By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado Ekiti—There was palpable tension yesterday at the Ekiti State House of Assembly, as the Speaker, Hon Kola Oluwawole refused to swear in a prospective lawmaker declared by a court to be the duly-elected representative of Ado Constituency 1, Hon Toyin Obayemi.
Obayemi, stormed the Assembly in company of his supporters at about 10.30am and made for the office of the Clerk, Mr Tola Esan brandishing a copy of the judgement delivered on July 4, 2016 by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti and the subsequent certificate of return issued to him in Abuja by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Contrary to his expectations, the Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Oluwawole refused to perform the swearing-in ceremony, as security personnel attached to the Assembly prevented him from entering the hallowed chambers where the plenary was being held.
But the Ekiti State House of Assembly, in its reaction to the development stated that its failure to absorb Mr Toyin Obayemi as a member was not political, but a product of the House’s policy of adhering strictly to the rule of law
Speaker of the House, Oluwawole said the House would continue to hold the rule of law sacrosanct, maintaining that “As a House of Assembly, it is not just our vow, but also our duty to ensure that decisions of courts of law are held sacrosanct.
“There is a subsisting stay of execution and notice of appeal against Justice Taiwo Taiwo’s ruling on the said suit No. FHC/AD/CS/17/2015, which Mr Obayemi brought to the House. The House must therefore wait until the law courts exhaust their processes before actions can be taken.”
Obayemi upon reaching the Clerk’s office submitted the certificate of return issued to him and the court’s judgement nullifying the election of the occupant of the seat, Hon. Musa Arogundade, for being improperly nominated to fly the party’s flag.
initially, Mr. Odunayo Arinka was elected during the November 16, 2014 primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but was later disqualified over alleged falsification of results, following which Arogundade was drafted in as the party’s candidate for the April 14, 2015 House of Assembly poll.
Obayemi, who came second in the primaries then approached the court asking to be declared the validly elected candidate, which the court granted.
When it was obvious that Obayemi was at the Assembly to enforce his fundamental rights and that tension was already building, four lawmakers suddenly emerged from the hallowed chambers and told him to leave the premises.
Apparently acting on orders, the security men asked him to leave the assembly while the two main entrances leading to the palatial assembly complex were shut by anti-riot policemen.
Two police vans and over ten anti-riot policemen were stationed at the entrance to conduct serious check on those entering the Assembly.
Commenting on the scenario that played out at the assembly, Obayemi said it was a flagrant abuse of office and contempt of court for the speaker to have denied him access in spite of the court’s judgement that validated his victory at the poll.
Obayemi pleaded with Governor Ayodele Fayose, whom he described as an apostle of the Rule of Law to advise the House to do the needful in the matter.