The Kwara State Assembly has continued to ignore multiple court judgements as it is yet to swear in Jimoh Agboola, the only lawmaker-elect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), since November 2019.
Mr Agboola, who served in the previous assembly, was the candidate of the PDP for the House of Assembly election in Ilorin South Constituency in 2019.
After the March 9, 2019 election, his opponent, Azeez Elewu Oluwanilo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared winner and sworn in. This was however contested at the election petition tribunal.
While the election tribunal ordered fresh election in Ilorin South constituency, a higher court, the Court of Appeal, declared the PDP candidate as the elected candidate.
Mr Oluwanilo’s victory was upturned at the Appellate Court after the judge ruled that he did not submit his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), thereby nullifying the certificate of return issued.
This judgement was not obeyed by the state legislative arm despite protests by the aggrieved lawmaker, the Peoples Democratic Party and civil society organisations.
However, in another ruling in July, the Appeal Court ordered the Assembly to swear in the PDP candidate, affirming the similar judgement delivered in November 2019.
Kwara Agenda, a non-governmental organisation, said it will hold a protest against the assembly.
“We note that this very action is capable of disrupting the peace we are enjoying in the state if the well meaning Kwarans particularly the Ilorin South Constituency are allowed to take law into their hands,” the group said in a statement.
Also, speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, the executive director of Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, Abideen Olasupo, blamed the 35-year-old speaker of the House, Yakubu Danladi, for the failure to swear in the lawmaker.
“If democracy is all about inclusion, if democracy is all about involvement, if democracy is all about participation, what the current speaker of the House of Assembly is doing is a great disappointment to the NotTooYoungToRun campaign and for everyone who has been advocating for the inclusion of youths in governance,” he said.
“He should be an emulator in governance and politics. Everyone knows that the election petition in the state assembly election ends in Appeal court. Going to the Supreme Court is a slap on the Nigerian judiciary.”
Mr Olasupo noted that the best time for the Danladi-led house of Assembly to swear in the legitimate winner is now.
However, when our reporter reached out to the spokesperson of Mr Danladi, Ibrahim Sheriff, he said Mr Agboola is currently in talks with his principal.
“He has met with the speaker twice already. I know that it is about the crisis and his swearing in,” he said.
He refused to disclose the outcome of the meetings and the time for the swear-in.
Aggrieved lawmaker-elect reacts
Mr Agboola, on Friday morning, informed PREMIUM TIMES of his intention to sue the assembly for contempt of court.
“I’m worried because it is not supposed to be like this. It is really worrisome. Great impunity and legislative rascality. I’m taking them up for contempt since they have failed to do the needful,” he said.
He said the assembly is reluctant to swear him in because he is a member of the opposition party and that the assembly does not want its ‘suspicious’ activities questioned.
“We built that house. We don’t want any that will deface it. My people are suffering because they did not get the representation they are supposed to,” he said.
Mr Agboola said that all the meetings with the speaker have not yielded any result so far.