Nigeria: Ondo Governorship - Lawmakers Divided Over Move to Impeach Deputy Governor

Abuja — There are indications that lawmakers in Ondo State loyal to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and those backing his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, are heading for a showdown as a plot to impeach the deputy thickens.

Ajayi had last month dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is set to contest in the forthcoming governorship election in the state against Governor Oluwarotmi Akeredolu.

Already, 14 out of the 26 members of the parliament have commenced impeachment process against Ajayi and also addressed a notice to that effect to the Speaker, Mr Bamidele Oloyeloogun.

The anti-Ajayi lawmakers are hinging their stance on "Gross misconduct, financial recklessness, abuse of office with actions likely to bring down Ondo State Government" and four other allegations listed in the notice.

Those against Ajayi include Hon. Aderoboye Samuel (Odigbo II); Hon. Oladiji Olamide (Ondo East LGA); Hon. Festus Adefiranye (Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo); Hon. Adeyemi Olayemi (Owo II); Hon. Mohammed Taofik (Akoko North West II); Hon. Oluwole Ogunnolasuyi (Owo I) and Hon. Borokini Toluwani (Akure South I).

Others are: Hon. Gbegudu Ololade (Okitipupa 2); Hon. Abiodun Faleye (Akure North); Hon. Felemu Olusegun; Hon. Akintomide Akinrogunde (Okitipupa I), Hon. Towase Kuti (Akoko South-East); Akinruntan Abayomi (Ilaje I) and Hon. Oluyede Olushola (Ose).

However, nine other lawmakers, in a separate notice, have distanced themselves from the impeachment processes, while three others are yet to make their stand known.

The nine members who kicked against the impeachment are Iroju Ogundeji (deputy speaker), Jamiu Suleiman, Rasheed Elegbeleye, Tomide Akinrinbido, Samuel Ademola, Favour Tomemowo, Festus Akingbaso, Adewale Williams and Torhukerhijo Success.

In the letter, the members said, "We the underlisted elected honourable members of the 9th session of the Ondo State House of Assembly hereby append our signatures to clarify that we have resolved not to partake in the impeachment process of the Ondo State Deputy-Governor, H.E. Alfred Agboola Ajayi."

"In view of the above, we hereby bring to the notice of Mr Speaker, Rt. Hon. Bamidele David Oleyelogun, the entire honourable members of the Ondo State House of Assembly and the general public that we do not support the impeachment process and would not want to be associated with it based on personal conviction."

The speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, directed the clerk of the House, Bode Adeyelu, to serve the deputy governor with the impeachment notice.

He said the constitution empowered the assembly to investigate the allegation and proceed on impeachment if necessary on the deputy governor, adding that it could be done if necessary constitutional requirements were met.

Hon. Jamiu Maito, the Majority Leader, subsequently moved a motion for the adjournment of sitting to today and was seconded by Oluyede Fayide, representing Ose Constituency.

Present at the assembly were Mr Victor Olabimtan, special adviser on Political Matters to the state governor and Mr Ade Adetimehin, the state Chairman of the APC in the state.

I'm not perturbed - Ajayi

Responding, Ajayi said he had not been served with the impeachment notice, adding that he was not ruffled by the political situation surrounding his office.

The assembly, which is made of 26 members, requires 18 members to successfully carry out the impeachment.

With nine members dissociating themselves from the impeachment plan, the assembly does not have the required 18 to carry out the impeachment as spelt out in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution.

Meanwhile, the deputy governor has approached the court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights, which the impeachment seeks to breach.

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