The Ondo State Chief Judge has rejected the House of Assembly’s request to set up a 7-man probe panel to investigate the Deputy Governor of the State, Agboola Ajayi.
Ajayi recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and he has indicated interest to run against Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the governor, in the October gubernatorial elections.
The Ondo State National Assembly on Tuesday commenced the impeachment process against Ajayi.
Fourteen members of the assembly asked the clerk of the house to serve a notice of impeachment on the deputy governor.
Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun in a letter dated July 7, 2020, asked the Ondo Chief Judge to constitute a seven-man panel to probe Ajayi.
The letter read in part:
“By the resolution of the house today pursuant to Section 188 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it was resolved that the allegations be investigated forthwith.
“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.”
However, the Ondo Chief Judge has rejected their request to set up a probe panel.
In a letter dated July 9, 2020, and addressed to the speaker of the house, the Ondo Chief Judge, with reference to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) said a Governor or Deputy may be impeached if they are guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of their office.
The letter read in part:
“A motion of the House of Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having passed unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of the House of Assembly…
“The notice to be served on him (Ajayi) must state that he is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office and must specify the particulars of the gross misconduct.
Meanwhile, nine of the lawmakers wrote to the Ondo Chief Judge dissociating themselves from the ongoing plot to remove the deputy governor. They are Iroju Ogundeji, Jamiu Maito, Raaheed Elegbeleye, Tomide Akinribido, Samuel Ademola, Favour Semilore, Festus Akingbaso, Williams Adekunle and Success Torhukerhijo.
Similarly, the Deputy Governor has denied receiving any impeachment notice.
Below is a letter from the Ondo State Chief Judge addressed to the Speaker of the House.