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Georgia Supreme Court Indictment: PDP gives Reps Minority Leader 14 Days Ultimatum to resign

By Lere Olayinka
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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southwest has given the House of Representatives Minority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila 14 days within which he must resign his membership of the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

The party said in a release issued by the Zonal Publicity Secretary, Hon Kayode Babade that; "Since he has admitted that he was sanctioned by the Georgia Supreme Court for professional misconduct and negligence, the most honourable thing to do is to vacate his seat in the House of Representatives."

The Supreme Court of Georgia had on February 26, 2007 suspended Femi Gbajabiamila from practising law for 36 months.

The Reps Minority Leader, who is a member of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and was known as Femi Gbaja then admitted violating Rule 1.15(I) of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct set forth in Bar Rule 4-102(d). He admitted that he accepted payment of $25,000 as settlement of a client's personal injury claims, deposited those funds in his attorney trust account in January 2003, failed to promptly disburse those funds to his client, withdrew those funds for his own use, closed his practice and moved out of the country.

Although he ultimately paid the $25,000 to his client in 2006, three years after he collected the fund, his conduct violated Rule 1.15(I), which punishable by disbarment.

Reacting, the PDP said it was ridiculous that Gbajabiamila could be using the House or Representatives impeachment plot against President Goodluck Jonathan as a defence for his own shady past, saying; "In a saner clime, what he (Gbajabiamila) would have done was to vacate his seat and apologise to Nigerians.

"Or does it now mean that a man who admitted that he committed an offence and that he was sanctioned for it can justify same by simply claiming that he was championing good governance and impeachment of the president?

"If we may ask Gbajabiamila, why didn't he let the public into this shady aspect of his person before now? Did he disclosed this in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) nomination Forms that he filled before his election into the House of Representatives?

"Did Gbajabiamila not give the same excuses he is now giving to the Supreme Court of Georgia before he was indicted? And if the Court concluded then that his excuses did not hold waters, can the same excuse be relevant now, six years after the Court verdict?

"Our candid advise for Gbajabiamila is that, since he has decided to live by example by owing up to his shady past, he must also be honourable enough to resign from the House of Representatives.

"Failure to follow this path of honour within the next 14 days, we will have no option than to approach the court to declare his seat vacant."