The deputy governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has approached the State High Court to stop the House of Assembly from proceeding with the impeachment proceedings against him.
Aiyedatiwa, in a Suit No. AK/348/2023 filed at the High Court in Akure on Monday, September 25, 2023, asked the court to declare that the House of Assembly is not competent to proceed with his impeachment.
He said the action of the Assembly breached his constitutional and fundamental rights to fair hearing and that the sacking of his media aides and his subjection to the Ministry of Information headed by a Commissioner, amounts to a breach of his rights and privileges as a deputy governor.
Aiyedatiwa is also seeking a declaration that his office, tenure, status, rights, and privileges are protected, guaranteed, and secured by the Constitution, and the 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 a fair hearing and that given the utterances and conduct of the House of Assembly so far, there is likelihood of bias against him in the impeachment process.
He said by conducting media trials against him without serving him with any notice of gross misconduct, the House Assembly has constituted itself into accuser, investigator, prosecutor, and judge.
Aiyedatiwa sought an order 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 sought 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 him.
Lawyer to the deputy governor, human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, listed 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 Chief Judge of Ondo State as defendants in the suit.
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 scandalise him and incite public opinion against him when indeed no notice of acts of alleged gross misconduct was served on him.
He also accused the House of Assembly of persecuting him without lawful basis in conspiracy with certain persons who are gladiators in political circles.
LEADERSHIP, however, gathered that 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.
But Aiyedatiwa narrated his loyalty since he assumed office in the face of the health challenges of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and how he led the state in prayers for the recovery of the governor.
He denied any act of wrongdoing, 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 to 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 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, among others.