By Idowu Ariwodola
The Ekiti Council of Elders has described as regrettable the crisis in the State House of Assembly and appealed to the legislators to close ranks and allow peace to reign.
In a statement issued on Tuesday in Ado-Ekiti, the council decried the ongoing power tussle in the legislative arm that has led to the emergence of two Speakers following the death of the former, Mr Funminiyi Afuye.
The statement signed by the council’s Secretary General, Mr Niyi Ajibulu, on behalf of the President, Prof. Joseph Oluwasanmi, called on stakeholders in the state to intervene in the crisis.
It said that it was expedient for the House to elect a new leadership after the death of the former occupant, late Funminiyi Afuye,“ but not in a manner that denigrates the Ekiti core values of integrity, selflessness, dignity and decorum.
” The Council of Elders is concerned that at this critical period, when the citizens are groaning under high inflation on goods and services, unemployment, insecurity and near collapse of our road networks, the legislators ought to be sombre, focused on constructive engagements with the new administration in addressing these challenges.’’
Also, a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and prominent indigene of the state, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has advised the warring legislators to give peace a chance.
In a statement made available to journalists in Ekiti, Olanipekun urged the legislators to allow the “impeached’’ Speaker, Gboyega Aribisogan, to return to his office’’.
He said “It is rather unfortunate that the Assembly and ruling party in the state has chosen this bizarre manner and route, to welcome to office, the new governor, produced on its own ticket.
“In the past few days, our dear state, the state of Ekiti has been in the news, but not particularly for positive and exciting news.
“Within a space of two days, and less than two weeks after the late Speaker, Funminiyi Afuye, was laid to rest , the House of Assembly convened to elect a new Speaker.
“And at the end of the exercise, Olugboyega Aribisogan was elected Speaker , having polled 15 votes to defeat his opponent or co- contestant , Mrs Olubunmi Adelugba , who polled 10 votes.
“Again, less than 24 hours thereafter, news filtering out from the state was to the effect that the Police had sealed off the House of Assembly and prevented the legislators from gaining entrance thereto.
“It was alleged that the newly elected Speaker, Aribisogan had been impeached and in his stead, Mrs Olubunmi Adelugba, who had earlier lost out to him in a keenly contested election, four days earlier, was elected Speaker.
“The Aribisogan faction contends that this is a farce and that Aribisogan remains the Speaker.
“Meaning that for now Ekiti State parades two contending Speakers of a 26 member House of Assembly, and two factions of the same House, each claiming to be authentic, legitimate and constitutional”, he said.
The legal icon proffered solution to the crisis by proposing that the Speaker, freely elected by the legislators, Aribisogan be allowed to continue, while the Deputy Speaker, who was elected alongside the late Funminiyi Afuye retain his position
“To me , this is a win – win approach. And in my private discussions with some principal actors in the unwelcome drama, I have made this proposal, but politicians always, but wrongly, believe that they possess the monopoly of wisdom,” he said. (NAN)