Eniola Akinkuotu and Rahmon Oladimeji
Alhaji Ali Olanusi on Monday described his removal by the Ondo State House of Assembly as deputy governor as a huge joke.
Olanusi’s travails began a month ago when he dumped the Peoples Democratic Party for the All Progressives Congress.
In condemning his impeachment, he reminded the lawmakers of an April 23 court order that the status could be maintained in respect of his office.
He said, “Another action in respect of the same office and the impeachment process is pending in court and will come up on May 7, 2015.
“I think public office holders and people who are put in positions to defend the Nigerian constitution must be law abiding.
“In the light of this disobedience to a court order and the impunity displayed in the course of the impeachment proceedings, the deputy governor is on solid ground. The action is illegal and a juge joke.”
Olanusi’s impeachment followed the submission on Monday of a report by the seven-man panel constituted by Chief Judge Olasehinde Kumuyi.
After considering the report during their sitting in Akure on Monday, the Majority Leader of the Assembly, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu, moved the motion for the impeachment of the deputy governor.
Akinsoyinu based his motion on the report which indicted Olanusi of the allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him by the assembly.
The report read, “Having found that all the seven allegations established against Alhaji Olanusi, the deputy governor of Ondo State, and placing reliance on the meaning of gross misconduct as defined in Section 188 (11) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, we hereby find that the allegation of gross misconduct has been proved against Alhaji Olanusi, the holder of office of the deputy governor of Ondo State.”
After the presentation and the secondment of the motion, the Speaker, Jumoke Akindele, requested the 22 members of the House to express their support for or objection to the removal of the deputy governor.
The members announced their support through a voice vote .
Akindele consequently directed Olanusi to hand over all government property in his possession to the permanent secretary in the deputy governor’s office.
She also asked the permanent secretary to use all lawful means to retrieve all the property should Olanusi fail to release them immediately.
The process for the impeachment of the deputy governor lasted barely a week with the service of the impeachment notice on him.
Shortly after Olanusi’s impeachment, Governor Olusegun Mimiko sent in a letter requesting the approval of Oluboyo as his new deputy.
After the letter was read, Akindele directed the Deputy Speaker, Dare Emiola, to supervise the House Committee on Selection to screen the nominee.
This was quickly done with Eniola saying that Oluboyo was competent of being a deputy governor.
All the lawmakers that attended the plenary thereafter approved the appointment of the Agriculture commissioner as the new deputy governor.
After this, Oluboyo went to the Cocoa Conference Hall in the Governor’s office where he was sworn in as the deputy governor.
During the ceremony, Mimiko said he hoped the synergy among the three arms of government would be sustained.
He congratulated the new deputy governor, saying there was joy in the state immediately his name was mentioned.
Oluboyo, who pledged his loyalty to Mimiko, said the fact that one Akoko man disappointed should not be seen that all Akoko people were bad.
Olanusi’s impeachment was however described by the state APC as temporary.
The party said in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Adesanya, that it was laughable that the ‘rubber-stamp’ Assembly could impeach the deputy governor and approve another person in a haste.
It alleged that Mimiko, who defected from the Labour Party to the PDP, had turned politics in the state into a desperate affair.
The statement read, “The impeachment of Alhaji Olanusi as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State is temporary. The whole process of the impeachment was a sham and charade. How on earth will a deputy governor be impeached within five days?
“It shows that there were unholy alliances among Governor Mimiko, the Chief Judge, and the governor’s stooges who call themselves lawmakers to embark on an illegal process to impeach a duly elected deputy governor.
“It was clear to the people of the state that before the directive of the Speaker to serve Olanusi the impeachment notice, the embattled deputy governor was not in the state.
“Without any court order, the speaker directed them to paste the notice of impeachment on the quarters of the deputy governor, this is unlawful.
“The Chief Judge, due to his relationship with Mimiko because we are aware that he was Mimiko’s best man during his wedding, has been assisting him to executive illegality.
“He set up a panel that was expected to sit for three months by giving room for fair hearing with the parties involved, the investigative panel only sat for five hours in just one day and found Olanusi guilty of gross misconduct without fair hearing and in absentia. The panel is acting a script from the governor. This is impunity pa excellence.”
Also, the state chairman of the APC, Isaac Kekemeke, said the impeachment had “consolidated Mimiko’s emperorship of the state.”
He said, “This is unacceptable, we will challenge this unconstitutional impeachment and lawlessness appropriately in court.”
But the PDP in Ondo State defended the Assembly, saying the impeachment of Olanusi should be seen as the verdict of the people of the state.
The Publicity Secretary of the state PDP , Banji Okunomo, said it was on record that Olanusi was represented at the sitting of the panel by his counsel, Benson Enikuomehin.
He said the Assembly would not have done anything if the panel had not found him guilty.
“The development was in tandem with the wish of the people of the state and this had been demonstrated as there was no single protest since the commencement of the impeachment process,” Okunomo added.
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