Barely six days in office, the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan, was on Monday impeached from office and suspended indefinitely by 17 lawmakers for blocking the passage of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill.
Aribisogan was immediately replaced by the Assembly Chief Whip, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba ( Emure Constituency), who was unanimously elected new Speaker by all the 17 lawmakers present at a plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Hakeem Jamiu.
The oath of office and the oath of allegiance was subsequently administered on Mrs. Adelugba, who became the first female Speaker in the history of the Assembly since return to democracy in 1999.
The new Speaker thanked her colleagues for finding her worthy to be elected as Speaker promising not to take the trust and confidence reposed in her for granted. She later adjourned sittings of House sine die (indefinitely).
Six other lawmakers in the Assembly were also slammed with suspension for compromising the process of the election that produced Aribisogan as Speaker on November 15, among other alleged unpatriotic and unparliamentary conduct capable of threatening the peace of the state.
Aribisogan and the six erring lawmakers were also barred from the vicinity of the House of Assembly Complex within the radius of 145 days for their acts which, according to their colleagues, offend the provisions of the House Standing Rules and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The six lawmakers suspended and barred alongside the impeached Speaker are Hon. Tajudeen Akingbolu (Ekiti West 1), Hon. Tope Ogunleye (Ilejemeje), Hon. Ajibade Adeyemi (Moba 1), Hon. Adekemi Balogun (Ado 1), Hon. Yemisi Ayokunle (Ekiti Southwest 1) and Hon. Adegoke Olajide (Efon).
The legislative penalties meted out to Aribisogan and six others followed the consideration and adoption of the report of a six-member Adhoc Investigative Committee constituted to look into the circumstances surrounding the non-passage of the 2022 Appropriation Bill which they said could cripple governance in the state.
Jamiu who presided over the plenary until the election of Mrs. Adelugba, had earlier dissolved all existing principal positions and appointed Hon. Johnson Oyekola Bode-Adeoye as the new Leader of Government Business while he also resuscitated the already dissolved Committee on Appropriation.
Speaking at the plenary on the terms of the punishment on Aribisogan and six others, Deputy Speaker Jamiu explained that the impeached Speaker Aribisogan and six others were suspended without pay with immediate effect and they are barred from 1.5km radius of the premises of the House.
Jamiu also added that the axed lawmakers are to hand over properties of government in their possession to the Clerk of the House and anyone of them wishing to be reabsorbed must write a letter of apology to the leadership of the House.
Apart from the allegations contained in the report of the adhoc investigative committee, Jamiu also frowned at the impeached Speaker for denigrating the image of the House by taking the internal affairs of the state legislature to the conventional media and social media an act he described as unacceptable.
The Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Hon. Adekola Bode-Adeoye, had earlier laid the report of the findings of the panel before the lawmakers which was unanimously adopted before the impeachment process against Aribisogan and the suspension of six others commenced.
The Committee found Aribisogan and the six other legislators culpable as a result of their unpatriotic acts that stalled the passage of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill recommending the impeachment and indefinite suspension of the ex-Speaker from office with immediate effect.
The Committee also recommended the indefinite suspension of the six legislators for various unparliamentary acts which they allegedly carried out in cahoots with the deposed Speaker.
The alleged offences include causing disaffection, tension and apprehension among Assembly members whose voted were not allowed to count at the November 15 election of new Speaker to replace the late former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye.
The Committee also found them guilty of compromising the security of the House of Assembly members thereby putting the lives of innocent staff members as a whole in danger by importing hoodlums armed with dangerous weapons into the gallery and chambers of the complex.
The former Speaker and his six colleagues were also declared complicit by the Committee for their alleged roles on desecrating the premises and the hallowed chambers when in the wee hours of the morning of Monday, November 14, precisely at 2.00am by bringing people suspected to be juju men for ritual purposes.
The Committee, in the course of its investigation, invited leadership of the House to shed light on their roles for the non-passage of 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill and other unpatriotic activities.
Mrs. Adelugba who was the Chairman of Finance and Appropriation Committee, was summoned before the Committee to explain the role(s) played by her or her Committee on why the Supplementary Appropriation Bill had not been passed.
The new Speaker who appeared before the Investigative Committee to clear herself of any wrongdoing in the stalling of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill.
Other Members that had useful information were allowed to make representation/presentation while.others neither appeared nor forwarded any document to the Committee in the course of investigation.
The new Speaker, Mrs. Adelugba, after adjourning plenary led her colleagues to the State Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to officially informed party leaders of the change of leadership in the Assembly.