Details have emerged on why the Ondo State House of Assembly jettisoned a move by the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop its move to impeach the Deputy Governor of the state, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
The national chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Ganduje, had met with a delegation of the Ondo Assembly led by its speaker, Oladiji Olamide, where it was resolved that the impeachment process be put on hold to allow for a political solution to the crisis.
It was gathered that one of the clauses at the meeting was for Aiyedatiwa to withdraw various cases he filed to stall the impeachment.
Sources said the Ondo Assembly opted to continue with the impeachment process when it received no notice that Aiyedatiwa had withdrawn the cases.
On Monday, October 23, the speaker Oladiji wrote a letter to the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Olusegun Odusola, to constitute a panel to investigate allegations raised against Aiyedatiwa in line with Section 188 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Speaker Oladiji reminded Justice Odusola that the restraining Order of an Abuja High Court has elapsed or became extinguished by the operation of the law, in view of the provisions of Order 26 Rule 10(2) & (3) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019.
Oladiji said the court has not heard the Motion the Assembly filed to discharge the Order and/or strike out the case for want of jurisdiction.
According to the letter, “The Court has not taken the application or renewed the Order, as evident in the Certified True Copy of the Court’s record of proceedings for October 9, 2023 and October 16, 2023.
“In fact, in Exhibit ODHA3, it was recorded that the motion was served on the Plaintiff in Court on October 9, 2023, after which the matter was adjourned to October 16, 2023.
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“In view of the above facts, your lordship would agree that the said Order has elapsed by the operation of the law, and no longer constitutes an encumbrance for your lordship to discharge the sacred constitutional obligation placed on your office by virtue of Section 188(5) of the Constitution to set up the Seven-man Panel.
“Consequently, the 10th Ondo State House of Assembly hereby calls on your lordship to kindly constitute the Panel without any further delay.”
The majority Leader of the Assembly, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, insisted that the impeachment process was never suspended.
Ogunmolasuyi said the Assembly did not receive any evidence that Aiyedatiwa withdrew the court cases.
The Majority Leader said 23 lawmakers agreed that the Chief Judge should constitute the Panel.
He noted: “Should we wait for the party before we perform our duty? As an arm of government, we have followed due process and the impeachment process has never been suspended.
“This is a constitutional issue. There is an allegation which we have furnished the Deputy Governor and he has not replied.”
By Osagie Otabor
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