Posted by By Kolade Larewaju & Ola Ajayi on
A LAST minute attempt by four South-West governors to persuade President Olusegun Obasanjo to stop the impeachment process against their embattled counterpart in Oyo State, Governor Rashidi Ladoja failed yesterday with the president insisting that the law must take its course. The governor is facing impeachment instituted by 18 members of the state Assembly.
*Plot to sack Ladoja is a coup, says Speaker
ABEOKUTA—A LAST minute attempt by four South-West governors to persuade President Olusegun Obasanjo to stop the impeachment process against their embattled counterpart in Oyo State, Governor Rashidi Ladoja failed yesterday with the president insisting that the law must take its course.
The governor is facing impeachment instituted by 18 members of the state Assembly.
Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Adeolu Adeleke, said yesterday that the impeachment and the investigation of the governor by a panel of seven were nothing short of a coup d’etat.
Governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun) Olusegun Agagu (Ondo), Olugbenga Daniel (Ogun) and Ladoja himself had met with Obasanjo at his Ita Iyalode, Abeokuta residence yesterday to plead with him to intervene in the Oyo crisis and call Alhaji Adedibu to order to prevent Ladoja from being impeached.
Governor Ladoja arrived incognito in a car with number plate OYO AE 429 NJM without any escort for the meeting while his fellow governors were already with the President. Sources at the meeting said President Obasanjo refused pointedly to intervene in the imbroglio, insisting that all the issues were already legal matters and that the law should be allowed to take its course.
Obasanjo was also said to have told the governors that with the security reports at his disposal, Governor Ladoja had to go as he had failed in the discharge of his responsibilities in the state.
President Obasanjo after about one hour of his interaction with the governors left wearing a stern look, an indication that all was not well at the meeting.
Governor Daniel followed the President to the Navy Secondary School where he boarded the helicopter that brought him to Abeokuta back to his Ota Farm from where he is expected to leave for Abuja tomorrow morning.
About 30 minutes later, Governor Ladoja, looking sad left in company of Agagu, Fayose, and Oyinlola with all of them refusing to talk to newsmen who had thronged the venue.
Presidential spokesman, Mrs. Remi Oyo, denied knowledge of any discussion talk with the President, insisting that the governors came to felicitate with the President as usual when she was called on her cell phone.
Plot to impeach Ladoja is a coup – SPEAKER
Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeolu Adeleke said, yesterday, in Ibadan that the ongoing impeachment process against Governor Rashidi Ladoja and his (Ladoja’s) investigation by a panel of seven were nothing short of a coup d’etat.
Mr. Adeleke, leader of the pro-Ladoja group in the Assembly, told newsmen in Ibadan that the people of the state would resist the “many clandestine and treasonable steps” of “these disgruntled citizens.”
However, the key actors in the Oyo State political logjam, Governor Ladoja and Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, yesterday steered clear of the Agodi praying ground, Ibadan where other Muslims in the city gathered for the Eid-el-Kabir prayers.
“I need to state in plain language that there is a coup d’etat in Oyo State though not by the military but rather by some few citizens of this great country. To execute the coup d’etat, many clandestine and treasonable steps have been embarked upon by these disgruntled citizens but to no avail. The good people of Oyo State have been resisting these criminal steps,” Mr Adeleke told reporters at the Governor’s office, Ibadan.
He said neither the governor nor any of the 14 legislators was served notice of impeachment as claimed by the group of 18 lawmakers. “The executive governor of the state was never issued any notice by the Speaker but rather the House at its sitting of 14 December 2005 in the Assembly complex presided over by the Speaker urged the governor to ignore the paid advertisement in a Nigerian newspaper. I am still alive I never abdicated my duty nor delegated same to anybody,” he said, adding that the Assembly should have resolved by motion whether the allegations should be investigated. “In fact, no motion or resolution was made or arrived at,” he said.
He alleged connivance and conspiracy by some people with the Acting CJ under serious threat, intimidation and pressure to secretly constitute the seven-man panel. He expressed disgust at Monday’s sitting of the panel despite the court ruling that the status quo be maintained until the final determination of the case.
“Notwithstanding the preservative order, the acting CJ ignominiously purportedly constituted the seven-man panel, consequentially, rubbishing the order of the High Court. This is an insult and a disgrace to the judiciary, Nigerian legal system and the legal profession if an acting CJ can act as such,” he said and asked the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representative, National Security Council and all stakeholders in the nascent democracy and good governance to please rise up and save the present political dispensation from total and imminent collapse. He also challenged all Nigerians not to stand and watch what he called present illegality, unconstitutionality and treason being perpetrated by G-18 lawmakers.
He denied sending any letter on the impeachment move to the CJ or directing the Acting Chief Judge to raise the seven man panel. He said if anything, he wrote to the acting chief judge to ignore any letter contrary to what he wrote to him. “I did not request him to raise the panel. The request to raise the panel was from a member, Hon Oluyemi Taiwo, who has being parading himself as the acting speaker while I am alive and not in any way incapacitated. More so, there was no position of the acting speaker in the constitution of the country. What you have is the position of the speaker and his deputy,” he said.
He was highly embittered at the way the G-18 was going about the impeachment process. The speaker said most of the constitutional provisions for the removal of the sitting governor were ignored. He said the illegal way the G-18 “are going about the whole thing should be stoutly resisted by lovers of democracy in Nigeria.”
Ladoja, Adedibu steer clear of praying ground
Meanwhile, the signal warning sent by the Chief Imam of Ibadan land, Sheikh Suara Busari Haruna, to the two feuding parties in the on-going political face-off in Oyo State between Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu and Governor Ladoja was yesterday, heeded by both men they were absent at the Eid-el Kabir Praying Ground at Agodi Gate, Ibadan.
While Governor Ladoja worshipped at the Government House Mosque, his estranged godfather worshipped at Ahmadiyya praying ground on the Ibadan-Lagos expressway. Also absent at the praying ground were the likes of Alhaji Yekini Adeojo and Alhaji Alao Arisekola.
The Chief Imam had, two days ago, warned the two warring parties to abstain from the praying ground if they could not control their supporters who might trigger off violence. He said this was necessary to avert a violent clash.
Notwithstanding, palpable tension gripped other worshippers for fear of being attacked by hoodlums. This resulted in a sharp drop in the turn out of the worshippers. It was said that the low turn-out was a result of the tension in the political scene in the state.
Yesterday’s prayer witnessed a heavy presence of hundreds of regular and mobile policemen who stood fully armed at very strategic areas of the Agodi praying ground.
In his sermon, the Chief Imam asked all political stakeholders in the state to opt for dialogue as a means of settling political parties. “I call on the political stakeholders in the state to please allow dialogue as a means of settling differences as all the parties involved in the present are brothers,” he said.
He appealed to the two sides to sheathe their swords not forgetting the fact that both of them are Muslims and, according to him, “Islam preaches no other message other than the message of peace.”
Commenting on the failure of government to airlift all the intending pilgrims to this year’s Hajj, he called on “all the authorities involved in Hajj operations to design a better structure that would guarantee a better operation in future.”
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