the assembly had acted contrary to the order of the court.

Ogundeji, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria maintained that he was no longer a member of APC.

He said that he decided to join PDP, owing to what he called division in the ruling party.

“APC deregistered me during its registration exercise sometime last year and I have to belong to a political party. That was why I join PDP.

“It is no longer news that the matter is already before a court of competent jurisdiction, that is, a Federal High Court.

“The court had served the speaker, through the clerk of the house, notice against declaring my seat vacant and that no action should be taken in respect of the matter.

“So, if it is true that they have declared my seat vacant, then they have acted in contravention of the court order, which is tantamount to contempt of court,” Ogundeji said.

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