Oyo Assembly clears air on emergency plenary
Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
The Oyo State House of Assembly has cleared the air, saying it had no hidden agenda when it called an emergency meeting, on Friday, to re-approve a 100 billion naira loan request by Governor Seyi Makinde.
The Assembly said the clarification became imperative in view of insinuations making the rounds on social media, stating that the lawmakers had approved another loan request at a secret plenary which was attended by only 13 members, on Friday.
Giving the explanation when contacted, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr Kazeem Olayanju (Oorelope State Constituency), said contrary to claims, 23 out of the 32 members of the Assembly were in attendance at the emergency plenary.
He noted that all the lawmakers were duly informed of the plenary but due to the fact that the House does not usually sit on Fridays, many of the members had travelled out of Ibadan but took permission not to attend the emergency plenary when they were informed and some others could not meet up with the timing due to their earlier schedules.
Explaining the rationale behind the decision of the House leadership to hold the emergency plenary, Olayanju said as soon as the information came from the governor that a new window has been opened for the state to re-apply for the loan, seeing the house had adjourned till July 27 and the time would be too late for the urgency required of the re-approval, which could lead to the opportunity being lost again, the option of an emergency plenary became inevitable.
The lawmaker stated: “Those available came and there was no hidden agenda and it was not a secret meeting. All the members were aware and even those that attended were not prepared to be at plenary but for the exigency. The members in attendance formed a quorum that legitimises the decisions. 23 out of 32 members of the Assembly made the emergency plenary. We started the plenary around 1:30 PM on Friday.”
He disclosed that an earlier N100billion loan request approved for the Governor to be accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria could not meet up last year due to delay in tidying up the process but that the effort of the Governor and his relationship with the CBN authorities had made the window to be re-opened for the same loan request to be revisited and re-approved.
Olayanju said: “Sometimes, towards the end of last year, there was a loan request sent to the House for approval. It was a 100 billion naira loan from the CBN. We approved the bill but it was not granted by the CBN due to time-lapse. Since then, the governor has been mounting pressure on them. And with his rapport and pleading with the CBN, they gave him another opportunity to access it and we had to re-approve the request so that they could continue with the processing.”
He disclosed that the lawmakers had summoned an emergency meeting because they wanted to avoid what happened some time ago when the processes of the House almost led to a delay in passing the bill, saying delaying the passage till July 27 could again cause the state to lose the opportunity.
Speaking on what the loan is meant to be used for, the Assembly spokesman said: “The governor is getting the money for five major purposes including upgrading of Alakia Airport, fixing the Oyo-Ogbomosho road, Ibadan circular road, Dry Port at Moniya and upgrading of three hospitals across the state to international standard.”