Oyebanji: I Wasn’t Involved in Ekiti Assembly Crisis

Governor Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji

Governor Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji

•Oni, Olanipekun, elders decry undue influence in state legislature

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, has denied the involvement in the factional  crisis rocking the state House of Assembly, following the removal of Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan, as the Speaker.

But prominent Ekiti leaders, including the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Segun Oni and renowned lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, have decried the development and warned against denigrating he honour of the state.

Oyebanji applauded all the  leaders of the All Progressives Congress  (APC) for their swift intervention in resolving the situation he described as a “family affair”.

Oyebanji, who said this in Ado Ekiti, while playing host to the new Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba and the party’s leadership, described the crisis “as a family affairs and one of the beauty of democracy”,  denying  insinuations in some quarters that he was meddling in the affairs of the House.

He appreciated the lawmakers for their civility, saying, “You have justified the confidence your various constituencies reposed in you, by doing the right thing at the appropriate  time.”

Oyebanji also assured the new speaker of his supports, reminding her on the need to accelerate action on the passage of the 2022 budget.

The event held at the Governor’s office was attended by the Deputy Governor, Mrs Monisade Afuye, Secretary to the State Government, Dr Mrs  Abibat Adubiaro and some of the special advisers to the governor, including Chief Jide Awe, among others.

Presenting the new Speaker amidst cheers in the presence of other 17 members,  Deputy Speaker, Hon. Akeem Jamiu, described the crisis that broke out in the house in the last few days as an embarrassment, not only to the members of the APC, but to the people of Ekiti State.

He said the House has corrected what he called the anomaly that dogged leadership change, rendering assurance that the House under the new leadership would continue to maintain peace and as well align with its constitutional duties.

Adelugba, the new speaker, appreciated all the members of the House and other APC executive members over her emergence and described the process that led to her emergence as peaceful, promising to always maintain allegiance to the people of the State.

Also, a new set of principal officers have emerged in the Ekiti Assembly, following change of guards.

The principal officers are Rt.Hon. Hakeem Jamiu, who retained his position as Deputy Speaker, while Hon. Oyekola Bode -Adeoye, is the new Leader of Government Business.

A statement by  Hon Olubunmi Adelugba in Ado Ekiti also listed Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye, as Chief Whip, Deputy Leader, Hon. Abiodun Fawekun, while Hon. Ayodeji Ajayi, is the Deputy Chief Whip.

However, condemning what he tagged the emasculation of the state assembly, Oni described as injurious to democracy and good governance a situation, where “external factors” were now breathing down on the assembly who their leaders should be.

In a statement by the Chairman, Media Advisory Council, Moses Jolayemi, Oni maintained that the lawmakers should be allowed to choose their leaders without any undue influence by “godfathers” who appear determined to run the affairs of the state as their personal fiefdom.

Speaking further on the shenanigans of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government in the state and those remote-controlling it, Oni said, “We are watching the worrying scenario and how it will play out.”

Also, Olanipekun and elders of Ekiti have warned the 25 lawmakers in the Ekiti State House of Assembly to be wary of their actions and refrain from allowing leadership tussle that could desecrate Ekiti’s honour.

They appealed to the lawmakers to learn from history and political upheavals  that consumed the defunct Western region over leadership fiasco between Chiefs Obafemi Awolowo and Samuel Ladoke Akintola over the control of the legislature.

In separate, they warned that the crisis in the assembly shouldn’t be allowed to fester.

Olanipekun, in his statement, said, “The lawmakers should stop treating the state as their fiefdom, property or estate. Now, my proposal to end this self-imposed crisis: Let the speaker, freely elected by the legislators, Hon Olugboyega Aribisogan be, while the Deputy Speaker, who was elected alongside the late Hon Funminiyi Afuye, retain his position.

“To me, this is a win-win approach, and in my private discussions with some principal actors in the unwelcome drama, I have made this proposal, but politicians always, but wrongly believe that they possess the monopoly of  wisdom.”

Ekiti Council of Elders, on their part, called on the assembly members, the ruling party and the party leaders to close ranks and allow peace to reign in the hallowed chamber and the state at large.

In a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr. Niyi Ajibulu on behalf of the Council President, Professor Joseph Oluwasanmi, they decried the unnecessary power wrangling in the legislature.

“It is expedient for the House to elect a new headship but not in a manner that denigrates the Ekiti core values of straight forwardness, selflessness, dedication, dignity and with decorum.

“The Council of Elders is concerned that at this critical period, when the citizens are groaning under high inflation on goods and services, unemployment, insecurity and neat collapse of our med networks, the Honorable members ought to be focused on constructive engagements with the new administration in addressing these challenges.

“The Council, therefore, appeals to all interest parties and power brokers to allow democratic processes in all their activities, that the installation of a new speaker should be done in a sombre manner rather than the needless imbroglio.”

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