Ondo deputy governor alleges impeachment moves as Police invade Assembly

They are on normal routine patrol ― Police

Speculations were rife, on Tuesday, that the Ondo State lawmakers are planning to impeach the state deputy governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi, who just defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Ajayi, on Monday, was received by the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, into the party after dumping the APC at his Kiribo country home on Sunday.

However, Tribune Online gathered that some heavily armed policemen stormed the Ondo State House of Assembly complex causing a commotion within the complex as workers scampered for safety over the fear of arrest.

The policemen who drove into the Assembly complex around 10 am in five patrol vehicles were said to have positioned themselves strategically within the Assembly complex.

An official of the Assembly explained that the policemen drove out of the compound after surveying the whole complex, saying the presence of the security operatives might not be unconnected with the moves to impeach Ajayi.

The official, however, confirmed that the lawmakers are on recess and sitting could not hold at the Assembly until the lawmakers resume from their holiday.

He said: “The police stormed the complex and later drove out of the complex without speaking to any official of the House of Assembly.  The lawmakers are on break and there was no sitting here today.”

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mr Tee-Leo Ikoro, who confirmed the presence of the policemen at the House of Assembly complex, said they were at the premises on normal routine patrol, saying there was no cause for alarm.

Meanwhile, the deputy governor, Ajayi, has alleged that there was an illegal move to impeach him by the State lawmakers through illegal and unconstitutional means.

In a statement issued and signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Babatope Okeowo, who said the invasion of the policemen was to prevent lawmakers who did not believe in the impeachment from the Assembly.

According to him, the lawmakers planned impeachment move was billed to be carried out through financial inducement of about N10m for each lawmaker

The statement read “the attention of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency, Agboola Ajayi has been drawn to the illegal move by the embattled Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu to impeach him through illegal and unconstitutional means.

“The illegal impeachment move would be carried out through financial inducement of members of the Ondo State House of Assembly to the tune of N10m each.

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“The Ondo State House of Assembly complex has been besieged by men of the Nigeria Police, while parliamentarians that are known not to believe in the charade are being prevented from entering the complex.”

Okeowo, however, maintained that “We wish to state that the deputy governor is a tested politician of note, who is not unprepared for this type of kangaroo and infamous move from the desperate and drowning governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu and his group.

“By joining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Agboola Ajayi has not committed any impeachable offence. He has only exercised his constitutional right to freedom of association. Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides as follows:

“Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any association for the protection of his interests.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, we state unequivocally that the Governor and his allies do not have and cannot muster the requisite majority in the House of Assembly for the removal of the Deputy Governor under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 in any free, fair and transparent process.

“We remain undaunted in the move to throw off the combined weight of those kneeling on the neck of Ondo State. Our state shall not be allowed to suffocate. At the appropriate time, the people of Ondo State shall decide the right person, who will serve as the arrowhead of the bid to save the state from the nepotistic clique kneeling on her neck.”

While reacting to the allegation of financial inducement of the lawmakers by Akeredolu to impeach the Ajayi, the state government described the allegation as untrue and gross display of emptiness.

Speaking through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, who said Akeredolu is not interested in buying the conscience of the lawmakers, saying the lawmakers are in the best position to confirm or deny the allegations.

Ojogo said: “This is the height of perfidy, another pernicious warp from an intellectually challenged and treacherous personality. Knowledge cannot be procured, but only be acquired. For anyone to aver that lawmakers have been financially induced is a gross display of emptiness.

“It becomes more laughable when such comes from someone who had boasted about having majority members in the Assembly.

Clearly, while the Executive led by Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN does not believe in the inducement, it is left for our very reputable Legislative Arm to either confirm or debunk this spurious allegation.

The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon Gbenga Omole, declined comments on the development, saying “I am not ready to talk to anybody.”

Meanwhile, less than 24 hours after the defection of the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, to PDP from the ruling APC, the state government has sacked all the aides of the deputy governor.

The sack of all the aides of Ajayi was contained in a statement issued and signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Segun Ajiboye, who said the sack of the aides is with immediate effect.

Ajiboye said in the statement that the “Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has relieved the following aides of their appointments.

The affected aides are; Special Assistant, Special Duties, Mr Olomu Bayo, Special Assistant, Photography, Mr Olawale Abolade Mukaila, and the Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Mr Babatope Okeowo.

Others include Personal Assistant, (Deputy Governor), Mr Samuel Sam Ogunmusi, Special Assistant to the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mr Tokunbo Omotunmise Phobia, and Mrs Erifeyiwa Shola Akinnugba, (Photography, wife of the Deputy Governor).

“The affected aides are advised to submit all government’s properties in their possession to the Chief of Staff to the Governor. Arakunrin Akeredolu wishes them luck in their future endeavours.

Earlier, the Special Assistant on New Media to the deputy governor, Mr Allen Sowore, was also relieved of his position.

The statement read that: “The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has relieved Mr Allen Sowore of his appointment with immediate effect.

“Until his sack, Mr Sowore was a Special Assistant to the governor on New Media.

“Mr Sowore is advised to submit all government’s properties in his possession to the Chief of Staff to the Governor. The Governor wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavour.”

However, Ajayi has reabsorbed all his sacked aides, reappointing them as his personal aides while their appointment takes immediate effect.

Ajayi urged all the sacked aides to return government properties in their possession to the appropriate authorities within 24 hours.

The new appointment of the sacked aides was contained by Okeowo in a statement signed by him and said “Ondo State deputy governor, His Excellency, Agboola Alfred Ajayi has approved the appointment of Mr Allen Sowore as Media Adviser.

“All the sacked aides of the deputy governor have been reappointed as his personal aides and are hereby advised to return all government properties in their possession to the appropriate quarters within 24 hours.

“We also wish to inform the people of Ondo State and the general public that the deputy governor would speak about all contending issues at the appropriate time.

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