Ondo Deputy Asks Court to Stop Assembly On Impeachment
The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has asked the Ondo State High Court to stop the Ondo State House of Assembly from proceeding with the impeachment proceedings against him pending the hearing and determination of the suit that he has filed in court.
In Suit No. AK/348/2023 filed at the High Court in Akure on Monday September 25, 2023, the Deputy Governor is seeking a declaration that the House of Assembly is not competent to proceed on his impeachment in breach of his constitutional and fundamental rights to fair hearing, that the sacking of his media aides and subjecting him to the Ministry of Information headed by a Commissioner amounts to a breach of his rights and privileges as a Deputy Governor, declaration that his office, tenure, status, rights and privileges are protected, guaranteed and secured by the Constitution, declaration that in the determination of his civil rights and obligations as a Deputy Governor of Ondo State by the House of Assembly, he is entitled to fair hearing and that given the utterances and conduct of the House of Assembly so far, there is likelihood of bias against the Deputy Governor in the impeachment process, that in conducting media trials against the Deputy Governor without serving him with any notice of gross misconduct, the House Assembly has constituted itself into accuser, investigator, prosecutor and the judge.
Mr. Aiyedatiwa then sought for orders of injunction to stop the House of Assembly from initiating, continuing or proceeding with the process of his removal from office as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State. He also seeks an order to stop the Chief Judge of Ondo State from accepting or acting upon any request from the House of Assembly of Ondo State to set up any panel to investigate any acts of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor.
Named as defendants in the suit filed by human rights lawyer and legal luminary Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN are the Ondo State Government, the Governor of Ondo State, Ondo State House of Assembly, the Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, the Clerk of Ondo State House of Assembly and the Chief Judge of Ondo State.
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In the affidavit in support of the originating summons, it was stated that the House of Assembly embarked upon a media trial of the Deputy Governor purely to scandalize him and to incite public opinion against him, when indeed no notice of acts of alleged gross misconduct was served on him. It is stated further that the House of Assembly is persecuting the Deputy Governor without lawful basis in conspiracy with certain persons who are gladiators in political circles.
All attempts made to serve the court processes on the House of Assembly have so far been rebuffed, as policemen at the gate denied access to the court bailiff and also counsel from the office of solicitors to the Claimant. It narrated the loyalty of the Deputy Governor since he assumed office in the face of the health challenges of the Governor and how he led the entire State in prayers for the recovery of the Governor. The Deputy Governor denied any act of wrong doing, stating that he has been loyal to the Governor all through their tenure.
In a letter dated September 25 2023 from the Chambers of Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN and Co and delivered in the office of the Chief Judge of Ondo State, copies of the Court processes were duly attached for the information of the Chief Judge.
In the Originating Summons, the Deputy Governor is seeking the following reliefs:
“A. A DECLARATION that the office, tenure and status of the Claimant as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State are creations and establishment of the Constitution by virtue of Sections 186 and 187 of the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and the same cannot be tampered with, altered, shortened, withdrawn or jeopardized by the Defendants except and in a manner permitted by law.
B. A DECLARATION as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, the office, tenure, status, rights and privileges of the Claimant are protected, secured, guaranteed, governed and regulated under and by the relevant provisions such as sections, 188, 189, 190 and 191 of the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and they are to be enjoyed by the Claimant without let or hindrance from the Defendants except and in a manner permitted by law.
C. A DECLARATION that as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, the Claimant is entitled to the rights and privileges attached to his office, including but not limited to his media details and other aides attached to his office.
D. A DECLARATION that in the determination of his civil rights and obligations as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, the Claimant is entitled fair hearing from the Defendants and the Defendants are not entitled to take any step or decision in violation of the Claimant’s right to fair hearing.
E. A DECLARATION that the dismissal of all the media aides and press crew attached to the office of the Claimant as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State by the 1st and 2nd Defendants without prior notice to the Claimant is unreasonable, vindictive, malicious, unconstitutional, illegal and null and void.
F. A DECLARATION that the Defendants are not entitled to arbitrarily, forcefully, illegally, unduly or in any other manner howsoever interfere with, encroach upon and/or infringe on the constitutional rights and functions of the of the Claimant as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State without due process of law as contained in the relevant provisions of the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).
G. A DECLARATION that as a democratically elected Deputy Governor of Ondo State in a joint ticket with the 2nd Defendant, State, the Claimant is entitled to remain in office as such, freely exercise his rights and discharge his constitutional duties as Deputy Governor of Ondo State within the full time allocated to the office by the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).
H. A DECLARATION that the Defendants are not entitled to take any steps in pursuit of the removal of the Claimant from his office as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State in flagrant violation of his constitutional and fundamental rights.
I. A DECLARATION that the 3rd-5th Defendants are not entitled to constitute themselves into investigators, prosecutors and judge over trumped up allegations against the Claimant in relation to his office, tenure and status as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.
J. A DECLARATION that the 6th Defendant, the Honourable Chief Judge of Ondo State is not entitled to receive, act upon and/or consider any request from the 3rd – 5th Defendants for the purpose of constituting a panel to investigate any purported allegation and/or for the removal of the Claimant from office as Deputy Governor of Ondo State in violation of the constitutional and fundamental rights of the Claimant.
K. INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants and their agents, privies and representatives from interfering with, restricting, disempowering and/or preventing the Claimant from discharging his constitutional duties and functions as the duly elected Deputy Governor of Ondo State in a joint and equal ticket with the Governor of the Ondo State.
L. AN ORDER forthwith reinstating/restoring the full and total rights and privileges attached or accruing to the office of the Claimant as duly elected Deputy Governor of Ondo State which include, but not limited to the restoration of all media aides and press crew attached to the office of the Claimant as Deputy Governor of Ondo State.
M. AN ORDER setting aside any purported process or notice of any allegation of Gross Misconduct against the Claimant on the ground that such process or notice is a violation of Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
N. SUCH FURTHER OR OTHER ORDER (S) as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”