The Ekiti state house of assembly has said the impeachment of Gboyega Aribisogan, the former speaker, is final.
The assembly said this in reaction to a statement from seven senior advocates of Nigeria (SAN) condemning the impeachment of the former speaker.
Arigbosan spent six days in office before he was replaced by Olubunmi Adelugba, lawmaker representing Emure constituency, who had lost to Aribisogan during the previous contest for speaker of the house.
In the days leading to his impeachment, the former speaker had alleged that there was a plot by Kayode Fayemi, the immediate past governor of the state, to remove him.
But Ahmad Sajoh, aide to Fayemi, had said his principal had no hand in the crisis at the Ekiti assembly.
In a statement signed by Afe Babalola, Wole Olanipekun, Dele Adesina, Olu Daramola, Femi Falana, Dayo Akinlaja, and Gboyega Oyewole, the SANs said the former speaker’s impeachment was unconstitutional, and described it as unfair and insensitive.
The group said Arigbosan’s “illegal” removal has laid the foundation for the possible removal of the governor if the matter is left unaddressed.
“By their actions, they have demonstrated a penchant for political rascality, impunity, brazenness and recklessness of no mean measure,” the statement reads.
“Let it be mentioned and registered, posthaste, without any modicum of equivocation, that the purported impeachment of Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan as well as the announced suspension of seven members of the house is an exercise in utmost futility and, unquestionably, null and void.
The SANs also asked the new speaker to resign from her position and quit partaking in an “unlawful enterprise” and urged the state governor to exercise his power and remedy the situation to avoid a similar circumstance in the future.
Responding to the SANs’ request on Thursday, the Ekiti house of assembly said there was no breach in the constitution concerning Aribisogan’s impeachment.
Adeoye Aribasoye, the assembly’s new spokesman, said the SANs were taking a biased decision without hearing both sides, adding that Adelugba would retain her position as the new speaker.
“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 statement reads.
“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 opinions 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 elderstatemen.
“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 can be seen to have been done.
“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 Gov. Ayodele Fayose where seven members, impeached the then speaker, Adewale Omirin, we didn’t see a convergence of legal luminaries condemning the action.
“This same Aribisogan was equally suspended by the fifth assembly during the tenure of Gov. Fayose, but there was no whimper from our legal luminaries.
“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.
“Therefore, the advice of the legal luminaries that Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, who was duly elected by 17 members should stop parading herself as the speaker of the Ekiti state house of assembly, is unwarranted and we believe this is based on wrong information by the impeached speaker.
“Mrs Adelugba has presided over parliamentaries and plenaries, with majority of members present. She has announced appointment of new principal officers and she has constituted all committees of the house.”