There was tension in the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Tuesday as the lawmaker declared as the rightful occupant of the Ado Constituency 1 seat by the Federal High Court, Mr. Toyin Obayemi, appeared for swearing in.
Obayemi arrived the Assembly in company with his supporters around 10.30am and went straight to the office of the Clerk, Mr. Tola Esan, to submit the judgment and the certificate of return issued to him in Abuja by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo had on July 4 nullified the election of a member of the Assembly, Mr. Musa Arogundade, for not being validly nominated by the Peoples Democratic Party.
Citing Sections 31 and 36 of the Electoral Act, the judge held that Obayemi, having come second in the November 29, 2014 primary, should have been presented as the candidate of the party after the disqualification of the winner, Mr. Talabi Odunayo.
The judge lambasted the PDP for fraudulently acquiring a judgment before Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja through which Arogundade was fielded as Talabi’s replacement in Ado constituency 1.
But the Ekiti Speaker, Kola Oluwawole, refused to perform the swearing-in ceremony as security personnel attached to the Assembly prevented Obayemi from entering the hallowed chambers where the plenary was taking place.
As the argument ensued, four lawmakers suddenly emerged from the hallowed chambers and asked Obayemi to leave the premises.
To avoid breakdown of law and order, the management of the Assembly quickly mobilised policemen to conduct checks on those entering the Assembly.
Commenting on the development, 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 judgment that validated his victory at the poll.
“The Federal Government must caution the policemen. How can they be harassing me despite flaunting the necessary documents, including a court judgment? Let me put it on record that Musa Arogundade may be preparing himself for jail if he is still parading himself as the occupant of that seat.
“If a member of the same political party that is desperately looking for reconciliation could be treated this way, I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if I am a member of the APC,” he said.
But explaining the refusal to swear in Obayemi, the Speaker maintained that there was 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 just must wait until the law courts exhaust their processes before actions can be taken.”
The Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Olugboyega Aribisogan, condemned the invasion of the Assembly complex by security men.