The only member of the opposition in the 24-member Kwara State House of Assembly, Jimoh Agboola, has been suspended over comments deemed critical of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led administration.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member representing Ilorin South was suspended indefinitely from attending plenaries for alleged contempt and abuse of privilege.
His suspension followed a motion moved by the House Leader, Abubakar Olawoyin, during Tuesday’s plenary, drawing the assembly’s attention to a radio interview granted by Mr Agboola.
During the recent interview aired on a local radio in the early hours of Tuesday, the lawmaker criticised the APC-led government for sidelining his constituency from developmental projects.
One of these is the Grassroots Development Initiative, a state prototype of the federal constituency projects. Mr Agboola claimed other lawmakers, except himself, have been mobilised to execute some projects in their various constituencies.
During the 35-minute long programme, he blamed the deplorable state of roads in Gaa-Akanbi area of Ilorin on Governor AbdulRazaq’s failure to conduct local government elections, two years into office.
Also, he spoke on attempts by his colleagues in the state assembly to victimise him through exclusion from benefits, being the only opposition lawmaker.
Owing to the alleged marginalisation of his constituency, the lawmaker announced his constituents’ resolve to stage a protest walk on Saturday.
But Mr Olawoyin while leading the debate on the motion said; “the Assembly is an institution and not an individual and as such must be respected.”
He further accused Mr Agboola of making a despicable comment about the House and a move to stage a protest against the government and the House of Assembly.
Mr Agboola’s call for a protest amid the grave insecurity is unsafe and could lead to chaos, the House Leader posited.
Joining the debate, another lawmaker representing Iwo/Isin constituency, Olumide Ayokunle, said the derogatory language against the House should not be condoned.
Both Messrs Olawoyin and Ayokunle urged the House to investigate the allegations against their colleague from Ilorin South.
The Speaker, Yakubu Danladi, in his response, directed the House Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Judiciary to conduct an investigation on the matter and report its findings as soon as possible.
He also directed Mr Agboola to stop attending plenary pending the conclusion of the investigation.
The suspended lawmaker, however, maintained that he is entitled to his opinion as a Nigerian and as a lawmaker.
“I was saying the facts about what is happening in the state. I have not in any way incited anybody against anybody,” he told PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday evening.
According to him, the house does not have the power to deny him representation of his people.
He vowed that the Saturday protest will hold, adding that further actions would be communicated afterwards.
“I’ve decided to handle the matter in a mature way,” said Mr Agboola.
Mr Agboola was sworn-in into the chamber in February, nearly two years after several court judgments ordered his inauguration.
He replaced the All Progressives Congress’ (APC), Azeez Oluwanilo, the winner of the March 9, 2019 poll whose victory was nullified because his name was not submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prior to the election date.
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