The Union of Ikale Indigenes in Ondo State, on Tuesday, appealed to Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to halt the impeachment process by the House of Assembly against their son, the deputy governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
The union’s appeal is contained in a statement signed by Omowole Omogoroye, its president, and made available to journalists at Okitipupa, Ondo State.
The Ondo State House of Assembly began the impeachment process against the deputy governor a week ago over allegations of gross misconduct while he was acting governor.
The union noted that Mr Aiyedatiwa had been a diligent, dutiful, and loyal partner in Gov. Akeredolu’s administration even when the latter was away on medical leave abroad.
It stated that Mr Akeredolu should note that he received total support from the Ondo electorate and divine favour to return from his medical leave.
It added that Mr Aiyedatiwa faithfully represented Mr Akeredolu, projecting and executing the latter’s responsibilities and serving the people of Ondo State with utmost dedication.
“His unwavering commitment to you has been instrumental in achieving the numerous milestones and progress witnessed during your tenure to date.
“Impeaching such upright and dutiful deputy in the face of all forms of official suffocations, regardless of his misdeeds, if any, will undoubtedly be perceived as an act of ungratefulness and vendetta.
“It tarnishes the image of the administration and undermines the trust and faith placed in your leadership hitherto.
“This will create a sense of disillusionment in the populace, diminishing public confidence in your government and its ability to govern effectively,’’ the union stated.
It noted that the impeachment had the potential to ignite unrest and the breakdown of law and order within Ondo State and beyond.
“Your Excellency, such turmoil can reverberate throughout the entire Nigerian polity, unsettling the stability and harmony of the nation as a whole.
“We implore you to consider the repercussions of allowing the impeachment to proceed.
“We beseech you to use your wisdom, leadership, and influence as the face of Ondo State to bring an end to this provoking and unfortunate situation.
“Embracing reconciliation, dialogue, and fostering a spirit of unity will preserve the stability of Ondo State and also set a remarkable example for the entire nation,’’ it added.
The union pledged its support for Mr Akeredolu’s administration and its faith in his ability to navigate challenging times.
“Your esteemed leadership has always championed unity, progress, and the well-being of the people, and we trust that you will act in the best interest of Ondo State by preventing this impeachment process from unravelling.
“We call on you to disabuse your mind of whatever animosity evil perpetrators may have meticulously calibrated against your deputy to curry favour for the nourishment of their selfish interests and egos.
“We firmly believe that by fostering harmony, maintaining a steadfast commitment to democracy, and preserving the peace within Ondo State, we can continue on our path of growth, development, and prosperity.
“Your government has shown a significant impression to inculcate a new approach to sustainable democratic governance, and this spirit of project continuity already witnessed should not be jeopardised by leadership rivalry,’’ it stressed.
Meanwhile, Mr Aiyedatiwa has approached the state’s High Court in Akure to stop the impeachment process.
In the suit, AK/348/2023, filed on Monday by Ebun Adegoruwa (SAN), the embattled deputy governor asked the court to stop the impeachment process pending the determination of a suit he filed earlier.
The defendants in the new suit are the Ondo State government, Gov. Akeredolu; the Ondo State House of Assembly; the Speaker of the House, Olumide Oladiji; the Clerk; and the Chief Judge of Ondo State.
In the suit, Mr Aiyedatiwa sought the court’s injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, privies, and representatives from interfering, restricting, disempowering, or preventing him from discharging his constitutional duties as deputy governor.
He argued that this was necessary because he was duly elected on a joint and equal ticket with Mr Akeredolu.
He also sought the court’s order to the state government to reinstate and restore all the rights and privileges attached to or accruing to his office as a duly elected deputy governor.
These, he submitted, included, but were not limited to, the restoration of all media aides and press crew attached to his office as the deputy governor of Ondo State.
Mr Aiyedatiwa also sought “an order setting aside any purported process or notice of any allegation of gross misconduct against him on the ground that such process or notice is a violation of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution.”