Ekiti Assembly insists ousted speaker’s removal irreversible

Ekiti State House of Assembly members from all parties are meeting in plenary under heavy security.

The impeachment of Gboyega Aribisogan, who served as Speaker of the Ekiti State Assembly for only six days, has been declared final by the Assembly.

On Thursday night, Adeoye Aribasoye, the newly appointed chair of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, spoke on behalf of the legislators.

According to Aribasoye, the new Speaker, Mrs Bunmi Adelugba, will remain in office despite what the seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria have said.

Seven distinguished Ekiti attorneys, led by Aare Afe Babalola and all of whom are Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), had argued that Aribisogan’s impeachment was “ill-conceived, illegal, null and void” and had therefore urged his reinstatement.

Several prominent Nigerian lawyers, including Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Dele Adesina (SAN), Olu Daramola (SAN), Femi Falana (SAN), Dayo Akinlaja (SAN), and Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), issued a statement Wednesday night calling for Aribisogan’s immediate reinstatement after condemning his purported impeachment as unwarranted.

The senior attorneys also urged Mrs Bunmi Adelugba, who claimed to have been elected Speaker after Aribisogan’s impeachment, to stop acting like she is the legitimate Speaker.

But Aribasoye quickly responded, saying, “The attention of the Ekiti State House of Assembly has been drawn to a letter circulating on social media that was written by a combination of Senior Advocates of Nigeria.”

“The letter is about the concern of the legal luminaries led by Aare Afe Babalola about the recent change of leadership in the Ekiti State House of Assembly, leading to the impeachment of Rt. Hon Gboyega Aribisogan, who was replaced with Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba.

“We recognise the right of the legal luminaries, as stakeholders in Ekiti State, and we respect their opinions and advice, but that is where it ends.

“We wish to let the reading public know that Ekiti State House of Assembly members feel a sense of injustice by the one-sided opinion and biased intervention of the legal luminaries, who are also elder statesmen.

“The principle of justice worldwide is that all sides to a conflict must be heard, and it is only then that justice can be seen to have been done.”

He lamented that the 16 members who impeached the previous Speaker, Rt. Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan, and elected Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba did not have a chance to present their case to the elder statesmen.

For the record, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba remains the validly elected Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and has the backing of the vast majority of the Honorable members, party leadership, and the government of Ekiti State.

As a result, “we believe that the legal luminaries’ advice is Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, duly elected by 17 members, should stop parading herself as the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly is unwarranted and is based on wrong information by the impeached Speaker.”

In regards to the impeachment of Aribisogan and the election of Adelugba, he stated that the House had not violated any provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or its own Standing Rules.

According to Aribasoye, a notice of impeachment was delivered correctly to Aribisogan on Monday, and the House voted to impeach him by a margin of two-thirds.

“We, however, wish to remind our legal luminaries that when a severe infraction of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was committed during the PDP administration of Gov. Ayodele Fayose, where seven members impeached the then Speaker, Adewale Omirin, we didn’t see a convergence of legal luminaries condemning the action.

“The fifth Assembly equally suspended this same Aribisogan during the tenure of Gov. Fayose, but there was no whimper from our legal luminaries.

“We wish to reinstate peace has returned to the Ekiti State House of Assembly since the inordinately ambitious Speaker was impeached and suspended alongside his cohorts.

“Mrs Adelugba has presided over parliamentarians and plenaries, with most members present.

“She has announced the appointment of new principal officers, and she has constituted all Committees of the House,” he said.