Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the deputy governor of Ondo State, has taken legal action to halt the impeachment proceedings initiated by the House of Assembly.
His counsel, Ebun-olu Adegboruwa (SAN), filed a lawsuit asserting that his removal would infringe upon his constitutional and fundamental rights to a fair hearing.
He was worried that the Assembly didn’t give him a chance to address the allegations against him.
Politics Nigeria reported that the House of Assembly, on Monday, instructed the chief judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, to form a seven-member panel to investigate the accusations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor.
The majority leader, Emmanuel Ogunmolasuyi, cited Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as the basis for the motion.
Speaker Olamide Oladiji said it was imperative to investigate the allegation in line with the constitution.
He directed Justice Odusola to set up a Seven-Man Panel on inquiry to investigate the allegations against the deputy governor and report to the house.
Oladiji added: “The deputy governor is hereby given seven days to respond to the letter written to him by this honourable house”
The deputy governor accused the lawmakers of persecution and media trial in order to incite the public against him.
Aiyedatiwa reiterated his loyalty to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and expressed awareness of certain “political gladiators” who were instigating the Assembly to remove him.
The defendants listed in the lawsuit include the state government, Akeredolu, the speaker, the clerk of the assembly, and the chief judge of the state, Justice Ayedun Odusola.
The lawsuit was filed amidst Speaker Olamide Oladiji’s claim of encountering a strange object in front of his official residence in Akure.
Oladiji also mentioned receiving threatening phone calls since the impeachment process began. However, former national secretary of Afenifere, Seinde Arogbofa, and the Ondo Redemption Front (ORF) advised against removing the deputy governor.
The Assembly had last week written to Aiyedatiwa to answer issues contained in a petition by nine lawmakers.
One of the issues is that he tried to purchase an N300 million bulletproof Sports Utility Van when Akeredolu was on medical vacation.
In the suit, Aiyedatiwa sought the following declarations:
“That the Assembly is not competent to proceed with his impeachment
“That sacking of his media aides and subjecting him to the Ministry of Information headed by a Commissioner amounted to a breach of his rights and privileges as a deputy governor.
“That his office, tenure, status, rights and privileges were protected, guaranteed and secured by the 1999 Constitution.
“That in the determination of his civil rights and obligations as a deputy governor, he is entitled to a fair hearing
“That there is a likelihood of bias against him in the impeachment process given the utterances and conduct of the Assembly.”
Aiyedatiwa further urged the court to stop the state’s chief judge from accepting any request from the Assembly to set up a panel to investigate any act of misconduct against him.
He accused the assembly of constituting itself as an accuser, investigator, prosecutor and judge by conducting media trials against him.
In an affidavit to support the originating summons, Aiyedatiwa claimed that the media trial was to scandalise and incite public opinion against him.