Embattled Ondo State Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa yesterday lost a bid to stall his impeachment by the House of Assembly.
The Federal High Court in Abuja rejected his request for an indefinite adjournment of his case challenging the impeachment.
In a ruling, Justice Emeka Nwite dismissed Aiyedatiwa’s application for indefinite adjournment of his suit, pending the outcome of the intervention in the crisis by the peace committee set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to reconcile him and his principal, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
The court fixed October 30 to hear all pending applications by parties in the case.
However, anti-Akeredolu protests began yesterday at the Ondo State secretariat of the opposition Peoples Democratic (PDP) in Akure by youths who vowed to continue the demonstration until the governor return to the state
The governor fired back, saying that he was in charge of the affairs of the state.
Akeredolu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, warned the PDP against sensationalism.
Aiyedatiwa, through his lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), had urged the court to suspend proceedings in the case indefinitely, pending when the National Judicial Council (NJC) would dispenses with a petition written against Justice Nwite by the Ondo State House of Assembly.
Justice Nwite, in his ruling, held that it was in the interest of justice for the court to hear the suit.
The judge added that it was improper to grant indefinite adjournment because there are other political parties, whose members are in the House of Assembly.
He noted that lawyers to the defendants have also indicated that they were not interested in the reconciliatory effort.
Following the ruling, the court heard from lawyers to parties on how they would proffer the court to proceed.
After listening to the lawyers’ different suggestions, Justice Nwite ruled that he will hear all pending applications on October 30.
He said the court will hear the notice of preliminary objection filed by Akeredolu and the counter-affidavit filed by Aiyedatiwa.
The judge also agreed to hear, on the next day, an application filed by the House of Assembly and its Speaker challenging the jurisdiction of the court, along with a motion for a stay of the execution of the interim orders made by the court on September 26, stopping further impeachment action against Aiyedatiwa.
PDP begins protests
Spokesman for the Ondo PDP, Kennedy Peretei, spoke with reporters on the protest after security operatives stormed the secretariat of the PDP to stop the protest.
The combined team of policemen and Directorate of State Service (DSS) officials were at the PDP Secretariat with an Amourned Personnel Carrier (APC) and over eight Hilux vehicles.
Many people were prevented from gaining access into the secretariat.
Sources said the security operatives took the step to prevent a clash between the PDP protesters and Akeredolu’s supporters.
Sources said some persons were arrested on Sunday night and released yesterday with a warning not to cause trouble in the state.
Peretei complained that the staff of the secretariat were denied access to their offices.
He called on the Inspector General of Police and the Ondo Commissioner of Police to immediately withdraw their men from the secretariat.
Peretei said: “It took frantic efforts of members of the PDP State Working Committee before the secretariat gate was opened amidst serious tension and confrontation.
“As much as the officers tried to stop the protest, they failed because the youths displayed their banners and placards to journalists who gained entrance into the secretariat.
“We cannot be intimidated by security agents who are paid with taxpayers’ money. We have the right to demand for the whereabouts of the governor if he is missing in action”.
Another PDP chieftain, Akintade Tayo, said the party members were embarrassed because security agencies were notified to avoid holding the party responsible for any breakdown of law and order.
Ondo Police spokesman Superintendent of Police Funmilayo Odunlami-Omisanya said policemen were at the PDP Secretariat to maintain law and order.
She said the police received a letter that was not signed by any official of the PDP, but by one Oluyi Tayo.
She said: “There was nothing to show in the letter who wanted to protest. There was no number and we wanted to protect the PDP. We do not want any protest without known organisers. From our background check, we are not sure Tayo is actually the chairman of the PDP Youth Wing.”
Akeredolu to protesters: I am in charge
Akeredolu, who insisted he was in charge of the state, warned against sensationalism saying that PDP should focus on tangible progress being made in the state.
He in the statement that his location has not hindered any form of development in the state.
Akeredolu said his commitment to development has not slacked, irrespective of his location, recalling that he recently signed the Local Council Development Area (LCDA) bill into Law.
The statement reads: “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.
“Just few weeks ago, 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.”
By Eric Ikhilae
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