Ekiti State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the State House of Assembly, have reacted to the position taken by seven legal luminaries of Ekiti origin, on the crisis rocking the State House of Assembly, saying the removal of Rt. Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan as Speaker of the House has come to stay.
The party in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Segun Dipe, said while the seven senior lawyers conveniently referred to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Rules of the House, they deliberately ignored the Constitution of APC as a political party as if it does not count.
Eminent lawyers and Senior of Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), namely Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana and four others had condemned and described the impeachment of Rt. Hon. Aribisogan a Speaker of the Assembly just six days after his election to the position, as illegal, null and void.
Also, the Assembly in a separate statement, signed by by its new chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye, and dated Thursday, November 24, 2022, said that the new Speaker, Mrs Bunmi Adelugba, remains validly elected Speaker of the House and enjoys the support of majority lawmakers, APC and the State government.
“It is unfortunate that our elder statesmen did not hear from the side of the new Speaker and the remaining 16 members who impeached the former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan, and elected Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba remains the validly elected Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and she enjoys the support of overwhelming majority of the Honourable members, party leadership and the government of Ekiti State.
“Therefore, the advice of the legal luminaries that Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba who was duly elected by 17 members should stop parading herself as the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, is unwarranted and we believe this is based on wrong information by the impeached Speaker,” Aribasoye stated.
The ruling party also noted that since the matter, which the legal luminaries waded into and tried to adjudicate upon was already in court, their action was prejudicial and runs countrary to the legal tenets, which they uphold.
“That since the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is the ground norm upheld by all, supports party supremacy and does not recognise independent candidacy, those elected on the platform of party at any level must have sworn to, submit to, and align with all its policies and decisions, with the party constitution, manifesto and programme.
“That we are not ignorant of what the Constitution also says regarding the supremacy in day-to-day activities of our members in the parliament and we dare not meddle in them and that we take responsibility for the actions of our members in the House, just as we protect the interest of the executives.
“That we specifically cannot remember what action was taken by any or all the seven legal legends when in November 2014, seven Assembly members removed the then Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Adewale Omirin and his deputy, Rt. Hon. Adetunji Orisalade from office. None of those crying foul called the perpetrators to order then.
“That we also cannot remember whether or not any or all of them complained when in October 2018, days before the expiration of the tenure of the then Gov Ayodele Fayose, Rt. Hon. Kola Oluwawole and his deputy, Sina Animasaun, were removed as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
“That our memory hasn’t failed us regarding the role played by some of the 7 wise men in ensuring that Engr. Segun Oni, who came third, was foisted on his party, the PDP and the entire Ekiti State as Governor in 2007, only for the Court of Appeal in Ilorin to rule in 2010 that the action was a democratic fraud.
“That by and large, the neutrality of these wisemen is questionable, and we are questioning it. Having relied majorly on the version of just a party in a matter is described as the proverbial wicked act by elder(s) who judged based on one-sided narration,” the party spokesman stated.
The Assembly spokesperson also added that, “The House had neither breached any section of the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, nor its own Standing Rules concerning the impeachment of Aribisogan, and the election of Adelugba.
“On Monday, November 21, 2022. Aribisogan was duly served an impeachment notice, and was thereafter impeached by 2/3rd members of the whole house.”