The Chief Judge of Ondo State has objected to the request of the state House of Assembly to set up a probe panel for the impeachment of Agboola Ajayi, deputy governor of the state, over allegations of gross misconduct.
Oluwatoyin Akeredolu rejected the request on the grounds that two-third majority as required by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution for setting up such panel was not formed in the assembly.
In a letter of July 7, Bamidele Oleyelogun, speaker of the assembly, had asked the chief judge to constitute a seven-man panel to probe Ajayi.
“It is in line with the above that request that you set up a seven-man panel to conduct the investigation as resolved by the honourable house and the panel shall, as soon as possible, report back to the House,” part of the letter read.
But the chief judge said she had received a letter from Ajayi’s lawyers stating that the process of impeachment was sub-judice.
Nine of the lawmakers had written to Akeredolu dissociating themselves from the ongoing plot to remove the deputy governor.
The lawmakers are Iroju Ogundeji, Jamiu Maito, Rasheed Elegbeleye, Tomide Akinribido, Samuel Ademola, Favour Semilore, Festus Akingbaso, Williams Adekunle and Success Torhukerhijo.
“Kindly be informed that nine under-listed elected Honourable members of Ondo State House of Assembly have duly dissociated ourselves from the ongoing impeachment process of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, H.E. (Hon.) Agboola Alfred Ajayi in a letter dated 7th July, 2020 to the Clerk and the Clerk and the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, herewith attached,” the letter read.
“We want to state and confirm to your good office that we maintain our stand by dissociating ourselves from the impeachment process. We are not in support of the impeachment based on our individual personal conviction.
“We rest assured that your Lordship will uphold Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) particularly Section 188 (3) (4) (5) – (11).
“It is equally worthy of note that the total membership of Ondo state House of Assembly is 26 in which 2/3 is 18 and this remains the constitutionally required number irrespective of any arbitrary suspension.
“We are writing to call your attention to the fact that all or some of us who are signatories to this letter may be suspended in order to circumvent the provision of the constitution of Nigeria, which we all swore to uphold and protect, including your honourable Lordship, as this will be contrary to the laws of the land.”