Impeachment: Ondo deputy speaker speaks on suspension

Ondo House of Assembly [Photo:]
Ondo House of Assembly [Photo:]

The suspended deputy speaker of the Ondo State of Assembly, Iroju Ogundeji, has described his suspension and that of his two other colleagues by the House leadership as an illegality that cannot stand.

He told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that they were not given a fair hearing and that the action was contrary to the provisions of the constitution.

Mr Ogundeji and his colleagues were suspended on Wednesday as he led eight other members of the house against the planned impeachment of the deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi.

The leadership of the House had accused Mr Iroju of misconduct and unruly behavior and said he and his colleagues breached the standing orders and code of conduct of the House.

“The purported suspension has no place in law. It is vexatious and it is unconstitutional. It is very arbitrary,” Mr Ogundeji said.

“Those allegations are baseless. We were not given fair hearing. Even the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria makes room for fair hearing.

“However, (in) the code of conduct of the state House of Assembly and standing orders of the state House of Assembly, there is nowhere members duly elected to represent a constituency can be impeached or suspended at any time and at any point.”

Mr Ogundeji said the suspension was a reprisal from the House leadership following the setback it suffered after nine of the members rejected the impeachment plan.

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“The reason they have carried out the suspension is not so farfetched. On the 7th of July on the floor of the House few members signed the notice of impeachment of the deputy governor Hon. Agboola Ajayi,” He said.

“Some of us who do not hold such belief, who hold our conscience and integrity in high esteem, decided that we will not be part of the process, and we wrote to the speaker, including the clerk of the House, dissociating ourselves from the impeachment process.

“Our decision so far is a setback to the people behind the impeachment. This is the major reason behind our suspension no more, no less.”

Mr Ogundeji noted that their next line of action would be determined after an interface with members of their respective constituencies.

He also said that any attempt by the House leadership to forcefully carry out the impeachment outside the law will be resisted and will amount to a nullity.

The law requires 17 members of the House which is taken as two-third of the total 26 members of the House to successfully impeach the deputy governor.

However, given the fact that the speaker has no votes unless there is a tie, the impeachment process has been viewed by many political analysts to have failed.

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