The Chief Judge of Ondo State, Oluwatoyin Akeredolu has refused the request of the State Assembly to initiate impeachment proceedings against the deputy Governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi.
The latest development comes as a result of the political battle between Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy Agboola Ajayi who has decamped to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In consequence of his action, APC lawmakers in the Ondo State House of Assembly initiated impeachment proceedings against the embattled deputy Governor but did not succeed as nine of the 24 members of the House objected to the impeachment of Agboola.
Despite the failed attempt within the House, the Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun wrote a letter to the Chief Judge and asked her to assemble a seven-man panel to probe the deputy Governor for impeachable offences.
“It is in line with the above that request that you set up a seven-man panel to conduct the investigation as resolved by the honourable house and the panel shall, as soon as possible, report back to the House,” excerpts from the letter read.
The Chief Judge however rejected the request on the grounds that the House did not reach the decision with the necessary two-thirds majority as required by the 1999 constitution.
She also noted that she had received a letter from the lawyers of the estranged deputy governor that the impeachment process in the House was sub-judice.
The Nine dissenting state lawmakers also wrote to the Chief Judge saying they were not a party to the impeachment process of Agboola Ajayi as deputy Governor of Ondo State.
Excerpts from the letter read;
“Kindly be informed that nine under-listed elected Honourable members of Ondo State House of Assembly have duly dissociated ourselves from the ongoing impeachment process of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, H.E.( Hon.) Agboola Alfred Ajayi in a letter dated 7th July 2020 to the Clerk and the Clerk and the Rt. Hon. 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 individual personal conviction.
“We rest assured that your Lordship will uphold Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) particularly Section 188 (3) (4) (5) – (11).
“It is equally worthy of note that the total membership of Ondo state House of Assembly is 26 in which 2/3 is 18 and this remains the constitutionally required number irrespective of any arbitrary suspension.
“We are writing to call your attention to the fact that all or some of us who are signatories to this letter may be suspended in order 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.”