Confusion as Obayemi storms Ekiti Assembly, demands to be sworn in

• Why he can’t be sworn in  —House

There was drama at the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Tuesday as Mr Toyin Obayemi, who was declared by the Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti as the rightful candidate for the Ado Constituency I seat in the assembly, stormed the house during a sitting and demanded to be sworn in as a member.

Obayemi had gone to the assembly with his supporters. The heavy presence of security men created tension at the Assembly complex.

He had gone straight to the office of the Clerk of the Assembly, Mr Tola Esan, where he submitted a court judgement of July 4, 2016, delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, and the certificate of return issued to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Assembly Clerk told Obafemi that the members were in a plenary and that it was only the Speaker that could treat the letter.

Some of the lawmakers also emerged and told Obafemi to vacate the premises while the security operatives at the complex took charge of the gates and prevented movement into the premises.

Curiously, security operatives swarmed around the complex in droves, ostensibly as a result of Obayemi’s presence in the complex

In a reaction, the Assembly said that its failure to absorb Mr Toyin Obayemi and get him sworn in as a member was not borne out of politics, but a product of the House’s policy of adhering strictly to the rule of law.

Speaker of the House, Kola Oluwawole, said the House would continue to hold the rule of law sacrosanct, maintaining that “as a House of Assembly, it is not just our vow, but also our duty to ensure that decisions of courts of law are held sacrosanct.

“There is 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 must wait until the law courts exhaust their processes before actions can be taken.”

Addressing journalists shortly after the plenary, Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Honourable Olugboyega Aribisogan, who also condemned the invasion of the Assembly complex by security men, said “the Clerk of the House rightly told Mr Obayemi to wait till after the plenary session when he could have audience with the speaker over his request.”

He explained that after having received a notice of appeal and stay of execution by Mr Musa Arogundade against the judgment favouring Obayemi, the House could not simply act against the judicial process until it is conclusive.

“The House, as a legislative arm of government, will wait until the appeal is disposed off before any further action can be taken.

“Wherever the pendulum swings, after all pending legal matters over the issue, be assured that the House is duty bound to obey the courts,” Aribisogan said.