The Ondo State House of Assembly has directed the Chief Judge of the state, Olusegun Odusola, to constitute a panel to investigate allegations of gross misconduct levelled against Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
The House had on Monday served the deputy governor with the notice of the allegations, the first formal step in impeachment proceedings.
Mr Aiyedatiwa had, in response, approached the state high court in Akure, seeking to halt the process.
He also prayed the court to restrain the chief judge from constituting any panel for his impeachment.
He denied any wrongdoing, saying he had been loyal to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu while the governor was abroad on medical leave.
But at an extraordinary session on Monday evening, the lawmakers directed the chief judge to constitute a panel to investigate Mr Aiyedatiwa.
Presenting a motion, the Majority Leader of the House, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, said the move is in line with the Nigerian constitution.
The motion was seconded by Tope Komolafe who represents Ifedore State Constituency.
“In line with the Nigerian Constitution, Section 188 Sub Section 4-5, the Chief Judge of the State shall as requested by the House of Assembly, appoint a panel of seven persons who are of unquestionable character, integrity to investigate the allegation as regarded by the section,” the motion stated.
The speaker, Olamide Oladiji, in his comments, said the lawmakers have a duty to investigate any allegation against an official in line with the constitution.
He said the House would follow due process in its actions on the issue.
Mr Oladiji then directed the chief judge to set up a seven-member panel of inquiry to investigate the allegation against the deputy governor.
“The Chief Judge is hereby implored to appoint a panel of seven persons who are of unquestionable integrity to investigate the allegation against the Deputy Governor and report to the house,” he said.
“The Deputy Governor is hereby given seven days to respond to the letter written to him by this honourable House.”
In the letter to the deputy governor, the House made generic accusations of “gross misconduct’ against Mr Aiyedatiwa.
“At its plenary sitting on Wednesday 20th September 2023, a notice of allegations of gross misconduct against your excellency duly signed by Eleven (11) Honourable members of the Ondo State House of Assembly was considered on the floor of the house,” the letter read.
“Allegations against your excellency are: (I) Gross misconduct (II) abuse of office with actions likely to bring down Ondo State Government. (III) Financial recklessness (IV) Publications in print media by your media aides maligning the credibility of the Governor, etc.
“Pursuant to the provision of Section 188(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) that Your Excellency should be availed with a copy of the notice for you to respond to the allegations contained therein.”
Although he has been accused of “gross misconduct,” Mr Aiyedatiwa’s travails arose from alleged disloyalty to Mr Akeredolu when the latter was incapacitated.
Mr Akeredolu returned from medical treatment in Germany two weeks ago but has since been running the state government from his private residence in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Agboola Ajayi, who was Mr Akeredolu’s deputy in his first term 2016-2020), survived an impeachment process after he was similarly accused of disloyalty to the governor.
Mr Akeredolu has just over a year left in office.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999