The counsel to the House of Assembly, Femi Emodamori, and some lawyers, including Messrs Jiti Ogunye and former lawmakers from Ondo State, have expressed disagreement over the move to impeach the embattled Deputy Governor of the state, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, accused of alleged gross misconduct.
Emodamori accused Aiyedatiwa of attempting to stop his impeachment through an interim order, stressing it was wrong to have approached the court when the process had not been completed.
He argued that if the lawmakers clearly and meticulously follow Section 188, no court, as stipulated in Section 10, has the power to intervene.
He said: “It is only when there are pure breaches of the law that the court may intervene. Now, the deputy governor hasn’t even been served, the notice was initiated by eleven members of the House, more than one-third required, and he didn’t wait to be served.
“He’s alleging violation of his right to a fair hearing that he’s not been served. That it’s within social media even when Section 188 says he should be served within seven days, and it’s not yet seven days.
“Rushing to court even before the panel is constituted is an abuse of judicial process. He doesn’t have a fundamental human right to protect at that stage. The body to hear him is the panel to be constituted by the Chief Judge. Until the body begins work, how do you complain about the violation to a fair hearing?”
Ogunye also faulted Aiyedatiwa for seeking a court order to stop the impeachment process.
He said: “The issue of principle here is that there is a route, under Section 188 of the Constitution, which says that ‘seven days you should receive a notice served by the Speaker on the holder of the office, be it governor or deputy governor’.
“Within 14 days, a vote is taken and, if two-third passes the matter, it goes to the Chief Judge of the state within seven days and then a panel is set up within three months and the report comes in.
“After the report comes in, if the report says no misconduct has been committed, the matter ends there. If it says misconduct is proven then the person is impeached.
“That’s the process. And so, if at the tail-end the process is not followed, the holder of the office has recourse to have him restored to power.
“The second one is the federalist principle which is very dear to me. You are a deputy governor of a state, you have a state high court, you are suing everybody in that state including the Chief Judge of that state, and you are taking them to a Federal Government court. That offends my federalist principle.”
Do Not Dare Wrath Of The People
Speaking on behalf of the former lawmakers, Abiodun Jerome, in an interview with Newsmen in Akure, warned the Assembly members against heating the polity by impeaching Aiyedatiwa.
He urged the Ondo Assembly to avoid turning themselves into a puppet in the hands of some desperate politicians.
He said: “The present House of Assembly is less than four months old, and it’s very unfortunate that impeachment proceeding is their priority amongst the myriad of critical issues confronting our state presently.
“We want to unequivocally state here that the House must be careful not to dare the wrath of the people by heating the polity.
“The Assembly must be very careful from turning themselves into a puppet in the hands of some desperate politicians.
“It is on this note that we challenge the present Assembly not to endorse a bad precedence by going ahead with this planned impeachment of the Deputy Governor.
“As critical stakeholders in Ondo State, we consider it incumbent that we do not fold our arms and watch our political labour and those of our pathfinders washed away by the interest of a clique within our political system.”