Why Bill Seeking Declaration of Public Holiday for Afe Babalola Failed —Ekiti Assembly

4th June 2024

The Ekiti State House of Assembly has disclosed that the bill seeking to declare a day as public holiday for celebration of legal icon and founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola, was rested to avert a major crisis in the state.

The two lawmakers representing Ado in the House of Assembly, Bolaji Olagbaju who is the deputy speaker and Ayo Adegbite had jointly presented a bill before the house to honour the ABUAD founder for his contributions to the state, but the legislation was rejected by the house.

Addressing journalists on Monday ahead of the first anniversary of the 7th Assembly, the lawmaker representing Ekiti East Constituency, Oluwole Akanle, said that although the nonagenarian had done well for the state, the Assembly considered other factors in ensuring peace in the state.

According to him, lawmakers during the debate mentioned other imminent personalities from their constituents who also contributed to the state’s growth and that the bill was dropped to ensure fairness.

He said: “If you look at discussions on the floor when the bill was introduced, you will observe it was not a personal issue with our own Afe Babalola; the reason we gave then was that it was a controversial bill and we don’t want to cause any chaos or crisis in Ekiti State.

“My colleagues who spoke during the plenary said they have people from their areas who contributed to the state and it rested. It can be considered in the future but for now, Nigeria and Ekiti are not ripe for such issues.

“Baba Afe is a prominent figure in the state and we recognized his contributions to the state over the years and we will continue to appreciate him.”

Also speaking, a lawmaker representing Ekiti West Constituency two, Bode-Adeoye Oyekola said the House in rejecting the bill, passed resolutions towards having a legislation on Ekiti Heroes Day where the legal icon and other personalities would be celebrated.

Oyekola added that there should be Ekiti Hall of Fame where activities and contributions of Babalola and other men and women from the state would be documented for coming generations to see and learn.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Babatunde Oke, said the Assembly under the leadership of the Speaker, Adeoye Aribasoye in the last one year had demonstrated its commitment to endearing good governance with relevant legislative framework in the state.

He revealed that the House had passed 13 bills which were signed into law by the governor and over 40 resolutions in the last twelve months, among other legislative duties towards attaining the ‘shared prosperity’ agenda of the state governor, Biodun Oyebanji.

The lawmaker representing Ikere Constituency I said: “The seventh Assembly was conscious of its role in the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people of the state.

“The Speaker of the House, Honourable Adeoye Stephen Aribasoye asserted in his inaugural address that the legislature would work with Governor Biodun Oyebanji to help him achieve his vision for the development of the State and keep Ekiti working towards the shared prosperity agenda encapsulated in his six pillars for Ekiti Development.

“This Assembly has passed 13 Bills into law, all of which have already received the assent of the Governor. It must be re-emphasized that all the laws passed by the Seventh-Assembly are predicated on providing legislative fillip to good governance in Ekiti State and securing the welfare of Ekiti people.

“Several of the laws that have been passed by this Assembly are entirely novel to Nigeria or contain novel provisions that make such laws unique when compared with similar laws that exist in other States of the country.”

Oke noted that a detailed legislative framework which would guide the activities of the Assembly for the four years tenure would be unveiled to the public during a special plenary on Thursday.