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Contempt: Court orders Ekiti Speaker to appear November 24

A Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has ordered the House of Assembly Speaker, Kola Oluwawole, to appear before it without fail, on November 24 over his refusal to swear in Toyin Obayemi as a lawmaker in the state.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruled on Thursday that Oluwawole must appear before him to explain why he failed to obey the court’s order to swear in Obayemi as the lawmaker for Ado Ekiti Constituency I.

Justice Taiwo showed his displeasure at the absence of the Speaker on Thursday and insisted that he (Oluwawole) as the head of the institution that makes laws in the state must show example by obeying the law.

The judge’s order was Oluwawole’s last chance to clear himself of the alleged contempt or risks committal to prison.

The drama played out in hearing of the contempt charge filed by Obayemi against the Speaker for his refusal to inaugurate the former as the legislator to represent Ado Constituency 1 in line with the judgment of the court delivered on July 4.

Director of Civil Litigation in the Ministry of Justice, Sunday Bamise, who appeared for the Speaker, hinged his absence on what he called “a pressing state matter,” saying it was not in the character of his client to disregard the court.

Counsel to the applicant (Obayemi), Olayinka Sokoya, said the non-service of form 49 does not preclude Oluwawole from appearing before the court  but Justice Taiwo insisted that the due process must be followed.

Bamise’s explanation that the matter was on appeal did not convince the judge who replied that there was no stay of the judgment which makes it to subsist.

Justice Taiwo said: “All I want is that the order of this court must be obeyed by the Speaker. Tell him that he must appear before me next week and applicant’s counsel must serve everything that must be served today.

“He is the Speaker who should be warned to obey the order of the court and since the first respondent has been served with the Certificate of Return, he must obey the order to swear in the applicant.

“Majority of our lawmakers are not lawyers but the lawyers among them have turned themselves to politicians. The Speaker must appear at the next date of adjournment; people responsible for churning out laws must be above board.”

Justice Taiwo subsequently adjourned the case till November 24 after the two lawyers had agreed on the date for Speaker Oluwawole to appear and offer explanation on why he had refused to obey the order of the court.