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Ekiti assembly replies Afe Babalola, Falana, says Aribisogan’s impeachment irreversible

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The Ekiti State House of Assembly has insisted that the impeachment of Gboyega Aribisogan, the former speaker, is final.

The assembly said this in reaction to a statement from seven senior advocates of Nigeria (SAN) condemning the impeachment of the former speaker.

Arigbosan spent six days in office before he was replaced by Olubunmi Adelugba, lawmaker representing Emure constituency, who had lost to Aribisogan during the previous contest for speaker of the house.

In the days leading to his impeachment, the former speaker had alleged that there was a plot by Kayode Fayemi, the immediate past governor of the state, to remove him.

But Ahmad Sajoh, aide to Fayemi, had said his principal had no hand in the crisis at the Ekiti assembly.

In a statement signed by Afe Babalola, Wole Olanipekun, Dele Adesina, Olu Daramola, Femi Falana, Dayo Akinlaja, and Gboyega Oyewole, the SANs said the former speaker’s impeachment was unconstitutional, and described it as unfair and insensitive.

The group said Arigbosan’s “illegal” removal has laid the foundation for the possible removal of the governor if the matter is left unaddressed.

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“By their actions, they have demonstrated a penchant for political rascality, impunity, brazenness and recklessness of no mean measure,” the statement reads.

“Let it be mentioned and registered, posthaste, without any modicum of equivocation, that the purported impeachment of Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan as well as the announced suspension of seven members of the house is an exercise in utmost futility and, unquestionably, null and void.

The SANs also asked the new speaker to resign from her position and quit partaking in an “unlawful enterprise” and urged the state governor to exercise his power and remedy the situation to avoid a similar circumstance in the future.

Responding to the SANs’ request on Thursday, the Ekiti house of assembly said there was no breach in the constitution concerning Aribisogan’s impeachment.

Adeoye Aribasoye, the assembly’s new spokesman, said the SANs were taking a biased decision without hearing both sides, adding that Adelugba would retain her position as the new speaker.

“The attention of the Ekiti state house of assembly has been drawn to a letter circulating on the social media written by a combination of Senior Advocates of Nigeria,” the statement reads.

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“The letter is about the concern of the legal luminaries led by Aare Afe Babalola about the recent change of leadership in the Ekiti state house of assembly, leading to the impeachment of Rt. Hon Gboyega Aribisogan, who was replaced with Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba.

“We recognise the right of the legal luminaries, as stakeholders in Ekiti state and we respect their opinions and advice, but that is where it ends.

“We wish to let the reading public know that members of Ekiti state house of assembly feel a sense of injustice by the one-sided opinion and biased intervention of the legal luminaries, who are also elderstatemen.

“The principle of justice all over the world is that all sides to a conflict must be heard and it is only then that justice can be seen to have been done.

“We, however, wish to remind our legal luminaries that when a serious infraction of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was committed during the PDP administration of Gov. Ayodele Fayose where seven members, impeached the then speaker, Adewale Omirin, we didn’t see a convergence of legal luminaries condemning the action.

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“This same Aribisogan was equally suspended by the fifth assembly during the tenure of Gov. Fayose, but there was no whimper from our legal luminaries.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba remains the validly elected speaker of the Ekiti state house of assembly and she enjoys the support of overwhelming majority of the honourable members, party leadership and the government of Ekiti state.

“Therefore, the advice of the legal luminaries that Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, who was duly elected by 17 members should stop parading herself as the speaker of the Ekiti state house of assembly, is unwarranted and we believe this is based on wrong information by the impeached speaker.

“Mrs Adelugba has presided over parliamentaries and plenaries, with majority of members present. She has announced appointment of new principal officers and she has constituted all committees of the house.”

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Former President Jonathan accepts ambassadorial role

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been accepted as Africa’s Agricultural Technology Ambassador by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

Making the announcement after meeting with the former President in Yenagoa, Bayelsa South-south during the week, the AATF Executive Director, Dr Canisius Kanangire, said the appointment was informed by the former President’s track record of championing agricultural transformation on the continent.

AATF, in a statement by its Communications Officer, Alex Abutu, described Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and had since been at the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.

In his acceptance speech, Dr Jonathan said that as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent is driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.

Kanangire said: “Dr Jonathan’s commitment to uplift agriculture on the continent was exemplified by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda he pursued and diligently implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as President.

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“The agenda targeted increasing efficiency and profitability in about 12 selected key agricultural commodities, which include: cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum.

“Under the agenda, about 3.5 million new jobs were created based on the selected key products, while many more jobs were created from other value chain activities, with over N300 billion of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs. In addition, over N60 billion (US$380 million) was injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.

“Another critical element of Dr Goodluck’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to cut down on the importation of food that can be produced locally, thereby, saving the nation well over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff.

“Dr Jonathan was able to demonstrate in Nigeria that agriculture should be treated as a business and supported by relevant policies for the improvement of the livelihoods of our growing farming population.”

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AATF’s boss further said that Dr Jonathan is a Pan-Africanist who had stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.

“As AATF’s Ambassador, Dr Jonathan will advocate for the advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through the application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture. AATF is honoured to have the former president as our Ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural terrain.”

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Wike, Ortom challenge Buhari to expose governors stealing LG funds

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Nyesom Wike and Samuel Ortom, governors of Rivers and Benue states, have challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to expose Nigerian governors responsible for stealing local government funds.

The governors, who are part of the five Integrity Governors among the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, threw the challenge to the President on Friday during the inauguration of the Mgbuosimini Internal Roads in Rivers State.

President Buhari had earlier in a speech at the presidential parley for members of the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the State House, said that state governors steal allocations meant for local governments.

But reacting to the allegation, Governor Wike denied ever taking funds meant for the local government since he assumed office as governor in 2015. He challenged the president to name governors that are doing that as his statement could be termed class defamation.

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“I want to challenge Mr. President, Mr. President you are a leader and we believe as leaders you must come out and tell Nigerians, who are those committing this offence? You said the governors are taking local government funds, I want to say in the name of Almighty God I have never touched local government funds one day, I have never and I have no reason to do that.

“So Mr. President who are those people? You know them, tell us. It is not good to say what you call class defamation, you say, governors, please I am not one of those governors, so Mr. President please spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity governors are not part of them, we have integrity, we are not part of them,” Wike said.

He added that as local government Chairman under Governor Peter Odili, his funds were never touched by the governor and therefore he has no reason to tamper with any money meant for local governments as governor.

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Corroborating his colleague’s remark, Governor Ortom also denied touching funds meant for local government, saying that their funds go to them directly from the federation account.

Ortom said, “It is a logical fallacy to say that all governors are criminals; all governors are stealing from local government. I join governor Wike to say from 2015, let EFCC come, let ICPC come, let every other agency that can unearth this, as far as Benue State is concerned let them bring it out so that we know the people, there is no point generalising that all of us are evil people.

“I don’t do it, I didn’t like it when the Federal Government enacted something and said local government should have financial autonomy, but from that day all monies are paid to the local government, and no single naira has been paid through anyone, all monies that come from the federation account go straight to the individual councils.”

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Despite allure of office, I won’t take over from my father – Akeredolu’s son

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Babajide Akeredolu, son of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Friday, dispelled rumours that he plans to take over from his father, Rotimi Akeredolu, after the expiration of the latter’s tenure.

He said despite the allure of office, he had several sectors where he could venture into and become extremely successful than being in government.

Babajide, who is currently a Special Adviser and Director-General, Performance and Project Implementation Unit, Office of the Governor of Ondo State, revealed this at a press conference in Lagos State.

He said, “I don’t have any plan to run for office. It is interesting people speculate this, but I have multiple pathways to success. I don’t need to stay in government to be successful.

“Power is never something that gingers the Akeredolu family. I’m not looking for that (governor’s seat), but I’m just looking for opportunities to make young people thrive.

“I have never thought of being a governor. That thing is stressful and I don’t want to go through it. People that are build for that, I wish them well.”

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He added, “There are multiple cards to success for me. I am lucky I have a strong surname with a lot of options before me. So, I really don’t bother about what’s coming next, but I just focus on the present and how I can help the younger generations.”

 

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