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We Didn’t Breach Any Law in Aribisogan’s Removal, Ekiti Assembly Replies Babalola, Olanipekun, Others
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State House of Assembly has declared that the impeachment of its former Speaker, Gboyega Aribisogan was legal and constitutional, contrary to the position canvassed by some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN).
Some senior lawyers including Chief Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana and four others, had on Wednesday, in a joint statement, described action leading to Aribisogan’s removal from office as illegal and unconstitutional.
The assembly, in a statement by its Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye, stated that the action taken by the senior lawyers was one-sided and biased.
He said: “The attention of the Ekiti State House of Assembly has been drawn to a letter circulating on the social media 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 opinion and advice but that is where it ends.
“We wish to let the reading public know that members of Ekiti State House of Assembly 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 all over the world is that all sides to a conflict must be heard and it is only then that justice could be seen to have been done.
“It is unfortunate that our elder statesmen did not hear from the side of the new Speaker and the remaining 16 members who impeached the former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan and elected Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba.”
The statement added: “For the avoidance of doubt, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba remains the validly elected Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and she enjoys the support of overwhelming majority of the Honourable members, party leadership and the government of Ekiti State.”
Aribasoye added that the advice of the legal luminaries that Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, who was duly elected by 17 members should stop parading herself as the Speaker of the Ekiti state House of Assembly, was unwarranted.
“The House has neither breached any section of the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria nor its own Standing Rules concerning the impeachment of Rt. Hon. Aribisogan and the election of Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba on Monday, November 21 2022. Rt. Hon. Aribisogan was duly served an impeachment notice and was thereafter impeached by 2/3rd of members of the whole house.
“We however wish to remind our legal luminaries that when a serious infraction of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria was committed during the PDP administration of Governor Ayodele Fayose where seven members impeached the then Speaker, Rt. Hon. Adewale Omirin, we didn’t see a convergence of legal luminaries condemning the action.
“This same Rt. Hon. Aribisogan was equally suspended by the fifth Assembly during the tenure of Governor Fayose but there was no whimper from our legal luminaries.
“We wish to restate that peace has returned to the Ekiti State House of Assembly since the pathologically rebellious and inordinately ambitious Speaker was impeached and suspended alongside his cohorts.”