September 25, 2023

Impeachment: Ondo deputy governor runs to court to stop process


Deputy governor, Aiyedatiwa

By Dayo Johnson, Akure

Embattled Ondo state deputy governor, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has approached the state High Court, to restrain the state House of Assembly from proceeding with the move to impeach him.

This is coming ahead of today’s (Tuesday) plenary in the assembly, to decide the fate of the deputy governor who was accused of gross misconduct.

Recall that the assembly under the leadership of the Speaker, Olamide Oladiji, had adjourned till Tuesday, after the assembly directed the Clerk of the house, Benjamin Jaiyola, to write a letter to the deputy governor over allegations of Gross misconduct levelled against him.

The petition was signed by some lawmakers was read during plenary presided by the speaker, last week.

But the deputy governor, in Suit No. AK/348/2023 filed at the High Court , Akure, yesterday “is seeking a declaration that the House of Assembly is not competent to proceed on his impeachment in breach of his constitutional and fundamental rights to fair hearing and that the sacking of his media aides and subjecting him to the Ministry of Information headed by a Commissioner amounts to a breach of his rights and privileges as a deputy governor.

Aiyedatiwa “is also seeking a declaration that his office, tenure, status, rights and privileges are protected, guaranteed and secured by the Constitution, and the declaration that in the determination of his civil rights and obligations as a Deputy Governor of Ondo State by the House of Assembly, he is entitled to a fair hearing and that given the utterances and conduct of the House of Assembly so far, there is likelihood of bias against him in the impeachment process.

According to him, in conducting media trials against him without serving him with any notice of gross misconduct, the House Assembly has constituted itself into accuser, investigator, prosecutor and judge.

Aiyedatiwa then sought orders of injunction to stop the House of Assembly from initiating, continuing or proceeding with the process of his removal from office as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.

He also seeks an order to stop the Chief Judge of Ondo State from accepting or acting upon any request from the House of Assembly of Ondo State to set up any panel to investigate any acts of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor.

Aiyedatiwa named as defendants in the suit filed by human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, are the Ondo State Government, the Governor of Ondo State, Ondo State House of Assembly, Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Clerk of Ondo State House of Assembly and Chief Judge of Ondo State.

In the affidavit in support of the originating summons, it was stated that the House of Assembly embarked upon a media trial of the Deputy Governor purely to scandalize him and incite public opinion against him when indeed no notice of acts of alleged gross misconduct was served on him.

He also accused the House of Assembly of persecuting him without lawful basis in conspiracy with certain persons who are gladiators in political circles.

In the Originating Summons, the Deputy Governor is seeking the following reliefs:
“ A DECLARATION that the office, tenure and status of the Claimant as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State are creations and establishment of the Constitution by virtue of Sections 186 and 187 of the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and the same cannot be tampered with, altered, shortened, withdrawn or jeopardized by the Defendants except and in a manner permitted by law.

“A DECLARATION as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, the office, tenure, status, rights and privileges of the Claimant are protected, secured, guaranteed, governed and regulated under and by the relevant provisions such as sections, 188, 189, 190 and 191 of the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and they are to be enjoyed by the Claimant without let or hindrance from the Defendants except and in a manner permitted by law.

” A DECLARATION that as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, the Claimant is entitled to the rights and privileges attached to his office, including but not limited to his media details and other aides attached to his office.

“A DECLARATION that in the determination of his civil rights and obligations as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, the Claimant is entitled fair hearing from the Defendants and the Defendants are not entitled to take any step or decision in violation of the Claimant’s right to fair hearing.

“A DECLARATION that the dismissal of all the media aides and press crew attached to the office of the Claimant as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State by the 1st and 2nd Defendants without prior notice to the Claimant is unreasonable, vindictive, malicious, unconstitutional, illegal and null and void.

” A DECLARATION that the Defendants are not entitled to arbitrarily, forcefully, illegally, unduly or in any other manner howsoever interfere with, encroach upon and/or infringe on the constitutional rights and functions of the of the Claimant as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State without due process of law as contained in the relevant provisions of the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).

“A DECLARATION that as a democratically elected Deputy Governor of Ondo State in a joint ticket with the 2nd Defendant, State, the Claimant is entitled to remain in office as such, freely exercise his rights and discharge his constitutional duties as Deputy Governor of Ondo State within the full time allocated to the office by the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).

“A DECLARATION that the Defendants are not entitled to take any steps in pursuit of the removal of the Claimant from his office as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State in flagrant violation of his constitutional and fundamental rights.

“A DECLARATION that the 3rd-5th Defendants are not entitled to constitute themselves into investigators, prosecutors and judge over trumped-up allegations against the Claimant in relation to his office, tenure and status as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.

” A DECLARATION that the 6th Defendant, the Honourable Chief Judge of Ondo State is not entitled to receive, act upon and/or consider any request from the 3rd – 5th Defendants for the purpose of constituting a panel to investigate any purported allegation and/or for the removal of the Claimant from office as Deputy Governor of Ondo State in violation of the constitutional and fundamental rights of the Claimant.

” INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants and their agents, privies and representatives from interfering with, restricting, disempowering and/or preventing the Claimant from discharging his constitutional duties and functions as the duly elected Deputy Governor of Ondo State in a joint and equal ticket with the Governor of the Ondo State.

” AN ORDER forthwith reinstating/restoring the full and total rights and privileges attached or accruing to the office of the Claimant as duly elected Deputy Governor of Ondo State which include, but not limited to the restoration of all media aides and press crew attached to the office of the Claimant as Deputy Governor of Ondo State.

“AN ORDER setting aside any purported process or notice of any allegation of Gross Misconduct against the Claimant on the ground that such process or notice is a violation of Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

** I’ve not been served notice of gross misconduct- Dep Gov

Meanwhile, the deputy governor, said that he was yet to be served with the notice of gross misconduct.

Aiyedatiwa said in a statement ” It is pertinent to put on record that as of today, Monday, September 25, 2023, I have not received any official communication or any “letter of allegations of gross misconduct” from the Ondo State House of Assembly.

” I find it especially worrying that the spokesman of the House of Assembly would go on national television to speak on such a matter without any evidence to show that such letter has been delivered to me. More disturbing is the fact that even when he was asked if the letter had been delivered, he gave no coherent answer.

” A sensitive constitutional matter of this nature; the impeachment process should not be conducted on the pages of newspapers and television screens.

“In effect, I reiterate that if such “letter of allegations of gross misconduct” against me exists, I have not seen it and I have not been served. I therefore urge Mr. Speaker, The Honourable Chief Judge of Ondo State and members of the public to take note.

  • Juju’ scare at Ondo Speaker’s residence, my life under threat-Speaker

Meanwhile, some fetish objects were dumped at the gate of the Speaker of the state assembly, Rt Hon Olamide Oladiji, ahead of the plenary to commence the impeachment of the deputy governor.

The fetish objects were dumped at the main gate of the State Speaker’s Lodge, in Akure, the state capital.

Reports had it that the objects were dumped there in the dead of the night.

This development created apprehension in the state, as residents discussed it in hushed tones.

Family members of the speaker, declined comments, as the speaker couldn’t be reached by the time of filling in the report.

Following the scary development, the speaker has called on the security agencies to save his soul and that of other members of the House following threats to their lives since the commencement of the impeachment process against the State’s Deputy Governor,

Oladiji made the call while speaking in Akure.

According to him, “Early this morning, his attention was drawn together a ritual sacrifice placed In front of his official lodge.”

The lodge which he said ” requires renovation is only used sometimes for Parliamentary meetings.

“I have not been using the place except sometimes for parliamentary meetings. At least, we have been there more than two times for a meeting but I don’t sleep there because the place requires overhauling with its present state.

“Early this morning, we discovered that a sacrifice was placed in the lodge. Aside from that, I have been receiving strange calls from strange people threatening my life and other members. There has been a lot of pressure on me.

“I am using the medium to tell the world that my life is under threat. I call on the security operatives to checkmate these people who have been threatening my life and other members.

“This threat started since the day we began the impeachment notice. I have already reported to NSCDC among others security agencies”

  • We didn’t receive bride to impeach deputy gov- Speaker

The Speaker, also debunked the rumour that the lawmakers collected N5 million to initiate the impeachment process

Rt Hon Oladiji said that the 10th Assembly under his watch will not compromise on such a sensitive matter.

“Whenever there is an impeachment case like this, people think that the executive must have lured the legislature to begin the process.

” I want to tell the whole world that we did not receive any gratification from anybody or anywhere. We are doing our work as lawmakers

“We appropriate and at the same time, monitor what we appropriate. Let me tell you, 26 lawmakers have now signed the letter which we will serve the deputy governor today”

“The House will today serve the Deputy Governor of the State, Mr Lucky Ayedatiwa a letter on the alleged gross misconduct.”

The Speaker noted that the House was unable to serve the Deputy Governor the Notice since the commencement of the process last week.

He, however, said that the house has now secured a court affidavit which gives the house a legitimate right to serve the Deputy Governor.

According to him “all the 26 lawmakers have appended their signature on the petition. The Deputy Governor is expected to reply to the house within seven days of notice.

Group wants assembly to halt impeachment process, queries Akeredolu’s location

Meanwhile, a group of professionals of Ondo descent under the umbrella of the Ondo Redemption Front (ORF) has called on the Assembly to discontinue the impeachment process to prevent an unnecessary political crisis in the state.

They advised the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu to address the people of Ondo state after returning from medical vacation.

The Chairman of the group, Ayodeji Ologun, claimed that the impeachment was not in the best interest of the people.

Ologun said “While Mr. Akeredolu returned to the country, for over two weeks that he returned to Nigeria in a controversial manner, he has not been sighted in the state rather, also, worthy of mention is the fact that since the return of Mr. Akeredolu and his refusal to resume at his official duty -post for the governance of the state, a situation that is causing serious apprehension in the state, the State House of Assembly has not been helping matters.

“The Ondo State House of Assembly has decided to add salt to injury by instigating violence, anarchy and orchestrating break down of law and order by embarking on unjustified and unwarranted process of impeachment of the Deputy Governor Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa at the expense of the peace, stability and the welfare of the people of Ondo State.

“As a group, we strongly believe that politics should be the least of the worries of the political class in Ondo state at the moment but delivery of good governance in the overriding interest of the people of the state. Our people has been cheated over time with no progressive impact on
their daily life.

“We are not unaware that this is not about accountability as the House wants us to believe but a vendetta by a class of crass opportunists who have unfettered access to the resources of the state occasioned by the incapacity of the Governor.

“In view of the above stated and the contemplation of section 11(1)(4)(5) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, we hereby implore The National Assembly to call Ondo State House of Assembly to order in the overriding interest of the people of the state and the country at large.

“There has been claims and counter claims from different quarters as regard the management of the subsidy fund given by the federal government and other items too, on behalf of our people, we demand an investigation into the utility of the fund and other items supplied to the state.

** Afenifere leader, Seinde Arogbofa begs Akeredolu to forgive Deputy

Bashorun Seinde Arogbofa, the former Secretary-General of Afenifere, has appealed to the governor
Akeredolu, to consider forgiveness towards his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, if any wrongdoing has occurred.

Arogbofa, in a statement, called upon concerned and responsible citizens of Ondo to come forward and help diffuse “this brewing crisis, which, if allowed to escalate, could have detrimental consequences for the state.”

He expressed his concern that the current political tension could potentially disrupt the peace that the state’s founding fathers had envisioned.

According to him “the periodic conflicts between “some of our governors and their deputies” have exacerbated the socio-economic and political conditions within their respective regions.

“Our shared fear is that the current political storm between the governor and his deputy, stemming from allegations of disloyalty, may lead to a deep-seated animosity, hinder development, create disruptive tendencies within the political sphere, and subsequently impact the civil service and the well-being of ordinary citizens.”

“We wish to prevent such an outcome. Given the fragile economic and security situations in the country, it is essential for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches in Ondo state to collaborate closely to enhance the quality of life for the people.”

“The existing issue requires delicate handling to prevent any major crisis. We call upon our honorable members to be mindful of their reputations and consider the verdict of history. Therefore, we urge them to pursue fairness and justice to defuse the escalating tension.”

Ondo govt replies Group

The state government, has responded to the group on the location of the governor, that his location ” isn’t hindering any form of development in the state. In fact, the Governor, upon his return to the country, immediately held meetings with crucial stakeholders to discuss matters of state importance, showcasing his commitment to the state’s development irrespective of his location.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary,Richard Olatunde, said that “It’s noteworthy to mention that the Governor has recently signed the Local Council Development Area (LCDA) bill into Law. This is a progressive step towards the development of the state, further reinforcing the fact that the government is operational and effectively functioning.

” In the same vein, the various state ministries are delivering efficiently on their mandates. Specifically, the Ministry of the Budget and Economic Planning recently commenced a series of town hall meetings in preparation for the 2024 budget, demonstrating the government’s dedication to transparent and inclusive governance.

“As of this moment, construction work is in progress at the Onyarubulem-Shagari/Irese flyover, which is a significant landmark as the first flyover in Akure, the state capital, since Ondo State was created. This administration also constructed the first flyover in the state at Ore, further emphasizing its commitment to infrastructural development.

“The Governor has continually expressed appreciation to the good people of Ondo State for their unwavering support and prayers during his medical vacation. He issued a personal press statement, expressing his gratitude towards President Bola Tinubu, GCFR, the good people of Ondo State, and other distinguished Nigerians.

“Just last week, the Governor instructed the Ministry of Infrastructure, Lands & Housing to commence the permanent rehabilitation of the Akure-Owena-Ondo Road. This action was taken to prevent unnecessary hardship and loss of lives on the federal highways located within Ondo State territory.

“To alleviate the impact of fuel subsidy removal, the state government, through the palliative committee led by the Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa, is actively distributing palliatives to the state’s residents. Moreover, the state’s free school shuttle buses have resumed operations, providing transportation for children to school. Civil servants are also benefiting from special transportation arrangements to and from work.

“Significant progress is being made in the construction of the ultra-modern University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in Akure. Furthermore, the government ensures the prompt payment of workers’ salaries as and when due.

Olatunde added that ” The government is not only functional but also actively advancing the state’s development. The location of the Governor, therefore, should not be sensationalised, but rather, the focus should be on the tangible progress being made in the state. End