The Ekiti State House of Assembly says the sacking of Gboyega Aribisogan, who spent only six days as Speaker is irreversible.
This is contained in a counter statement issued on Thursday night by the new Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Adeoye Aribasoye, on behalf of the lawmakers.
Aribasoye said contrary to the impression created by the seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, the removal of Aribisogan had come to stay, and the new Speaker, Bunmi Adelugba, shall remain in office.
The seven eminent Ekiti lawyers, who are of Senior Advocates of Nigeria rank, led by Afe Babalola, had called for the reinstatement of Aribisogan on the ground that his sacking was “ill-conceived, illegal, null and void.”
Others, who included Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN); Dele Adesina (SAN); Olu Daramola (SAN); Femi Falana (SAN); Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) and Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), had on Wednesday night, issued a statement, condemning as unwarranted, Aribisogan’s purported sacking and called for his immediate reinstatement.
The senior lawyers also said Adelugba, who was elected as Speaker after Aribisogan’s sacking should stop parading herself as the new Speaker, saying her purported election was irregular.
However, in a swift reaction, Aribasoye said, “The attention of the Ekiti State House of Assembly has been drawn to a letter circulating on 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 opinions and advice, but that is where it ends.
“We wish to let the reading public know that members of the 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 can be seen to have been done.”
According to him, it is unfortunate that our elder statesmen did not hear from the side of the new Speaker and the remaining 16 members, who sacked Aribisogan and elected Adelugba.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Adelugba remains the validly elected Speaker of the 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 Adelugba, who was duly elected by 17 members should stop parading herself as the Speaker is unwarranted and we believe this is based on wrong information by the sacked Speaker.”
He said the House had neither breached any section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, nor its own Standing Rules concerning the impeachment of Aribisogan, and the election of Adelugba.
Aribasoye further explained that on Monday, Aribisogan was duly served a sacking notice and was thereafter sacked by two-third 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 Peoples Democratic Party administration of Governor Ayodele Fayose where seven members sacked 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 Governor Fayose, but there was no whimper from our legal luminaries.
“We wish to reinstate that peace has returned to the Assembly since the inordinately ambitious Speaker was sacked and suspended alongside his cohorts.
“Adelugba has presided over parliamentaries and plenaries, with majority of members present.
“She has announced the appointment of new principal officers and she has constituted all Committees of the House,” he said.