Political fireworks began on Monday in Ondo as lawmakers in the House of Assembly commenced impeachment processes against the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi.
A total of 14 lawmakers supported the impeachment, nine lawmakers kicked against the impeachment while three lawmakers stayed away from the drama.
It was however gathered that six out of the nine pro-Ajayi lawmakers might be expelled by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to pave way for the lawmakers to get the required constitutional two-thirds majority to impeach Agboola.
But the leadership of the Ondo Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) kept mum on the ordeal of Agboola
Signs about the impeachment process were noticed in the morning when heavily armed security operatives were deployed to the Assembly.
Visitors were thoroughly screened and prevented to enter.
Lawmakers in support of Agboola’s impeachment were Aderoboye Samuel, Oladiji Olamide, Festus Adefiranye, Adeyemi Olayemi, Muhammad Oladele Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, Borokini Simeon, Gegudu Ololade, Abiodun Faleye, Felemu Olusegun, Akintomide Akinrogunde, Towase Kuti and Akinruntan Abayomi.
In the impeachment notice signed by the 14 lawmakers, they accused Ajayi of gross misconduct, abuse of office with action likely to bring down Ondo state government, financial recklessness, abandonment of office, official duties and other assignments, carrying out actions on Sunday 2, 2020, likely to cause a breach of peace in reference to 1983 political crisis with the intent to incite the citizens against the government of Ondo state and endorsing publications dated Tuesday 23 June 2020 maligning the credibility of the legislative arm of the government of cash inducement.
The lawmakers also said there was a petition from the Ondo chapter of the APC on Agboola’s defection to the PDP, having sworn in as the deputy governor on the party’s ticket with Governor for a four-year term.
But the nine pro-Ajayi lawmakers, in a statement, said they resolve not to partake in the impeachment process of Agboola.
They are Iroju Ogundeji, Jamiu Suleiman Maito, Rasheed Elegbeleye, Tomide Akinrinbodo, Samuel Ademola, Favour Semilore Tomomewo, Festus Akingbaso, Adewale Adekunle andTorhukerhijo Success.
“In view of the above, we hereby bring to the notice of Mr Clerk, Mr Adeyelu Micheal Bode, Tue entire honorable members of the Ondo State House of Assembly and the General public that we do not support the impeachment process and would not want to be associated with it based on personal convictions (COVID-19).”
After the Clerk, Bode Adeyelu, read the impeachment notice, Speaker Bamidele Oleyelogun, said he received the allegation but failed to mention the source.
The Speaker stated that the Constitution empowers them to investigate allegations and proceed on the impeachment of Agboola when necessary constitutional requirements are met.
He ordered the Clerk to serve Agboola the notice of impeachment signed by the 14 lawmakers.
There was a shouting match from the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Iroju Ogundeji, rejecting the stand of the Speaker but the motion was put into voice votes.
Outside the plenary, some pro-Ajayi lawmakers shouted down attempts by Olugbenga Omole, the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, to brief journalists on the next step.
The pro-Ajayi lawmaker insisted that the processes were wrong as the anti-Ajayi lawmakers were 14 instead of the required 18.
Omole explained that talks from the pro-Ajayi lawmakers were needless because the impeachment order was a process that does not require two-third of the members of the assembly.
According to him, “The house reconvened today after a month recess. We did what we have to do, we reconsidered the OSOPADEC bill for 2020 and we received a petition against the deputy governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi and we are working on it.
“The first process here was that 14 members signed a notice of impeachment which is the first step.
“Those people ranting don’t know the procedure. It’s a process and the process is on and it shall be concluded.
“Two-third of 26 is 18. Impeachment is a process. In fact, it is only nine that we needed for what we needed today, that is one-third and 14 signed and there were all at the plenary today. As I said, it is a process.
“There are various petitions from citizens of Ondo State and we are working on all the petitions before us.
“I don’t know if the deputy governor has taken the Assembly to court. I’m not aware of any letter, you can ask the clerk.
“In fact, only 9 members of the 26 members are needed to sign the impeachment move,” Omole said.
Omole added that only a few journalists were allowed into the assembly chamber in order to follow Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.
Hon. Adewale Williams- Adewinle representing Ondo West 2 described the impeachment move as a manipulated affair.
Explaining reasons for the expulsion of six pro-Ajayi lawmakers, a top APC chieftain who pleaded anonymity said the impeachment process was long expected
“From our observations, about six lawmakers of our party are supporting the deputy Governor who has since left for the (PDP).
“If they are also moving with the deputy governor, let them tell us where they belong, without that they will be expelled outrightly and their seats shall be declared vacant. We mean business and nothing will be spared to support the governor to strengthen the party”.
But the Deputy Governor insisted that the ‘impeachment process was dead on arrival.’
Agboola said he has not been served any impeachment notice, saying he was ready to defend himself.
He said impeachment was a constitutional matter.