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Ondo : Olanusi's Impeachment Can't Stand – S'West APC

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 27, (THEWILL) – The All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, rejected the impeachment of Ondo State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, noting that the process of his removal violated provisions of the impeachment clause in the 1999 Constitution.

The party added that the decision of the State House of Assembly was a contempt of court that ordered all parties to maintain status quo in a suit the deputy governor filed before he travelled out to challenge the plan to impeach him.

The party's National Vice Chairman in charge of South-west, Chief Pius Akinyelure, in a statement by his media office in Lagos, faulted Olanusi's impeachment , noting that the decision of the state assembly, which acted as Mimiko's rubber stamp, would not stand.

Akinyelure described the impeachment process as a mockery of constitutional order, which he said, the governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and all members of the State House of Assembly were sworn in to uphold.

He lamented that despite the decision of a High Court sitting in Akure that all parties should maintain status quo until substantive suit is determined, the legislative arm of the state went ahead to impeach the deputy governor.

He said the House of Assembly committed three different infractions to the 1999 Constitution in the process of the deputy governor, who had travelled out of the country for medical check-up before impeachment procedures started.

He cited violation of 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…”.

Akinyelure said the above provision was not complied with or observed by the House of Assembly before the deputy governor was illegally or unconstitutionally removed from Olanusi, which he said, was an outright subversion of the constitution.

At the time the impeachment process commenced about a fortnight ago, the vice chairman said the deputy governor had travelled out of the country for medical check-up, noting that the House of Assembly did not serve the notice of impeachment on him or place it any national daily as required by the 1999 Constitution.

The vice chairman cited infraction to section 188(6), which states that the holder of the office whose conduct “is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person or be represented before the panel on inquiry by a legal practitioner of his own choice.”

As required under section 188 (6) of the 1999 Constitution, Akinyelure said the deputy governor was not offered the opportunity to defend himself, noting that he was not in the county when the impeachment proceedings started.

He said the deputy governor “has not returned to Nigeria since he travelled out. He was not given opportunity to defend himself. And the panel has three months to conclude its assignment as indicated in section 188(7)(b), out of which it has not exhausted two weeks. Why did the panel acted in a hurry? Why can’t it follow due process?”

He pointed out the third infraction to section 188 (2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that the holder of such office is guilty of gross misconduct in performance of the functions of his office detailed particulars of which shall be provided.”

Akinyelure, therefore, said the impeachment of the deputy governor did not comply with this provision, noting that the impeachment did not show substantive particulars of impeachable offences brought against him

On these grounds, the vice chairman argued that the impeachment of Olanusi apparently left so much to be desired and that the decision of the panel would not stand, noting that the party would challenge what he desribed as the illegal impeachment of the deputy governor.