Oyo Assembly, commissioner feud over school feeding programme
The implementation of the Federal Government’s Home Grown School Feeding Programme sparked a row between members of Oyo State House of Assembly and the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela.
After exchange of hot words, the Assembly passed a vote of no confidence on Olowofela for what it described as ‘rudeness and arrogance’ displayed during an appearance before the House.
The lawmakers had accused the Ministry of Education of dividing the money for the programme into two which the commissioner denied. He said the allegation was false because the ministry had no power over the account of the vendors and the administrators.
The House had earlier invited Olowofela, the permanent secretary in the ministry, the federal coordinator of the programme and representatives of food vendors from the 33 local councils in the state to appear before it pursuant to a resolution passed on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017.
The resolution followed a motion presented by a lawmaker, Oseni Ganiyu, on the “need to address the abnormality going on in the school feeding programme in Oyo State”.
When he appeared before the House alongside other invitees, Olowofela who had come with a prepared statement gave a detailed information about the allegation levelled against his ministry.
He queried what the House referred to as anomaly in the execution of the programme. “In the immediate future, we want to advise that a mover of a motion should carry out elementary investigations, not statements that will mislead the citizenry and portend the House as being hasty in decision making.”
But the statement generated heated reactions from the lawmakers before the commissioner and his entourage took their leave.
The furious lawmakers described as barbaric and disrespectful Olowofela’s comment.
All the lawmakers who commented on the issue moved that the commissioner be suspended or removed on the ground of incompetence, disrespect to the parliament and failure to recognize the powers conferred on the House to investigate any issue of public importance.
Olowofela told journalists later that the House did not give him fair hearing.
“I was not allowed to express myself, yet they said I was rude. Even in a court of law, you must give fair hearing, you invite somebody, you did not allow him to talk and react to the issue you raised and you are saying you are passing a vote of no confidence. There are two sides to a coin. What I am saying is that the ministry of education does not divide the money into two because we don’t have power over the account of the vendors.”
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