Ekiti Assembly Removes Speaker, Deputy, Suspends 12 Lawmakers
The Ekiti State House of Assembly on Thursday removed the Speaker, Kola Oluwawole, and his deputy, Sina Animashaun.
Their removal was spearheaded by the three All Progressives Congress lawmakers in the assembly with aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party members.
The removal came five days to the end of the tenure of Governor Ayodele Fayose on October 15.
The Assembly also reinstated a former Deputy Speaker, Segun Adewumi, who was recently removed by the lawmakers.
A member of the APC, Gboyega Aribisogan, was elected the new Leader of Business.
The session nonetheless suspended the two impeached principal officers and 10 others loyal to Fayose for 125 legislative days.
The 10 others suspended are the Spokesperson for the Assembly, Dr Samuel Omotoso; Wale Onigiobi, Wale Ayeni, Dare Pelem, Jeje Samuel, Dayo Akinleye, Ayodele Fajemilehin, Temitope Fasanmi, Tunji Akinyele, and Sanya Aladeyelu.
At the sitting, an APC member, Mr Sunday Akinniyi, was elected the Minority Leader; Fajana Ojo-Ade, Deputy Leader; Mrs Cecilia Dada, Chief Whip; and Musa Arogundade, Deputy Chief Whip.
Addressing journalists after the plenary, Aribisogan said Oluwawole and other PDP lawmakers were suspended over alleged complicity in the disappearance of N60m in the Assembly and ineptitude.
Besides, he said the Assembly under Oluwawole was poorly funded and subservient while the office of the Speaker was hijacked by powerful members close to the governor.
He also accused the former Speaker of betraying the Ekiti populace by holding a secret plenary last month with other suspended members to approve N10bn supplementary budget sent by Fayose.
“When the PDP members were busy doing the presidential primary in Port Harcourt, we were busy here strategising on how best to make Ekiti governance smooth for the incoming governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
“Fourteen members sat to carry out these changes out of which 11 are addressing this press conference. We have 26 members in this Assembly, and we needed just nine to form a quorum.
“Our actions were guided by the standing orders of this Assembly and we didn’t deviate from it. So, the quorum was formed and our actions were legal and constitutional,” he added.
Aribisogan noted that the PDP still remained the majority party in the Assembly and that those who carried out the change of leadership did so in the overriding interest of the Ekiti people.
The new Speaker announced the dissolution of all statutory and standing committees of the House, urging the chairmen to hand over to their respective secretaries.
Alagbada, in his acceptance speech, appreciated the members for reposing confidence in him, saying he would not betray the trust.
“You are aware that the Assembly has since the inception of the present administration become the property of the governor rather than an arm of government. Ekiti State is yearning for a purposeful legislature that would be truly committed and independent to discharge its constitutional duties.
“We will no longer allow a situation whereby the legislature will be pocketed or caged by the executive. Let me assure all and sundry that we will cooperate with the governor-elect, Dr Kayode Fayemi, to move Ekiti forward.
“Recall that the fourth Assembly changed its leadership in 2014 when some members of the APC defected to the PDP to facilitate the smooth take-off of Mr Fayose. So, history is only repeating itself and there is nothing extraordinary in what we have done.”
But Oluwawole described his removal as illegal and rape of democracy.
He said the members that carried out the purported impeachment did not meet the required two-thirds of the 26-member Assembly.
Oluwawole accused the police of providing cover for the “illegal sitting” by preventing some lawmakers from entering the premises while allowing others loyal to the cause entry.
“It is highly condemnable and barbaric. If they had the required two-thirds, they didn’t have to invade the Assembly with thugs and police to block the entrance,” he said.
“This is bizarre! In a democracy? This is the height of illegality and it can never stand. As the Speaker of the House, I supervised over the last adjournment, which was carried out according to laws and laid down rules.
“I retain the power to reconvene the House and I have not done that yet. How then can some people say the House sat? This is totally illegal. The role of the police in this siege is clear. Ekiti State House of Assembly has not been reconvened by its Speaker, “he said.
Meanwhile, Fayose has condemned the role of the security in the impeachment of Oluwawole, describing it as bizarre.
The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, said he had done his best to reposition the state and he would leave the office in a few days’ time.
He urged all the stakeholders particularly the legislative arm of the government to put the interest of Ekiti first.
“Above all, with Kola Oluwawole or Ebenezer Alagbada as Speaker, I enjoin them to cooperate with the incoming administration in the overall interest of our people.”