Appeal Court Stays Judgment Sacking Lawmaker

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti  granted the prayer of the sacked member of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Mr. Musa Arogundade, seeking a  stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court which removed him from office.

The court also restrained the Speaker, Mr. Kola Oluwawole, from swearing in Mr. Toyin Obayemi in place of Arogundade pending the determination of the appeal filed by the sacked legislator.

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.

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

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

It 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.

After the ruling, counsel to the applicant, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) told journalists that the verdict has “purified the stream of justice” adding that it has preserved the hierarchical structure of the nation’s legal system.

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Ozekhome 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.

Sokoya said: “We will abide by the decision of the court, what we want is speedy trial because we want the matter to be heard within the time allowed by law.”

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