IMPEACHMENT; Ondo Assembly reactivates proceedings, directs CJ to set up panel on Deputy Gov again
Ondo State House of Assembly has directed the state Chief Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, to constitute a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
The Speaker of the assembly, Mr Olamide Oladiji, in a letter addressed to the chief judge on Monday in Akure said that the Federal High Court order, which appeared to have been causing delay in the impeachment process, had been vacated.
“The Ondo State House of Assembly had, on 3rd October, 2023, requested Your Lordship to constitute a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct levelled by the House against the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa,” he said.
According to Oladiji, the move is in line with Section 188 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“In a reply letter, dated October 6, 2023, your lordship acknowledged and quoted Section 188 (10) of the constitution which states that:
“No proceedings or determination of the House of Assembly or the panel or any matter relating so such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.
“Your lordship, however, opined that until the ex parte order made on September 26, 2023 by the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court restraining you from setting up the panel was either vacated or set aside, your hands would continue to be tied.
“However, from the facts and legal advice at the disposal of the House, the said order has now elapsed and/or become extinguished by the operation of the law, in view of the clear provisions of Order 26, Rule 10(2) and (3) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019,” Oladiji said in the letter.
He further stated that in view of the verdict of the Federal Court, the chief judge would agree that the said order had elapsed by the operation of the law.
The speaker said that the order could no longer constitute an encumbrance for Odusola to discharge “the sacred constitutional obligation” placed on his office by virtue of Section 188(5) of the constitution to set up the panel.
“Consequently, the 10th Ondo State House of Assembly hereby calls on your lordship to kindly constitute the panels without any further delay,” Oladiji said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the assembly had, on Sept. 21, served Aiyedatiwa an impeachment notice over allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him.
Upon the expiration of the seven days given to the deputy governor to respond to the allegations, the assembly had directed the chief judge to set up a panel, in line with the provisions of the constitution.
However, the chief judge, in a letter to the speaker of the assembly, dated Oct. 12, declined setting up the seven-man panel, citing an ex-parte order from an Abuja Federal High Court as the reason for his non-compliance. (NAN)