THE FEDERAL in Abuja on Tuesday restrained the Ondo State House of Assembly from impeaching Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa over alleged gross misconduct.
Justice Emeka Nwite gave the ruling shortly after Aiyedatiwa’s counsel, Kayode Adewusi, moved the ex-parte motion to the effect.
The judge also restrained Governor Rotimi Akeredolu from nominating a new deputy governor and forwarding the same to the lawmakers for approval pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
Justice Nwite said after listening to Adewusi, he was of the view that the interest of justice would be met by granting the application. “Therefore, the application of the applicant succeeds,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the embattled deputy governor had, in a motion on notice marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1294/2023, sued the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police and the Department of State Services (DSS).
Others are Governor Akeredoku, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chief Judge of Ondo State and the House of Assembly as 1st to 6th respondents respectively.
In the application dated and filed by Adelanke Akinrata on 21st September, Aiyedatiwa sought four reliefs.
The judge further made an order of interim injunction restraining Governor Akeredolu, his servants or privies from harassing, intimidating, embarrassing and preventing Aiyedatiwa from carrying out the functions of his office as deputy governor of Ondo State.
Justice Nwite, who granted all the reliefs, adjourned the matter until 9th October for hearing.
NAN reports that the deputy governor had, also in another suit marked: AK/348/2023 prayed the High Court in Akure to stop the state’s House of Assembly from proceeding with the impeachment proceedings against him pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed in the court on Monday.
Meanwhile a non-profit organisation, Ondo State Conscience Movement (OCM), on Tuesday urged Ondo State House of Assembly not to allow itself to be tainted with political witch-hunts or targeted vendettas.
The charge came on the heels of the house’s plan of impeachment against Deputy Governor Aiyedatiwa.
OCM’s chairman, Shalom Olaseni, in a statement issued in Akure said that actions regarding the impeachment process must be in strict compliance with constitutional provisions.
The Ondo State House of Assembly served Aiyedatiwa an impeachment notice through substituted service on Monday.
According to Olaseni, the group represents the voices of concerned citizens and is deeply committed to upholding the principles of democracy and the rule of law in Ondo State and beyond.
He stated that the group deemed it appropriate in the interest of justice and posterity to present its position on the political drama and debacle that had engulfed the state lately.
“We insist that the grounds for the impeachment of Aiyedatiwa must in itself be unimpeachable.
“The impeachment process must also be firmly rooted in identifiable ultra vires actions that the Constitution explicitly outlines as legitimate grounds for impeachment.
“It is our unwavering belief that the legislature should not allow itself to be tainted with political witch-hunts or targeted vendettas as has been rumoured in various quarters in the state.
“We believe that the lawmakers’ powers must be wielded with utmost consciousness of their representative capacity on behalf of the people of Ondo State, rather than being exercised flimsily and on a whim.
“We implore the Assembly to consider that the speed, focus, and determination with which the impeachment agenda is being pursued could have been effectively channelled to address genuine issues of governance,’’ Olaseni stated.
He added that the movement remained committed to ensuring that justice, transparency, and the rule of law prevailed in Ondo State.
“We call on all stakeholders within and outside Ondo State to join in this noble cause to safeguard democracy and ensure that Ondo State thrives as a beacon of good governance,” he stressed. (NAN)