Court Restrains Ekiti Speaker From Swearing-in Obayemi

Court Restrains Ekiti Speaker From Swearing-in ObayemiThe Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti, has restrained the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon Kola Oluwawole from swearing–in  Mr Toyin Obayemi in place of the occupant of Ado Constituency 1 seat, Hon Musa Arogundade.

The Speaker is to stay action on the matter pending the determination of the appeal filed by the sacked legislator.

According to the ruling prepared by Justice Olanrewaju Belgore, which was delivered by Justice P.O. Elechi, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was also restrained from recognizing Obayemi as its candidate for the 2015 House of Assembly poll.

Arogundade had filed a motion for an order staying the execution of the judgment in a case filed by Obayemi which was delivered on July 4, 2016 judgment delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of an Ado Ekiti Federal High Court.

He also filed an injunction restraining the Assembly Speaker from inaugurating Obayemi as the lawmaker representing Ado Constituency 1 pending the determination of the main appeal before the court.

Respondents in the motion at the Appeal Court are Obayemi (1st), Independent National Electoral Commission (2nd), Odunayo Talabi (3rd) and PDP (4th).

He further urged parties in the suit to maintain status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the main appeal filed by Arogundade to keep his seat in the Assembly.

Addressing the court after the ruling was delivered, counsel to the applicant, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said: “The hierarchical structure of our legal system must be preserved; once a higher court has spoken, the lower court should blow the muted trumpet.

“The lynchpin of the ruling is that Rt. Hon. Kola Oluwawole, who was to be committed to prison for not swearing in Obayemi in place of Arogundade has been ordered not to swear in Obayemi until the main appeal has been duly heard.

“In other words, Arogundade remains a lawmaker and Obayemi must wait for his day in court which has ordered the Speaker not to swear in the first respondent (Obayemi).”

Counsel to Obayemi, Mr. Olayinka Sokoya, urged the court to grant an expeditious hearing of the substantive appeal saying a speedy trial is expedient to dispose of the matter as soon as possible.

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose’s Accounts

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose's AccountsA Federal High court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to lift the restriction placed on some accounts belonging to Governor Ayodele Fayose in Zenith Bank.

The court also set aside an earlier order of a Federal High court, Lagos empowering the EFCC to freeze two accounts domiciled in the new generation bank.

The court has consequently ordered the EFCC to immediately defreeze the two accounts belonging to the governor without further delay, on the account that the anti-graft agency did not follow due process in confiscating them.

Delivering his judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, said the rights of the governor had been unconstitutionally infringed upon, considering the circumstance of his office.

Justice Taiwo declared that apart from the immunity which Mr Fayose currently enjoyed as a sitting governor under section 308 of the constitution, it was wrong for the EFCC to have gone ahead to seize his two accounts in apparent perpetuity without first investigating him or making him a party.

He averred that rather than the EFCC freezing the governor’s accounts directly through the third party who did not enjoy any mandate from him, the governor himself ought to have been first investigated and brought into the picture.

The judge described Fayose as “a genuinely deprived person who rushed to the court to seek constitutional protection”.

The judge thereby gave a mandatory order the de-freezing, unblocking and making operational the two accounts by the respondents.

He said it was also the duty of any presiding judge to protect the said constitution and its interpretations whenever the need arises.

“The Plaintiff is entitled to be heard before his property or money can be seized, doing otherwise will amount to denying him fair hearing and constitutional rights”, he said.

The judge however refused to grant other relief sought by the governor, including a perpetual injunction restraining EFCC or its agents from further tampering with his property, and another one asking for payment of N5billion as exemplary damages.

“This court will not shield any person from due investigation and since Police cannot be stopped from investigating a crime, same goes for the First Respondent so as not to whittle down its functions”, the judge said.

EFCC lead counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo was absent at the court but Fayose’s lead counsel, Ozekhome, in his reaction described the judgment as the best to be so made the EFCC in history, saying it would checkmate the agency against years of brazen arbitrariness and excesses.

The EFCC had on June 21, 2016 confiscated the two accounts having allegedly contained a sum of N2.99billion out of the N2.3 billion arms money allegedly drawn by the governor from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki to prosecute his governorship election in 2014.

Fayose through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome approached the court and sought for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, which involved the de-freezing of the two accounts.

Appear Before Me Or Face Dire Consequences, Judge Tells Ekiti Speaker

Appear Before Me Or Face Dire Consequences, Judge Tells Ekiti SpeakerA Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday ordered the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Kola Oluwawole to appear before it on Wednesday, December 7 and explain why he refused to obey the order to swear in legislator-elect, Mr Toyin Obayemi or face a contempt charge.

At Monday’s proceeding, Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruled that the Speaker must comply with his order to inaugurate Obayemi as member representing Ado Ekiti Constituency 1, which was delivered on July 4, failing which appropriate steps will be taken to protect the integrity and powers of the court.

Obayemi is preferring a contempt charge against Oluwawole for disobeying the court order that he (Obayemi) be sworn in immediately as the legislator to replace Musa Arogundade who was removed by the Court and ordered to refund all salaries and allowances collected since June 5 when the Fifth Assembly was inaugurated.

The Court had annulled  Arogundade’s election and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Obayemi a Certificate of Return holding that the latter was not validly nominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the April 11, 2015 House of Assembly election.

The Jurist maintained that the proper thing must be done and the court order complied with by the Speaker who he said must consult with his lawyer on the implication of disobeying court order.

“The Speaker must obey the order of this court, the proper things should be done. For the avoidance of doubt, the Speaker should consult with his counsel against the next adjourned date most especially as court record shows that he has been served.

“I will never be intimidated by anybody, somebody was here before. Even if I die the Bench lives on,” he said.

He subsequently adjourned the case till December 7 for further hearing.

Earlier, the counsel to the Plaintiff, Mr Olayinka Sokoya, had told the court that he received a letter from the law chambers of a Senior Advocate, Mike Ozekhome, dated November 18, a day after the last day of sitting.

Sokoya explained that Ozekhome who is seeking to take over the defence of Oluwawole is praying the court for an adjournment of the case.

Court Summons Ekiti House Speaker Over Refusal To Obey Order

Judges, Court, Ekiti State Speaker, Kola Oluwawole,The Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Honourable Kola Oluwawole, may be in for trouble, as the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti has ordered him to appear before it unfailingly on November 24.

The court wants him to explain to it why he refused to obey its order to swear in Mr Toyin Obayemi as the lawmaker for Ado Constituency 1.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who gave the order on Thursday, expressed his displeasure at the absence of the Speaker insisting that he (Oluwawole), as the head of the institution that makes laws in the state, must show example by obeying the law.

The jurist added that the new order was Oluwawole’s last chance to clear himself of the alleged contempt or risks being jailed for contempt.

The courtroom turned into a dramatic arena when the hearing of the contempt charge filed by Obayemi against the Speaker for his refusal to inaugurate the latter as a legislator, in line with the judgment of the court delivered on July 4.

The Director of Civil Litigation in the Ministry of Justice, Mr 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 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 judgment filed. He said that the situation made the judgment of the court subsist.

The Judge 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 1st 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 to 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.