Ekiti APC lawmakers withdraw suit against Fayose, others
THE 19 members of Ekiti State House of Assembly under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) have filed a notice of discontinuance against a suit they instituted at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The lawmakers had filed the suit against the state governor, Ayo Fayose and others to challenge the purported impeachment of Adewale Omirin as Speaker, and the running of the House by only the seven members of the House who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
All the 19 lawmakers signed the notice of discontinuance which was dated April 7, 2015. It reads: “Take notice that the plaintiffs doth hereby wholly discontinue Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1823/14 against all the defendants.” In the past few days, Ekiti State has been in the news with fresh moves by the APC lawmakers to impeach Fayose.
Already, the notice of impeachment has been served on Fayose, while the governor is insisting that he had not been properly served. The surprise move to discontinue the suit was said to be connected with the fresh impeachment moves against Fayose.
The APC lawmakers had earlier fled the state after Omirin’s impeachment, and left the PDP members to be going on with legislative activities.
The APC lawmakers then filed the suit. The party directed them to go back to Ekiti State after the victory of the party at the March 28, 2015 presidential election.
But after the lawmakers returned to Ekiti State, Fayose had told them to await the determination of a suit which they filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos, before taking “laws into their hands.” The development was said to have informed the decision of the APC lawmakers to discontinue the suit.
According to the suit, the plaintiffs (APC lawmakers) had specifically argued that by the provision of the constitution, the seven PDP lawmakers lacked the legal right to take decision on behalf of the House.
Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, the Department of State Security Services (DSS), and the new “Speaker,” Dele Olugbemi, were among the respondents. Olugbemi’s loyalists, Samuel Ajibola, Adeojo Alexander, Adeloye Adeyinka, Isreal Ajiboye, Fatunbi Olajide, Olayinka Abeni; and the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti are the other respondents.
The rest are three commissioners cleared by the House under Olugbemi – Owoseni Ajayi (Attorney-General), Kayode Eso (Commissioner for Works) and Toyin Ojo (Commissioner for Finance). The plaintiffs, in their originating summons, had prayed the court to declare that Omirin and his deputy are entitled to occupy their offices except they are removed by the assembly’s two-third majority votes.
They also sought a declaration that Fayose’s alleged attempt to force them to join the PDP and denounce the APC was against their constitutional rights to freedom of association.
They further prayed the court to hold that Olugbemi’s election as Speaker was illegal, and all deliberations and actions of the seven lawmakers were invalid.
But Fayose, in a preliminary objection filed by the three “commissioners” (12th to 14th respondents), prayed for an order striking out or dismissing the suit in its entirety for lack of jurisdiction.
They argued that Fayose, being the governor of Ekiti State, cannot be sued outside the state where the “cause of action” took place. They further contended that the Federal High Court in Lagos lacked the “territorial jurisdiction” to decide the case.