Politics

Crisis engulfs Ekiti House of Assembly

As lawmakers engage in impeachment, counter-impeachment

The leadership tussle that has engulfed Ekiti State House of Assembly may assume another dimension as the new Speaker, Hon Gboyega Aribisogan was impeached on Tuesday morning in a phantom meeting of members loyal to former governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

However, in a swift move, the Aribisogan faction announced the suspension of the legislators loyal to Fayemi. They are Jamiu Akeem, Aribasoye Adeoye, Bode Adeoye, Lateef Kongo, Lucas Toyin, Deji Ajayi, and Ademola Ojo.

The spate of impeachments and suspension confirms speculations that Aribisogan may be removed today. However, sources at Ado-Ekiti, the state capital told www.thegavel.com.ng  the members that allegedly removed Aribisogan sat under the ‘ protective cover’ of the police while other members were forcefully screened out.

At the sitting, Olubunmi Adelugba was elected new speaker by 17 Members while six other members suspended with Aribisogan. Others are Tajudeen Akingbolu, Goke Olajide, Yemisi Ayokunle,

Adeyemi Raphael Ajibade, Kemi Balogun, and Tope Ogunleye.

Also the seating of the members passed the supplementary budget passed while the Appropriation was committed to the  Appropriation Committee. A new leader of business, Hon. Johnson Oyekola Bode- Adeoye (a k a JOBA) was elected while Lateef Akanle(Kongo) became the new chairman, Appropriation Committee.

Aribisogan was elected Speaker on Tuesday November 15, 2022 to replace the late Funminiyi Afuye who died suddenly on October 19, 2022. Aribisogan  represents Ikole 1 Constituency in the Ekiti State House of Assembly. His election, sources disclosed, was not without its own intrigues. Immediate past governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi was alleged to have summoned the legislators to his Isan-Ekiti home and instructed them to vote for Olubunmi Adelugba representing Emure Constituency as the new Speaker.

However in defiance to the instructions, the legislators voted Aribisogan with 15 votes to Adelugba 10.

Factional Speaker, Olubunmi Adelugba with members of her faction that elected her.

Aribisogan, who is a two-term lawmaker,  was elected at plenary on Tuesday, having polled 15 votes to defeat Olubunmi Adelugba (Emure Constituency) who got 10 votes. At the plenary where the election was conducted, Tajudeen Akingbolu (Ekiti West 1) nominated Aribisogan and the nomination was seconded by Adegoke Olajide (Efon Constituency), while Bode Oyekola (Ekiti West 2) nominated Olubunmi Adelugba and seconded by Ojo Martin (Ijero Constituency).

The members of the House loyal to Fayemi was said to have been shocked that the former governor was defied. The Deputy Speaker, Hakeem Jamiu was alleged to have spoken against the action, calling it a rebellious act. 

The Fayemi faction, fearing that Jamiu may be impeached, was alleged to have attempted a disruption of the House on Friday which led policemen acting on information to seal up the assembly while members of staff were asked to go home. The police also sealed up all roads that lead to the House.

The police spokesperson in the state, Sunday Abutu, said 10 persons invaded the complex with kegs of petrol around 4 a.m. on Friday but were chased off by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the police.

The leadership tussle was alleged to have started with the late Afuye who was alleged to have been pressured to step down for a new speaker to emerge since he came from Ikere-Ekiti, the same constituency as the new Deputy Governor, Chief Mrs Monisade Christianah Afuye. The pressure was alleged to have worsened his already bad health leading to a heart attack. This speculation was however refuted by the state government.

In all these, sources told www.gavelinternational.com.ng that the governor, Abiodun Oyebanji has remained silent, while other sources said the governor remains neutral in the face of the legislative crisis.

Meanwhile, Ekiti born human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN on Sunday called on the politicians to allow the House of Assembly to function. In a press release he signed, Falana said: Last week, the members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly elected a new Speaker, Honourable Gboyega Aribisogan to replace Honourable Niyi Afuye who recently passed on. Even though the election of the new leaders of the House was adjudged fair and free the Ekiti State Police Command was reported to have sealed off the House of Assembly complex based on intelligence report that some disgruntled elements were planning to set it ablaze and attack the democratically elected leaders of the House.

We commend the Ekiti State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Moronkeji Adesina for foiling the dubious plan of the criminally minded elements. However, we call on the Police Chief to provide adequate security for the members of the House to discharge their constitutional duty of enacting laws for the State and attend to matters of urgent importance; 

We are compelled to advise  the Chief Security Officer of Ekiti State, Governor Biodun Oyebanji to take charge and ensure the immediate restoration of law and order in the House of Assembly to enable him to present the 2022 Appropriation Bill of the State.Otherwise, the passage of the Ekiti State 2022 will be unduly delayed to the detriment of the development of the State. We wish to warn the enemies of democracy in the State that if the contrived crisis is not resolved as soon as possible to allow the House to consider and pass the 2022 Budget the Ekiti State Government may not be able to function in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution”. 

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