The Ekiti State House of Assembly has elected its first female speaker, Olubunmi Adelugba, after it impeached and suspended the former speaker, Gboyega Aribisogan, barely six days after his election as successor to the late Funminiyi Afuye.
During the election of the female lawmaker, there was palpable tension within the House, with 17 of the 25 lawmakers voting that the house needed a new leader to pilot its affairs, rejecting Aribisogan as a better speaker for the state.
Subsequently, the APC-dominated assembly elected a lawmaker representing Emure Constituency, Adelugba, who emerged as the first female speaker in Ekiti’s history on Monday.
During the emergency plenary that lasted from 6:30 am to 9:30 am, the lawmakers impeached Aribisogan, while also suspending seven of his allies.
The situation was pulsating around the assembly, as all the roads leading to the legislative complex were cordoned off by anti-riot and anti-bomb squads of the Ekiti State Police Command, as well as hordes of thugs, who were openly abusing hard drugs and brandishing lethal weapons.
Stern-looking policemen prevented journalists and staff of the assembly from entering the assembly complex, with no fewer than 10 Hilux vans and anti-explosive vehicles stationed strategically around the assembly.
After departing from the Assembly, the 17 lawmakers that voted for the new speaker later visited the APC Secretariat in Ado Ekiti, to pay homage to the leadership.
Lawmakers present included Toyin Lucas(Ado 1) Femi Akindele (Irepodun-Ifelodun 1), Teju Okuyiga(Gbonyin), Ayodeji Ajayi(Ise/Orun), Lateef Akanle(Ekiti East 2), Arugbo(Moba 2), Babatunde Fawekun(Ido/Osi 1), Babatunde Joseph(Ekiti Southwest 2), Ademola Ojo(Ijero) and Adeoye Aribasoye(Ikole constituency 2).
Others are Akin Oso(Ido/Osi 1), Hon. Reuben Awoyemi(Oye 2), Hon. Tunde Idowu(Ikere 2), Hon. Bode Oyekola(Ekiti West 2), the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Hakeem Jamiu, and the new Speaker, Hon Adelugba.
Addressing journalists during the visit to the party’s Secretariat to introduce the new leadership, Adelugba appreciated the party for not allowing its name to be dragged in the mud despite the tension elicited by the power tussle in the lawmaking chambers.
Adelugba said what transpired today at the assembly was the indefinite suspension of Aribisogan and six other lawmakers, for allegedly sabotaging the passage of the revised 2022 Supplementary Budget presented by the executive.
The lawmaker disclosed that all the standing committees of the House had been dismantled, while a new Leader of Government Business, Bode Oyekola, was elected to pilot the affairs of the House.
Adelugba said: “We have also appointed a chairman, House Committee on Appropriation as part of what we did today at the plenary.
“Let me say that the Assembly is ready to pardon as many of them that are ready to join us. This is about the party and not the Assembly. The action we took today nullified the first election that produced Aribisogan.
“In the last election, Aribisogan claimed that he had 15, but today, I have 17 lawmakers behind me. Many of the lawmakers said they didn’t vote for him, but he compromised the election”.
Speaking further, she said; “I thank our leaders, Biodun Oyebanji, Kayode Fayemi, and Adeniyi Adebayo for playing strong leadership roles. I want to say that this is the real members of the House of Assembly and we have chosen the real speaker.
“The late speaker was like a father to me, I will continue where he stopped. I want to assure you that you will enjoy the peace you enjoyed under the late Speaker”.
Addressing the lawmakers, the APC State Chairman, Paul Omotoso, denied the accusation that former Governor Fayemi allegedly arm-twisted the lawmakers and imposed Adelugba, adopting a strong-arm tactic.
Omotoso said: “This is the happiest day of the party. We thank you for the way you conducted yourselves. Some believed the end has come to the House, but you were able to manage the crisis effectively. We read many things that people thought would demean our party. But you demonstrated that we can still have a strong House of Assembly after all this.
“Nobody ever imposed anybody on you. You are adults and enlightened people, very robust minds. Today, we are celebrating the return of peace in the House of Assembly. We do not want division. We will continue to play that fatherly role you have placed on our shoulders.
“With understanding, we will continue to resolve whatever crisis that comes to us as a challenge. Please, you have supported the last government and we want you to stretch the same to the present government of Biodun Oyebanji.”
Before his removal, Aribisogan, had accused the immediate past governor of the state, Kayode Fayemi of working with members of the state legislature to impeach him.
“The majority of members of Assembly voted for me but few of them who felt perhaps I did not follow the directive of the former governor, Dr Fayemi, thought that they would make the state ungovernable for even the administration,” Aribisogan said last night.
“I didn’t have any quarrel with him (Fayemi). I sent a message to him even last night asking, ‘What is happening? Am I no longer one of your loyalists? Why did you not congratulate me?’
“Up till now that I’m speaking with you, he has not done anything. Otherwise, he has been going around calling our members to go and impeach me tomorrow. That is the truth.”