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Lawyers, Ex-lawmakers Disagree Over Ondo Deputy Gov’s Impeachment Plot

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…Aiyedatiwa abusing court process —Lawyers

Some lawyers, including Messrs Jiti Ogunye and Femi Emodamori, and former lawmakers from Ondo State, yesterday, disagreed over the move to impeach the embattled Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who has been accused of alleged gross misconduct.

While Ogunye and Emodamori accused the deputy governor of attempting to stop his impeachment through an interim order, the former lawmakers warned the Assembly members against heating the polity by impeaching Aiyedatiwa.

Ogunye, who was featured on a television programme, said that Aiyedatiwa was wrong to have approached the court, when the process had not been completed.

He said: “The issue of principle here is that there is a route, under Section 188 of the Constitution, which says that ‘seven days you should receive a notice served by the Speaker on the holder of the office, be it governor or deputy governor’.

READ ALSO: Impeachment: ‘My Life Under Threat’ — Ondo Speaker Cries Out Over ‘Juju’ Scare At Residence

“Within 14 days, a vote is taken and, if two-third passes the matter, it goes to the Chief Judge of the state within seven days and then a panel is set up within three months and the report comes in.

“After the report comes in, if the report says no misconduct has been committed, the matter ends there. If it says misconduct is proven then the person is impeached.

“That’s the process. And so, if at the tail-end the process is not followed, the holder of the office has recourse to have him restored to power.

“The second one is the federalist principle which is very dear to me. You are a deputy governor of a state, you have a state high court, you are suing everybody in that state including the Chief Judge of that state, and you are taking them to a Federal Government court. That offends my federalist principle.”

READ ALSO: Ondo Deputy Gov Breaks Silence On Rumoured Resignation

Also throwing his weight behind Ogunye, the counsel to the House of Assembly, Femi Emodamori, argued that if the lawmakers clearly and meticulously follow Section 188 (1-9), no court, as stipulated in Section 10, has the power to intervene.

Emodamori said: ”It is only when there are pure breaches of the law that the court may intervene. Now, the deputy governor hasn’t even been served, the notice was initiated by eleven members of the House, more than one-third required, and he didn’t wait to be served.

“He’s alleging violation of his right to a fair hearing that he’s not been served. That it’s within social media even when Section 188 says he should be served within seven days and it’s not yet seven days.

“Rushing to court even before the panel is constituted is an abuse of judicial process. He doesn’t have a fundamental human right to protect at that stage. The body to hear him is the panel to be constituted by the Chief Judge. Until the body begins work, how do you complain about the violation to a fair hearing?”

READ ALSO: Impeachment: Aiyedatiwa’s Kinsmen Protest, Say Deputy Governor Can’t Be Removed

Assembly endorsing bad precedence—Ex-lawmakers

On their part, the former lawmakers in the state, who addressed newsmen in Akure, urged the Ondo Assembly to preserve the sanctity and integrity of the assembly.

Speaking on behalf of the lawmakers, Abiodun Jerome said: “The present House of Assembly is less than four months old, and it’s very unfortunate that impeachment proceeding is their priority amongst the myriad of critical issues confronting our state presently.

“We want to unequivocally state here that the House must be careful not to dare the wrath of the people by heating the polity.

“The Assembly must be very careful from turning themselves into a puppet in the hands of some desperate politicians.

“It is on this note that we challenge the present Assembly not to endorse a bad precedence by going ahead with this planned impeachment of the Deputy Governor.

“As critical stakeholders in Ondo State, we consider it incumbent that we do not fold our arms and watch our political labour and those of our pathfinders washed away by the interest of a clique within our political system.”

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Why We’re Not Happy With Governor Alia – APC

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The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue has blamed its lingering rift with Governor Hyacinth Alia on his failure to treat the party with some respect and dignity.

The party also claimed that the Governor has consistently failed to consult its leaders and carry its members along on issues, contrary to the norm.

Addressing the media in Makurdi, the three State Zonal Chairmen of the party in the state including Wilfred Uji of Zone A, James Tor of Zone B and Bishop Pinot Ogbaji of Zone C regretted that Governor Alia’s attitude towards the party had created a gulf between them.

Speaking on behalf of the trio, Bishop Ogbaji explained that the crisis was not between the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, George Akume and the Governor, but a dispute between the Benue APC and the Governor.

According to him, “the shaky relationship between Governor Hyacinth Alia and the APC started in June this year, during the inauguration of the State Assembly where the governor had preference for a candidate for the position of Speaker but could not confer with the leadership of the party, rather he allowed the party to painstakingly sit, zone the position and anoint a candidate that was not his choice.

READ ALSO: Angry Youths Stone, Boo Gov Alia In Makurdi

“The end result was an embarrassing situation where stalwarts of the party were enmeshed in a shameful altercation that clearly lowered them and the party in the chamber of the Benue State House of Assembly.

“The party again nominated and spread other principal officers of the Assembly, but shockingly, the Speaker happily accepted all nomiations from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as duly endorsed by the PDP State Chairman and Secretary, however, he jettisoned the list submitted by the APC and rather announced the list that was allegedly submitted by the governor, through his Chief of Staff.

“It was a humiliating experience for the party, having to face that level of neglect in the hands of an administration we all laboured hard to plant, nevertheless, we sustained our faith in the governor and his government.

“In picking his commissioners, the Governor exercised his sole discretion without the usual tradition of directing local governments to make nominations taking cognizance of zonings and necessary political permutations, he rather made his independent choices as he found soothing but the party did not oppose him; we rather gave our full support to his action since that was his own State Executive and Security Council and he needed people he could trust.

READ ALSO: Watch First Lady Remi Tinubu Celebrates Super Falcons Victory Against Australia

“And when it was time for the nomination of Caretaker Committees to administer the Local Government Councils, Governor Alia threw it back to party members during the second stakeholders meeting by demanding an immediate nomination of three candidates each for the positions of Council Caretaker Chairman, Deputy and Secretary as well as Supervisory Councillors across the 23 Local Governments, demanding for 2 slots of Supervisory Councillors from each of the Local Governments.

“This was the first time a Governor would demand such from the Caretaker Council formation as against the usual one slot per local government. The party jubilantly agreed and obeyed the directive by holding meetings, and painstakingly nominating and submitting their various lists with a relieving sense of belonging.

“But quite shockingly, when the nominations were finally announced, the party was bewildered that 80 percent of the names were outside the actual nominees that were sent to the governor on his directive.

“We are not pushing to usurp or share powers with the Governor but if the governor was interested in forming a unity government, he would have simply called a general meeting of all Benue people and requested nominations from them rather than allowing APC members sweat to microzone the positions, shop for names and raise the hopes of candidates who were eventually ignored, dropped and their opponents, most of whom are members of rival political parties appointed.

“In all this misgiving and dissatisfaction, the announcement of Caretaker Committees marked the pinnacle of a noticeably sour relationship between Governor Alia and the APC in Benue State and this snowballing anger by all standards is justifiable.

READ ALSO: Italian Fugitive Arrested In Greece After Football Team Celebration

“It is also trite to mention that as elders in the exco, we, the three Zonal Chairmen did not rest on our oars in seeking solutions; we have made frantic reconciliatory moves, trying to find out what the real issues were but in all our efforts, we could not get tangible issues capable of tearing the party apart.

“Our Leader, Sen. George Akume has deep love for Gov. Hyacinth Alia and in all our meetings, he has never spoken ill of the governor at any point; he has consistently admonished us to pray and support the governor to succeed, same way the governor eulogizes Sen. Akume at all times and hints of a cordial relationship between them.

“But the condition of Benue APC can best be likened to a helpless husband with a very beautiful wife that sleeps around with only his neighbours and enemies while he, the lawful husband is deprived of his conjugal rights.”

Reacting, the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and former APC Governorship candidate, Mr. Emmanuel Jime dismissed the allegations by the Zonal Chairmen saying, “those making the accusation are ignorant and it is without any foundation.

“In a Presidential democracy, the Governor is the Leader of the Party in his State just like any other State Governor. The tragedy of our democratic experiment so far is that most of us see politics as a meal ticket.

“Whenever an elected official chooses the path to real development, you will have the stomach infrastructure politicians attempting the distraction strategy. Benue is in dire need of a development agenda. The Governor appears to be focused on this. All men and women of goodwill must join in this all important endeavour.”
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Ondo 2024: Don’t Impose Candidate, Cleric Warns Tinubu

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Ahead of next year’s governorship election in Ondo state, the Senior pastor of Awaiting The Second Coming Of Christ Ministries, Adewale Giwa, has warned President Bola Tinubu, not to impose a candidate on the people of the state.

Giwa, said this in Akure, weekend while leading his the members of his church to pray for governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s quick recovery.

He urged Tinubu not to place his personal interest above the people.

READ ALSO: Lawyer Faults Ondo Commissioner’s Claim Of Forgery Of Akeredolu’s Signature

According to him “Allow the people of Ondo state to pick the candidate of their choice. President Tinubu must not impose a candidate on the people the way he did the last time.

“You can now see the results of poor governance, incompetence, and high-handedness.

“A situation whereby a man fails to control his wife while going astray is nothing but a disappointment.

“Ondo state people are just now waking up from their slumber. When they were still sleeping and snoring, I warned that Governor Akeredolu’s second term tenure won’t do the state any favor.

READ ALSO: Ondo Crisis Worsens, Assembly Demands Aiyedatiwa’s Resignation

“I also advised the governor himself to caution his wife, but he didn’t listen. They like hypocrites, and I am not one of them.

“This time around, President Tinubu should allow the people of Ondo state to choose for themselves through transparent primary election before the main one.”

Giwa said that “Anybody who loves the president should advise him to steer clear of Ondo state. If not, the ruling party will forgo the state to a small political party.”

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Edo 2024: LP Must Field Candidate Capable Of Giving Opponents A Run – Akpata

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By Joseph Kanjo

A Labour Party (LP) governorship aspirant in the 2024 Edo State governorship election, Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata, Esq. has said that if the party must win the forthcoming gubernatorial election, “they must put forward a candidate that can match up to the opponents we know we will confront at the election.”

He said except the intention of the party participating in the governorship election is not to win, but if the intention is to win, “it must be palm-for-palm,” declaring that he is the only one who can make such match with the opponents.

The immediate past President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who stated this in Benin on Saturday shortly after being honoured as Guest of Honour at Edo NUJ 2023 Press Week, added that he expects the LP to make the right choice by picking him as the flagbearer of the party in the governorship election.

READ ALSO: Group Vows To Hold Rep Member, Akpatason, By His Campaign Promises

According to him, he has been going round the 18 local governments canvasing potential delegates with the expectation that when the time comes they will make the right choice by voting him at the primary.

He added: “I have been canvasing our potential delegates; I have been speaking to persons who belong to a pull from which delegates will be selected. I have been speaking to them, and I hope that the message that I have been passing across will not fall to the bear ground. I have traveled the 18 local governments.”

Akpata continued: “If Labour Party is ever going to win the election in Edo State, they must put forward a candidate that can match up to the opponents we know we will confront at the election. Except the intention is not to win, if the intention is to win, it must be palm-for-palm. We cannot compare apples and oranges, you must compare apples and apples.”

READ ALSO: Edo 2024: Why I Am Aspiring On The Platform Of LP – Akpata, Ex-President, NBA

On the allegation that he is using his financial strength to make sure he gets the party ticket by all means, the former NBA President said: “I have been a Lawyer for 30 years, I have worked only as a Lawyer, maybe a few businesses on the side that have come out of the fact that I am a lawyer. So, I think I have succeeded. I am the type who spend in what I believe in. It is when you spend your treasure in what you believe in, that is when you can be taken seriously. The funniest thing is that those who are calling me money bag have been spending lavishly even before I came into the scene. I just wondered what the issue really is. When people feel uncomfortable, and they see a competition that they cannot really match up to, they must look for a fault. It is a case of give a dog a bad name so you can hang him.”

On allegation that he is being sponsored by Governor Godwin Obaseki, Akpata said: “this is an unfounded rumour, it is baseless. My relationship with the Governor for years has never been hidden.”

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