Following the expiration of the seven days ultimatum it gave Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to respond to allegations of gross misconduct made against him by some lawmakers, the Ondo House of Assembly is now set to proceed with his impeachment.
This is in spite of an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, restraining the House from doing so until the court determines a suit filed by Mr Aiyedatiwa.
But the House said the court cannot stop the exercise, saying it is protected by the Nigerian Constitution against the interference of courts.
The House also responded to another suit filed by Mr Aiyedatiwa before the State High Court by describing the suit as an abuse of court process.
At its sitting on Tuesday, the legislative house noted that Mr Aiyedatiwa was yet to respond to the notice of allegations against him.
“The impeachment process will continue in line with the 1999 Constitution since the deputy governor failed to respond within seven days stipulated by the law,” the Speaker, Olamide Oladiji, said.
He issued a fresh directive to the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Olusegun Odusola, to “immediately” set up a seven-person panel to investigate the allegations levelled against the deputy governor.
Mr Odusola is joined in the suit filed by the deputy governor at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Counsel to the assembly, Femi Emodamori, had earlier stated while urging the court to dismiss the suit that the House of Assembly had not breached the impeachment procedure stipulated in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He urged the State High Court to dismiss Mr Aiyedatiwa’s suit as he had earlier filed another suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, “thereby turning the suit at the Ondo State High Court to multiplicity of action, forum shopping, and a gross abuse of judicial process.”
The assembly has also protested against the order issued by the Federal High Court, and asked the National Judicial Commission to sanction the judge.
The impeachment is a fallout of a sustained animosity between the deputy governor and elements in the state government loyal to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
The fracture occurred shortly after the governor took Ill and was flown abroad for treatment, following which his powers were transferred to Mr Aiyedatiwa as acting governor.
The national secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had earlier set up a panel to look into the crisis, but some party elements told PREMIUM TIMES that the intervention is coming too late.
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