There was tension at the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Tuesday, as a candidate declared by Court to be the true representative of Ado Constituency 1, Hon Toyin Obayemi, besieged the House for him to be sworn-in as declared by the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti.
Obayemi, stormed the assembly in company of his supporters at about 10.30am and went straight to the office of the Clerk, Mr Tola Esan, to submit the judgement delivered on July 4, 2016 by Justice Taiwo Taiwo and the subsequent certificate of return issued to him in Abuja by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Meanwhile, contrary to expectations, the Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Kola 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.
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 their party’s flag.
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 , had approached the court and prayed it to declare him 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 order, the security men ordered him to leave the assembly and the two main entrances leading to the palatial assembly complex were closed 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 judgement that validated his victory at the poll.
“I ought to have submitted the certificate of return and the judgement before now, but I learnt the house was in recess. But I thank God that the Clerk had collected my letter and other documents, though he said only the speaker can act on them.
“The judgement delivered by justice Taiwo Taiwo was very clear. He pronounced me the candidate and ordered the speaker to swear me in immediately. What the House is doing is tantamount to abuse of position and the Speaker is committing contempt of court. It seems they don’t know the implications of their actions.
“The FG must caution the policemen. How can they be harassing me despite flaunting the necessary documents, including a court judgement? 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.
Obayemi pleaded with Governor Ayodele Fayose, who he described as an apostle of the Rule of Law, to advise the House to do the needful in this matter.
Meanwhile , a group under the aegis of Ado Ekiti Consultative Forum, has called on the Speaker to swear Obayemi in as a member of the assembly.
Speaking through its Publicity Secretary, Mr Ojo Felix, the group said “failure to do so, we will mobilize Ado Ekiti indigenes to occupy the assembly and enforce the rights of one of their own.
“The lawmakers shouldn’t cause chaos in Ekiti,” it warned.