Seven legal luminaries have faulted the removal of Gboyega Aribisogan as the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly and his replacement by Olubunmi Adelugba.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) said Aribisogan was unlawfully removed, adding that the “democratic rascality” must stop at the Assembly.
The statement was signed by Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, and five other SANs – Dele Adesina, Olu Daramola, Femi Falana, Dayo Akinlaja, and Gboyega Oyewole.
Aribisogan, who was Leader of Government Business, on November 15 got 15 votes to emerge speaker to replace the late Funminiyi Afuye having defeated the former Chief Whip, Adelugba, who scored 10 votes.
But some lawmakers regrouped on November 21 at the plenary and elected Adelugba as the new speaker following the reported impeachment of Aribisogan for allegedly sabotaging the passage of the 2022 appropriation bill among other allegations.
But the senior advocates stated, “Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba cannot continue in office as speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, and we plead with her to honourably stop parading, presenting or holding herself out as the speaker of the state, as her so-doing constitutes not just an illegality and unconstitutionality, but also a perseverance in such an unlawful enterprise.
“In like manner, we plead with the members of the House of Assembly to allow all principal officers of the House, including the Deputy Speaker, the Chief Whip, the Majority Leader etc., continue in office, without making any attempt to impeach or replace any of them.”
They queried how Aribisogan could have committed an infraction since the Assembly was sealed by the police the morning after his inauguration.
The senior lawyers also asked if he was confronted with the allegations against him to warrant his suspension.
They stated, “The alleged suspension and stoppage of the salaries of the speaker and six other members of the House are no less misplaced, illegal, illegitimate, null and void.