Crisis Brews in Ekiti PDP over Speaker’s Refusal to Swear-in Lawmaker-elect

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Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
Crisis of confidence is now brewing in the Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the refusal of  the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon  Kola Oluwawole to inaugurate Toyin Obayemi as the member representing Ado Constituency 1 as directed by the court.

The Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti in a judgment delivered on July 4 by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, had sacked the occupant of the seat, Hon Musa Arogundade, as a lawmaker and ordered the Speaker to swear in Obayemi immediately because he was the valid candidate for the assembly poll.

Tension rose on August 2  when Obayemi appeared  for inauguration after serving a copy of the judgment and Certificate of Return on the assembly was blocked from entering the chambers and was bundled out of the complex by security officers on the order of the Speaker.

However, the Speaker averred that the assembly had refused to swear Obayemi in on grounds that the PDP has filed a notice of appeal against the judgment which sacked Arogundade from office.

A group in Ekiti PDP, Ado Ekiti Progressive Movement (APM), has called on the Speaker to obey the court order and inaugurate Obayemi with immediate effect in line with the verdict and prevent anarchy in the state.

At a meeting held by members of the group at Ado Ekiti Constituency 1 on Saturday on the refusal of the assembly authorities to admit Obayemi, APM Chairman, Kunle Ogunjobi and Secretary, Ganiyu Ogunado said the rule of law is on trial in the state.

Ogunjobi stressed that the court order was a declaratory one and cannot be stayed by any notice of appeal. He urged Governor Ayo Fayose to intervene in the constitutional crisis and protect the rule of law he (Fayose)
benefited from.
He said: “The Speaker is acting a script because the judgment was
declarative and cannot be stayed by any notice of appeal. The tone of the judgment was that Obayemi must be sworn in immediately and the Speaker knows the implication of disobeying court order.

“We urge the Attorney General of the Federation and security agencies to intervene in the attack on the constitution and the rule of law going on in Ekiti State and save our democracy. This is a state of learned people like Afe Babalola, Wole Olanipekun and Femi Falana and impunity must not be allowed to fester.”

Addressing the gathering, Obayemi expressed confidence that he would soon
be admitted into the assembly as the lawmaker representing Ado Constituency 1 urging his supporters to be calm.

Obayemi denied allegation in some quarters that he had perfected plans to
defect from the PDP, calling on Fayose not to listen to those feeding him with lies on alleged defection plan.
The legislator-elect condemned a statement allegedly made by the Speaker on the state television (EKTV) threatening him to stop his agitation for the
validation of his mandate.

He said: “Disobedience of a court order is a criminal offence; the House rules cannot supersede the Constitution because Mr. Speaker is claiming that he is acting in compliance with House rules.

“I received their notice of appeal on August 12 which they filed on August 10 while the Speaker has been claiming that  he received the notice of appeal on August 2. This shows that he is acting a script and he must remember that he doesn’t have immunity.”