…9 lawmakers write chief judge, dissociate selves
…As Ajayi warns Akeredolu against turning Ondo to banana republic
By Dayo Johnson
THE Ondo State House of Assembly, yesterday, directed the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olarenwaju Akeredolu, to set up a seven-man panel to investigate allegations of gross misconduct levelled against the Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi.
This came on a day nine members of the Assembly wrote to the Chief Judge of the state, dissociating themselves from the ongoing plans to impeach the deputy governor.
Similarly, the embattled Deputy Governor, yesterday, warned Governor Rotimi Akeredolu against turning the state to a banana republic by his desperation to impeach him.
14 lawmakers have signed the impeachment notice against Ajayi, while nine dissociated themselves from the exercise.
The House of Assembly, in a letter dated July 7 by the Speaker, Mr. Bamidele Oleyelogun asked the Chief Judge to set up a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations against Ajayi.
The letter, entitled: ‘Request to set up a panel pursuant of S.188(5) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)’, was received in the office of the Chief Judge by 3:35 pm.
It reads: “You are, hereby, requested to set up a seven-man panel to investigate the notice of allegations of gross misconduct dated 7th July 2020 by members of the House against Mr. Agboola Ajayi, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.
“By the resolution of the House today (yesterday), pursuant of S.118(3) and (4) of the 1999 constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). It was resolved that the allegations be investigated forthwith.
“It is in line with the above that I request that you set up a seven-man panel to conduct the said investigations as resolved by the House. And the panel shall, as soon as possible, report back to the House.”
9 lawmakers dissociate selves from impeachment
But nine members of the Assembly have written the Chief Judge of the State, dissociating themselves from the on-going plan to impeach the deputy governor.
The members include the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Iroju Ogundeji, Mr. Jamiu Maito, Mr. Rasheed Elegbeleye, Mr. Tomide Akinribido and Mr. Samuel Edamisan Ademola.
Others are Mrs. Favour Tomomewo, Mr. Festus Akingbaso, Mr. Adewale Adewinle and Mr. Torhukerhijo Success.
In an open letter, the lawmakers notified the Chief Judge on the plans by the House leadership to suspend some of them to carry out the act.
The letter reads: “Kindly be informed that nine elected members of Ondo State House of Assembly have duly dissociated ourselves from the ongoing impeachment process of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Agboola Ajayi in a letter dated 7th July 2020 to the Clerk and the Clerk and the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, herewith attached.
“We want to state and confirm to your good office that we maintain our stand by dissociating ourselves from the impeachment process. We are not in support of the impeachment based on our conviction.
“We are writing to call your attention to the fact that all or some of us, who are signatories to this letter, maybe suspended to circumvent the provision of the constitution of Nigeria, which we all swore to uphold and protect, including your honourable Lordship, as this will be contrary to the laws of the land.”
Ajayi receives impeachment notice
Meanwhile, the impeachment notice has been received by the Deputy Governor.
A copy of the impeachment notice, addressed to the deputy governor, was signed by the Clerk of the House, Michael Bode Adeyelu, received and signed for in the office of the deputy governor on July 7.
The notice entitled: ‘Notice of Allegation of Gross Misconduct against Mr. Agboola Ajayi, Deputy Governor, Ondo State’ has ODHA/98/253/97 on it.
Ajayi warns Akeredolu against turning Ondo to banana republic
Meanwhile, the embattled deputy governor, yesterday, warned the governor against turning the state to a banana republic by his desperation to impeach him.
Reacting to the suspension of the three lawmakers, who dissociated themselves from his impeachment, Ajayi said the desperation of the governor to sack him would fail.
The Deputy Speaker, Mr. Iroju Ogundeji; Favour Tomomewo and Williams Adewale Adewinle were suspended indefinitely by the House for alleged unparliamentary behaviours.
But the deputy governor said the governor should allow the lawmakers to carry out their constitutional duties without interference, harassment and intimidation.
His words: “Ondo State cannot be administered like a banana republic where elected lawmakers can be suspended at will because they refused to toe the line of the executives. The constitution is clear about the separation of powers and the process to commence any impeachment.
“The 2/3 that the constitution stipulates is of the entire members of the Assembly, not just those at the plenary at a particular period. They cannot manufacture human beings.”
We won’t leave APC, says Deputy Speakers, others
Also, the Deputy Speaker, Iroju Ogundeji, alleged that both the governor and the leadership of the party instigated their suspension.
Ogundeji, who spoke with newsmen, said: “We are not leaving the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the PDP. We would remain in the party. Nobody can intimidate us.”