Alex Enumah in Abuja
A civil-society group, Ondo State Committee on Ethics and Good Governance, has called on the Body of Benchers to probe the Call to Bar of the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, over perjury allegations, in the interest of the law profession.
The group headed by Olabanji Orogbemi, asked the Benchers to withdraw the law degree and the practising certificate issued to the deputy governor, which qualified him as a lawyer in 2010 on the grounds that the politician lied on oath.
In a strongly-worded petition written by Oluwagbenga Adeosun, a legal practitioner, on behalf of the group to the Benchers, the petitioner alleged that the Ondo State deputy governor lied on oath to secure his admission into the Nigerian Law School in the document he submitted to the authorities of the school.
In the petition dated May 28, 2019 and received at the registry of the Body of Benchers, May 30, 2019, Ajayi was accused by the group of being on a full time employment of the Government of Nigeria at the time he secured the law school admission and his eventual call to the Nigerian Bar in 2010 to become a bonafide and full-fledged legal practitioner.
A copy of the letter sighted by THISDAY, revealed that the petitioners anchored their claim on the profile of the deputy governor published in the Ondo State Government web page: www.ondostate.gov.ng, wherein he (Ajayi) claimed that he obtained his Bachelor of Law at the Igbenedion University, Okada, Edo State and that he was called to bar in 2010 after his graduation from the Nigerian Law School.
The grouse of the group against the deputy governor was however predicated in another claim that he was elected between 2007 and 2011 into the House of Representatives for Ilaje/Ese-odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State.
While in the House of Representatives between 2007 and 2011, the deputy governor was said to have served as Chairman of the House Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and also served as a member of the House Committee on Gas, Habitat, Justice and Committee on industry.
The group, while citing several authorities claimed that admission into the Nigerian Law School was on full-time basis and that the membership of the deputy governor to the National Assembly during the period was also on a full-time basis and as such he (Ajayi) could not have successfully combined his attendance at the Law School with his attendance in the House of Representatives.
Specifically, the group insisted that admission into the Law School barred anybody from full-time employment from being a student of the school because of the cumulative effects of the compulsory attendance in the practical training, lectures, attendance at dinners, attachment to chambers and court as required by law.
It, therefore, called on the Body of Benchers to investigate the claims of the deputy governor, especially how he combined his law school education with his membership of the House of Representatives, both of which are on full-time basis.
If found wanting, the group pleaded with the Benchers to immediately disbar and withdraw the Certificate of Practice issued to the deputy governor in the interest of justice, adding that with his own claim in his profile, Ajayi is not a proper and fit person to be admitted into the Noble Law profession.
“That Ajayi must have employed sharp practices not being omnipresent if indeed he participated fully in all the activities in the Nigerian Law School while sitting and performing all his legislative functions in the House of Representatives, and our client’s humble view is that Ajayi can therefore not be regarded as a fit and proper person to be admitted into this noble and honourable profession.
“It is on this note that our client is asking the esteemed Chairman and members of the reverred Body of Benchers without delay revisit the unlawful, unethical and fraudulent call of Hon. Agboola Ajayi, which was erroneously done in the year 2010 with a view to withdrawing the licence and certificate awarded thereat”, part of the petition read.