Court sacks Ekiti Assembly member

The federal high court sitting in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, has annulled the election of the member representing Ado Constituency I in the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Mr Musa Arogundade of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a judgement on Monday, also ordered the Speaker of the Assembly to swear in Mr Toyin Obayemi also of the PDP, as the rightful member representing Ado I Constituency in the assembly.

Obayemi had approached the court to determine whether Arogundade, who was sworn in as a member of the assembly, was a candidate in the election held on April 11, 2014, having not been duly nominated by the PDP (second defendant), as a candidate.

The court held that after the disqualification of the winner of the primaries conducted on November 29, 2014, Mr Talabi Odunayo, over alleged certificate falsification, Obayemi should have been his replacement, having come second in the primaries in compliance with sections 31 and 36 of the electoral act.

He said Arogundade was wrongly used as a substitute and that he lacked the locus standi to obtain an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to swear him in.

He also set aside the court order obtained by Arogundade through which he was nominated as a candidate by INEC.

Justice Taiwo also came down hard on INEC he said was playing the ostrich in what turned out to be a messy nomination process.

He said: “Since INEC, due to inexplicable circumstance, disqualified the Talabi (second respondent), then the plaintiff (Obayemi) became the sole candidate of the PDP. I order the INEC to withdraw the certificate of return from the fourth respondent and issue same to him.

“It is my humble opinion that the PDP wrongly submitted the name of Arogundade (the 4th respondent) as candidate. INEC has no reason to have issued the certificate of return to him. He was a product of illegality.

“The state House of Assembly is directed to swear him in as the lawmaker representing Ado Constituency 1,” he declared.

The Judge ordered the removed lawmaker to return all salaries, allowances and other benefits to the coffers of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.