Ekiti impeachment saga: ‘Fayose still impeachable’ – Lawyers

THE political imbroglio in the stat designated as Fountain of Knowledge, Ekiti is far from being abated.

An indigene of the state who spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly on the condition of anonymity revealed the two warring factions of lawmakers in the state are yet to bury the hatchet on the issue of Hon. Omirin-led lawmakers plot to impeach the governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose.

Since the Tuesday, April 7, 2015 mayhem which led to the death of one Modupe Olaiya in Efon Alaaye, Efon Local Government Area of the state, peace is yet to return to the state.

The incident happened when the anti-Fayose impeachment demonstrators took to the streets following rumours that the Omirin-led 19 lawmakers were on their way to town.

Olaiya was said to have been shot in the commotion when the protesters challenged the lawmakers and asked them to return to Osogbo, the Osun State capital where they’re reportedly coming from.

However, all efforts by the security agents and council of elders in the state to ensure normalcy returned are yet to yield the desired results as pro and anti-Fayose impeachment protests kept resurfacing daily.

However, a couple of days back, Hon. Omirin reportedly withdrew the petition challenging his unlawful removal by seven PDP lawmakers.

This action has since been generating mixed reactions within and outside Ekiti State as some believe the step was in the right direction while others lampooned the deposed Speaker, describing him as a coward.

Reacting to Omirin’s recent step, the state governor, via his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, argued that Omirin’s case is still pending in court.

He, therefore, described the step the lawmaker took as unnecessary unless he has accepted his removal was lawful.

“Omirin went to court to challenge his impeachment of November 20, 2014.  Omirin and his deputy, Adetunji Orisalade had filed the suit number FHC/L/CS/1823/14 before Justice Saliu Saidu following their impeachment.

“But in a letter dated April 7, 2015, and addressed to the court, the plaintiffs said they were no longer interested in pursuing the suit which they filed through their lawyer, Norrison Quakers.

“In this case, however, notice of discontinuance of a case is like a motion.  It must be heard at the next adjourned date of the case.  And the case comes up on April 24, 2015, it’s then that the judge can decide whether or not to grant the application to discontinue the case.  Left to us, the case is still alive until April 25, that the court will sit on it.  Now, by withdrawing the case he filed to challenge his impeachment, that means he has agreed that his impeachment of November 20, 2014, stands.

As at March 9, 2015, and even a couple of days back that Omirin claimed to be the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, he was in court challenging his removal.  If he is still the Speaker, what then is he challenging in court?  And any action taken by Omirin while the case he filed is still pending in court will amount to subjudice.  You can’t be asking the court to restore you as the Speaker and at the same time be carrying out functions of the Speaker when the court is yet to restore you.”

In a press statement sent to ENCOMIUM Weekly by the Speaker, Hon. Dele Olugbemi, he carpeted the purported letter said to have been written by Omirin-led 19 lawmakers, asking the state Chief Judge (CJ) to constitute impeachment panel to probe Governor Fayose.  Olugbemi ascertained that the House of which he is the Speaker never sat on the Governor let alone writing the CJ to constitute impeachment panel.

“We never wrote any letter to the Chief Judge directing him to constitute an investigation panel, neither was the House involved in any impeachment proceedings against the executive governor of our great state.”

He, however, claimed Omirin was duly removed and his removal has paved way for his legitimate emergence as the new Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.”

However, despite the new Speaker’s clarification, Omirin is said to be in touch with all the APC lawmakers and they are said to be working on a fresh letter of impeachment of Fayose, which must be served before May 29, 2105, when the new House will be constituted.  But if that attempt failed, Fayose can’t be impeached again as he has won 25 out of 26 seats in the state House of Assembly.

To seek further clarification on the impeachment tussle, ENCOMIUM Weekly sought the reactions of two human rights lawyers.  They both agreed that Fayose can still be impeached if due process is followed.

Speaking with Barr. John Itodo, he argued that Hon. Omirin has not been removed in the face of the law.  “Omirin has not been removed as stipulated by the constitution.  He was removed by seven members of the House of Assembly which fell short of the constitutional requirement to remove a Speaker.  His removal is invalid.

“The Speaker can commence a fresh impeachment proceeding by serving Governor Fayose a fresh notice of impeachment.  But don’t forget, for any impeachment to be valid, it has to be done in the hallow chamber.

“But the people may protest his removal if they like his government.  They can even protest to recall the lawmakers if they insist on removing him.  For instance, you’re aware of what happened in Nassarawa.”

According to Barrister Muhammed Fawehinmi, “The law is very clear about that.  But the law has been broken irretrievably since the judge was attacked in Ekiti State and nothing was done. That was the act of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led government.  He doesn’t have any regard for the judiciary.  However, it’s highly irresponsible of the 19 lawmakers who fled the state for fear of being killed or molested.  Once you have been chosen to represent the people, the constitution says you must do it without fear or favour or personal interest.  But we have allowed the institution to fade away.

“Now, the seven so-called magicians who put themselves there are jesters.  What they said ab-initio is null and void.  For Omirin, the original Speaker to have withdrawn his petition, it shows complete tracery to the Ekiti people and they should be prosecuted.  The Attorney-General should file charges against them for abandoning their duty post after being elected by the people they represent.

“Since they have withdrawn, Fayose can complete his term because no impeachment notice is in place again.  The Speaker showed he is a coward.  However, the removal of Fayose can still be carried out between now and May 29, if he is served another impeachment notice.”



Related Stories:



About the Author