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KOPAN Media Parley: 'My Suspension By KWHA Is Illegal And Abuse Of Power' -Agboola

The member of Kwara State House of Assembly representing Ilorin South Legislative Constituency, Honourable Jimoh Raheem Agboola, has described his suspension by the state Assembly as illegal and abuse of power.

He gave this indication over the weekend at a media parley where the Kwara Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (KOPAN) played host to him in Ilorin, the state capital.

The lawmaker reminded the online publishers of the long drawn battle he fought after the general election that brought him into office to claim his mandate which was wrongly given to an opposition candidate.

"Let me refresh our memories that for 15 months, we fought legal battles that eventually paved the way for ousting the wrong candidate from the seat at the state House of Assembly and I was sworn in on the 9th day of February , 2021," he explained.

Honourable Agboola stated further that after he was sworn in, he commenced with a stakeholders' meetings and community engagements to chart a programme for his tenure and to further ascertain the needs and aspirations of the people of his constituency.

He said the consultations yielded four major petitions submitted by his constituents which he intended to translate into bills for presentation at plenary before his eventual suspension by the State Assembly on the 13th of July, 2021, after his guest appearance on an FM radio programme on an allegation of inciting the public against the government of Kwara state and the House of Assembly as well as Contempt and breach of House privilege.

The lone legislator who emerged on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), gave the four major petitions from the people of his constituents as: "Demolition of Ero-omo market stalls without proper notifications and procedural correctness, demolition of Local council fate quarters, aggrieved Constituent's petition in respect of repair of vehicles contract at the Deputy Governor's office without payment, and petition requesting the revisiting of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill in Kwara state.

He said he only exercised his fundamental human rights as a citizen to express views on sundry issues during his invitation on radio on that fateful day before he was asked by the Speaker, after a motion moved by Hon. Magaji Olawoyin, to proceed on suspension from plenary pending the outcome of investigations by the Ethics and Privilege committee of the House.

Honourable Agboola stated that the issues he expressed his opinions on were "condition of Gaa-Akanbi - Agbabiaka road that has been abandoned for long and turned into a nightmare making life uncomfortable for constituents living around this area of the metropolis, the grassroots initiative projects as been captured in the 2020/2021 state budget, and impunities of government and the leadership of the state House of Assembly on non-compliance with several court ruling during and after the long drawn legal battle to reclaim our mandate to the Assembly."

He also went ahead to state certain facts and observations regarding the act of suspension from plenary.

"Firstly, I observed a lacuna in the currency of the House leadership on antecedence in similar suspension in a legislative House. We may recall the suspension of Senator Alli Ndume from plenary in the 8th National Assembly, an act that was challenged at an Abuja Federal High court and subsequently quashed on the 10th day of November 2017. This was widely reported but a tradition of impunities would prevent the House speaker paying attention to instructiveness of antecedents. This is beside the speaker being morally obligated to see every member as colleagues since they are only first among equals without constitutional powers to suspend another lawmaker elected to represent his people.

"Secondly, is that the House rule leveraged upon to act unconstitutionally does not refer to, or imply the activities of a lawmaker outside plenary."

He quoted relevant sections of the House rules such as Order X of Rule 61 (2) and Order X, Rule 61 (4) to drive home his points and observations.

Honourable Agboola noted further that during his six months suspension from the House, a total of 17 legislative sittings were held and that the people of his Ilorin South state Constituency were not represented in the critical deliberations such as: "Approval of N35 billion bond obtained by the state government, Deliberation on the Public Account Committee (P.A.C), Approval of another N18.2 billion bond obtained by the state government, and Approval of a supplementary budget for the state government."

The honourable explained further that, "When six months have elapsed, with a subsisting undefined suspension illegally placed on me and preventing the constitutionally guaranteed representation of the people of Ilorin south at the Assembly, I visited the House which prompted the Ethics and Privileges committee to present their investigation reports. Therefrom, I was handed a fresh suspension spanning 14 plenary sittings. This was conveyed verbally on the floor of the House and no document came to me defining the ramifications of the illegal suspension."

The Lawmaker also explained that during his first term in the House from 1999 to 2003 (4th Assembly), he was also in the opposition party but worked in tandem with members in the ruling party. He said he would move a motion while the then Chief Whip, Akogun Oyedepo will second it and the motion will sail through.

The lawmaker said while the charades continue with impunity at the House of Assembly, he continued to dialogue and report feedback to his constituents who he described as "the real owner of power".

Honourable Agboola also stated his achievement so far in the House which covers Electrification, Water, Rehabilitation of some portions of road and schools in his constituency. He therefore called on the people of his constituency to remain calm and desist from taking laws into their hands, adding that it is only through peace that development can be attained.

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