PDP, Ondo Assembly differ on Court’s nullification of deputy governor’s impeachment

Ondo House of Assembly [Photo: ondostatemoi.gov.ng]
Ondo House of Assembly [Photo: ondostatemoi.gov.ng]

The Ondo State House of Assembly has said it will not challenge Friday’s Appeal Court judgement which invalidated the impeachment of the former deputy governor, Ali Olanusi.

But the People’s Democratic Party in the state wants the House to appeal the judgment for its “academic” relevance.

The court, in quashing Mr. Olanusi’s impeachment, held that the exercise by the House of Assembly in April 2015 was unconstitutional.

The house had removed him as deputy governor after he refused to follow the immediate past governor, Olusegun Mimiko, from the Labour Party on whose platform they were elected to the People’s Democratic Party, PPD, instead joined the All Progressives Congress.

The house, which impeached Mr. Olanusi, had 25 of its 26 members belonging to the PDP.

The Appeal Court also held that the former deputy governor was not accorded fair hearing before he was impeached.

The court ordered the restoration of the rights and benefits due to the former deputy governor from the time of his removal from office to the period his tenure elapsed.

Mr. Olanusi took his case to the Appeal Court after he failed to secure a favourable judgment at the a Federal High Court in Lagos, which on August 13, 2016, struck out his fundamental rights enforcement suit which he filed to challenge his impeachment.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Siji Akindiose, told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday that there was no need to challenge the Appeal Court’s decision in the interest of allowing “our nascent democracy to move faster.”

“I think we must give the court the respect, even when we were apparent mistakes,” Mr. Akindiose said.

“We have to defer to the courts because our democracy is still nascent, we have to concede some things so our democracy can grow faster.

“Institutions must be given the opportunity to make mistakes and then get corrected in order to move forward.”

But PDP’s Director of Publicity, Ayo Fadaka, said the appeal court’s judgment was both funny and academic.

He said there was too much interference of the judiciary in the business of the legislature, which is another and independent arm of government.

“The development is amusing and at the same time academic,” Mr. Fadaka said, when sought his views on the matter.

“It is amusing in the sense that the tenure of the former deputy governor has long expired. It is academic because he cannot go back to assume the office of a deputy governor.

“I wish the house will appeal this judgment at least for is academic value.

“We may say the deputy governor should be allowed to go and enjoy his retirement, but I wish the house would appeal the judgment.”

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