The Ondo State House of Assembly (ODSHA) on Monday impeached the State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi over alleged gross misconduct.
Olanusi’s impeachment followed the submission of the report of a seven-member investigative panel chaired by a retired Chief Magistrate, Olatunji Adeniyan set up by the Chief Judge, Olasehinde Kumuyi.
At a sitting presided over by the Assembly Speaker, Jumoke Akindele, the House said that the report of the investigation panel found Olanusi guilty of the gross misconduct.
The motion of the impeachment was moved by the Majority Leader, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu representing Ondo West II.
The report of the investigative panel read in part:
“Having found that all the seven allegations established against Alhaji Ali Olanusi, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State and placing reliance on the meaning of gross misconduct as defined in Section 188 (11) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 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 Nigeria”.
This was immediately seconded by Hon. Oyebo Aladetan representing Ilaje I Constituency.
The Speaker thereafter ordered the lawmakers at the sitting to rise and raise their hands to affirm support for the impeachment.
Twenty-two out of the 26-member Assembly raised their hands and supported the motion through voice vote after counting the numbers of those present.
The Speaker then ordered Olanusi impeached and instructed him to immediately hand over all government property in his possession to the Permanent Secretary in his office.
Akindele said the Permanent Secretary should ensure that lawful means are used in retrieving all property from the impeached deputy governor should he fail to hand them over immediately.
Upon the impeachment, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo was nominated by Governor Mimiko as the new deputy governor. The nomination was approved by the House.
Oluboyo, is an indigine of Ikare Akoko, in Akoko North East Local Government Area of the state.
A letter seeking his consideration was received by the House from the governor and was read to the members of the Assembly at the floor of the Assembly by the Clerk of the House, Mr. Bayo Akinyelu. The Speaker immediately ordered the Deputy Speaker, Hon Dare Emiola to supervise the House Committee on Selection to screen the nominee.
In its report presented to the House, the Deputy Speaker said the selection Committee found Oluboyo competent and worthy of the new position.
Thereafter, the lawmakers approved the appointment of Oluboyo as the new deputy governor.
The new Deputy Governor immediately took a bow and moved to the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Government Office, where he was immediately sworn-in by Governor Mimiko.
Addressing cheering supporters at the Hall, Governor Mimiko noted that the impeachment was novel in the state.
“This is the first of its kind in Ondo State where we would have an impeached deputy governor and at the same time installing a new one”, he said.
Mimiko noted that the executive would always respect and support the action of the lawmakers and promised to smoothen the synergy among the three arms of the government, adding there was joy in the state immediately the name of the new deputy governor was mentioned.
In his remark, Oluboyo pledged100 percent loyalty to the governor.
He said the fact that an Akoko man disappointed Mimiko should not be seen that all people from the area were bad and promised to be efficient while discharging his duties.
On Friday, DailyTimes had gathered that drama ensued at the Ondo State High Court Conference Hall, Akure, where the panel of investigation into the seven-count charge Olanusi, was sitting. Journalists were shut out of the scene, but it was learnt that the defendant’s counsel stormed out in anger.
According to the invitation sent to Olanusi by the Chief Magistrate, the former deputy governor was summoned to the sitting by 10am on Friday as defendant at the High Court Complex.
Though the state Judiciary Staff Union (JUSUN) had been on strike since January 5, the entrance of the premises was under heavy lock as the parties invited for the panel were stranded outside the gate with restrictions from the gate men who claimed that they were instructed not to allow anybody into the compound.
The Deputy Governor, who ditched the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for All Progressives Congress (APC) 48 hours to the March 28 Presidential election, was represented by his counsel, Dr. Benson Enikuomehin who claimed he got a call from his client’ son to make an appearance before the panel in protest.
According to the counsel, he argued before the panel that his counsel had not been served a notice, and further that the document containing the allegations levelled against the deputy governor were not attached to the notice of summon pasted in the defendant’s house.
Enikuomehin who reterated that he appeared for the defendant in protest, urged the panel to disregard the allegations because they had no locus standi and bearing in law, thereby emphasizing that the panel could not continue with the impeachment process.
But the Counsel to the state House of Assembly, Mr. Akinlaja Days (SAN) prayed the panel to continue with the matter arguing categorically that the deputy governor had been duly served the notice as specified in law, and refuted the claim by Enikuomehin that his client travelled out of the country. Meanwhile, the APC in Ondo State has described the as the height of impunity by the PDP-led government in the state.
The party also said the impeachment was temporary and vowed to reclaimed the mandate of Alhaji Olanusi through legal means.
In a statement signed by the State Publicity secretary, Omo’ba Abayomi Adesanya issued to journalists in Akure, the state capital, said the impeachment was laughable and comical.
Adesanya, who described the state parliamentary as “rubber-stamp House of Assembly” expressed dismay that the lawmakers could hurriedly impeach the Deputy Governor, and accept nomination of another person.