Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a lawyer to Ondo Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has asked the state’s chief judge, Olusegun Odunsola, to ignore the state assembly’s directive to set up a probe panel.
The assembly had directed Mr Odusola to set up a seven-man panel to investigate the allegation of gross misconduct against the deputy governor.
Mr Olu-Adegboruwa, in a letter addressed to the chief judge on Thursday, said it would be a contempt of court to proceed with the impeachment process when the parties are involved in two cases in both the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court and state High Court in Akure.
The lawyer said Mr Aiyedatiwa did not respond to the notice sent to his office by the House of Assembly because of the restraining order already issued on the matter by the Federal High Court.
A copy of the letter read, “Under and by virtue of section 287 (3) of the constitution, ‘all persons and authorities in Nigeria’ are to obey and give effect to the orders of the Federal High Court. Our client swore on oath to defend the constitution, and he cannot act against the said constitution to disobey the valid and subsisting order of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, which has halted the removal proceedings.
“Our client has not been personally served with any valid notice of acts of gross misconduct as required by law. Our client is not in receipt of any valid notice of acts of gross misconduct properly so issued and bearing the authority of the House of Assembly of Ondo State to which he can respond.
“Our client has filed and served two separate applications upon the Ondo State House of Assembly, seeking orders of interlocutory injunction against the removal proceedings and also to stay further proceedings in respect of the invalid Notice, which was illegally issued and improperly served.”
Mr Olu-Adegboruwa added that since the assembly had joined matters in the court by filing an appeal against the restraining order, it would be against the law to continue the impeachment process without awaiting the case’s outcome.
“Consequently, it is our considered view that the matter of the planned removal of the deputy governor of Ondo State is now subjudice. Parties should follow the due process of law, the House of Assembly itself being a creation of law, seeking to implement the provisions of law, rightly or wrongly. It cannot and should not be allowed to take the law into its own hands by openly disregarding a subsisting order of the court and other court processes duly served upon it,” the lawyer said.
Last week, the assembly began the impeachment process against Mr Aiyedatiwa by serving him with a notice containing 14 allegations of gross misconduct.
Mr Aiyedatiwa had secured an interim order from the Abuja Federal High Court, restraining the assembly from impeaching him.
The court also restrained Governor Rotimi Akeredolu from nominating a new deputy governor and forwarding the same to the lawmakers for approval pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.