Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
In a manner similar to what happened in 2014 when Governor Ayodele Fayose took over power , crisis yesterday hit the Ekiti State House of Assembly, as the Speaker, Hon. Kolawole Oluwawole and his deputy, Hon. Sina Animasaun, were removed from offices by their colleagues.
Seven members of the Assembly had impeached then Speaker and member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adewale Omirin and installed Dele Olugbemi, who just defected to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) the new Speaker.
At the plenary, on Thursday, the lawmakers subsequently appointed Hon. Ebenezer Alagbada, representing Ise/Orun constituency as the new Speaker.
The Assembly also reinstated the former deputy Speaker, Hon. Segun Adewumi back to his former position.
Gboyega Aribisogan, a former Minority leader, was elected the new leader of Business.
The lawmakers, made up of three APC and 11 PDP Lawmakers, suspended other 12 lawmakers, including Oluwawole for 125 legislative days.
Those suspended were: Hon Oluwawole, Animasahun, Dr. Omotoso Samuel,
Hon. Wale onigiobi , Hon. Wale Ayeni , Dare Pelemọ, Hon. Jeje Samuel,. Hon Akinleye Dayo , Hon. Fajemilehin Ayodele, Hon. Fasanmi Temitope,Tunji Akinyele and Hon Sanya Aladeyelu.
At the sitting, Hon Sunday Akinniyi of the APC extraction was elected Minority Leader, Fajana Ojo-Ade, Deputy Leader, Hon Cecilia Dada, Chief Whip, and Hon Musa Arogundade, Deputy Chief Whip.
Addressing the newsmen after the plenary, Aribisogan, the new Leader of Business, said Oluwawole and other PDP lawmakers were suspende over alleged complicity in the disappearance of N60 million in the
He also added that they were also slammed with suspension for ineptitude, saying they allegedly allowed the reputation of the Assembly to be destroyed by the governor with their attitudes.
Aribisogan also stated that the assembly under Oluwawole was poorly funded , became practically a subservient of the executive and the speakership position was hijacked by powerful members, owing to their closeness to the governor.
He also accused the former speaker of betraying Ekiti populace by holding a secret plenary last month with other suspended members to approve N10 billion supplementary budget sent by Fayose.
“Today, we held a plenary session which was a follow up to the parliamentary we held yesterday and we carried out changes in the leadership of the House.
“When the PDP members were busy doing the presidential primary in Port Harcourt, we were busy here strategizing on how best to make Ekiti governance for the incoming government, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
“14 members sat to carry out these changes out of which 11 are addressing this press conference. We have 26 members in this Assembly, and we needed just nine to form quorum.
“Our actions were guided by the standing orders of this Assembly and we didn’t deviate from it, so the quorum was formed and our actions were legal and constitutional”, he added.
He added that the PDP still remains the majority party in the Assembly and that those who carried out the removal did so in the overriding interest of Ekiti people.
The new Speaker, Hon Alagbada , in his acceptance speech, appreciated the members for reposing confidence in him, saying he won’t betray the confidence the trust.
“You are aware that the House has since inception of the present administration becomes the property of the governor rather than an arm of government. Ekiti State is yearning for a purposeful legislature that would be truly committed and independent to discharge its constitutional duties.
“We will no longer allow a situation whereby legislature will be pocketed or caged by the executive. Let me assure all and sundry that that we will cooperate with the governor-elect, Dr Kayode Fayemi to move Ekiti forward.
“You will recall that the fourth assembly changed its leadership in 2014 when sme members of APC defected to PDP to facilitate the smooth take off of Mr. Fayose. So, history is only repeating itself and there is nothing extra ordinary in what we have done.”
The Speaker announced the dissolution of all statutory and standing committees of the House, urging the chairmen to hand over to their respective secretaries.
But the suspended speaker, Oluwawole, has described his purported impeachment today as a rape on democracy and an a descent to lowest level of lawlessness and illegality.
According to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Stephen Gbadamosi, Oluwawole said those who carried out the illegality were provided police cover and they prevented other members and even staff of the House from gaining entrance into the complex.
“This is bizarre! In a democracy? This is the height of illegality and it can never stand. As the Speaker of the House, I supervised over the last adjournment of the House, which was carried out according to laws and laid down rules.
“I retain the power to reconvene the House and i have not done that yet. How then can some people say the House sat? This is totally illegal. The role of the police in this siege is clear. It was enemies of democracy that purported the House sat. Ekiti State House of Assembly has not been reconvened by its speaker, ” he said.