Days ago, the entire Nigerians and the global internet space witnessed viral video reports wherein the Speaker and some other principal members of the Ondo State House of Assembly granted separate interviews, claiming that a mysterious snake invaded the hallow Chambers of the Assembly during plenary, and even “thanked God” that the snake did not harm any of their members before they succeeded in killing it.
The snakes invasion and the attendant concern by the House members for their safety, which was blamed on the alleged neglect of the House, was given as the official reason why the 2nd arm of the State Government, proceeded on an indefinite recess.
I personally watched the video reports and clearly heard the Speaker and the other principal members of the House of Assembly making these assertions.
It was therefore shocking to watch the subsequent viral video press reports, where the same Speaker categorically denied the mysterious snake story and even blamed the press for not just inventing the story but photo shopping the picture of the snake earlier shown in the press reports.
The denial by the Speaker only came during an inspection visit by the State Governor to the House of Assembly Complex to verify the authenticity of the claim, on Saturday 27th July, 2019, three days after the scandalous story had travelled round the whole world and brought Ondo State and the entire Nigeria into needless ridicule.
To every discerning mind, the denial by the Speaker and his attempt to make the press the scapegoat of the false claim was a mere afterthought and an act of cowardice. As we say in law, res ipsa loquitur; the videos speak for themselves. If anybody lied or invented the snake-invasion story, it was clearly not the press but the leadership of the State House of Assembly, obviously for either political reasons or to access more funds from the State coffers in the name of maintaining the House of Assembly; the direct and greatest beneficiaries of such faksehood can only be the leadership and members of the House, not the press which would not superintend the disbursement of any maintenance fund which such fabricated story might be meant to elicit or solicit. Perhaps some members of the press only helped to garnish the false story, consciously or unconsciously.
And the House of Assembly Chambers mysterious snake invasion falsehood, with the incalculable harm it has caused the reputation of Ondo State and the entire Nigeria, is disgraceful, demeaning, dangerous and demonic. It could only have come from those who are satanically anointed from the pit of hell, for , as Jesus Christ declared in John 8:44. ” You are of your father, the devil….When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
For those who called themselves Honourables to have orchestrated the false mystery snake story as a basis to suspend the activities of an entire arm of government, indefinitely, depicts the tragedy of a nation in the hand of morally-decadent supposed political leaders. Whoever could orchestrate the viral falsehood and scam, as we now know it to be, for his personal interest, could do just anything for self-gratification. And making the press a scapegoat of these orchestrated public deceit amounts to gross act of irresponsibility by Mr. Speaker who had eloquently dished out the snake invasion story along with two other principal members of the House in the first video. A man like him, with due respect, does not deserve the honour of leadership in any sane society.
It is for the above reasons that I am calling on the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr. Bamidele Oleyelogun, to immediately tender an unreserved apology to the people of Ondo State, the entire Nigerians in general, and the press in particular, for his mischievously concocted snake invasion saga leading to the closure of the Ondo State House of Assembly.
In addition to the public apology, the Speaker should honourably tender his resignation to save the integrity of the House or whatever is left of it. Should the Speaker fail to apologize and resign over this scandal, I call on the other conscientious members of the House to impeach him for his act of gross misconduct which has brought serious global opprobrium to the House itself. Should the Speaker and the entire members of the State House of Assembly equally fail to do the needful in this regard, I, like other like-minded Nigerians, would be prepared to demand public accountability, through the law court, of the budgetary allocations to the State House of Assembly for the past seven (7) years, for us to know how every dime of it had been used or misused, in pursuance of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. After all, the people of Ondo State know many of the past and present leaders and members of the House of Assembly who came into office virtually like paupers but had built and are still building mansions in Akure City and across the State, while the State House of Assembly Complex continued to be in an unfortunate state of neglect.
Barr. Femi Emmanuel Emodamori
is an Akure-based constitutional Lawyer and Public Advocate.