By Chimezie Godfrey
A coalition of civil society organizations has called for the immediate resignation of the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege for concealing his conviction by the State Bar Court of California, from INEC and the Nigerian Senate.
The call was made on Monday in Abuja during a press conference, by a group of CSOs which includes Guardians of Democracy, Partners for Legislative Agenda for Nigeria (PLAN), Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative, and six other groups under the coalition of Civil Society and Youth groups.
According to the Convener, Coalition of Civil Society and Youths Groups in Nigeria, and National Coordinator, Employment for Unemployed Youths Initiative, Solomon Adodo, the call was necessitated by available evidence that Senator Omo-Agege concealed his conviction from the INEC and the Nigerian Senate.
He said,”The Guardians of Democracy and Development, Partners for Legislative Agenda for Nigeria (PLAN), Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative and our partners under the Coalition of Civil Society and Youth Groups in Nigeria herein call for the immediate resignation of the Deputy President of the Senate – Senator Ovie Omo-Agege – owing to available evidence that he was convicted by the State Bar Court of the State of California, Los Angeles, USA in case No. 94-C-14401.
“Furthermore, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege willfully concealed the fact of the said conviction from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian Senate thereby contravening the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the Rules of the Senate.
“Incontrovertible documentary evidences available to us reveal that sometime in April 22, 1996, Augustine O. Omo-Agege believed to be one and the same Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was ordered to be suspended from the practice of Law following his conviction for violating California Penal Code section 470, a felony criminal offense involving moral turpitude, under the authority of subdivision (a) of rule 951, California Rules of Court.
“Our scrupulous findings reveal that the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was admitted into the State Bar of California on December 14, 1992.
“The records reveal that on or about March 7, 1992, the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was alleged to have committed the crime of forgery of Check in violation of Penal code section 470, a felony.
“Furthermore, on or about March 7, 1993 the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was alleged to have committed the crime of perjury-application for Driver’s license in the County of Los Angeles in violation of Penal code section 118, a felony.
“Following a lengthy prosecution of the said allegations levelled against Augustine O. Omo-Agege, he was convicted of violating California Penal code section 470 and was also subsequently suspended from the practice of law pending final disposition of the proceeding.
“As true Guardians of Democracy and firm advocates of transparency in governance, we are deeply perturbed at the fact that Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege concealed all these information from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) thus he was allowed to participate in the general elections (contrary to Constitutional provisions) that produced him as Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District.
“In violation of the Senate Rules he also concealed the said information from the Nigerian Senate thereby paving the way for his emergence as Deputy President of the Senate.”
Adodo pointed out that all these have resulted in the denigration of the image and esteem of the Nigerian Senate before the international body of legislators.
“We can confidently state howbeit with patriotic pains and disenchantment that Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege can not confidently and freely lead a Team of legislators to Capitol Hill for any meeting with the US Senate owing to the weight of conviction against him in the United States of America.
“It should further be brought to our memories that sometime around April 18, 2018, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege who was on suspension at the time, sneaked in through one of the glass barricades within the National Assembly complex and had the legislative mace seized by thugs allegedly under his instruction.
“This act in itself cast odium and deep negative aspersions on the image and integrity of the 8th Assembly.
“His subsequent emergence as Deputy President of the Senate in the 9th Assembly only went a great length in making a mockery of the 9th Assembly and the Nigerian Democratic System as a whole.
“Let it be noted that all of these crimes alleged to have been committed by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege cannot be wished away and the Senate will only be playing the Ostrich by not taking the necessary actions against the ethical misconduct of this prominent legislator,” he stressed.
He disclosed that in consideration of these unimpeachable facts as stated, the coalition has made urgent demands that the said Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege should be prevailed upon by the Nigerian Senate to resign from Office and his Senatorial Seat declared vacant.
“In the event that Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege hesitates in resigning from Office, impeachment proceedings should be immediately initiated against him in order to redeem the battered image of the Nigerian Senate.
“The law enforcement Agency should immediately initiate fresh prosecution against Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege for the grievous offence of perjury and denigration of the Nigerian Constitution,” he said.
The group also threatened that in the event that immediate actions are not taken within 72 hours of this notice, that they shall be left with no other option than to mobilize thousands of Civil Society and Youth Groups to occupy the National Assembly until she is purged of corrupt elements.
The statement was signed by Comr. Solomon Adodo Convener, Coalition of Civil Society and Youth Groups in Nigeria and National Coordinator, Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative, and Comr. Danesi Momoh Guardians of Democracy and Development.
Others are Comr. Khalifa Bello Adamu for Partners for Legislative Agenda for Nigeria, Amb. Edwin Olorunfemi, Center for Policy Advocacy and Leadership Development, and Mallam Balarabe Musa for Arewa Youth for Peace and Security.