Politics

Court Judgment: KWHA accused of attempt to stop swearing-in of PDP lawmaker

 

By Mumini AbdulKareem

The Kwara State House of Assembly has been accused of deliberate
attempt to stop the swearing-in of Hon Abdulraheem Agboola despite
court pronouncement.
Agboola, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Ilorin South
constituency during the 2019 state House of Assembly election in March
was last month declared winner of the poll by the Court of Appeal
sitting in Ilorin.
The court, in its judgement nullified the election of Hon Hassan Azeez
Elewu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and subsequently ordered
the swearing-in of Hon Agboola adding that the election that birthed
the embattled APC lawmaker was floored ab initio.
But after the court pronouncement, Hon Elewu has continued to attend
plenary, a move that was defended by the Speaker, Hon Danladi
Yakubu-Salihu, but condemned in very strong terms by top legal
luminaries in the state including Senior Advocates of Nigeria
(SANs)and top members of the Ilorin bar.
According to the Speaker who spoke through his media aide, Ibrahim
Sherif,  Elewu as the sacked APC lawmaker is popularly called remains
a member of the 9th Kwara Assembly pending the swearing-in of the PDP
lawmaker after the presentation of Certificate of Return (CoR) by the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He added that Hon Elewu remains the recognised member, representing
Ilorin South constituency, as no other person, except him, has a CoR
from INEC before the Kwara State House of Assembly.
Agboola was last week issued his Certificate of Return by the national
headquarters of INEC in Abuja which was presented to him in a follow
up ceremony by the Commission’s officials in Ilorin.
However, a group, Agboola Vanguard at the weekend accused the
legislature of deliberately preventing the PDP lawmaker from
submitting his CoR to the House for proper documentation.
“Efforts of Hon. Jimoh Raheem Agboola of the PDP to submit his
Certificate of Return to the Clerk/Speaker of the Kwara State House of
Assembly were not successful, as both the Speaker and the Clerk were
not on seat.
“Attempts by Hon Agboola to have the certificate submitted through
administrative means were denied. Surprisingly enough, none of the
designated officials in the Kwara State House of Assembly, especially,
in the Office of the Speaker, Clerk and Deputy Clerk, was ready to
receive the Certificate of Return.
“Friday’s mild drama by the staff of the KWHA not to receive the
certificate from Hon Agboola appeared to be a political chess to
unnecessarily delay the inauguration of Hon. Agboola, perhaps on
account of being the only opposition member-elect in the House”, the
statement added.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the sacked APC lawmaker have engaged
in moves to frustrate Hon Agboola from being sworn-in for political
reasons.
To this end, it was gathered, last night, that Hon Nilo had reportedly
approached a Federal High Court to obtain a restraining order from the
court over the Appeal Court’s judgement.
A source in the legislature confirmed the development to National
Pilot adding that Nilo’s counsel had “notified” the House over the
issue.
Explaining the development further, the source noted that the APC
lawmaker’s counsel had planned to travel to Abuja in a bid to stop the
issuance of the certificate.
“But before his counsel got to Abuja, same day, the certificate was
issued to Hon Agboola on Monday, it was too late and all the efforts
to stop the presentation here in Kwara failed. It is not clear what
will be the next step now. But it is believed that there is a
deliberate attempt to deny the PDP the chance of representation. We
learnt the team of the PDP lawmaker had informed the legislature on
Thursday that they will be coming to present the certificate on Friday
and so it will be very strange that none of the concerned officials or
their offices were ready to collect the certificate if the heads where
not on ground”, the source noted.
He added that “Although the tribunal, rather than the Supreme Court
has the final say on state House of Assembly election disputes
especially on pre-election matters, the recent development is
worrisome in this era of change. And all these are coming despite the
congratulatory message from the Governor over the judgement urging the
PDP candidate to work for the progress of the state irrespective of
party.”
But responding to the issue, the Speaker through his media aide,
Ibrahim Sherif, last night, debunked the claim that Hon Agboola is
being denied the opportunity to represent his people.
“I read on the social media that he (Hon Agboola) was in the office on
Friday and meanwhile as you know, we lost our Hon member (late Hon
Ahmed Rufai) on Tuesday and we are mourning. But that notwithstanding,
the annual Gaani festival in the Speaker’s home town held between
Friday and Sunday.
“So the Speaker was not in the office and the Clerk too is from
Gwanara and was not also around. So how will you claim you presented
your certificate to someone who is not on seat and it was rejected or
you were stopped from being sworn in? I don’t feel it is honourable
for someone trying to come to an institution to try and be making
attempt to desecrate it. When we get to the office tomorrow, we will
be properly briefed on the issue. But it is false that the Speaker
refused to meet him or delaying his swearing-in.
“He (Hon Agboola) is a Kwaran and whatever the issue is when he comes
around, the Speaker will receive and listen to him and if what he is
presenting is acceptable within the law, the Speaker will listen to
him as the House is an apolitical institution. But until we get to the
office, all what we have heard on the issue is from the social media”,
he added.

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