Three months to the governorhsip election in Ondo State, tension and controversy has trailed the actions of the main political actors in the state.
In the past week, lawmakers commenced impeachment proceedings against the state’s deputy governor; the state’s chief judge rejected the impeachment move; the Secretary to the State Government resigned while the chairman of the ruling party in a local government also resigned.
These are many others are included in this weekly round-up of political happenings in Ondo in preparation for the election.
Deputy governor sues assembly
The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, on Monday sued the House of Assembly over alleged plans to remove him from office after leaving the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)..
Mr Ajayi, through his lawyer, I. Olatoke, filed a suit seeking to halt the impeachment proceeding at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Aside from the House of Assembly, the suit filed by his lawyer has the Inspector General of Police, State Commissioner Of Police, State Security Service (SSS) and the Speaker of the Assembly, David Oleyeloogun, as defendants.
SSG resigns, attacks Akeredolu
The Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Ifedayo Abegunde, resigned his appointment from the Rotimi Akeredolu administration.
Speaking on his resignation, he said Mr Akeredolu made him suffer as “he didn’t release any fund for my office grants.” He also alleged that Mr Akeredolu did not win the 2016 election to become governor.
Mr Abegunde said he and other unnamed persons helped Mr Akeredolu become governor despite not winning the election.
In his reaction, Mr Akeredolu, called on security agencies to probe the allegations made by former SSG as he disclosed that he had never supported electoral fraud and would not do so in the October 10 election.
Commencement of deputy governor’s impeachment process
The state assembly on Tuesday began impeachment proceedings against Mr Ajayi over alleged gross misconduct, abuse of office, financial recklessness, and abandonment of office and official duties.
Mr Ajayi’s removal is supported by 14 of Ondo’s 26 lawmakers while nine others dissociated themselves from the impeachment. The stance of three lawmakers has not been publicly stated.
Deputy Speaker Suspended
The Ondo Assembly on Wednesday suspended its deputy speaker, Irioju Ogundeji, and two other members of the House, Adewale Williams and Favour Tomomewo, for kicking against the planned impeachment of Mr Ajayi.
The three suspended lawmakers were among the nine lawmakers that opposed plans to remove Mr Ajayi
After the suspension of the three lawmakers, another lawmaker and supporter of Mr Ajayi, Jamiu Maito, resigned from his position.
Mr Maito was the majority leader of the assembly and his resignation was read by the Clerk of the House, Bode Adeyelu, during the plenary session.
Assembly writes Chief Judge to set up investigative panel
On Thursday, the Ondo assembly announced that it has written the chief judge of the state, Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, to set up a seven-member panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct levelled against Mr Ajayi.
The lawmakers said the setting up of the panel was in line with section 188 (5) of the 1999 constitution as amended. They also asked the judicial arm to report back to the House as soon as possible.
But Mrs Akeredolu in her response to the letter rejected the request on the grounds that two-third majority as required by the 1999 constitution for setting up of such a probe panel was not formed in the assembly.
The chief judge also said she had received a letter from Mr Ajayi’s lawyers stating that the process of impeachment was sub judice.
11 Ondo APC aspirants reject indirect primary
On Friday, 11 governorship aspirants of the ruling party sent a formal letter to the party’s Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CEONCPC) rejecting the indirect mode of primary announced by the party for its July 20 election.
Only one aspirant, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, did not append his signature on the letter.
Mr Akeredolu is believed to prefer the indirect primary which allows voting by delegates and officials of the party.
Those who rejected the indirect mode are Joseph Iji, Odimayo Okunjimi, Olayide Adelami, Issacs Kekemeke, Olusola Oke, lfeoluwa Oyedele and Olajumoke Anifowoshe.
Others are Awodeyi Colinus, Olubukola Adetula, Abraham Olusegun and Nathaniel Adojutelegan.
APC chairman resigns from party
The Chairman of APC in Ese- Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, Samuel Olorunwa, resigned his membership of the party.
He tendered his resignation letter on Friday at the APC state secretariat in Akure.
He is a close ally of Mr Ajayi, who is now in PDP.
Deputy gov asks court to jail lawmakers for contempt
Mr Ajayi, on Friday, asked the Federal High Court in Akure to jail the 26 members of the state House of Assembly for contempt.
He asked the court to impose one-year imprisonment on the lawmakers for “deliberately plotting and executing plans to impeach him” despite his suit filed at the Abuja division of the court challenging the impeachment process.
He also asked the court to set aside all the actions so far taken by the lawmakers, including the impeachment notice served on him on July 7, since he filed his suit on June 26, 2020.