The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State has commended the State House of Assembly for its tenacity in prosecuting the impeachment of the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi.
The seven-man probe panel chaired by a retired Chief Magistrate, Olatunde Stanley Adeniyan, began seating Friday, presented its report to the House, which on Monday morning impeached Olanusi on grounds of gross misconduct.
The panel set up by the state Chief Judge, Olasehinde Kumuyi, found Alhaji Olanusi culpable of the seven offences leveled against him.
They include: Financial misappropriation, absenteeism from official duties and causing political disaffection in the cabinet of the state government.
During the early morning sitting, Majority Leader, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu moved the motion for the impeachment of the deputy governor. It was seconded by Oyebo Aladetan.
The House based its action on the fact that Olanusi violated Section 188 (9) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.
The House adopted the motion and declared Olanusi impeached and removed from office, after which he was ordered to hand all government properties in his possession to the Permanent Secretary in the office of the Deputy Governor.
All the 23 members of the Assembly present at the Plenary unanimously supported the impeachment.
A statement by the PDP’s Director of Publicity, Ayo Fadaka, said the parliament displayed its commitment to good governance by removing from office a man who discharged his responsibilities with levity, while not bearing true allegiance to the government he was an integral part of.
The party said Olanusi as deputy governor, ought to be a loyal and trustworthy ally of his boss, and that, the moment he opted to “chart a new and independent course for himself, he should have honorably resigned from office, rather than nurse phantom ambitions of how he would covet the position of his boss. This, to say the least, is dishonorable and treacherous,” the party said.
Meanwhile, after the plenary, the House reconvened after an hour recess, when Clerk of the House, Bode Adeyelure, read a letter by Governor Olusegun Mimiko, announcing the nomination of Lasisi Oluboyo, the commissioner for Agriculture as Olanusi’s successor.
The new deputy governor, Oluboyo hails from Ikare in Akoko North-West council area of the state.
Olanusi’s travail became public, when he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on March 26, two days to the Presidential and National Assembly election.
Reacting, APC’s Publicity Secretary in the state, Abayomi Adesanya, faulted the impeachment process, which he said was hasty.
Adesanya said the lawmakers worked to an answer and only did Mimiko’s bidding without following due process.
He urged members of the public to remain calm, since the impeachment is already being challenged in court, assuring that Olanusi would get justice.
Also on Monday, the South West APC rejected the impeachment, saying the process violated provisions of the impeachment clause in the 1999 Constitution.
The party added that the decision of the legislators was in contempt of court since all parties were ordered to maintain status quo in a suit the deputy governor filed before he travelled abroad.
The party’s National Vice Chairman in charge of South West, Pius Akinyelure, in a statement issued in Lagos, faulted the impeachment, which he described as a mockery of constitutional order.
The Assembly, he continued, violated three different portions of the 1999 Constitution namely: Section 188(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, stipulating that the Speaker of the House of Assembly “shall, within seven days of the receipt of the notice of impeachment, cause a copy of the notice to be the holder of the office and on each member of the House of Assembly and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office…”
As required under Section 188 (6) of the 1999 Constitution, Akinyelure said the panel had three months to conclude its assignment as indicated in Section 188(7)(b), but did it in two weeks.
According to him, “why is the panel acted in a hurry? Why can it follow due process?”
Also reacting, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Rotimi Akeredolu, condemned the impeachment, which he said would not stand the test of time when contested in court.
Akeredolu also described Mimiko as a man who does not have respect for rule of law but only interested in his own personal interests.
Akeredolu said that the impeachment was a punitive exercise, said: “The governor has shown his true colour. We all know he has no respect for law and order.
“It doesn’t matter to him what the court says. What matters to him is his own personal interest.
“I believe the impeachment will not stand the test of time when the matter is contested in court. The governor, by his action has clearly shown that he has no respect for rule of law,” he said.