By James Sowole
Speculations were rife at the weekend that the Ondo State House of Assembly has set the stage for the removal of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, following an ‘unusual’ newspaper advertisement placed by the legislature directing all members to resume from their recess today for legislative duties.
There has been controversy in the state on whether Ajayi should be removed from office following his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The embattled deputy governor has also secured clearance to contest the July 22 governorship primary of the PDP.
However, political analysts told THISDAY that since it is unusual for the lawmakers to place an advertisement simply to announce resumption from recess, doing so was a sign of a plot to impeach Ajayi.
The Assembly leadership, in the advertisement signed by the Clerk of the House, Mr. Bode Adeyelu, and the Speaker, Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun, urged the lawmakers to resume today.
THISDAY gathered that the leadership of the Assembly has met and arranged to commence the process for the removal of the deputy governor this week.
A member of the House of Assembly, who spoke off the record, said members of the APC in the House had been meeting on how to oust Ajayi.
He added that the leadership of the APC had met with some of the lawmakers to fine-tune the plot.
He said he could not confirm if the members of the opposition in the House of Assembly had been briefed on the development, adding that the House, however, has not received any formal notice for the commencement of the removal of the deputy governor.
“We have not been informed of any impeachment process by the leadership of the House and let us just consider all these we are hearing as ordinary speculation for now. When we get to the bridge we shall cross the river and we will know how to handle the situation,” he stated.
All efforts to get the reaction of the leadership of the House on the matter proved abortive as calls put to the House spokesman, Hon. Gbenga Omole, did not connect as the line was switched off.
But reacting to the matter, the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Mr. Babatope Okeowo, said there was no anxiety in the camp of the deputy governor.
He said: “The House has the right to hold its session any time the leadership deemed fit. The only suspicion about it is the placement of advertisement recalling members from the recess, which had never happened.
Moreover, there are several platforms available for communication among members and the leadership of the House.
“Apart from this, the resumption of the House may not be ordinary for now in view of the COVID-19 pandemic which had entered community transmission level.
“It is known to all that many of the legislators related with the governor in recent time and according to information none of them has gone through the COVID-19 test to determine their status.
“So the directive for the resumption and the mode of communication is very unusual. But at the level of the deputy governor, there is no anxiety.”