EKITI State House of Assembly has been hit by crisis following the removal of the member representing Ikole Constituency 1, Gboyega Aribisogan, as Information Committee chairman.
Aribisogan’s sack and his replacement with the member representing Oye Constituency 1, Samuel Omotoso, is believed to be a prelude to his recall from the Assembly.
The embattled lawmaker was accused of holding secret meetings with Senator Buruji Kashamu, Lagos lawyer Femi Falana and other personalities perceived to be enemies of Governor Ayo Fayose.
Aribisogan appeared before the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by member representing Ido/Osi Constituency 2, Samuel Jeje, where a purported audio file capturing his (Aribisogan’s) voice was played.
But Aribisogan described the audio tape, which was played at the panel sitting to indict him, as “a superimposed voice-over to tarnish his reputation”.
According to him, his predicament was orchestrated by mischief-makers in the Assembly.
Speaking with reporters in a telephone chat yesterday after appearing before the panel, Aribisogan explained that he was quizzed about Kashamu and Falana before the controversial audio was played to him.
Affirming his loyalty to Fayose and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the lawmaker said he had no confidence in the panel because it had found him guilty before its report.
He said: “The so-called audio was a superimposed voiceover to tarnish my reputation. At the panel’s sitting, there was a presentation of inaudible voiceover claiming that they recognised my voice and I discarded it as a cheap blackmail.
“They asked me in the course of the investigation whether I have met Buruji and I told them that the last time I met with Buruji was when I followed Mr. Governor, and Omotoso was there too. But it is unfortunate that he (Omotoso) wanted to make a political gain out of this saga.
“Since then, I have not met Buruji as a person either secretly or openly. I have no confidence in the panel but because of the constitutional provision, I have to attend the panel to clear my name.
“I appeared before the panel to tell them that I never met with Buruju and I never met with Falana as alleged. I am part and parcel of this government from inception and I remain a loyal party member.
“Changing committee chairmen is a routine exercise but I suspect a foul play that the outcome of the panel is already predetermined.”
When asked whether he had been invited by the governor on the crisis, Aribisogan said: “This is clearly an Assembly matter; the governor has not invited me but I am expecting members of the panel to investigate where the shenanigans are coming from.
“The whole saga is an immolation to destroy me and put me in a political quagmire. Look at my pedigree where I am coming from before passing judgement on me.
“Having served the government, is it possible for me to be holding meetings with Buruji and Falana and work against a government of which I am part of?
“I want to challenge the person who claimed to have recorded my voice to be bold enough to face me. The plot was executed by one man in the House to bring me down.”
The House at its plenary on Tuesday set up the panel to probe Aribisogan for allegations of disloyalty with the Speaker, Kola Oluwawole, likening him to the biblical Judas, who betrayed Jesus Christ.
Oluwawole said: “It touches the fundamental existence of this House. I still believe that this House is indivisible. We are ever united and strong. Every member of this House has the spirit of oneness in discharging his/her duties.
“When I got this embarrassing news, I was highly disappointed.
“I have absolute confidence in every member of this House. Despite the fact that Judas in the Bible betrayed Jesus, His ministry on earth was achieved.”